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  1. #1
    Registered User HelixFuse's Avatar
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    Beginner Here

    Hi all,

    I hope you are well. I have read a lot of stuff on this forum the past few days, and would like some feedback on what I am doing right now, and to explain some of my background in DETAIL to help.

    So back in February 2019 - July 2019. I had no clue about what I was doing. I went on a calorie restricting diet and dropped from 11.7Stone down to 8.6Stone in weight. (I believe I lost muscle mass in the process as I felt weaker) I wasn't lifting weights at all during this time, I was doing a lot of HIIT workouts daily around June, July 2019. I could see my 'abs' in the shadows. Then, my partner broke up with me in August 2019, so I decided to finally get myself a weight set (In September 2019). I started lifting following some random youtube workouts, and not really doing anything structured at all, and was training abs everyday...

    I started tracking calories and focused on the best nutrition I could, except over Christmas and January as such. I was still only eating around 1500 Calories before Christmas.

    So, let's skip forward to now...

    I currently am

    28 Years Old
    Male
    5 FT 6
    Weighs around 8.3-8.5 Stone / 117IBs.

    I decided that because I couldn't shed anymore weight, I was going to try and bulk up for mass as possible. Then, Coronavirus hit, so I stuck with home works outs with my Dumbells and Barbell. My current routine is from Muscle and Strength site, 4 days split Upper/Lower Dumbbell Routine. It is a 12 week routine, and the weight I am using is 7.5KG Dumbbells, and each week I am trying to 'Push' for an extra couple of reps on sets, or adding a set, but lowering the reps.

    I started this routine on May 21st, and started at weight 120 Ibs.

    Also, my outside activities are work in a supermarket, on my feet, filling shelves etc. Roughly around 4000-6000 steps a shift. Outside activity includes Dog Walking, which can equate to another 8000-10000 steps a day.

    My routine would go like this with my extras I added as well. (This was Weeks 1 - 3)

    Monday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes, then straight after Upper Body Workout.
    Tuesday - HIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes, then Lower Body
    Wednesday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 minutes, then a Cycle 2 Joe Wicks weighted circuit 4 rounds, and a tabata x 2 cardio finish. Total time 28 Minutes
    Thursday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes, then straight after Upper Body Workout.
    Friday - HIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes, then Lower Body
    Saturday - Rest or Abs
    Sunday - Rest

    I did this routine for 3 weeks, and was eating around 2500 calories.
    I weighed myself each day, and then on Sunday added the weights up, and averaged it by 7 to get an average weight to see if I was gaining slowly enough for muscle gains.

    Week 1 - 120.62 Pounds
    Week 2 - 119.66 Pounds
    Week 3 - 117.5 Pounds

    My weight was lowering, so I upped my calories in Week 4 to 2700.
    ----------------------------------------

    The routine remained the same as above. Then, I weighed in an average again.

    Week 4 - 117.4 Pounds

    My weight seemed to have stalled a little, so I took a stab in the dark and went to 3000 calories, and changed my routine slightly in week 5, as I thought it was Cardio doing it.

    Monday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes, then straight after Upper Body Workout.
    Tuesday - Lower Body Routine
    Wednesday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 minutes, then a Cycle 2 Joe Wicks weighted circuit 4 rounds, and a tabata x 2 cardio finish. Total time 28 Minutes
    Thursday - Upper Body Workout.
    Friday - Lower Body Workout.
    Saturday - HIIT Workout PE with Joe Wicks 20 Minutes & Abs
    Sunday - Rest

    And my weight averaged this week at 117.32 Pounds.

    Total weight conclusion. Even at 3000 calories, I am not gaining any weight. Am I doing too much work? Not eating enough?

    Week 1 - 120.62 Pounds
    Week 2 - 119.66 Pounds
    Week 3 - 117.5 Pounds
    Week 4 - 117.4 Pounds
    Week 5 - 117.32 Pounds.

    I do have some progress photos available to show if possible. I can do this via PM. I have some muscular gains I think, but would like some feedback on what I am doing. I plan to finish the 12 week program, and then progress to more bigger weights where possible.

    Current Macros I am using. I know it is too much Protein, but my body is okay with it. I believe.
    Protein 150 G
    Fat 117 G
    Carbs 338 G

    Diet is pretty much either 80/20 Good sources.
    Meal time Frequency is roughly
    Breakfast 4.15AM
    Pre-workout 10AM
    Post Workout 12-13PM
    Lunch 3-4PM
    Dinner 7-8PM
    Late Night Meal 9-9.30PM
    Bed time is always around 10PM. Sleep around 5-6 hours a night

    I wake up at 3.45 AM, and weigh myself daily at 4AM. I work early everyday of the week, total working week is 50 Hours.

    So in conclusion oh wise ones.

    Should I be eating more calories? Should I be eating less? My meal timing works quite well for my body.

    I know I started lifting back in September 2019, but not following a structured program at all, have I lost all newbie gains now?

    If possible, would someone in the near future able to check I am doing exercises correctly as in my Form on point via a Video please?

    Thank you, sorry for the long post!
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  2. #2
    Registered User AlexSays's Avatar
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    Eat what you are eating (there is no such thing as too much protein, just make sure you're hitting your minimums and don't obsess at hitting a number above them) for a week or two. If the weight doesn't move then increase your calories by 300.

    Rinse, repeat

    It is as simple as that, if you are not gaining weight you are not eating enough, gradually increase until you are

    edit: yes once you are able to post videos you can get form checks in the exercise forums
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    Registered User paulinkansas's Avatar
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    You sound pretty active. 5-6 hours a night of sleep does not sound adequate. Try to get more sleep. If you can't get more sleep, cut back a little on the exercise.
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    Registered User HelixFuse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by paulinkansas View Post
    You sound pretty active. 5-6 hours a night of sleep does not sound adequate. Try to get more sleep. If you can't get more sleep, cut back a little on the exercise.
    Thanks, I thought rest would be the issue. I will see what I can do to improve my sleep timings.
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    Thanks, I thought rest would be the issue. I will see what I can do to improve my sleep timings.
    I struggle with just turning off the TV/putting down the damn phone still.

    Getting more sleep simply requires having the discipline to take yourself to bed at an earlier time.
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    This might sound silly, but it's what helped me with sleep. Just get up earlier, seriously. After doing this for a week or two, you'll be flippin tired at a normal hour and start going to bed earlier.
    Good Luck!
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    Originally Posted by BeginnerGainz View Post
    I struggle with just turning off the TV/putting down the damn phone still.

    Getting more sleep simply requires having the discipline to take yourself to bed at an earlier time.
    Yeah, it can be hard especially with the phones! Sometimes my working shifts are split up. Meaning I finish at 7PM, get home at 7.30. Do my Dinner and then walk my dogs. I know I am making excuses. I just feel 7PM on days I don't work late is a bit early for sleep! lol

    Originally Posted by Nubgains View Post
    This might sound silly, but it's what helped me with sleep. Just get up earlier, seriously. After doing this for a week or two, you'll be flippin tired at a normal hour and start going to bed earlier.
    If I got up any earlier than 3.30 AM(Which is when my body wakes me up) is no sleep at this rate.

    I will get there some how. I am being consistent with my schedule this week. But I do find around today I am tired after all my above workouts. Then, Thursday not bad. Friday very tired. Saturday not too bad, Sunday Tired again!
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    Registered User HelixFuse's Avatar
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    Weigh in Day for the end of Week 6 on my current Dumbbell program

    So, this week I upped my calories to 3000 up from 2700 as my weight was not really moving at all. I weigh myself each day at 4AM, as I get up for work this time. (My last meal is always around 9.30-10PM in the evening each night)

    I add them all up, and divide them by 7 to average the week. I take that as my weight.

    So:

    Week 1 - 120.62 IBs
    Week 2 - 119.66 IBs
    Week 3 - 117.5 IBs
    Week 4 - 117.42 IBs
    Week 5 - 117.32 IBs
    Week 6 - 117.39 IBs

    I gained 0.07 IBs. This isn't the half a pound I was hoping for. I guess it is in the right direction. But for muscle building isn't quite high enough. Baring in mind on Tuesday I had a high weight fluctuation, which makes me suspicious on this as well. (But I did have some naughty Easter Egg that day)

    I am going to up my calories to 3200 next week to see if this will drive it up a little bit.

    Here was my activity this week.

    Monday - PE With Joe Wicks 20 Mins, then Upper Workout
    Tuesday - Lower Body Workout
    Wednesday - PE with Joe Wicks 20 Mins, and then a circuit Weigh/Cardio Mix 30 mins
    Thursday - Upper Body Workout
    Friday - Lower Body Workout
    Saturday - PE with Joe Wicks 30 Mins
    Sunday - Rest.

    Daily Step Counts always exceeded 13000-15000. Some days I managed to hit 18000-20000 steps.

    Just an overview, let me know what you guys think. I Will post my workout I am following when I get some more time. As it is a fixed workout with sets and ranges that I sort of modified to progress each week.
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    It looks like you are trying to gain weight from your diet - but then you burn it off again using HIIT. Why?

    I would focus on resistance training and cut out some of the other stuff if muscle gain is your goal.

    I'm guessing you're going say you don't want to gain any fat - but lots of hamster wheel activity doesn't mitigate that... either you have a net surplus and the conditions for muscle gain or you don't. As long as your surplus is controlled, you can minimise fat gain. This doesn't have to involve all that cardio.
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    It looks like you are trying to gain weight from your diet - but then you burn it off again using HIIT. Why?

    I would focus on resistance training and cut out some of the other stuff if muscle gain is your goal.

    I'm guessing you're going say you don't want to gain any fat - but lots of hamster wheel activity doesn't mitigate that... either you have a net surplus and the conditions for muscle gain or you don't. As long as your surplus is controlled, you can minimise fat gain. This doesn't have to involve all that cardio.
    Thank you for the response. I guess you could say I was going to say that yes.

    The other couple of reasons I do the extra cardio is I enjoy it, and because that way I can eat more. I do have a big appetite for the day really.

    This is the workout from Muscular and Strength:

    Day 1: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout
    1. Bent Over Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
    2. Dumbbell Bench Press 4 8-10
    3. Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 8-12
    4. Dumbbell Pullover 3 8-12
    5. Dumbbell Bicep Curl 2 8-12
    6. Dumbbell Tricep Extension 2 8-12
    7. Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

    Day 2: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout
    Exercise Sets Reps
    1. Goblet Squat 4 8-10
    2. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
    3. Dumbbell Plie Squat 3 8-12
    4. Dumbbell Hamstring Curl 3 8-12
    5. Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
    6. Plank 3 20 Secs

    Day 3: Dumbbell Upper Body Workout
    Exercise Sets Reps
    1. One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 8-10
    2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press 4 8-10
    3. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
    4. Chest Supported Dumbbell Row 3 8-12
    5. Dumbbell Hammer Curl 2 8-12
    6. Dumbbell Floor Press 2 8-12
    7. Seated Dumbbell Shrug 2 12-15

    Day 4: Dumbbell Lower Body Workout
    Exercise Sets Reps
    1. Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlift 4 8-10
    2. Dumbbell Rear Lunge 4 8-10
    3. Dumbbell Hip Thrust 4 8-10
    4. Dumbbell Split Squat 3 8-12
    5. Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise 3 8-12
    6. Planks 3 20 Secs

    At the moment I have been using 7.5KG Dumbbells, (They can adjust but I don't have enough plates to maximize I think. I have been trying to progress week by week for an extra rep or 2, or a set completely. I am currently onto week 7 so far.
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    If your goal is adding muscle and size, you need to be going up in bodyweight and adding weight to your lifts. I would consider cutting back on the cardio and definitely prioritise getting at least 7hrs sleep per night.

    I'd also look into getting either a set of heavy adjustable dumbbells or some more plates to add to the ones you've got. 7.5kg is baby weight for just about everything other than lateral raises!
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    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    If your goal is adding muscle and size, you need to be going up in bodyweight and adding weight to your lifts. I would consider cutting back on the cardio and definitely prioritise getting at least 7hrs sleep per night.

    I'd also look into getting either a set of heavy adjustable dumbbells or some more plates to add to the ones you've got. 7.5kg is baby weight for just about everything other than lateral raises!
    Thank you for the response. I am currently reviewing my schedule where possible, especially around work to get more sleep in. Yes, my goal is to build muscle

    The weight set I have has these plates:

    1.25KG Plate x 8
    2.5 KG Plate x 6
    2 Dumbbell Bars
    1 Barbell

    I will probably have to start going to the Gym when they open, I just am scared and lack confidence. But I will overcome that! We were all beginners one day.
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    Thank you for the response. I am currently reviewing my schedule where possible, especially around work to get more sleep in. Yes, my goal is to build muscle

    The weight set I have has these plates:

    1.25KG Plate x 8
    2.5 KG Plate x 6
    2 Dumbbell Bars
    1 Barbell

    I will probably have to start going to the Gym when they open, I just am scared and lack confidence. But I will overcome that! We were all beginners one day.
    From your avi it looks like you probably lift more than 7.5kg on most lifts anyway, just make sure you are progressing
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    Originally Posted by AlexSays View Post
    From your avi it looks like you probably lift more than 7.5kg on most lifts anyway, just make sure you are progressing
    That Avatar of mine was after 4 weeks progress. I am not sure if it is great progress lol.

    My progression I have been using is adding in extra reps or sets where possible. (But doing it slightly week by week) I do find some lifts are difficult even with the 7.5 KG I guess.

    I am finding the Lower Body Workout on Day 2 isn't as challenging even with 5 sets on each. Day 4 however is much more challenging, especially Split Squats.

    Like I said before I am pretty much a newbie at this. I am going to see through the full course of this program to 12 weeks, and review. My next measurements & photo comparisons are on the 19th July.
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    That Avatar of mine was after 4 weeks progress. I am not sure if it is great progress lol.

    My progression I have been using is adding in extra reps or sets where possible. (But doing it slightly week by week) I do find some lifts are difficult even with the 7.5 KG I guess.

    I am finding the Lower Body Workout on Day 2 isn't as challenging even with 5 sets on each. Day 4 however is much more challenging, especially Split Squats.

    Like I said before I am pretty much a newbie at this. I am going to see through the full course of this program to 12 weeks, and review. My next measurements & photo comparisons are on the 19th July.
    From the plates you've listed why can't you load more than 7.5kg?
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    Originally Posted by AlexSays View Post
    From the plates you've listed why can't you load more than 7.5kg?
    Good question. I actually noticed I made a mistake in the previous post up top. I have

    6 x 2.5 KG Plates
    6 x 1.25 KG Plates

    The Dumbbell bars can have about 4 plates on each side of it. I could load it completely higher, but most of the exercises would be mostly unilateral otherwise?

    I will check it out tomorrow and see thanks again!
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    If it means progressing in weight then load up and do one hand at a time with the dumbell handles. May actually help with your stability too
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    Good question. I actually noticed I made a mistake in the previous post up top. I have

    6 x 2.5 KG Plates
    6 x 1.25 KG Plates

    The Dumbbell bars can have about 4 plates on each side of it. I could load it completely higher, but most of the exercises would be mostly unilateral otherwise?

    I will check it out tomorrow and see thanks again!
    You mention you have a barbell too - why not invest in some 5kg and 10kg plates? If you get a squat rack you could get a couple of 20kg plates too, which would allow you to load up for the heavier compound lifts. I managed without a squat rack until I was squatting about 50kg.
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    You’re having your last meal at 9-10pm and getting up at 3:30am? No wonder you can’t sleep! Maybe try having your last meal a little earlier. Reshuffle your meal timings if you can. It might help you sleep earlier. Both due to habit - body expecting to eat at 10pm so how are you going to sleep before then? But also due to digestion - not able to reference anything supporting this but from what I have read previously, you might sleep better if you don’t go to bed with a stomach full of undigested food.
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    Originally Posted by AlexSays View Post
    If it means progressing in weight then load up and do one hand at a time with the dumbell handles. May actually help with your stability too
    I will give it a shot. I did my circuit today with managing to use the Dumbbells with 10KG weights each. However, I found Shoulder Press I could not lift with great form all the way on the sets. So I dropped the weight down. I felt quite disappointed in myself, but nevermind. I will go towards this weight again!

    Do you think I should just lift 10KG Dumbbells x 2 each time until it gets more easier? Less reps on the sets?

    Originally Posted by RapidFail View Post
    You mention you have a barbell too - why not invest in some 5kg and 10kg plates? If you get a squat rack you could get a couple of 20kg plates too, which would allow you to load up for the heavier compound lifts. I managed without a squat rack until I was squatting about 50kg.
    Yeah, I have a Barbell. I could get some more plates yes :-). (Hopefully Argos still stock the set). I am not sure if I could even fit a Squat Rack in my spare room lol. But always a thought.

    Originally Posted by TonedJordan View Post
    You’re having your last meal at 9-10pm and getting up at 3:30am? No wonder you can’t sleep! Maybe try having your last meal a little earlier. Reshuffle your meal timings if you can. It might help you sleep earlier. Both due to habit - body expecting to eat at 10pm so how are you going to sleep before then? But also due to digestion - not able to reference anything supporting this but from what I have read previously, you might sleep better if you don’t go to bed with a stomach full of undigested food.
    Hey mate, thanks for the insight. Last night, I moved all my meal times forward yesterday, and sleep for 7.5 Hours. However, I found the scales when I weighed as usual at 4AM was 117.5 Ibs, for some reason I weighed myself again at 4.15AM and it said 120.5 IBs. not sure which weight to record. But, I felt so much more awake for work this morning indeed! It just sucks work starts at 4.30 -5 AM.
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    I will give it a shot. I did my circuit today with managing to use the Dumbbells with 10KG weights each. However, I found Shoulder Press I could not lift with great form all the way on the sets. So I dropped the weight down. I felt quite disappointed in myself, but nevermind. I will go towards this weight again!

    Do you think I should just lift 10KG Dumbbells x 2 each time until it gets more easier? Less reps on the sets?



    Yeah, I have a Barbell. I could get some more plates yes :-). (Hopefully Argos still stock the set). I am not sure if I could even fit a Squat Rack in my spare room lol. But always a thought.



    Hey mate, thanks for the insight. Last night, I moved all my meal times forward yesterday, and sleep for 7.5 Hours. However, I found the scales when I weighed as usual at 4AM was 117.5 Ibs, for some reason I weighed myself again at 4.15AM and it said 120.5 IBs. not sure which weight to record. But, I felt so much more awake for work this morning indeed! It just sucks work starts at 4.30 -5 AM.
    With single arm presses they can be a little more difficult as the core muscles in the other side of your body have to stabilize you (as there is no symmetric force balancing you on the other side as there would be if you were doing 2 handed) therefore you may want to slightly lower the weight initially to cope with this. In the long run however you should be able to progress past where you were (given that you can up the weight further on one arm than you could with 2)
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    I will give it a shot. I did my circuit today with managing to use the Dumbbells with 10KG weights each. However, I found Shoulder Press I could not lift with great form all the way on the sets. So I dropped the weight down. I felt quite disappointed in myself, but nevermind. I will go towards this weight again!

    Do you think I should just lift 10KG Dumbbells x 2 each time until it gets more easier? Less reps on the sets?



    Yeah, I have a Barbell. I could get some more plates yes :-). (Hopefully Argos still stock the set). I am not sure if I could even fit a Squat Rack in my spare room lol. But always a thought.



    Hey mate, thanks for the insight. Last night, I moved all my meal times forward yesterday, and sleep for 7.5 Hours. However, I found the scales when I weighed as usual at 4AM was 117.5 Ibs, for some reason I weighed myself again at 4.15AM and it said 120.5 IBs. not sure which weight to record. But, I felt so much more awake for work this morning indeed! It just sucks work starts at 4.30 -5 AM.
    Also with the weigh in, if you consumed any food or water between those two times you have to factor in the weight of that food and water (think a pint of water + breakfast could easily add 2lb)
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    Originally Posted by AlexSays View Post
    Also with the weigh in, if you consumed any food or water between those two times you have to factor in the weight of that food and water (think a pint of water + breakfast could easily add 2lb)
    I literally woke up. Went toilet and then weighed myself. Then, went back in again and weighed. (No Food or water consumed between those times)
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    Maybe check the battery on your scales. Sounds like they are dodgy, assuming you donned no extra clothing?
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    Ideally you should be using a different weight for each exercise, to provide adequate resistance. Just change the plates during your rest between sets/exercises.
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    Don't put alot of faith in a plain scale. I have a digital one. I can weigh myself in the morning, immediately use the toilet and drop what I think is 1/2 to 1 pound, then weigh myself again. Sometimes I gain half a pound after dropping the kids off at the pool.
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    Don't let the scale distract you too much--do it once a week. Keep uping the calories and tracking like you are and you'll find the ideal nutrition intake that matches your workout design perfectly.
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    In your shoes I think I'd be inclined to switch to a 3 day a week full body program, say lift on Mon, Wed, Fri... with some cardio on off days - it should be plenty to stimulate growth but improve recovery on your limited sleep.
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    Wow thanks for all the insights guys.

    I will see how this week goes, and let you know. I am going to up the weight tomorrow on my Upper Workout and see how I handle it.

    Regarding the scale, got a feeling the battery is on the way out. So will buy a new battery this week if possible.

    Thanks all again :-)
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    Originally Posted by HelixFuse View Post
    Wow thanks for all the insights guys.

    I will see how this week goes, and let you know. I am going to up the weight tomorrow on my Upper Workout and see how I handle it.

    Regarding the scale, got a feeling the battery is on the way out. So will buy a new battery this week if possible.

    Thanks all again :-)
    I'll repeat my point from before that you should be using a different weight for each exercise. You mentioned adding reps and sets, which is perfectly fine, but adding weight should be your first form of progression. If you can hit the top end of the rep range for every set for a particular exercise, increase the weight the next week.

    Do you do the exercises in straight sets, supersets or as a circuit?
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