T Nation

Where to Start?

Hey guys-

Looking for some solid advice on what routine I should start with. I’m just getting back in the gym after 3-4yrs off. I’m 6’1" and ~158lbs, 26yrs old. My goals are to gain at least 10lbs of lean muscle. One problem…I’m in veterinary school so much of my time during the day is spent sitting in lecture. That, in combination w/ poor eating has led to a somewhat chunky midsection that I’d like to be gone. So basically, I’m on my way to being a fat, skinny guy (or a skinny fat guy). So overall my goal is to gain strength/size, lose the fat, and get the overall “V” shape.

I’ve just read up on Rippetoe program and read some positive feedback on that. I’d really like to have a program where I can frequently increase the weight being lifted so that I’m constantly getting motivation by seeing that I’m getting stronger. I’m able to hit the gym 3-4x/wk, with 45min-1hr about the max I can spend each visit.

I’m about to start adding in Protein shakes to my diet, which is being re-vamped to eat healthier. I’ll take all the GOOD advice you can throw my way (diet or training rec’s)! Thanks!!!

Did you find Rippetoe or did Rippetoe find you? Nevermind. Fantastic program. I’m just starting round two myself. Lots of guys on here do SS or have done it in the past. The main thing for you to have a physique change is diet and exercise. If you do Rippetoe, the consider that part out of the way. Although I would walk everyday as a form of additional exercise.

Lift weights. Eat healthy. Stay active.

Do Rippetoe’s, eat hearty.
Good luck.

Quick Question: I workout alone so using free weights usually isn’t an option. I’ve started using the Hammerstrength machine for bench and using the machine for squatting…how much of a disadvantage is this?

[quote]cmlakey wrote:
Quick Question: I workout alone so using free weights usually isn’t an option. I’ve started using the Hammerstrength machine for bench and using the machine for squatting…how much of a disadvantage is this?[/quote]

trust me, use a barbell. If you’re at a gym ask for a spot. Do front squats if you must. You cna just ditch the bar if need be. You aren’t maxing on bench during ripps. And you’ll be able to tell if you’re about to fail. If need be roll it onto your belly and sit up.

Find an apparatus in the weight room similar to the one Arnold is using in this photo.

Start there.

[quote] FightingScott wrote:
Pricelessness.gif[/quote]

Zeps right. Do the exercises, don’t muck up the program.

As for specific advantages… the most common argument is that free-weight exercises use a greater range of ‘stabilizer muscles’. These are commonly billed as muscles in and around your hips and shoulders that contract to stabilize the movement. They become less important after they’re decently strengthened (intermediate bodybuilder stage) but right now while you’re developing a firm base of strength, they’re important.

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
cmlakey wrote:
You aren’t maxing on bench during ripps. And you’ll be able to tell if you’re about to fail. If need be roll it onto your belly and sit up.[/quote]

you dont even want to know how many times I have had to do this myself at home.
cursing and cussing and spitting the whole time but laughing after cause its kind of funny to me actually

after a few weeks you get a “feel” for the weight and you can tell when that next just wont come all the way up.

I do at the gym use hammer strength machines though I love them. but I also use the freeweights
I havent squated freeweight there often I have a hard time finding the squat rack free so I do use the machine instead

I noticed when using the squat machine though only place where I am sore is in that muscle right above the knee and no place else.
with freeweight squats I notice my entire leg and my hips are sore along with my lower back.

Cool. Thanks for the advice. I just originally thought that using machines would allow me to use more weight/rep b/c I didn’t have to worry about failing a rep. Whereas w/ free weights, I’d have to back off on the weight being used since there was no spotter present. But, from looking at your comments free weights are still giving more of an advantage.

With Rippetoe…I’m still trying to use 100% rep max, right?

[quote]cmlakey wrote:
With Rippetoe…I’m still trying to use 100% rep max, right?[/quote]

You start with an easy weight so you can focus on technique. Then you increase the weight every workout. It may be months before you actually do 100%RM but you will get stronger every time. Your form will break down if you try for max reps. You want to avoid that. The workouts will appear easy at first but it will get hard quickly. Your max will keep changing as you progress so there is no way to judge it anyway.

Stu

This may be slightly off topic, but never be timid to ask for a spot. Not only is it safer, but you will truly push yourself harder with someone there watching you. It’s a good way to make friends, too. If you want to be able to really go balls to the wall, partners/spotters help, and are usually happy to do it.