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Sheepmaster317
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I decided to start this blog as it might help me keep track of my progress, and will allow me to ask questions as I go along.

Routine
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Tuesday/Saturday - A workout - Legs/Back

Squats
DB One Arm Rows
Leg Press
Lat Pulldowns
Leg Curls
Barbell/Hammer Curls

Thursday/Sunday - B workout - Chest/Triceps/Shoulders

Bench Press
Overhead Press
DB Incline Bench Press
Dips
Close Grip Bench Press
Tricep Kickbacks

Some forearm/abs/cardio whenever possible on any day.


Stats over time
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04/07/2014 - 148.2lbs, 20.2% BF
30/07/2014 - 153.6lbs, 21.0% BF
22/08/2014 - 158.0lbs, 20.8% BF
17/09/2014 - 159.8lbs, 19.6% BF
12/10/2014 - 159.6lbs, 21.5% BF
02/11/2014 - 160.0lbs, 21.1% BF
29/11/2014 - 158.2lbs, 20.8% BF
01/02/2015 - 159.4lbs, 20.4% BF


Diet
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On a typical Monday-Friday, my diet consists of;

Breakfast - Either 3x wholemeal pitta bread and houmous or 2 rounds of cheese (mozzarella) on toast sandwiches. Possible apple or banana, too. 20g-35g of protein, 600-900kcal
Lunch (and mid-morning snack) - Sandwich (cheese and onion or occasionally egg mayo), packet of crisps, apple and/or banana (if not for breakfast), possibly hard boiled egg, some cheese, or some biscuits. 25g-35g protein, 700-900kcal
Tea - Any meal such as pizza, pasta and garlic bread, some sort of crisp bake/pie/whatever and potatoes + veg, roast dinner etc. Sometimes yoghurt as dessert. 20g-40g protein, 700-1000kcal
Snacks - Generally not a lot, but day after/just after exercise often a glass of milk or protein bar/cookie. 10g, 18g or 37g protein, 150-350kcal

Average day is usually as low as 60-70g of protein, and as high as 120-140g of protein. I'd say average of about 90-100, maybe. Calorie wise I'm at around 2400-3000 a day I'd say.


Original post
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A quick background

I've generally been considered skinny for the past few years, although in reality these days I'm the very definition of skinnyfat. I could do with gaining muscle all over, but have a fair bit of fat to lose around my stomach and upper legs and bum, whilst having almost no fat to lose anywhere else.

I've been dabbling with dumbbells on and off for a couple of years but joined the gym full time at the start of July. For about a month I tried different things, but my routine was basically 12 different exercises in a full-body routine, 3 days a week (inc. leg press, dumbbell squats, leg curls, seated row machine, (light) barbell rows, barbell curls, chest press machine, dumbbell bench and incline bench, shoulder press, tricep extensions and close grip press machine).

I decided to cut back as this was probably too much volume and as of the start of this week my routine is;

Starting routine

Leg Press x2 warmup, x3 sets
Chest Press x2 warmup
Seated Row x3 warmup
Lying Leg Curls x3 sets
Dumbbell Bench Press x3 sets
One Arm Rows x3 sets
Incline Bench Press x3 sets
Overhead DB Press x3 sets
Occasional Tri Extensions x3 sets

Cardio afterwards is usually a 15 min jog.

Starting (current) stats

Height: 6'0"
Weight: 148lbs (157lbs)
Body fat (very approx, using scales): 20.2% (20.5%)

Nutrition and sleep

My diet is reasonable, although somewhat limited living at home. I would say it's usually around;

Breakfast: 35g protein, 800kcal (bit less on both for weekends)
Lunch: 25g protein, 900kcal (again probably less for weekends)
Tea: 20g-40g protein, 700-1100kcal (obviously varies the most of the three meals)

Also currently having 30g of protein and 400kcal after workouts (ie 3x a week).

Currently sleeping 7+ hours a night so that's alright.

In before...

Why no squats? I'm not disputing squats are brilliant and a great compound exercise, but as someone still new to the gym and with general anxiety, I prefer the leg press, which is only slightly less inferior imo for legs and easier to learn, easier to set up, more accessible at the gym, and more enjoyable. If I don't think it's working after a while I'll go for squats.

Why no deadlift? I don't particularly fancy doing it. Lying leg curls really get the hamstrings when I perform them, and I don't want to mess up my back. Again, I could go to them after a while with experience.

Why no SS/SL/ICF/Allpros? I tried to make a full-body routine 3 times a week, mostly using compound movements, but one that suited what I wanted to do. Again, as I gain confidence, I could switch to one of them (probably SL with some isolation).

A few questions...

What should I do for abs? Or for glutes? Any suggestions for improvements on routine?

Finally, should I do the same weight and reps each workout, or should I go heavy weight, low reps, then medium, then light and high reps on the three days, mixing it up?

If you read all that, fair play to you. Off to the gym
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Sheepmaster317
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Having started this routine on Tuesday, I went again to the gym tonight;

Seated Leg Press 1x30kg, 1x45kg, 2x65kg, 1x72.5kg
Chest Press 2x30kg
Seated Row 3x25kg
Lying Leg Curls 3x25kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg (each DB)
One Arm DB Row 2x7.5kg
Incline DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Row 3x20kg

Then a 1.8km run in 12 minutes.

Went pretty well. I'm still finding my feet in terms of how heavy to go for some things, but it was the first time I've done BB Rows in a while and prefer them over one arm rows leaning on the bench.
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Sheepmaster317
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Managed to get about 90-100g of protein yesterday along with way too many calories (3000+), but I'm guessing a pint of cider probably didn't help my progress.

Today's workout was a bit mixed.

Seated Leg Press 1x30kg, 1x52.5kg, 1x67kg, 2x75kg
Chest Press 2x35kg
Seated Row 3x25kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 3x20kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Lying Leg Curl 3x25kg
Tricep Extension 3x17.5kg

Then an approx 1.6km run in 11 minutes.
I suppose it was a decent workout, the run was a bit lacklustre as a lot of it was against the wind and I wasn't particularly motivated.

Managed to eat a lot shortly after though which can only be a good thing. Will be working out and clean(ish) bulking until the end of December or January and then diet for a couple of months.

I'll stick with this sort of routine for now although I'd like to give Stronglifts a go in the future. For now I'll stick with leg press and dumbbell bench presses, and hope bent over rows feel more natural in the future. Still dunno what to do about abs or glutes though.
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Sheepmaster317
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Tuesday evening;

Seated Row 1x20kg, 2x25kg
Chest Press 1x30kg, 1x35kg
Lying Leg Curl 1x20kg, 2x25kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 3x20kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Curl 3x15kg
DB Overhead Press 2x7.5kg
Tricep Extension 3x17.5kg

Woke up yesterday with a painful ankle and didn't want to put stress on it, especially by running. The (main) reason I'm currently running after my workouts is the fact I've got a 10k coming up (gonna be one of the slowest doing it), and really don't need my ankle to start playing up. Doesn't seem much better this morning but this will be my last lifting for a bit.

Still, was one of the better workouts, even if it was almost all upper body. Felt good, and still eating plenty too.
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miser
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In. Best of luck getting the improvements you're after.

Someone more experienced is welcome to come and correct me, but to work on your abs I think you should be doing some good compound exercises that hit those muscles. In my routine those are squats, deadlift, bent over row, etc. Then they are targeted specifically with an isolation exercise at the end of my routine through cable crunches. I'm not familiar with the exercises in your routine so I don't know how much your abs will be targeted by them.

As for the reps you're doing on each workout, for a beginner routine it's perfectly fine to keep it the same. Programmes that mix it up tend to be used in moderate to advanced lifting programmes. In general you'd want fewer reps to encourage hypertrophy, a few more to encourage strength, and a lot if you're going for endurance. From the look at your current setup, it looks like you're going for hypertrophy. I'm on ICF which is a 5x5 programme and offers a good balance between strength and hypertrophy, using 5x5 for compound lifts and 3x8 for isolations.
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Sheepmaster317
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Cheers for your response. I should probably start doing proper barbell squats, I know they work so many muscles but for the time being I'll stick with leg press. Hopefully I get some ab work from bent over rows and some leg exercises, and I'll start doing some sort of crunches at the ends of my workouts (for now I don't think abs are of huge importance, not slim enough to be seen anyway).

Yeah I think I'll stick with this sort of rep range, it currently feels like the right amount and feels effective. I'm don't really count the exact number of reps I do, but I know it's always 8-12. I like the look of ICF (and Stronglifts too) and would like to give them a go, but for now I'm still learning my way around some exercises (I wouldn't want to try squats and deadlifts when it's busy, and with ICF a long workout I'd have to start earlier. This sounds like a terrible excuse but I'm taking things one step at a time ).

I'll keep with this until the end of the month, and see how I'm progressing. I might then give Stronglifts a go and maybe add a couple of isolation exercises each workout.
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Sheepmaster317
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Thursday evening;

Chest Press 1x30kg, 1x35kg
Seated Row 3x25kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 1x20kg, 3x25kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
DB Hammer Curl 1x7.5kg
Barbell Curl 2x15kg
DB Overhead Press 2x7.5kg
Barbell Squat 1x20kg
Barbell Bench Press 1x20kg, 2x30kg

Still resting my ankle for this run on Sunday. Had meant to do lying leg curls early on but the machine was in use and I completely forgot about them.

The last two exercises were me making use of a near-empty gym to try two exercises I've never done but (understandably) would like to. Barbell squats didn't feel natural, and on the 6th rep I felt my ankle go a bit odd so immediately stopped. BB Bench Press was good, although not sure there's any advantage to it over dumbbells. I was a bit shaky but perhaps more to do with the fact it was the end of my workout and had done a lot on chest/tris/shoulders already.

It was a good workout though, although my ankle's not 100% and my left shoulder is a bit sore although this will be fine tomorrow. Have to decide what to do with legs when I start them again next week, whether to go with leg press or DB Squats. I can probably do DB Squats for a few months before the weight gets too much tbh, although I know they're usually frowned upon by most people.
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Sheepmaster317
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Didn't go to the gym this weekend. Not through laziness or apathy or anything, just that I ran a 10k this morning and obviously wanted to conserve all my energy for that (and I've been shattered since). I'm very unfit but I beat my three targets (time, place, and people to beat), so happy with that

Will go back to the usual full-body routine, hopefully on Tuesday if I get the energy back. Should be focussing on leg press and leg curls, flat and incline DB bench, BB rows and DB overhead press. Maybe a bit of tricep extensions at the end.

Weighed myself around 7pm too (before a celebratory chippy), and I'm up to 159.2lbs, 11lbs up from 9 weeks. Probably a mix of fat and muscle gain, especially "noob" gains. Fat % is down (apparently) and muscle % up notably. So that's all good. Feel quite positive about it all atm
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Sheepmaster317
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Thursday evening;

Seated Leg Press 1x30kg, 1x50kg, 1x65kg, 2x72.5kg
Chest Press 2x35kg
Seated Row 3x25kg
Lying Leg Curl 3x25kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 2x20kg, 2x25kg
Barbell Bench Press 1x20kg
DB Bench Press 2x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Curls 2x15kg, 1x20kg
Barbell Bench Press 3x30kg
Tricep Extension 3x17.5kg

First time I'd done anything in a week so it was important to get back into a routine and to get used to things again.

Started off fine but I chose to do BB over DB Bench Press and then couldn't find any clip-on things when I wanted to add weight, so went back to dumbbells (hence the one set of BB Bench Press). By the second and third set of DB Incline my arms were notably tired and so going back to BB Bench Press was a bit of a mess (did about 6-8 reps each time with shaky arms). The tricep extensions were decent, at least.

So a bit unorganised and a bit top-heavy compared to how I'd like but as I'm walking a lot more this week and next and still a bit tired I couldn't be bothered with extra leg/calf work, although what I did do felt good. This week I'll stick with the same sort of stuff (DB Bench, BB Rows), and try and do something for abs, calves, forearms and glutes when I can.
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Sheepmaster317
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Question for anyone who might be reading this.

I'm going drinking tomorrow evening, will probably be having a few pints of cider. I'd normally work out Saturday afternoon, so would you recommend I still do so, wait until Sunday (when I might be hungover and/or tired) or just not go this weekend? Anyone have any advice or experience?
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0range
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(Original post by Sheepmaster317)
Question for anyone who might be reading this.

I'm going drinking tomorrow evening, will probably be having a few pints of cider. I'd normally work out Saturday afternoon, so would you recommend I still do so, wait until Sunday (when I might be hungover and/or tired) or just not go this weekend? Anyone have any advice or experience?
Always go, never skip it, even if you're still a bit drunk from the night before (just be smart about this one haha), hungover or even getting ready to get drunk. It's not ideal but as long as you get it done.
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Sheepmaster317
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(Original post by 0range)
Always go, never skip it, even if you're still a bit drunk from the night before (just be smart about this one haha), hungover or even getting ready to get drunk. It's not ideal but as long as you get it done.

Cheers, I'll go on Saturday then, although I'll be drunk a few hours later I imagine if I went on Sunday I'd be too tired to do anything properly. I'll also be eating lots to recover from Sunday too so that should help. Thankfully it's more than a one off so shouldn't matter too much in the long run


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Sheepmaster317
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Saturday afternoon;

DB Squats 1x2.5kg, 1x6.5kg, 2x9kg
DB Floor Bench Press 1x6.5kg, 2x9kg
DB Close Grip Floor Bench Press 2x9kg
DB Bent Over Row 3x6.5kg
DB Overhead Press 3x6.5kg (3x5reps)
DB Hammer Curls 3x6.5kg
Dips 3x10ish
DB Forearm Exercises 3x6.5kg

As you can tell, a bit of an odd routine. I was 50/50ing with the idea of going out all day and as such knew I'd be short on time if I did, so worked out at home with my DB set (of course it's just DB, no bench or anything). The workout itself was predictably hit and miss, and I don't feel like it did much now really. The overhead press, rows, hammer curls were all decent, although squats and BP was notably inferior to being at the gym.

Predictably I didn't end up going out anyway so really could've just gone to the gym and got a better workout in.

I don't know whether to go back to the gym tomorrow if I feel no aches after waking up or just rest and recover after what's been a tiring week, call this past week a bit of a write off, and start fresh and proper on Tuesday. I'll see how I feel.

On the plus side I've invested in some high-protein foods and also some adjustable handgrips (not sure how useful these will be but I hate the fact my wrists and forearms are so slim and I have no endurance grip to play the guitar), so it's not all bad.
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Sheepmaster317
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Sunday evening;

Seated Leg Press 1x30kg, 1x50kg, 3x72.5kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Curls 3x15kg
DB Seated Overhead Press 3x7.5kg
Lying Leg Curl 3x25kg
Tricep Extension 3x17.5kg
Incline Treadmill (3.6mph, 5min warmup/down, 5min heavy incline)

A good workout I feel. I worked out yesterday but when I woke today I was mostly 100% fine. The only concern was my back was a bit sore, so I didn't do any back exercises today, and my right shoulder and right knee were a tiny bit sore but I worked out anyway.

So today was pretty much legs, chest and arms. The leg press felt good today (definitely my preferred leg exercise at the minute, along with leg curls), and the DB presses and BB curls both felt good too and were the right difficulty. The overhead press felt surprisingly straightforward considering I found it tiring yesterday and had just done the chest exercises, so I might try a higher weight next time. The treadmill at the end was a mix of cardio and also some calf work (I'm not 100% sure how effective it is to walk at an incline, but I feel it works the calves so I'll see how that goes).

I'll be working out on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday this week and will aim to eat more (and more protein) this week too. I'll weigh myself at some point this week and see how I'm doing.
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RobJ93
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You would see better progress with a beginner routine.
Start compounds with the bar and binge watch form videos. Take a friend with you, that should help with the anxiety.
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Sheepmaster317
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(Original post by RobJ93)
You would see better progress with a beginner routine.
Start compounds with the bar and binge watch form videos. Take a friend with you, that should help with the anxiety.
True, I'd probably be better off following SL or ICF, but my workouts do focus on compounds (DB Bench, BB Rows, overhead press and leg press) and add in a few isolations along with them. I also don't have anyone to go with at the minute and quite like it on my own. For now I'm happy doing the exercises I'm doing and the progress I'm making and seeing, although if this changes I'll go straight to SL I think.
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Sheepmaster317
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Unfortunately I didn't exercise at all on Tuesday due to being far too busy and exhausted. Been a hectic week. Decided to do Thursday/Saturday rather than Wednesday/Saturday, simply to fit it around my workload and stuff.

Thursday evening;

Seated Leg Press 1x30kg, 1x50kg, 1x72.5kg, 2x80kg
Seated Row 3x25kg
Chest Press 2x35kg
Lying Leg Curl 2x25kg, 1x30kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 1x20kg, 3x25kg
DB Bench Press 3x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Curls 3x15kg
DB Seated Overhead Press 2x7.5kg, 1x10kg
Tricep Extension 2x17.5kg, 1x22.5kg

A good workout I think. First time I'd done anything in four days and it was a good workout. Managed to increase the weight on a few exercises and whilst I had to push it was the right sort of difficulty and hopefully I can keep at that level. I feel quite content with these ten exercises although I know the curls and extensions are simply extra isolation work. The main compounds I enjoy and they feel productive so hopefully I can continue to progress on them.

Not much else to say really
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Sheepmaster317
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Saturday afternoon;

Seated Leg Press 1x35kg, 1x57.5kg, 3x80kg
Barbell Bent Over Row 1x15kg, 4x25kg
DB Bench Press 1x7.5kg, 3x12.5kg
DB Incline Bench Press 3x12.5kg
Barbell Curls 3x15kg
DB Seated Overhead Press 2x7.5kg, 1x10kg
Lying Leg Curl 1x25kg, 2x30kg
Tricep Extension 1x17.5kg, 2x22.5kg

A slightly more efficient workout, and I feel it was a good one. I managed to do an extra set on the higher weights on some of the exercises, and I might try higher weights on the bench on Tuesday and maybe build the reps up over time, although I'm not sure yet. But more of this type of workout and I'll keep making progress. Eating plenty (and right, ish), too, so all's good right now.

I should probably do some cardio too, but I've been short on time and motivation lately so that can wait a bit.
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Sheepmaster317
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Quick question. For biceps, should I be concerned about which movements I should be doing? Reason I ask is because it's (relatively) one of my bigger muscles, and don't want to turn into one of these people where you can tell every day is arm day, but I also want to add thickness so my arms appear bigger from the front.

Of course training triceps will help and I will continue to do so, but I've read wide grip curls help, as do hammer curls. Any truth to this or should I stop overcomplicating things and stick to BB Rows and occasional curls?

Cheers.
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Angry cucumber
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Training your biceps at your stage is of limited use. Just programme chins/ rows and the odd curl and you'll be fine this early on.

As others have said doing a decent beginner routine would be of benefit to you. There's really good resources out there for learning the movements etc.
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