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weemyss
02-27-2003, 08:13 AM
Hi All:

this is my first post to the forum. I am a recent comer to weight training and have found myself trending towards a body building approach to my training, although I have not considered competing. The primary reason for my training is getting control of a number of health issues. I have been lifting now for about 11 months and have found some strength gains and size development, but frankly am a bit disappointed with how slow progress has been the past three months or so.

To address the plateau problem, I have been using the website articles to develop a program: 2 on, 1 off; 2 on 2 off, splitting with chest/triceps; legs; shoulders; back/biceps. Abs I throw in twice a week, allowing for at least a day off to recuperate. I work up to 8-10 reps before increasing weight and generally keep to 4 sets for the upper body muscles and closer to 8 sets quads. With the commute I can only get in about 35-45 minutes of intense cardio after lifting. With the family, I have not been doing cardio on my off days, but have been considering this as a possible problem.

I have found this to work fairly well, but but because I am new to the sport, cannot tell if progress from here on out will be incremental, or if my training is ther bigger problem. I am working on a diet that keeps fats and carbs to a down with high protein intake. Maybe this is just an issue of tweaking for a while until I find the right mix.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

TwoWalks
02-27-2003, 08:53 AM
Weemyss: welcome to the over 35 board, many great folks here that will give sound advice without insult and incouragement.

What are your goals?

It is hard to judge a diet or workout without knowing where you began and where you want to end up.

giantfan43
02-27-2003, 09:37 AM
Welcome to the board !!!!

As Two Walks says, tell us your goals .. I'd also like to know a bit more about your program .. you say 4 sets for upper body .. is that total ? Does that include warm-ups ?? A bit more info there would probably help .. other than that, best suggestion I could give is that there is alot of good info on this board and this site that should be able to help .. after 11 months, you should be making progress ..

bb5-0
02-27-2003, 09:40 AM
Hi Weemyss and welcome here

If your progress has been slow lately, maybe it's because your diet isn't still ok. Even though you eat enough proteins you might use them for energy because your carbs or fat intake is too low.
The more I know about bodybuilding, the more I get convinced that diet is the most important factor for good results. And as Twowalks puts it , your diet depends on what your goal is. So don't hesitate to post and ask for advice. You'll find lots of friendly people here ready to help you .

MagicMel
02-27-2003, 10:10 AM
Welcome to the oldies forum.
There's a lot of good people and info here.
So sit back, absorb everything you can, then take it to the gym.

As stated above, please post your goals, training routine and diet.
Your current stats would help, too. Weight, BF%,Height,Age, etc.

Everyone here is always willing to help.

Eye2_Man
02-27-2003, 10:42 AM
Howdy weemyss. Welcome aboard. As mentioned, there's a lot great folks with top-notch advice and experience.

As far as breaking through plateaus go, it just takes dedication and money. 25+ hours a week in the gym and $250+ a month for good supplements.

Just kidding. Planning, diet and routine are the keys IMO. Count every calorie and nutrient breakdown. Heavy weights for strength and size. Volume for endurance. Some people have mentioned that sleep is equally important.

More squats and deadlifts with heavier weight.

MiloMan
02-27-2003, 12:19 PM
Originally posted by TwoWalks
What are your goals?

It is hard to judge a diet or workout without knowing where you began and where you want to end up.
Bingo.

weemyss
02-27-2003, 12:24 PM
ok, first Wow. I am really grateful for the all the kind responses and questions and the offers to provide feedback.

Yes, I sort of had the sense as I posted that I did not provide enough information.

First, Background: I got into weight lifting after gaining a lot of weigh, resulting in raised bp and cholestorol as a result of a torn meniscus and frankly, lack of discipline. After surgery I got back into getting into shape. Starting weight before 6 months of high cardio and Protein Power Plan diet was about 230. Current weight (have not checked it for about 4 weeks) is about 205, height 5'9+", age 36, BF% is a good question. Last I checked it was before I started the diet and at that point I wanted to get from a size 40 waist back to 36, which I have done. The formula I used with the Protein Power Plan had me at a gross 32%. It was so bad that I figured I would not check again until I had lost weight and put on muscle. That was about a year ago and I am beginning to feel like I have made progress.

Second, Goals: Overall goal will always be to keep the bp down and cholestorol in check. Secondarily, I want to get to a balance between being big and being cut. I like being able to throw around big weights, and have always enjoyed the lower body workouts in particular, but I am not interested in just getting huge without decent definition. I want to see continual progression in strength, but am not sure when this will be "enough" I guess there I am still working to a point where I either cannot go further, or I feel satisfied.

Third, Routine: I hate to admit it, but I am still learning the terminologies etc, so this may be confusing. I go to 7-8 reps before I increase weight. I have not tried for a max weight on anything yet, although on all the exercises, my highest weight feels at about 65-80%. I am still learning the forms and mix in machines and free weights depending upon my comfort level with each exercise.

Chest/Triceps:
Flat bench - 1 warmup set of 10, then 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps and 2 descending hitting the two off peak weights but not the warmup weight.
Incline Bench - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps and 2 descending hitting the two off peak weights but not the warmup weight.
Decline Bench - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps and 1 descending the top off peak weight.
DB Flys - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Pec Deck - 2 or 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps to compliment the flys
Tricep Push downs - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps Cable extension? - 2 or 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Dips - still trying to work them in, but I am currently battling a bum shoulder.

Legs:
Squats - 1 warmup set of 10, then 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps and 2 descending hitting the two off peak weights but not the warmup weight.
Leg Press - 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps picking up with the highest squat weight and 2 descending hitting the two highest off peak weights
Leg Extensions - 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Curls - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Standing Calf Raises - 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps

Shoulders:
Military Press - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps and 2 descending hitting the two highest off peak weights
DB Lateral Raises - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps (this is a weak point)
DB Arnold Press - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps (this is a weak point)
Shrugs - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Bar or Smith straight Raise? - 3 ascending sets of 8-10 reps to target the traps (this is a weak point)

Back/Biceps:
Lat Pulldown - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Cable Row - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
DeadLifts - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps although this has bothered my back so I need to check my form.
DB Bent over Row - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Standing Bar Curls - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps
Preacher Curls - 3 or 4 ascending sets of 8-10 reps

Abs:
Leg Raises, Ab bench and machine crunches twice a week. I usually go until I feel completely ill.

On diet, I am still transitioning from the Power Protein diet to a training diet. I am supplementing protein and learning to say no to the sugary stuff. I try for salads and chicken for lunch, protein shakes to supplement dinner which is usually chicken or beef with pasta. Breakfasts are usually after lifting and are 4-6 eggs with plain oatmeal. I snack on lowfat yogurt with raisins, sunflower seeds and nuts.

MagicMel
02-27-2003, 12:50 PM
Wow, that's some routine you got there.

How long does it take you at the gym for each workout session? It should not be for more than an hour. Ideally, I've heard it's actually 45min or so before Cortisol comes into play, depending on your intensity.

Is overtraining a possibility? Do you workout each body part more than once a week?

Get that body fat measured.

Are you counting calories? Even just as important, do you know the Carb/Protein/Fat percentages of your diet?

When was the last time you took a full week off from training? If you haven't, your body will reward you if you do.

Plateaus are really frustrating. I'm sure there will be a lot of feedback coming soon.

Good luck.

weemyss
02-27-2003, 01:03 PM
thanks MagicMel, I guess I need to focus more on the diet and get the BF checked. The workouts, including cardio, go for an hour and 30 minutes, but I never lift for more than 50 minutes in a session and I only workout 4 mornings in a week. I have been lifting on an empty stomach, and have heard a mix of comments about that approach.

I don't work out body parts twice a week, although there must be some overlap with the compound movements.

I have been counting calories, but I have been on the carb reduction plan and my thinking tends towards low carbs and high protein. I have had trouble getting a good understanding of what the balance should be with weight training.

>>>Originally posted by MagicMel
Wow, that's some routine you got there.

How long does it take you at the gym for each workout session? It should not be for more than an hour. Ideally, I've heard it's actually 45min or so before Cortisol comes into play, depending on your intensity.

Is overtraining a possibility? Do you workout each body part more than once a week?

Get that body fat measured.

Are you counting calories? Even just as important, do you know the Carb/Protein/Fat percentages of your diet?

When was the last time you took a full week off from training? If you haven't, your body will reward you if you do.

Plateaus are really frustrating. I'm sure there will be a lot of feedback coming soon.

Good luck.

TwoWalks
02-27-2003, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by weemyss
I wanted to get from a size 40 waist back to 36, which I have done.

That was about a year ago and I am beginning to feel like I have made progress.

I go to 7-8 reps before I increase weight.


That is one heck of a workout and the approach too it sounds good: How long have you been doing the workout as listed? How often do you change your workout?

It sounds too me like you have made good progress since you started. From what you have written I do not understand where the Plateau is at. Without tracking weight loss or gain (scale), body fat amount (body fat%) and lean muscle mass gain or loss (body fat%) you must be using visual only. What have you wanted to change that has not changed and in what length of time?

As your lean muscle mass goes up, you need to increase calories to feed the muscle growth. Without knowing the lean muscle mass, you could be too low on calories or too high.

MagicMel
02-27-2003, 01:44 PM
When you get your BF% checked, go to this site:

www.hussman.org/fitness/bmrcalc.htm

to accurately determine the number of calories you want to work with.

I would suggest as a general guide line to start with based on the total daily calorie intake:
Losing weight - 30/40/30 Carb/Prot/Fat
Maintain, or gain weight - 40/30/30

These are just numbers to start with. You can tweak the numbers as you see fit. Everyone is different, so it's up to you to figure out what works best for your body.

You also need about 1.5-2.0g of protein per LBM (Lean Body Mass). But you need to know your BF% to determine LBM.

weemyss
02-27-2003, 01:57 PM
Originally posted by TwoWalks
How long have you been doing the workout as listed? How often do you change your workout?

Without tracking weight loss or gain (scale), body fat amount (body fat%) and lean muscle mass gain or loss (body fat%) you must be using visual only. What have you wanted to change that has not changed and in what length of time?

As your lean muscle mass goes up, you need to increase calories to feed the muscle growth. Without knowing the lean muscle mass, you could be too low on calories or too high.

Thanks TwoWalks. I have been using a mostly instinctual/visual approach to my goals. By plateau I have been mostly concerned with the gains in weight I can lift and to a lesser extent, my size and definition. I have been looking at body weight over the long term, but because I have been transforming so much from fat to muscle, that has been a rough guide. From your questions, I think I need to focus on lean muscle mass and body fat as part of my assessments. Any suggestions on reliable formulas?

The current work out plan has been in place for almost three weeks now and it seems that my body reponds well to changes in exercises every 4-5 weeks, although with the legs that is less true. I have been finding that the best way to change seems to be to add only 1 or 2 new exercises per body part, rather than completely switching. I really like the 2 on, 1 off, 2 on 2 off schedule. Are there benefits to changing that up as well?

weemyss
02-27-2003, 02:02 PM
Originally posted by MagicMel
When you get your BF% checked, go to this site:

www.hussman.org/fitness/bmrcalc.htm

to accurately determine the number of calories you want to work with.

I would suggest as a general guide line to start with based on the total daily calorie intake:
Losing weight - 30/40/30 Carb/Prot/Fat
Maintain, or gain weight - 40/30/30

These are just numbers to start with. You can tweak the numbers as you see fit. Everyone is different, so it's up to you to figure out what works best for your body.

You also need about 1.5-2.0g of protein per LBM (Lean Body Mass). But you need to know your BF% to determine LBM.

thanks MagicMel for your help. Gotta go do my homework!

Hibiscus09
02-27-2003, 02:47 PM
Hi Weemyss -- welcome! I agree with what all the other gurus have said. :) You do need to try to get in some healthy fats. I know it may be scary with the high cholesterol problem but the healthy fats will help you! Shoot for 30% from healthy sources. Also, that's a lot of sets you're doing! If you're overtraining that could stall you out as well as the diet.

Good luck breaking through your plateau -- I know it drives me crazy when that happens!!! :)

MagicMel
02-27-2003, 03:41 PM
Yup, just as Hib said, in re: healthy fats.
If you're having trouble making it to 30%, just get some flax seed oil. Better yet, get it any way and substitute some of your other fat sources for it, with at least a couple tablespoons per day. Flax is the kind of healthy fat that helps you burn fat!

TwoWalks
02-27-2003, 05:51 PM
weemyss Sent you a personal message

incase you are like me, you might not know where it is :) at the top of the page click on "user CP" it should take you too your personal message center.

Belle
02-27-2003, 08:32 PM
Maybe drop the cardio? I had a problem as I was doing too much and not eating enough to cover it, so I dropped the cardio and just concentrated on the calorie deficit I needed by just dieting alone. It worked for me. Otherwise if you want to keep your cardio, as others have said you may need to increase your calorie intake and fats increase prostaglandins and the hormones responsible for fat loss. So it is a good way to go. I eat 40:30:30 ratio of p/f/c. I go by 12 calories per pound of my body weight to work out what calories I need to be eating. If you lose too much all at once you stall, or maybe you need to increase calories simply because your metabolism has picked up now? That is what I feel happened in my case.

weemyss
02-28-2003, 09:11 AM
Originally posted by Belle
Maybe drop the cardio?

I have been thinking about cardio and how to fit it into my workouts. Because of the long commute and family, I have been hitting the gym pretty early and doing 30-35 minutes of cardio after about 40-50 minutes of lifting. The combination is taxing, especially starting at 5:30 am, but I have been reading a lot about how important the cardio is for fat burn and boosting the metabolism. I don't eat before my workouts, so that might be a factor in any drop offs I have with strength as I go through my sets. I can try boosting intake and see how that affects the side handles and gut. The hardest has been to get a reliable read on my calorie burn. The cross trainer and treadmills are not too accurate I don't think.

Belle
02-28-2003, 04:53 PM
My theory on that is...

When you go from doing nothing to cardio, effectively it takes some 10 minutes before you warm up and get into the fat burning zone. So if you do 30 mins cardio, basically your only burning fat for 20 minutes anyway.

Now do a 40-45 minute workout and THEN do the cardio and since you have depleted all the glycogen in some instances with your workout, I feel that you go straight to fat burning when you do cardio really...so you don't need to do the extra ten minutes IMHO. 20 mins and less is enough. In fact when I do finally decide to do cardio, it will be tacked onto the back of my weights as you do for that reason and won't be longer than 15 minutes. For now, it throws my body out as I described above and I don't seem to lose. Just concentrating on diet and weights for now is fine with me. As far as I understood it, merely gaining muscle boosts the metabolism. Cardio seems to be the oppostie of that and take you to catabolic which seemed to hamper my progress where gains was concerned. I think we make a mistake when we under estimate the calories burned in a workout and that in doing cardio AND weight training, you can exceed the recommended sessions you need to do in a week sometimes which seems to be typically 3-4 when trying to lose weight along with a calorie controlled diet. I don't know about anyone else but I get out of breath when I motor through a workout. for an hour preceded by a 5 minute warm up on the rower hardout.

I'm no expert but I just thought about things in more depth and cut the cardio for a while and it worked here..

weemyss
03-03-2003, 07:38 AM
Originally posted by Belle
I'm no expert but I just thought about things in more depth and cut the cardio for a while and it worked here..
thanks Belle. what you wrote has been echoed by others. I think I need to experiment a bit and change up the routine to see what results I can get.

TrishB
03-03-2003, 08:22 PM
Welcome Wee!
I won't give my two cents here. Only cause I am tired and need to get to bed. Besides, you are getting alot of good advice.

But I do want to see pics. :)