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My Goal is to Get Cut, Advice?


Hey Guys,

Im Mitch from R'va. I am 26, an electrician and for the first time I am serious about getting healthier.

I will give as much info as possible from the start. here goes.

6' Tall 36" waist (at belly button) 13" neck. Body Fat 23.5%

Here is my starting point:


Here is my goal: I want to be roughly the same physical size I am right now, but lean or cut.

like this.


I have lost weight, gone from 236lbs to 215lbs. My bmi is at 29. I have been eating a 2000 calories diet of various vegetables, boiled chicken and brown rice. Nothing real concrete. I am fairly active at work, I know the 2000 calories is below my maintenance level.

I go to the gym 4 evenings a week. Every other day

Every trip activities:

Planks: 1:45 min. Started at 40 seconds
Elliptical: 20 minutes interval (covering three miles average)
assited pullups: pulling 170lbs 2 sets 15 reps (started at 140lbs)
assited dips: 170lbs 2 sets 15 reps (started at 140lbs also)
cable row: 140lbs 2 sets 15 reps
Squat: 80lbs 2/15
Leg Plate Press: 180lbs 2/15 (forgot to take picture of my legs. I will post them up)
Hanging Leg Lifts: 3/15. (starting to straighten my legs out bout halfway)

Other than that, I am floundering trying to build a routine. I wander around watching/learning.

I really want to strengthen my back and core. Between my job and hobbies I feel I have a good muscle base, its just hidden too much fat. My bicep is 11" flexed. Typing this post has really made me realize how much of a noob I am. ha.

ANY advice would be greatly appreciated.



first of all, you have come to the right place. You should read as much as you can and try to learn whatever you can.

Secondly... you do not have very much muscle. You are not going to look like Ryan Reynolds without packing on a lot of muscle to your current frame. The more muscle you have, the more fat you can carry and still look good. If you're 150lbs and have 20lbs of fat then you're going to look a hell of a lot different than if you're 200lbs with 30lbs of fat, ya know?

You need to get on a program. You can pick a program like SS, 5/3/1 or go over to the BB forum and read through the "Do this routine instead of that dumb one" (or something like that) and pick one of the 4 days a week routines in there.

If you are going to look anywhere close to that picture it is going to take a long time. Dont think its going to happen in 1 or 2 months... cause it wont, and you will get discouraged and quit.

You're going to need to dial in your diet. Start a food log and write down everything you eat every day. Then you can get online and find out the macros for your food and see how good/bad your diet really is.

Good luck man.


thanks for the reply.

after I posted this, i went reading through some articles, first one i pulled up was the warped physique reality by chris t.(wont butcher his last name) SO i guess what i thought was off. ha.

and I do understand this isnt a around the corner goal, I am in it for the long haul, and I guess the muscle mass comment was me trying to hold some dignity. So the truth is good. Guess running pipe and lifting are different arenas.


Just to add to what Gregron already said. You're going to have a very hard time losing the pudge without some serious strength gains. Heavier weights = higher intensity while training = greater metabolic disturbance...yadda yadda yadda. Good bench marks to hit within a year from now: 225 bench, 315 squat, 405 deadlift. Cutting will be a lot easier after that.

As far as your diet, you should definitely read up some of the articles here. Check out the V-Diet forums. They are full of great recommendations for guys in your boat as well as amazing healthy recipes. Veggies, chicken, and brown rice is just plain boring. Dieting doesn't mean you have to stop enjoying your meals!

Just to throw another good beginner's program your way, you could check out: "New Rules of Lifting for Abs."


i think asking this guy to go from 180 leg press to a 315 squat or 405 dead is a bit hefty lol...
225 is do-able...on chest...lol at the pic...reynolds was so damn lean it was stupid in that blade movie..
honestly for you to get that though man...either...a - you will juice....b - your diet will be so on point
its ridiculous...great to have a long term goal...but have a short term one as well to keep your momentum...
if i were you...i would worry about building muscle before cutting the fat because when building muscle
you will fill out an actual frame and then see what you have to work with...as of right now its hard to
even tell your frame...for me it would be impossible to look like that...get ripped...yes i could...but id never look like that because im a lot wider and thicker than him...so build muscle...see your frame and then
pick a celeb or body builder that resembles your frame...and go for that...


oh really?


dude i was almost exactly in the same shape as you a couple years ago....i was fat, unhealthy, weak, and ate like shit...let me give you the best advice you're gonna get here:


Its expensive (for most people anyway...it actually cost me less to buy the supplements than it did than for what I was spending on eating out and boozing)...its hard as fuck and you will want to kill yourself...


in 28-42 days, you will probably lose 25+ pounds, build a bit of muscle, ease back into a workout routine, kick shitty food cravings, and feel more athletic...IMO, its the best possible kick start a guy in your situation can use...

It will also give you plenty of time to figure out how to transition off it once you've completed the 6 weeks, so you don't revert back to old habits and make this a part of your life...

What the hell is R'va?


Yeah really. There is a huge difference between guy A. Who has 130lbs of LBM and guy B. Who had 170lbs of LBM.

I'm not sure what you're getting at?


What dont you get dude?


Maybe I am giving people too much credit for not being stupid, but I think angus_beef was employing a tactic invented by the Dutch known as "sarcasm"....


Hey man, it is a rude awakening for us all :). I've been at this ten years and every time I think I'm there I realize I've got a lot left to learn. But...I look a million times better than I did when I started so I consider it time well spent! The only way to guarantee failure is to quit. As long as you keep at it, it doesn't matter how many mistakes you make because eventually you will figure it out. And while you won't look like Ryan Reynolds in that picture in the immediate future, you can surprise yourself with the amount of progress you can make in a few months of dedicated--steady, CONSISTENT--work.

So don't worry mate.

Running pipe is definitely a strenuous job. I'm not a career construction or electrical guy, but I've done it for long periods of time before and you are both right and wrong--it isn't lifting, but it's hard damn work. I still remember sledging out a concrete room with fucking tin for a roof in the middle of summer at 130 degrees INSIDE...it still lives in my nightmares haha.


Ok, I hope to hell that "juicing" comment was a bad joke. It doesn't take juice to get to that Ryan Reynolds stage. That's just stupid.

Also, I have to disagree with the idea of you starting the V-Diet so soon. Make sure you HARDWIRE the right eating habits in, how to plan your meals and bring them with you if you need, stuff like that. Also pick a weight program and do it! Do that first, lose a bit more weight, find a solid pre-made lifting program, then you can use the V-Diet after a bit more time lifting right + eating right if you feel so inclined.

The V-Diet can work for someone in your position, and it will work pretty well IF you complete it, but the point where everyone fails is coming off the diet--if they haven't taken the time to build a foundation of planning their meals, bringing meals with them to work, healthy food choices, that sort of thing, then rebounding is very easy.

As the Marines say--fail to plan, plan to fail. This is your mission so it deserves your planning energies.


1) find a good pre-made routine for the gym
2) hardwire good eating habits--doesn't have to be anything special at this point, but DEFINITELY get in the habit of having healthy food with you at all times...that's key to avoiding the binge cheat meal. Have a back-up plan or something in a cooler at work in case you just get starving or something.

3) do this for 6 weeks consistently, without missing workouts.
4) decide whether you want to try the V-Diet.


This is actually why I think the V-Diet is an even better choice for him--it teaches you to preplan your meals...you have an entire fucking week between starting the diet and your first one! haha...you are thinking all week about that bad boy, planning it out and making sure it ahderes to the HSM guidelines...then the same thing for the next week, and the week afte rthat, and the week after that...

At the end of 4 weeks, you move to daily HSMs...again, this is baby steps...its not too difficult to plan one meal a day and instill the habit...then last week of transition, its 2 HSMs per day--just another step up the planning ladder...before you know it, its second nature...

I actually found the transition of the V-Diet to he the easiest part of all...then I decided to become a fat powerlifter...but that was a CHOICE...most people who just want to look good shouldn't ahve this problem..


Ok--Regarding your training as nobody else has touched on it before I got here:

First, I will say that as much improvement as you need with the routine design, you did a good job at getting back work and leg work in there, which is precisely what most noobs ignore completely. You grasped the proper concept--that the back and legs are the biggest muscle groups and also burn the most calories when worked hard. That was well done. OK...

1) always run/bike/elliptical/cardio after your weight workouts. Fatty acid levels in your blood are higher at this point, so more productive for fat loss. Also, you want to give your very best energy for your weight workouts to train your muscles and start getting stronger and more muscled.

2) A dedicated program will help you build the strength you want. Pick some tangible goals that are short term for your strength goals and go for them. My favorites for someone in your position are Total Body Training, WS4SB part 3, or Alwyn Cosgrove's "New Rules of Lifting" program. You should buy the book--it is a fantastic introduction to how to train. There are things I disagree with of course, but he doesn't say anything dangerously wrong or misleading. Everything in there is solid information. Don't worry about doing everything letter perfect, just pay attention to the Big Ideas at first. Work on the details as you go.

Foundation first, details later. Never drop the foundation work to focus solely on the details. The foundational work is still what gives the Elite their results, even if they dress it up in fancy phrases and add bells and whistles. People forget that at their peril.

3) A whole-body routine, or an upper/lower split will be infinitely better for you in your current position than a body part bodybuilding style program. For many reasons, not the least of which is less debilitating soreness if you work more of your body and less on one individual part. In addition the frequency with which you hit the big muscle groups is much more conducive to fat loss. I could write a damn novel about it, but that's my advice. Work half your body or your whole body at each workout.

A basic upper/lower split that you can use until you decide on a pre-made program to start:

Keep your cardio in, but after each session not before. Do some warming up before each workout (look at the articles here for ideas)

Upper body: reps 3x12

Bench press with dumbbells
Dumbbell Row--or cable row
shoulder press
assisted pull up
Assisted Dips
another row. If you did dumbbells earlier use a cable row now. Use a different grip width from before

Lower body: reps 3x12

rack pull
leg press
hanging leg raises

Upper body 2: reps 4x6, with heavier weight than the first upper body workout

shoulder press with dumbbells
assisted pull-ups
bench press with barbell
cable row or dumbbell row

reps 10 per set:
bicep curls
tricep cable pushdowns
abs ---these three exercises done as a circuit, do 3 circuits of 10 reps each. Go from one to the next, then rest after your abs

Lower body 2: reps 4x8

Lunges--make sure your steps are medium to long, don't shorten them, and make sure that your knee touches the ground every time. Don't let it slam into the ground though, that hurts :). 8 reps means 8 reps with EACH leg.
dumbbell deadlift
leg press
back extensions--grab and hold a dumbbell or small plate for extra weight if you need.
machine or cable abs 5 x 10 here

Make sure you can do all the reps when you start out. Try to increase the amount of weight you do. I would use the bike or elliptical for your cardio after leg day, because your legs will be very tired and jogging might be challenging.

If you want to take this thing seriously, then you should be prepared to work really hard on your weight training. There is a certain amount of pain tolerance that is required to get the results you want. That has never changed, and it never will. There is no such thing as "pain free" training if you are going to get results. Now I DON'T mean joints, back, knee pain!!! You have to stay healthy to get results too. What I mean is the will to push through fatigue and painful contractions of muscle. What I mean is these bullshit infomercials that make doing a sit-up look like a fucking trainwreck, or promise you results pain-free in 15 days or less.

You have to dedicate yourself full-bore to getting rid of the infomercial mentality, or any temptation thereof.

A favorite pre-training video of mine. Great song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8I7h52ySqc

Good luck!


Yes, that is quite true.


thanks for the info so far, big thanks to aragorn for typing all that. Im printing the thread out and writing some stuff up this evening.

one question, the upper/lower body splits you wrote out, how would they be divided up in to days? I'm guessing upper day 1, lower day 2, rest day, repeat?


Good guess. Close, but not quite. The day 1's and day 2's go together. So Upper day 1, lower day 1, rest, upper 2, lower 2. Or you could do it upper, rest, lower, rest, upper, rest, lower. (that would be every mon, wed, fri sunday, rinse, repeat).

Regardless, you would train only four times a week. So, mon, tues, thurs, fri or M,W,F,Sun.

Oh, and the rack pulls are done from a squat rack, with the bar set directly at your kneecap. Not below the knee, not mid-thigh. If you need to you can stand on plates or mats to make the height right.

EDIT -- for the dumbbell deadlifts on lower body #2 aim to go as low as you possibly can without rounding the small over back over. That lift is meant for you to get as much of a hamstring stretch and as much rang of motion as you can without letting the small of your back round over. Rounding of the shoulders is acceptable--not great but acceptable and not an imminent injury risk--but letting your low back slack and round over is absolutely not good!

The rack pull is meant to be a partial range of motion and also to help you get used to keeping your low back arched and tight (think about touching your tailbone to your mid back, sticking your butt out like I duck, or read "proper low back position for power" by mark rippetoe published here a couple months ago in the archives).


Do you really recommend V-Diet for someone with an 80lb squat? The volume of all those workouts is fixed. So let's say he gets up to 240lb squat. Higher intensity. Better results. And right now, he can't make up for the ultra low intensity by adding more volume, because, well, that's NOT the program! Why settle for what you can get out of a fat loss program right now, when you can reap so much more if you just wait some time to build a solid foundation of strength?


In a year's time?? I did it starting at a 95lb deadlift training 3x/week, and most of the guys I know who follow any beginner's program consistently get it too. Even if he falls short, it's a pretty standard bench mark to shoot for. Easy to remember too: 2 plates, 3 plates, 4 plates...lol.


There are certainly different ways to go about it, but I think the V-Diet path is the most efficient in the long run...how long are you talking about building up a base of strength? He's not going to go from an 80 pound squat to a 240 pound squat (3x!) overnight...that is going to take quite a bit of time--and in that time, a guy that really just wants to lose a bunch of body fat is still going to have all that body fat!!!

V-Diet Workout Beginner Program doesn't use squats (I think it is a DB goblet squat instead) which I think is fine for an untrained individual in the first month of their training career...this isn't a muscle building program, it is a fat loss program (but an untrained individual will STILL add muscle from it)...Not disagreeing that higher intensity would lead to better results, but the man is a completely untrained individual--he would make progress with body weight exercises (!) as long as that is combined with a strict diet...

I think the beginner V-Diet workouts are a pretty good way to ease into weight training for those that have never done so...