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How Can I Improve My Physique?

Hi everyone,

Looking for a few opinions on my physique, I personally would like to tone up a bit while staying at my same weight category (63-65kg - 141pound). I understand this is quite a light-weight for me as i’m about 5.8ft.

To say a bit about myself, I do landscaping for work and bodyweight training when I have free time (skipping, push-ups, pull-ups, squats).

I live on a vegan diet consisting mainly of wholefoods, although I do supplement daily protein, essential minerals and vitamins.

My question is in order to gain a more toned physique, should I aim to do a lot more cardiovascular exercises such as running, skipping, bodyweight training?

these pictures are 7 months apart (sorry about being in my underwear lol)

Forget about the word ‘tone’ - you have a BIT too much fat to see your abs but most importantly, you do not have a lot of muscle. That’s where you need work. Strength training in the 5-15 rep range, whether you use advanced calisthenics or weights, is the ticket here. I won’t give you grief for being a vegan, but I will say that it very easy to overestimate your protein and calorie intake on that diet. And no, broccoli is not a good protein source, no matter what someone may say on the net.

Run Stronglifts/Starting Strength to a tee for 3 months. No modifications, don’t ask questions-just do it. 3 months isn’t a very long time in the grand scheme of things and I’m willing to bet a large sum of money that you will see better gains if you follow it to a “T” for 3 months than you have in the past three years.

I’m serious, run it to a tee, use full range of motion, lift explosively, and with perfect form. Start light progress slowly and methodically. You have to have a solid base to build upon and you lack any sort of base.

Every single person on this forum has been in the same situation as you, and if you peruse through the beginner section you’ll see this same advice: because it works.

^ I can vouch that stronglifts is one of the best beginner programs out there, follow it closely and your going to get satisfactory results. I would also re consider that diet of yours indefinitely.

[quote]A_Fifita wrote:
My question is in order to gain a more toned physique, should I aim to do a lot more cardiovascular exercises such as running, skipping, bodyweight training?[/quote]
To look more “toned”, you need to build muscle. That’s basically what tone is. Muscle tone. So, more cardio (running/skipping) isn’t going to get you there. The bodyweight stuff might, if it’s programmed properly. And that can be a big if.

How have you been training for the last month?

In that thread, you said you did have dumbbells, kettlebells, rings, and some other stuff. Exactly what equipment do you have access to? That’ll make it easier to sort out a plan of attack.

Any reason you want to stay in that “weight class”? Do you compete in a sport?

Thanks for the Replies everyone.

I may need to incorporate more strength training into my workouts.

@ Chris, my training is all over the place because of my work, I can usually only workout 1-2 times a week and that’s trying .

I do having access to dumb bells, kettle bells, rings, pull up bar, dipping station, skipping rope, boxing bag & even a climbing rope. My problem is consistency I think, I’ve noticed a big change in endurance over all since that last thread a year ago.

My diet probably doesn’t help things in terms of gaining muscle fast, but it’s something I want to work with and understand it’ll take a bit longer if need be.

In my body weight training I always try and do movements slow and aim for technique over reps.

Omg he poses like Artem!

[quote]A_Fifita wrote:
my training is all over the place because of my work, I can usually only workout 1-2 times a week and that’s trying .[/quote]
I can totally understand needing to fit lifting into a hectic schedule. It can even be tougher when you’re doing manual labor like landscaping. But it can and has been done by plenty of guys. Eating enough to recover and fuel training is crucial. If you want to reach your goals, lifting twice a week can be fine, but the plan has to be spot-on, not half-assed.

Okay, so, other than missing a barbell, you have everything you need to follow a good program. For a twice a week plan, consider something like this:


It’s a framework that you should be able to fill in with intelligent exercise choices.

Not gonna lie, I didn’t notice that was a full year ago because you don’t look that different. I just noticed that it was from June. Inconsistency is definitely a result-killer. Fix that. Or don’t and expect to stay where you are.

Veganism can be a added challenge, for sure, but it’s definitely doable. Stick with the same basic concepts (1 gram of high quality protein per pound of bodyweight), healthy fats, and enough carbs and total calories to see week-to-week progress, and you should be fine.

Although, forget about gaining muscle fast. Plan to be in it for the long haul. That goes for vegans, omnivores, bodyweight trainers, powerlifters, whoever.

With bodyweight stuff, I wouldn’t even try to move slowly, keep the lifting fast/explosive but progress to more difficult exercise variations. One-arm push-ups, one-arm/one-leg push-ups, one-arm chins, pistols, things like that. Like nighthawkz mentioned, a general rule of thumb is to keep most sets in the 5-15 range. That’s a decent ballpark to work around.

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Omg he poses like Artem![/quote]
Vegan Artem? Two gallons of soy milk a day?

From that picture your training shed looks pretty awesome. A used barbell and some weights wouldn’t set you back very much and it would expand your training possibilities considerably. Some sand bags, a keg, a sled made from a used tire, chains, hammers, etc are also great, cheap options for badass workouts when you own your own training space. That sort of odd-object training seems like it might be up your alley. I could give you some more specific ideas if that sounds like something you’d be interested in.

Also, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Frank Madrano yet. The guy’s a ripped-to-shreds vegan who does almost exclusively bodyweight exercises. I’m sure you could get some good info by googling his name.

[quote]Chris Colucci wrote:

[quote]dt79 wrote:
Omg he poses like Artem![/quote]
Vegan Artem? Two gallons of soy milk a day?[/quote]

LOL !!!

Please stop posting pics of you posing… Please

Do you see the cage nearby? In your second pic? Use it!

Awesome thanks heaps for that Chris, I appreciate you replying with all that info. I’ll definitely take it all on board.

as for my diet I would say on average per day I am getting about 70g of protein, whereas it probably needs to be around 130g. I work 9hours a day so i’m probably burning up a lot of calories and not putting enough back in, which could be contributing to my lack of progression, sometimes i need 2-3 dinners to fill me up at night time lol. I have breakfast lunch and dinner everyday.

Thanks heaps Trevor those sound like some creative ideas and i do love anything like that, i will buy some more equipment when i have got the money!

So yeah i guess its mainly just my training is inconsistent, my previous program was shite and I need to eat my carbs/protein.

@ reed not to worry i dont have anymore posing pictures haha

You eat 2-3 dinners, yet only get 70 grams of protein.

Oh boy.
Houston we have a problem.

tweet

[quote]A_Fifita wrote:
I live on a vegan diet consisting mainly of wholefoods, although I do supplement daily protein

as for my diet I would say on average per day I am getting about 70g of protein[/quote]
What, exactly, did you eat yesterday?

I used to do landscape maintenance and tree pruning for a living. I was ususally able to train after work; my body hurt and I was exhausted, but by making myself train, I built up my work capacity.

For breakfast I had -

Smoothie-
2 bananas
Maca
Raw Cacao
Rice protein 1 scoop (26g protein)
Good bacteria

Lunch

Quinoa with capsicum, onion and mushroom

Dinner -

Sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin with some brown rice

A lot of others have made specific program recommendations. I will give you my observation visually about what sort of body part focus would make your physique stand out more. Size and thickness in your chest, back and shoulders are going to have the most visually obvious effect on your front-facing appearance. The basics here, barbell bench, barbell deadlift, barbell rows and dumbell rows. But I would also throw in and say lat pulls and laterals would be beneficial to your shape, it’ll draw out your shoulders and make you look wider which naturally makes a person’s waist look smaller.

I would completely forget about wasting time on arm training for like, 6 months to a year, until you’ve established a base. From your perspective, the only reason to train biceps is going to be when you plateau on rowing movements due to weak bicep support; and on triceps when you plateau on bench due to weak triceps, but that won’t happen for quite some time. Any sort of progressive program that varies the rep ranges from 6-15 cyclically is going to keep you growing for at least 6 months.

I’m not saying don’t train legs or abs or calves or anything - because not training the total body is a a recipe for disaster - but training for size in the back, chest, and shoulders are going to (in my opinion) have the most obvious effects on your body visually. I would not worry in the slightest about getting ‘too big’ or just wanting to tone. With your diet and your stage of development, you will find it hard enough to gain size, you don’t need to throttle back.

Your calories are going to need to come up to build any appreciable muscle. I sympathize with your dietary choice to go vegan but it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to get a lot of protein in on that. You’re going to end up going through a lot of rice protein powder. Brown rice is going to have to be an absolute dietary staple, it’s the only thing remotely high enough in protein. You’re going to want to shoot for like 8.-1g/lb BW per day of protein and that’s conservative.

Vegetarian is one thing but since all dairy products are out, you’re going to have a terrifically hard time supporting healthy testosterone levels without the dietary saturated fat inherent to red meats, eggs, fish, milk, even just throwing some creamer or half and half into a protein shake would do you loads of good, in terms of building blocks for muscle, if you can conscience that. Good luck.

[quote]A_Fifita wrote:
For breakfast I had -

Smoothie-
2 bananas
Maca
Raw Cacao
Rice protein 1 scoop (26g protein)
Good bacteria[/quote]
This is a snack, not breakfast at the start of a day of landscaping. It’s, what, maybe 300-something calories?

[quote]Lunch

Quinoa with capsicum, onion and mushroom

Dinner -

Sweet potato, broccoli, pumpkin with some brown rice[/quote]
Again, make sure you get enough quality protein in each meal, shoot for at least 40ish grams per meal. As far as protein powders go, rice, hemp, and pea would be the top choices. Quinoa’s a decent choice for a whole food source. You could also use some tempeh or soybeans in whole food form, not soy protein powder.

I’m also not seeing a lot of fats. Those are key. Try to have at least a serving or two a day of avocado, nuts, flax seed, olives/olive oil, and/or coconut/coconut milk/coconut oil.

Side note/P.S.: Pretty much everything herofit just wrote is a great example of typing just to hear yourself hit the keys, regardless of the particular situation at hand. I disagree with a ton of what he suggested.