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  • 04-17-17, 3:27 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 17, 2017, 3:27 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    I just joined a few days ago and I've had a rough start, lol. I couldn't post on the forums because of the site issues, so I posted on Scott's board instead. But now that's gone because I guess the site has been rolled back. Also, my account must have gotten deleted as well. Anyway, I created my account again from scratch and then re-entered my information and re-uploaded my pictures. I hope that's okay. I wasn't trying to scam a few extra days of free Platinum. :)

     

    I will paste my original post below.

     

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

     

    Hi everyone:

     

    I’m looking for some advice from Scott or anyone else who would like to chime in. This seems like a really knowledgeable and supportive place. :)

     

    Over the last three days, I’ve spent a good bit of time watching all of the workout videos in the PPL and 5-Day Bodybuilding Split programs. I’ve also read all of the comments that were posted after each video (on this site and on YouTube). After Easter, I’m going to start one of the programs for sure. However, I don’t really know which one I should do and I’m also undecided as to whether I should bulk or cut.

     

    I have posted some pictures in my profile. Please check them out if you think that it will help you to help me.

     

    Now, I suppose I should just list as much relevant info as I can, so that you’ll be better able to point me in the right direction.

     

    Age: 35 (definitely not old, but starting to get that “running out of time” feeling. Like, if I don’t get serious NOW and stay consistent, it’s only gonna get harder and harder to do so the older I get.)

    Height: 5’5”

    Weight: 150 lbs.

    Body Fat %: I’m thinking somewhere between 15-20%. I’d probably say 18% if I was forced to pick a number. But do I really have any idea? No! :) I used an online calculator and it came back with 19.64%. I also used calipers and got a result of 16.7%. I ordered a Chisel last week, so hopefully that’ll be more accurate. Although I’ve certainly read mixed reviews on that front.

    Weightlifting Experience: I’m one of those guys who has done enough weightlifting over the years to know that he can obtain positive results from it, but who has never really stuck with it for much longer than a year or so. Generally, I’ll be pretty consistent at first and then life will get busier, causing me to miss some workouts. Then, with each workout I miss, it will become exponentially easier to miss yet another, and I will eventually end up dropping the routine altogether. Not good. Obviously, I’d like it to be different this time. Watching Scott’s videos and seeing all of the interaction between him and the rest of you makes me feel like this website might possibly be the last piece of the puzzle that’s finally clicking into place. I need structure, support and a knowledge base. And I think I may have found all three here.

    Goal: I’m not really sure what’s realistic and what’s not. Obviously, at just 5’5”, I haven’t exactly been blessed with the greatest genetics in the world. But I suppose my ultimate goal is to be muscular and lean (i.e., visible abs, with no belly fat or love handles). I’ll never stand out in a crowd and that’s fine – I’m not even sure I would want to. But I would at least like to have the kind of body where someone can look at me and tell that this guy’s in shape, looks strong and obviously lifts weights. Now, maybe that means I’m 145 lbs. or maybe it means that I end up being 155 or 160. Again, it depends on what’s feasible and what’s not. But yeah, a ‘lean and muscular’ look is my ultimate goal.

    Strength: I’m not sure if this really matters. I mean, it’s not about how much you can lift but how hard your muscles are working, right? But, just in case: for my last chest workout, I flat-benched 160 lbs. for 4 sets of 7 and then did 190 for just 2 reps. The last time I did deadlifts, I did 4 sets of 7 with 190 lbs. and then got 2 final reps with 230. And, finally, on my last leg day, I squatted 165 lbs. for 4 sets of 7 and then got an additional 2 reps with 195. I did other exercises during these workouts as well, but I just listed these to give you an idea of where I’m at right now. Again, it probably doesn’t even matter.

    Workout Partner: No one. It’s just me. My three year old might pop in at some point, but she’s pretty much useless when it comes to spotting. So this means that I need to reign it in sometimes. If I decide to get overly ambitious and go for one rep too many, I could end up spending the rest of the night lying down on the bench with the barbell across my chest. :)

    Equipment: I am working out at home. Here’s what I have:

    - Bench. Can be flat or go on an incline.
    - Rack. The height of the barbell can be adjusted here. So I can raise it up and do squats. No safety bars, so I don’t think I can do the Pin Press exercise. Although, I’ve been wondering about using my dip bars for that. I’m thinking if I put a dip bar on either side of the bench, then the barbell will bring up in them before it reaches my chest. Do you know what I mean?
    - I have over 400 lbs. in free weights.
    - Dumbbells (5s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s). I also have the ones that allow me to add my own weights, so I can make 25s, 35s, 45s, 50s, etc. if I need to.
    - There’s a leg attachment on the bench, so I can do leg extensions and leg curls.
    - Preacher curl attachment
    - Dip bars, as I mentioned above. ‘Adjustable Power Brackets’ are what they’re actually called. I guess I could do inverted rows with them as well.
    - Ab Roller
    - Pull up station (the kind that goes on the top of a door frame)
    - Last night, I ordered some Bodylastics resistance bands. I decided to do this so I could use them for the exercises that require cables (woodchoppers, lat pulldowns, tricep pulldowns, face pulls, etc.) Do you think this will be okay?

     

    Well, that’s all the information that’s occurring to me at the moment. If anyone needs anything else, please just let me know. I very much appreciate any help I can get here.

     

    TL;DR: I am mainly looking to decide TWO things: (1) Should I start PPL or the 5-Day Bodybuilding split? (2) Should I cut the belly fat/love handles first and then focus on bulking up and adding lean muscle….OR, should I bulk up first and then cut out the fat later?

     

    Once I make these two decisions, I will use the Meal Plan part of the site to find out how I should be eating. Then I’ll likely post back here again and let you know the meal plan macros and see if you have any additional input on that. And, of course, right after Easter weekend, I will start one of the programs.

     

    Thanks again. I really appreciate it. I’ve read so many words from some of you over the last few days, that I already feel like I know ya! :)

     

    -DL

    David,

     

    As someone relatively knew to pumping iron, PPL is the best workout program. Muscle splits are for more advanced lifters. Also as you age, you can't do as much volume and weight as you can when you are younger. Granted 35 is not old but you are at the age when all your hormones will be decreasing at a faster rate each year than when you were 34 and younger. The advantage of PPL is you will build muscle and strength while cutting body fat. The whole bulking/cutting mindset is overrated in my personal opinion. Unless your goal is to be a semi-pro or pro-bodybuilder, there is no need to put your body thru the strain of traditional bulking and cutting.

     

    The best program to follow is the one Scott follows as well as myself which is lean gains. Here you manipulate your daily caloric intake (mostly in carb cycling) to either favor muscle gain or fat loss but in a manner that you neither gain too much body fat or lose too much muscle. With lean gains, you run no more than a 250-500 daily calorie surplus if you want to focus more on gaining some muscle or a 250-500 calorie deficit if you want to focus more on fat loss. Either way, you never exceed +/- 500 calories each day. Traditional bulking has you eating way more than a 500 calorie surplus that in the absence of drugs causes mostly fat gain and little true lean mass gain. Traditional cutting has you do the opposite whereby you drastically reduce calories to cut fat. Again, in the absence of drugs this causes much more muscle loss than fat loss. Lean gains takes time - 1 year or more - and in the "impatient, I-want-it-now" society we live in can be challenging to follow. However for natural athletes, it is the best, safest, and permanent way to change your physique.

     

    John

    34 years of lifting and nutritional experience and resident "old man" :-)
    MS Athlete and past Super Hermanite since 2013.

  • 04-18-17, 12:43 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 18, 2017, 12:43 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    Thanks for your response, John. I really appreciate it.

     

    If most people end up suggesting the PPL program, then that will be the one I start for sure. Unfortunately, I have a cold right now, coming out of Easter. :( So I am aiming to start on the 24th (one week from today). This will probably be better anyway, because it will give me more time to get additonal advice and to get my meal plan in order. Also, I don't have my resistance bands yet (they should show up sometime this week). Do you think resistance bands will be okay to use for the exercises that require cables? I'm sure it's probably not as good as the real thing, but I'm hoping that it can still get the job done.

     

    Some follow up questions about my meal plan/calories:

     

    1. My weight right now is 150 lbs. And I want to decrease my fat and build lean muscle. So, in the meal plan app, what should I put for my goal weight? This confuses me. I mean, ultimately, I might end up back where I am right now (150 lbs.) as far as my actual body weight is concerned; it's just that the body fat percentage will be lower. So I'm confused as to whether I should be putting something like 140 lbs. for my goal weight, or if I should go as high as 165 or so.

     

    2. Let's say I decide to do a 250-500 calorie surplus every day. (This made sense to me when you suggested it because I had already watched Scott's video on it...the one where he writes it all out on a whiteboard). If I follow one of the programs and stick with this daily caloric intake, I will definitely build muscle. But I don't quite understand how I will also lose fat. I'm not saying that you're not right about this -- in fact, I'm almost sure you are. I'm just not able to completely wrap my head around how or why it works. I know that you gain weight if you are in a caloric surplus and you lose weight if you are in a caloric deficit. So I didn't realize that I could lose fat and build muscle at the same time.

     

    Are you saying that my actual body weight will gradually increase, but I will gain muscle and lose fat throughout the process? If that's the case, it sounds great to me. As I said before, my ultimate goal is to put on muscle but also lose the fat. I really don't want to put on muscle and still have the annoying belly fat/love handles hanging around!

     

    Anyway, thanks again. I will post my macros when I get them from the meal plan.

     

     

    -DL

    John gave you a great response above. I would definitely go for the PPL split, because that has elements incorporated into it to allow you to build muscle, build strength, and lose fat as well with the circuits.

     

    Then of course you'll need to work on the macros and your diet. If you want to lose fat but build muscle, it would be OK to have a goal weight of 150lbs. That's up to you really.

     

    As a beginner, you're in ther perfect position to build muscle and lose fat, even with a calorie surplus. I won't go into the science of how it works, but your body reacts positively to the new weight training stimulus. Plus the circuit training you are doing will help boost your metabolism so you keep burning fat even after you've finished training.

     

    You'll just have to see how things go once you have a starting point for your macros. Stick to them for a week or two and gauge your progress before making any changes. Also, if you find that the fat around your stomach stays on after bulking up a bit, you can just do a cut later :-)

    Need 1 on 1 coaching? Send me a direct message to learn more!

  • 04-18-17, 12:11 pm (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 18, 2017, 12:11 pm
    Posted by: dlocke81

    Thanks Johnny.

     

    Yeah, I wouldn't say I'm a true beginner. I've done enough lifting over the years to know that I like it and that I can have some measure of success with it. However, consistency has traditionally been my enemy. I am hoping that this community, as well as the structure and support that come with it, will help with that. But, of course, it all starts with me and a renewed desire to put the work in and get results.

     

    Thanks again. Your transformation pictures are really motivating. Which program did you do?

     

    -DL

    Hey my man,

    I would also suggest you start with a PPL, something lighter to get your form back for a bit and eventually move on to crushing some heavier weights.
    As far as consistency, I say actually make a routine. Make a commitment. I'm trying to bench 225 lbs by the end of the year. I've hit a couple bumps on the road. I was as far as 195 but I'm back down again due to injuries (not pertaining to lifting). The only way I can stay consistent is if I have an active goal (trying to increase a lift by X amount, trying to lose X amount of weight, trying to deadlift 2x BW for reps, etc). Make it an every day thing. Monday-Friday after work. You'll see some quick results and want to stick with it longer. However, it is important to know what you gotta do when you plateau. I switch from strength-building routines to muscle-building routines and back agian in order to avoid stalling out that much and plateauing that hard. I would recommend you start a PPL, do it for 8-12 weeks and/or until you stop seeing results and then switch to a strength program (feel free to reach out to me for some routines I've created in the past for this, I love programming new routines and love to share them/discuss them)

    Best of luck!

    Frat bro turned barbell boss.
    Two black belts. (Tae-Kwon-Do and Ai-Ki-Do)

  • 04-19-17, 12:55 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 19, 2017, 12:55 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    PPL it is then! :)

     

    Now...Macro Time!

     

    When I follow the instructions in your video (the one where you're writing it all out on a whiteboard), I get the following:

     

    Weight: 150 lbs.

    Body Fat: 18% [as I said before, I have no idea how accurate this is. My Chisel should arrive sometime this week or next and then I'll hopefully know for sure. Although I've read mixed reviews on those Chisel algorithms.]

    Fat Weight: 27 lbs.

    Lean Weight: 123 lbs.

    BMR "At Rest": 1588

    BMR "In Motion": 2461

    BMR Average: 2025

    BMR +500: 2525

     

    NOTE: With respect to BMR "In Motion", I wasn't really sure which option to choose for my level of activity. The amount of exercise I will be getting outside of the PPL program will be negligible. However, when answering the question, I figured I should take the PPL program into account, so I chose "Moderate exercise or sports 3-5 days a week". What do you think? Should I have picked something higher or lower on the scale? I am a teacher by the way, so while I spend a good portion of my work days on my feet, I certainly wouldn't consider it to be a physically demanding job by any means. So yeah, I really wasn't sure how to answer this question and the response we choose does seem to have a fairly significant impact on the meal plan. Also, in the meal plan program itself, I have no idea what to put for RMR. For BMR, I assume I should just put the value that was calculated for BMR "At Rest" above [1588]. HELP! :)

     

    Anyway, those are the numbers I used and they led me to this:

     

    Protein: 185 g

    Fat: 62 g

    Carbs: 307 g

     

    Then, keeping in mind what you say towards the end of the video about Carb Intake Guidelines, I figured I should lower the Carbs. So I ended up with:

     

    Protein: 200 g

    Fat: 70 g

    Carbs: 270 g

     

    THEN, I loaded up the Meal Planner program, entered the same information and was given the following:

     

     

    As you can see, the Meal Planner program is giving me a higher amount of calories per day. So, either:

    (A) I should go with the Meal Planner suggestion

    (B) I should go with the first set of numbers (obtained from doing the math from Scott's video)

    or

    (C) There's a problem with both of them (perhaps related to me answering the 'activity level' question wrong).

     

    Please tell me what I should do. There's really no point in going any further with my meal plan until someone who knows what they're talking about (i.e., not me) approves a set of macros that I can work with.

     

    Thanks to all of you. Scott, you probably hear this all the time, but it's really cool how you take the time to get back to people (here and on YouTube). And I really appreciate everyone else's input as well. Scott gets a lot of well-deserved credit, but there are obviously a lot of unsung heroes at this site as well. :)

     

    -DL

    I would start with your second set of macros. They look a little better than the first set, although you can probably keep the carbs around 300g.

     

    This will give you an extra 100 calories or so, but that's OK, that will almost put you in the middle of the two numbers the calculators gave you (2600 and 2900 approx.).

     

    Stick with those numbers for 1-2 weeks and see how your body responds and what your weight does. If it doesn't go up, that's a sign that maybe you are more active than you think, and that the 2900 calorie target is probably a better option for you.

     

    If you gain some weight in that time, then it's fine to stick with it (assuming they're not massive jumps in weight) until you hit a weight-gaining plateau.

     

    Hope that helps David!!

    Need 1 on 1 coaching? Send me a direct message to learn more!

  • 04-19-17, 10:48 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 19, 2017, 10:48 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    Thanks Scott. :)

     

    So, just to clarify, you're saying:

     

    Protein: 200 g

    Fat: 70 g

    Carbs: 300 g

     

    This brings the total calories to 2630, which has me just approaching the two numbers I got from the Meal Planner (2696-2946).

     

    Sound good? If you want me to make a final tweak or two, just let me know. I want to make sure I get this right (although I know it's just going to be trial and error to some extent).

     

    Looking forward to doing some grocery shopping tonight or tomorrow and starting the program on Friday. Bodylastics resistance bands arrived yesterday, so I can use those for the cable exercises. Do you think that's okay?

     

    Thanks again.

     

    -DL

    That looks pretty good! My latest macros were: ~ 250 P/350 C/90 F


    A couple tips on flexible dieting:

    Don't expect to hit them 100% exactly (give yourself a bit of leeway either way on each but try to hit the same # of calories). I actually keep 'ranges', so my macros were more like 200-300 P / 300-400 C / 80-100 F

    Don't trust the calculations to be right, approach it like a science experiment. This is your hypothesis (and a pretty well-educated one, imho) but you gotta see what your weight is doing. I weigh myself every morning before work and log it into a spreadsheet.

    Take it with a grain of salt. There's no cookie-cutter formula to determine how fast-slow your metabolism actually runs. Mine is super fast and I actually require 3200 cals/day to gain weight, but the meal planner said something like 2800 (which is what I do on a cut).

    Don't freak out because you're gaining fat. You will most certainly notice some extra fat, but that's part of the process, just try to bulk up slowly. I try putting up at most ~1 lb/week (~2 kg/mo) and have seen some pretty good gains that way.

     

    Your macronutrients are super important, but so are micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fibers, etc). Make sure you're eating clean and you won't have to worry too much about it

    You can always swap out some carbs for protein, but beware of protein farts! (my best advice to avoid them is to actually track your fiber and get the recommended 25 g/day)

    Best of luck!

    Frat bro turned barbell boss.
    Two black belts. (Tae-Kwon-Do and Ai-Ki-Do)

  • 04-20-17, 12:48 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 20, 2017, 12:48 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    Thanks Scott. :)

     

    So, just to clarify, you're saying:

     

    Protein: 200 g

    Fat: 70 g

    Carbs: 300 g

     

    This brings the total calories to 2630, which has me just approaching the two numbers I got from the Meal Planner (2696-2946).

     

    Sound good? If you want me to make a final tweak or two, just let me know. I want to make sure I get this right (although I know it's just going to be trial and error to some extent).

     

    Looking forward to doing some grocery shopping tonight or tomorrow and starting the program on Friday. Bodylastics resistance bands arrived yesterday, so I can use those for the cable exercises. Do you think that's okay?

     

    Thanks again.

     

    -DL

    Looks good man @dlocke81!! As I said, that's just a starting point anyway. We can make changes later if need be :-)

     

    That's awesome about the resistance bands! They will be OK to start with, but eventually you'll need a way to progress with them because you can't add weight. Once it gets to the point where they're not to challenging anymore, just start doing slower reps - more time under tension (TUT).

     

    Any thoughts about joining a gym?

    Need 1 on 1 coaching? Send me a direct message to learn more!

  • 04-20-17, 11:36 am (EDT)

    Please Help Me Get Started

    April 20, 2017, 11:36 am
    Posted by: dlocke81

    Maybe some day. I don't feel quite confident enough right now. But I'm sure that'll come.

     

    And also, I've spent a fair amount of money on all of my home equipment, so I'd really like to get some proper use out of it. If I join a gym, then that stuff will just be sitting downstairs, not being used. Either that, or I can sell it and maybe get half my money back, haha.

     

    But yeah, maybe some day. :)

     

    Thanks again for your thoughts. I'm still suffering from a cold, so I'm going to start on Monday instead of tomorrow. Over the next day or so, I will finalize a meal plan that I can start with and I'll post it here to get some feedback. Then I should be good to go! :)

     

    -DL

    sounds like you're all set!

    I try not to hope for losing fat while gaining muscle because it is that perfect utopia which we all strive for. I have done it a few times when I'm essentially eating at maintenance/very slightly off and training my butt off. However, it's such a delicate balance that I wouldn't shoot for it but rather just randomly pass by it on my way to a bulk. If you find that balance, power to you, but I don't think it's worth it obsessing over macros to THAT extent when I could just bulk up and then shred down

    There's nothing wrong with not being shredded this summer. I'm not nearly as big as I was a month ago. I suffered an injury (broke my nose mid-tackle in some roughplay pickups). I've lost at least 10 lbs and have just now been cleared to lift again (1 full month off). I'm not extatic about having lost that much mass, especially since I was starting to bulk up pretty nicely, but injuries happen. You gotta look at the bigger picture. Maybe I'm not shredded this year, but I have a better physique than last year, and next year I'll try again and have a better physique than this year.

    It's all about progressing slowly and over time. You can't expect magical results out of nowhere. This is why we're lifetime natty lifters.

    Best of luck on your journey!

    Frat bro turned barbell boss.
    Two black belts. (Tae-Kwon-Do and Ai-Ki-Do)

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