Help Put Me on the Right Track, Please

Dear ladies and gentlemen,

It’s been many moons since I’ve posted here on the site. I come by and check things out and read articles and see how people are doing semi-often, but I rarely come to post. When I do post something, I really do ask for your help - because I do need it.

By now I’ve done a lot of reading, learning, motivating, you name it. I originally came here to the forums at 300 pounds, and I am now ~230. I took a lifestyle change down to 220 by eating well, and working out very hard. I accomplished all that in half a year’s time, and I’ve kept off the weight since. I’ve put on some muscle, and put on a little fat.

Let’s be honest here folks, I’m not nearly as strong or as fit as 95% of the people on this site, most of you live, eat, sleep, die, and breath weights and fitness. My knowledge is very limited in terms of weights/routines/splits. I fancy myself as knowing the basics and guidelines. I’m here today because I need your help, plain and simple - I’m starting to lose focus, lose motivation, I’m out of a routine, and I am off track.

First thing that comes to mind - my metabolism sucks major ass. I feel like I eat 1 Oreo and I gain 2 pounds. It is my basic understanding, that in order to increase metabolism, you must increase your overall muscle mass to keep the body (I think of it as a wood furnace) burning at all times. You must also eat smaller portions, many times a day (5-6), to keep the body in burning mode, otherwise it goes into starvation mode, or any excess just gets stored if you eat too much in 1 sitting etc.

Before I dig into some of my goals I’d like to make myself clear. Honestly, I’m not here to be a bodybuilder. Hopefully that doesn’t upset anyone, but I’m not going to lie to you. I’m here because I simply don’t know any better, and I consider most of you guys expert enthusiast. I want to improve my fitness and physic as a whole, in a healthy way. I don’t plan on doing any competitions or showing off, I am doing this for me and my health.

Goals:

Increase metabolism and overall muscle mass. I would like to turn into a calorie burning machine and a lean piece of granite from head to toe. I don’t want to be bulky, and I don’t want to be a twig (I’ve never ever been a twig in my life) so I don’t have that to worry about.

Overall athletic performance improvement. I’m no stranger to sports - all through grade school I played my fair share of sports - Soccer (7 years), Football (3 years), Lacrosse (2 years). Most of you guys/gals would laugh at me for saying this, but I’ve been quite serious into road biking for a while now. I joined collegiate triathlon club before graduating, picked up a nice road bike and have been training since. I’d like to become a better athlete, no matter what sport it is, but they all boil down to have good core strength and development. Most great athletes are lean and muscular.

Develop a rock solid routine and workout schedule. When I go into the gym, I need a piece of paper that keeps track of my results, and tells me what to do. I don’t want to think, I don’t want to do anything but follow the instructions/next exercise on a excel workout sheet I’ve typed up and track results.

Day 1: Exercise X, Y Reps, Z Sets
Day 2: Exercise A, B Reps, C Sets
You get the gist, I’d like something laid out that is tailored to my goals.

Now that you have a little bit of an idea of where I’m coming from, and my interests/goals, I do ask that you please help me get back on the right path. I know what hard work is, I know what it takes, and I have been there and done that. Don’t take it easy on me, critique me, and put me through hell. I remember reading an article a while ago - The burning phoenix. Lives, Burns, Dies, Reborn a bigger better stronger animal. Let’s make no joke about it, I’m here to build muscle, get lean, get fit, and improve my health x100. I’m under no illusions that I am any of that, and I know most people on this site are. I’m pissed.

Thanks in advance for taking your time to read and possibly help me. Share any insight/opinions/routines/workout plans you have. I’m all ears.

  • Eric

I was hoping for a little more input than I have received thus far, lol.

First, great job on dropping 80lbs, thats solid.

No one on here is just going to write you a program. You can look at various training logs and see what people are doing, but no one is just gonna make you one. Look into many of the programs already on this website.

Personal recommendation, use Wendler’s 5/3/1

or Westside for Skinny Bastards

First, great job on dropping 80lbs, thats solid.

No one on here is just going to write you a program. You can look at various training logs and see what people are doing, but no one is just gonna make you one. Look into many of the programs already on this website.

Personal recommendation, use Wendler’s 5/3/1

or Westside for Skinny Bastards

I suppose I will try to narrow down my questions/concerns to maybe help get some better feedback. I apologize for being long winded in my original post.

  1. If my overall goal is to increase health/muscle mass/bone density/raise metabolism - What should my sets/reps look like? Currently I have a 4 day/week workout, 5 exercises each day. Day 1 = 8 x 3 reps/sets, Day 2 = 3 x 8 reps/sets, Day 3 is same as Day 2, and Day 4 is the same as Day 1.

  2. With sets/reps, I wasn’t sure what the optimal splits would be. Mon/Tues- Heavy, Wed- Off, Thurs/Friday- Heavy? I used to have a pretty good idea of what muscle groups to tie together with what, but I wasn’t sure if things have changed/what works?

  3. I generally aim for 80% of 1RM when I am lifting during the week, increasing muscle mass and losing fat, is this the mindset I need to approach, or should I be doing 60%, 90%? How much effort?

  4. What is the optimal amount of cardio post-lift I should be doing. With leaning/losing fat in mind, I’m aiming for 30 minutes minimum of cardio post-lift at around 65-75% of Max Heart Rate in order to be in optimum fat burning zone. Am I wrong in doing this?

  5. I have always been a “all-natural” guy, never done a drug in my life, and I’m a stranger to protein shakes. I know I should be pounding down a pre-shake and a post-shake. Ideally I figure I can buy some 100% pure (unflavored) Whey Protein Isolate in bulk for my shakes. I’m not sure what else to add here, I don’t know shit. What should I be drinking pre and post workout?

Hopefully I can get some reassurance or criticism.

[quote]Ghostcode wrote:
I suppose I will try to narrow down my questions/concerns to maybe help get some better feedback. I apologize for being long winded in my original post.

  1. If my overall goal is to increase health/muscle mass/bone density/raise metabolism - What should my sets/reps look like? Currently I have a 4 day/week workout, 5 exercises each day. Day 1 = 8 x 3 reps/sets, Day 2 = 3 x 8 reps/sets, Day 3 is same as Day 2, and Day 4 is the same as Day 1.

  2. With sets/reps, I wasn’t sure what the optimal splits would be. Mon/Tues- Heavy, Wed- Off, Thurs/Friday- Heavy? I used to have a pretty good idea of what muscle groups to tie together with what, but I wasn’t sure if things have changed/what works?

  3. I generally aim for 80% of 1RM when I am lifting during the week, increasing muscle mass and losing fat, is this the mindset I need to approach, or should I be doing 60%, 90%? How much effort?

  4. What is the optimal amount of cardio post-lift I should be doing. With leaning/losing fat in mind, I’m aiming for 30 minutes minimum of cardio post-lift at around 65-75% of Max Heart Rate in order to be in optimum fat burning zone. Am I wrong in doing this?

  5. I have always been a “all-natural” guy, never done a drug in my life, and I’m a stranger to protein shakes. I know I should be pounding down a pre-shake and a post-shake. Ideally I figure I can buy some 100% pure (unflavored) Whey Protein Isolate in bulk for my shakes. I’m not sure what else to add here, I don’t know shit. What should I be drinking pre and post workout?

Hopefully I can get some reassurance or criticism.

[/quote]

  1. and 2) Like it was said before, try something like 5/3/1 or WS4SB, this 8x3 shit gets really old fast, even for a beginner like you.

  2. Depends on the program, for 5x5 it’s 85% for example, if you pulse it at 2-3-5-2-3-5-2-3 you can even go a tad higher.

  3. looks fine to me. Look also into complexes or sprints as a substitute for cardio.

  4. Yes. Just to give you an example of my peri-work out nutrition, I mix my own supplement.
    It’s 2 parts whey (cookies&cream flavor), 1 part cocoa powder (80% carbs out of which half is maltodextrin, the rest sugar and cocoa) and a few grams of sea salt for some kick-ass work out fuel!

Peri workout - gatorade and whey protein. done.

No offense meant, but the fact you have all these questions are why we are pointing you to programs designed by coaches, for beginners, which you are, that answer most all these questions you have.