T Nation

New, Trying to Build Muscle

I know you lovely ladies must get sick of people asking for help with body building etc, sorry to be one more newbie nuisance but here goes :stuck_out_tongue:

I've been attempting to weight train with little to no guidance for the past 8 weeks.   I have no access to a trainer that speaks English.   I think it's time I ask for some advice, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I’ve been going to the gym and eating clean for about 6mths now. The cardio is pointless, I neither need nor want to run a marathon and I’m getting to that point. Some of the weight machines seem silly. The steps from one weight to another are either too little or too much and I don’t really feel that I get much range of movement or core training from them.

I’m pretty fit but flabby. I’m not concerned about losing weight. I’m more interested in developing mean arms, a good butt and an awesome six pack.

I’m not skinny fat, my body fat percentage is about 22, I eat cleanly (I loosely calorie count to about 18-1900cal per day), and I drink 2.5L+ per day. A typical days diet is Breakfast (Oatmeal), Lunch 1 (Eggs/chicken and a lot of mixed veggies - ratatouille, veggies catalane etc), Lunch 2 (Whey shake with skim milk), Dinner 1 : Post Workout (chicken/fish/beef and veggies as per Lunch 1), Dinner 2 (whey Shake).

Daily workout would be 60-90 min cardio. I’m in the upper range level wise on most machines ie 15/20 on the step machine, 18/25 on the cross trainer etc. Then every second day I do 30 min cardio and a weight machine routine that takes about 30-40mins. On most weight machines involving lifting I’m lifting are around 7-8kgs(15-18lbs), I can leg press 45kgs (100lbs)

I’m 5’3" and I currently weigh in at around 125-130lbs. My problem areas would be my lower back and stomach.

I’ve just been reading a tonne of T-Nation/MWA articles about free weights and diets and now I’m very informed but utterly confused as to what would be a good weights program/diet to put myself on.

Sorry for the long post. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome, glad you found us!

Firstly, never feel the need to apologize for asking questions–that’s why we’re all here, to exchange information with one another. =o)

Now onto a few observations: if your goal is to gain muscle and not lose fat, then the first thing you should do, in my opinion, is discontinue doing all the cardio you’re currently performing. 30 minutes 4-5 times a week are fine, but any more than that, and you really cut down your chances of gaining any lean mass.

Another observation–and I may be wrong since I don’t have the exact amounts of the foods you’re consuming, but it really looks like you aren’t eating enough protein.

Another thing you need to do, is make sure that the meal after your training consists of a protein shake and a simple sugar, not a solid meal with veggies.

You really need to make sure you refuel your muscles as fast as possible so that they can repair themselves, and you’re not doing that by eating slow-digesting protein sources. Leave those for your last meal, which is when you need the slower digesting proteins to last through the night.

I’m not sure what machines you have available to you, so it’s hard to suggest a program. Why don’t you outline your current lifting routine, and we’ll go from there. =o)

Olesya

Thanks Olesya.

So more protein. Because the red meats available here aren’t exactly lean (very fatty cuts), would I be best just sticking to chicken, turkey and egg whites? I’ve bought some mini scales and will start keeping a food journal. Also with veggies it carrots and potatoes that I should stay away from, right? Green veggies are good? I did not know you should drink a protein shake immediately after working out, will start doing this.

Machines Available

Bicep/Tricep Machine
Lateral Pull Down/Row Machine
Pectoral Machine
Abdominal/Lower back Machine
Leg Lift/Pull up Machine
Hip Abductor/Adductor Machine
Glute Machine
Let Press Machine

There is a raised bench, a flat bent, a crunch bench and a leg raise machine (arms by side rather than above you). There are bar bells with 1.25/2.5/5kg weights available. There are also two sets of dumbbells available going from 1kg -20kg.

At the moment I’ve cobbled together a rountine that looks like this that I do three days a week.

8-12reps x 3 sets
Bicep Machine (Currently lifting 8kg x 10reps)
Tricep Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 10 reps)
Lateral Pull Down Machine (Currently lifting 6kg x 12 reps)
Pectoral Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 10 reps)
Abdominal Machine (Currently lifting 4kg x 10 reps)
Leg Pull Up Machine (Currently lifting 5kg x 10 reps)
Hip Abductor Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 12 reps)
Hip Adductor Machine (Currently lifting 8kg x 8 reps)
Leg Press Machine (Currently lifting 45kg x 10 reps)

Every second day (Heavy cardio day)
Crunch (20 reps x 5)
Leg Raise Machine (20 reps x 3)
Overhead Dumbbell Press (Currently lifting 7kgs per arm, 4 x 10 reps)

I workout from 7pm-9pm. Can’t change the time (work all day) but I do go to the gym 6-7 days a week.

I’m not too sure what I’m doing. I’m quite willing to do routine that’s quite tough. I actually quite like weights (funny, I loathe the cardio machines). I just don’t know much about lifting. So ditch most of the cardio, yah!

OK, here comes a very long post, you have been warned.

Hmm. So read more MWA and T-Nation articles. The main problems I can see with my current gym are there is no rack or pull up or cable machines. Unfortunately I can’t afford the membership at the 5 star hotel gyms (about 1/4th of my annual salary).

I did the whole ‘stand in front of the mirror’ with the boy and critique where I’m up to.

At the moment I’ve regained my ‘natural’ composition ie no back flaps and my love handles are gone, no excess wobbly bits. I’m at the point where there is a bit of muscle (tiny tiny bit of ab show through, a minute bit of a bicep show etc), but I don’t know how to move it up to the next level. The only major problem is I have quite sizable jugs (naturally), and even though I’ve lost two cup sizes believe you me, they can still get in the way whilst training.

I used to be a lean mean fighting machine (did martial arts plus a keen long distance runner, did ballet and swam for 7 years).

Targeting minor back muscles was always a major problem for me. So much so that I went to the the Sports Medicine Clinic when I was a teenager and was given a targeted program of Swiss ball exercises. This was back when you looked at a beach ball the physio had just presented you with and think ‘OK, where’s the hidden camera’.

Reiterating the old stuff. I’m 5’2.5" (I discovered at the doctors), 127 lbs. Ideally I would like to be back at my old weight of sub 120 lbs. Do you think it would be possible to get there in say 6-8 weeks? I don’t want to diet and not be able to build muscle.

I work out 7-9pm.

I went shopping today, bought broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green bell peppers, cabbage.

Here is my meal plan (taken from the Get Jacked article)

Meal 1 : Egg white and Spinach omlette, Protein Shake (plus oatmeal on mornings after weights), Lemon Juice.
Meal 2 : Protein Shake.
Meal 3 : Chicken/Fish/Minced Beef/Lamb and Green Veggies.
Meal 4 : Protein Shake.
Meal 5 : Chicken/Fish/Minced Beef/Lamb and Green Veggies.
Meal 6 : Protein Shake (add a banana after weighs) with cottage cheese. Lemon Juice (I have a serious problem with catching colds atm, too many air conditioned environments).

I would really like to get seriously active again. I would love to be able get into endurance stuff. Before I think about that I want to have done a little more work on my body.

Any advice workout and supplement wise would be greatly appreciated.

Your meal plan looks really good but you need your healthy fats. You can have a couple of whole eggs with your egg whites, olive oil with your veggies at lunch. I have 10 almonds or other nuts with my snack protein shakes and LOVE natural peanut butter off the spoon.

Hi there! =o)

[quote]Minties wrote:
So more protein. Because the red meats available here aren’t exactly lean (very fatty cuts), would I be best just sticking to chicken, turkey and egg whites?[/quote]

Chicken, turkey, egg whites are all great as protein sources.

Carrots and potatoes aren’t bad, you should just pay a bit more attention to them if you’re counting carbs because they do contain a lot more of those than the green veggies do. You can definitely have potatoes as a carb source in the morning or post workout!

But yes, green veggies (broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, asparagus, etc) are good anytime.

[quote]I did not know you should drink a protein shake immediately after working out, will start doing this.

Machines Available

Bicep/Tricep Machine
Lateral Pull Down/Row Machine
Pectoral Machine
Abdominal/Lower back Machine
Leg Lift/Pull up Machine
Hip Abductor/Adductor Machine
Glute Machine
Let Press Machine

There is a raised bench, a flat bent, a crunch bench and a leg raise machine (arms by side rather than above you). There are bar bells with 1.25/2.5/5kg weights available. There are also two sets of dumbbells available going from 1kg -20kg.

At the moment I’ve cobbled together a rountine that looks like this that I do three days a week.

8-12reps x 3 sets
Bicep Machine (Currently lifting 8kg x 10reps)
Tricep Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 10 reps)
Lateral Pull Down Machine (Currently lifting 6kg x 12 reps)
Pectoral Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 10 reps)
Abdominal Machine (Currently lifting 4kg x 10 reps)
Leg Pull Up Machine (Currently lifting 5kg x 10 reps)
Hip Abductor Machine (Currently lifting 7kg x 12 reps)
Hip Adductor Machine (Currently lifting 8kg x 8 reps)
Leg Press Machine (Currently lifting 45kg x 10 reps)

Every second day (Heavy cardio day)
Crunch (20 reps x 5)
Leg Raise Machine (20 reps x 3)
Overhead Dumbbell Press (Currently lifting 7kgs per arm, 4 x 10 reps)[/quote]

Here are a few guidelines for you to follow:

When constructing a workout routine, you generally want to perform your compound exercises (those involving more than one muscle group) in the beginning of your session.

You will also want to work larger muscle groups before you get to smaller ones. So, doing the leg press before triceps is probably a better way to go.

Now the most important tip: you have freeweights there. USE THEM! Utilize those machines only to supplement your training routine, not to build it. You can perform squats with barbells or dumbbells, walking lunges with either of those, deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, and a variety of other movements for legs alone!

You can do bench presses and dumbbell flyes for your chest. Also shoulder presses with dumbbells and military presses with barbells for your shoulders.

Work your lats doing rows with a barbell or single-hand rows with dumbbells. Those will work your back better than any machine will! You can then finish off your workout doing a few sets of an exercise working the same muscle group on a machine. =o)

[quote]I workout from 7pm-9pm. Can’t change the time (work all day) but I do go to the gym 6-7 days a week.

I’m not too sure what I’m doing. I’m quite willing to do routine that’s quite tough. I actually quite like weights (funny, I loathe the cardio machines). I just don’t know much about lifting. So ditch most of the cardio, yah![/quote]

I hope this is somewhat helpful to you. I just want you to see that there are a million options for you in your own gym–sounds like there’s plenty of equipment for a great workout program!

Why don’t you check out this article: http://musclewithattitude.com/article/training/20_for_12_back_to_basics&cr=mwaTraining.
It’ll give you an idea for a training routine for the next 3 months, and it includes explanations/pictures of the exercises.

Olesya