Beginner Humbly Seeks Advice

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    Beginner Humbly Seeks Advice


    Hey folks,

    Forgive my ignorance.

    I'm 22 years old and 6'3 around 210lbs. I did some off and on lifting in college, and I am visibly bigger than I was in highschool, but not in good shape at all. I'm interested in gaining muscle, but also doing some serious slimming of my midsection. A friend of mine recent got into bodybuilding, and he suggested I go do a lot of research rather than just "going to the gym", which is pretty much what I've done in the past.|

    I'm not really sure what body type I am, but I would probably guess I'm mesomorphic (Again forgive any ignorance), because despite not working out very often and eating lots of junk I'm not terribly overweight.

    Should I try to focus on cutting caloric intake to try and lose abdominal fat? Should I eat more and lift a lot?

    Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willer View Post
    Hey folks,

    Forgive my ignorance.

    I'm 22 years old and 6'3 around 210lbs. I did some off and on lifting in college, and I am visibly bigger than I was in highschool, but not in good shape at all. I'm interested in gaining muscle, but also doing some serious slimming of my midsection. A friend of mine recent got into bodybuilding, and he suggested I go do a lot of research rather than just "going to the gym", which is pretty much what I've done in the past.|

    I'm not really sure what body type I am, but I would probably guess I'm mesomorphic (Again forgive any ignorance), because despite not working out very often and eating lots of junk I'm not terribly overweight.

    Should I try to focus on cutting caloric intake to try and lose abdominal fat? Should I eat more and lift a lot?

    Any advice on how to get started would be greatly appreciated.
    Some people might argue the other way, but IMO, you should aim for either fat loss (cut) or adding lean mass (bulk) as opposed to doing a "recomp" (or whatever you want to call it).. so either shoot for slimming up, or put on some mass and save the cut for later.

    No matter which one you pick, you want a solid training program -- there are TONS of programs on the web and on this forum, so browse around for awhile to see which one appeals to you..

    If you wanna cut, you should reduce the calories a bit but also make sure the protein is still high. If you do low-carb or carb-cycling, you obviously want to monitor your carb intake (tons of articles and books have been written on carb cycling). I think that method works the best at progressively losing fat without stalling and/or losing muscle (which can happen during severe calorie deficits or constant low-carb diets). Cardio will also play a significant role here as well (obviously), and many advocate to keep the weights heavy on a cut.

    If you wanna bulk, you already know the basic recipe -- lift hard and eat a ton. Again, there are tons of programs out there so browse around (volume training, heavy weight low reps, and so on). Diet is huge here as well -- tons of quality protein and healthy carbs/fats is a good place to start. There are many diets and logs all over this forum for you to check out as well.

    Hope that gets your started -- if you have any other specific questions just throw them up here and myself or somebody will certainly try to help you out.
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    i don't understand why everyone has to preach the bulk and cut, bulk and cut. It puts most people on an endless yo yo with little results, especially at such a beginner stage. How about start eating 5 meals a day of clean food, keep your carbs and fat moderate and your protein in the .8-1 gram per lb of bodyweight. Lift 4 days a week and concentrate on getting stronger at the core lifts (squat deadlift row deadlift OHP) and do some cardio. It really isn't that complicated, at such a beginner stage you will get leaner with a clean diet and by gaining good quality muscle.
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    Well, you sound like you are in a similar situation as me. I was about 210 with little muscle but not overly fat. Im 5 11. I never trained in my entire life. Well I started to hit the gym hard. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when your not working out. Watch what you eat, don't go crazy on diets just yet, but hit the gym hard. See how you react in about a month. If your like me you will see results, then once you got the swing of things start manipulating your diet, and take it to the next level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcp2 View Post
    i don't understand why everyone has to preach the bulk and cut, bulk and cut. It puts most people on an endless yo yo with little results, especially at such a beginner stage. How about start eating 5 meals a day of clean food, keep your carbs and fat moderate and your protein in the .8-1 gram per lb of bodyweight. Lift 4 days a week and concentrate on getting stronger at the core lifts (squat deadlift row deadlift OHP) and do some cardio. It really isn't that complicated, at such a beginner stage you will get leaner with a clean diet and by gaining good quality muscle.
    my bad, you're right -- I'll stop my emphatic "preaching" and start spreading the word about the general ineffectiveness of the bulk/cut method to everybody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Dog View Post
    my bad, you're right -- I'll stop my emphatic "preaching" and start spreading the word about the general ineffectiveness of the bulk/cut method to everybody.
    You say you can't lean up and put on muscle, i am doing it right now. I am not a beginner by any stretch. Your not talking from experience, your talking about what you read. My training partners (all advanced lifters) who got on maintenance diets by a national competitor all leaned up an put on muscle. Any beginner can lean up and put on muscle. The people who have problems doing this are usually advanced lifters, this is where the bulk cut comes into play.
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    Thanks for the great advice guys -

    I chatted with some of my other friends who have much more experience with lifting and nutrition than I, and they recommend a similar course. At such a beginner level, I'll probably just focus on getting in the gym 4 times a week and trying to work on the core lifts, while cutting lots of crap from my diet and dialing up the protein. I'm a complete carb addict, so most of my life my meals have been very bread/noodle based. I'm trying to introduce a lot more chicken/turkey/eggs.

    Should I use any protein supplements? Or should eating good ol' fashioned meat do the trick?

    Thanks again for all the help.
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    At least take whey or some kind of protein, and try creatine

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    I just got back from my first session at the gym. I am in the process of getting a membership to one lined up, but in the meantime I used a guest pass that I got from a friend.

    It was all rather intimidating, so I used this first visit as a sort of intro day to see how I feel about the different lifts. I haven't really done squats or deadlifts before, so I wanted to see what I could do.

    Squats - I started with just 45s on each side, and that was pretty easy. (10 reps) Then I added 25 lbs to each side and I was able to squeak out 5 reps. Then I made it so it was only a total of 55lbs on each side and did another 6 reps. Not having done too many squats before I didn't know if I was holding the bar correctly - is it just supposed to sit on the back of your neck/shoulders?

    Deadlifts - 3x6 with 45 lbs on each side. I'm not sure I had the best form, and I didn't really know where to do them in the gym, so I think I ended up using a bar at a little station probably designed for doing bicep curls. Oh well.

    Bench Press - 3x6 45lbs each side

    Then I did some leg curls on a machine, but my legs felt pretty dead so I decided to call it a day for my introduction.

    I'm trying to decide whether I should do full body workouts a couple of times a week or trying to split it up. And how should I incorporate cardio work into a routine? I bought a jump rope that I used some yesterday, and I did some running/sprinting yesterday as well. In the course of a day, should you do cardio before you lift? Afterwards? Or just do them on different days?
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    particularly on deadlifts and squats, form is very important as poor form can cause injury very easily. i would recommend doing some more basic excercises until you are more comfortable, or at the very least staying at relatively low weights until you are comfortable with proper form. Then you can start doing more complex exercises which require greater stability and work a wider range of muscles, and you can really start cranking up the weight.
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    You should have no problem deadlifting and squatting from the beginning. Here is a good piece of advice. Put the 45's on each side for squats and do 3x10 and stop. If it is easy that is fine, next week do 145 for 3x10 and stop. On deads do the same thing but only do 3x5. Don't just start throwing weight on the bar and sacrifice form. Learning how to deadlift and squat properly from the beginning will be a blessing.
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    Proper form is always key in doing exercises like squats and deadlifts.... When I got to college they wouldn't even let us use a bar or weights.. we had to practice form with nothing, next to the wall and the coaches watched each and every one of us until we had proper form, after that they finally let us do it for real... I would recommend getting with some of your friends and practicing good form and technique, you don't want to hurt yourself.... Good luck, Im glad to see you are getting to the gym!

    I agree with the other posts, start by having a clean diet, I would recommend cutting out all sweet drinks like pop and kool aid, if you drink them. Make sure you are drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water per day... also a multivitamin and some fish oil each day

    IMO I would do chest and tris on day one... back and bis day two... shoulders day 3.. and legs day 4.... you can do cardio on your days off, or after a workout... figure out what works into your schedule best and go from there.. you will begin to figure out whats best for you
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    Thanks for the help guys:

    I think I am definitely going to take it easier when I go next, and focus more on getting the form down.

    What do you think is a good number of exercises to do for each muscle group? 3-4?
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    4-5 exercises is a good idea to begin. Try to implement weight training as well as resistance(cables) to give your muscles a variation of exercises. You should focus on Form, Diet, and Cardio. Get a dedicated 8-10 week plan and stick to it. That will give you a good platform to begin.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tone View Post
    Proper form is always key in doing exercises like squats and deadlifts.... When I got to college they wouldn't even let us use a bar or weights.. we had to practice form with nothing, next to the wall and the coaches watched each and every one of us until we had proper form, after that they finally let us do it for real... I would recommend getting with some of your friends and practicing good form and technique, you don't want to hurt yourself.... Good luck, Im glad to see you are getting to the gym!
    I kind of understand the resoning, but teaching someone to deadlift with no wieght is counterproductive. Good form would have you falling backwards every time you pulled. I can't even use proper form with 135, i basically fall back.
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    I would definitely cut first. Because your eating habits and physical activity habits are poor you should see results rather quickly. I would concentrate on improving your diet, resistance training 3 times per week and doing cardio 4 times per week. Don't try to do too much at once. When I first started working out I used a beginner workout from vastmuscle.com. The best part about it is that the beginner workout is actually free on the homepage. Its a great way to get started and hits all your muscle groups. I loved it.
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