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  #1   Add to polomuscle's Reputation   Report Post  
Old February 7th, 2004, 09:24 AM
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I Need Your Advice And Help

I need advice on the following questions, can you share you experience and please help?

1) As I gain more mass (yahoo!!!!) and lift more weight (rarrrr!), I am getting TIGHTER. Last time I did this and gained 10-15lbs of muscle, I got so tight and musclebound that I felt like crap. I quit the gym for several months just to stop feeling pissed off and tight. So I lost the mass. Lately I have been hitting the gym more and therefore decreasing yoga practice. QUESTION: Is it possible to get buff, and get hard muscle, but ALSO increase flexibility? When is the optimal time to do stretching (and cardio) along with the weight training to increase this flexibility? What kind of flexibility training do you recommend?

2) For my body, I can put on muscle easily (esp. biceps, FUCK YEAH!!!!), but find it nearly impossible to drop enough fat to cut up and see definition in my abs and ass unless I either A) starve myself or B) do massive amounts of cardio. I am eating healthy and am improving my diet. But what about cardio?
The trainer in my gym says I have to do 60-90 minutes per day in order to get the ripped (ie fitness model) body I want. I don't have that kind of time to spend. I do 20 minutes before lifting and 20-40 minutes afterwards, 3 times per week. I try to get in cardio sessions on the other days, but can't always do it. Is there a way I can MINIMIZE my time in the gym but MAXIMIZE my fat burning, without losing muscle? Should I start sprinting? Should I increase intensity? Should I do all my cardio at once (40 mins) instead of splitting it up (20 mins, 20 mins)?
keep working out, stay focused and you will achieve your goals in the gym!
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  #2   Add to The Magus's Reputation   Report Post  
Old February 8th, 2004, 12:11 AM
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I'm pretty much a newbie, so anything I say should be viewed with some skepticism, but here's what I've heard (most of it comes from a website I've recently discovered that has a lot of great advice if you're willing to overlook the heterosexism/mild homophobia of some of the articles and forum comments...

1)Flexibility - I have a real problem with this myself, so not much help here, but what I've heard is to do a quick warm-up stretch before the workout, and then a longer, deeper stretch afterwards. I haven't tried this (I just stretch before-hand), which might be why my flexibility sucks.

2)Everything I've heard says that diet is the key. I've been really chubby my whole life, and I recently started keeping a food log and watching what I eat, and the fat's been coming off amazingly fast. The general guidelines I'm following right now are to limit my carb intake somewhat, and to make sure I'm getting a lot of protein. I've heard that what you want to avoid in a diet/meal is combining carbs and fat (something to do with blood sugar, and how your body reacts to carbs by how it processes fat), so what you would want is either a diet high in carbs and protein or high in fat and protein. If you decide to limit carbs, try to make sure that the carbs you do eat come mostly from dark green veggies and other good sources (basically nothing "white and fluffy", so try to go whole grain if you eat bread or pasta).

The guidelines that I've heard are that you should be eating about 10-15 calories per pound of body weight per day (I'm at 230 pounds, so I try to get at least 2300 cals), between 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day (so 230 - 460grams). I've heard that you want to get your carbs down to around 70-100 grams per day, but depending on your eating style/metabolism, etc this may be too low. I've been gradually lowering the carbs to what I feel comfortable with, and that's what I'd suggest, because lowering your carb intake too much can really wipe you out. The rest of your food can be fat, which is nice.

The other thing that I've heard from t-mag, and this is a bit more controversial, is that you might want to cut down on the cardio you're doing. Apparently, too much cardio starts to break down muscle and inhibits muscle growth. Since more muscle increases your metabolism, you don't want this!! I think the people who support this theory say that any more than 20 minutes, 3 times a week of cardio is too much, and that you can probably cut cardio out entirely.

I stopped doing cardio a few months back (about the same time I changed the diet), and I haven't been hurting for it. I may start up again if I stop getting the great results, but I'm okay with a little bit of fat, so we'll see.

However, EVERYTHING I've seen EVERYWHERE says that diet is the crucial element, and that until you get that in order, you'll find definite limits to your progress.

Hope that helps...
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Old February 8th, 2004, 12:49 PM
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1) Flexibility -- Definitely it is possible and you really should work on flexibility. Muscles are inherently elastic -- they just need to be reminded of the fact fairly regularly. <g> I practice yoga myself, more as a relaxation exercise, but it's a great means of improving your flexibility.

There are two other things you can do to encourage flexibility that seem a bit odd, but are again related to the whole "balance" thing.

-- Make sure you balance body parts. Every movement requires two sets of muscles -- one set to move the part, and one set to put it back. Work one set more than the other, and you create an imbalance that will impede your flexibility. The most obvious example is biceps versus triceps, but a BIG one I see quite a bit is pecs/chest versus rear delts -- probably since bench pressing is a lot more popular than delt flys or rows.

-- When you're lifting, lift through the range of motion and let the weight do stretching for you. That means, for example, on the bench you lower the weight slowly and let your pecs stretch under tension, rather than keeping them tight. You lift less this way, but the quality of the lift is remarkably improved -- and it helps with flexibility.

2) Cardio -- If anything, you don't want to do TOO intense of cardio. A good rule of thumb is that anything over 60 - 65% of your theoretical maximum heart rate (220 - your age) is going to flip you out of burning primarily fat and over to burning primarily carbohydrates. The reason is that fat requires oxygen to burn, and if you're over that threshold, you're needing to burn more than your body has oxygen to manage -- so it switches over to carbohydrate consumption. Furthermore, the more muscle you're building, the more it increases your basal metabolic rate -- in other words, how much your body needs to burn at rest. This is why most people doing weight management training are starting to emphasize resistance training (weights) as opposed to heavy cardio -- if you can increase your basal rate by 10 calories per hour, you burn an additional 240 calories a day, which would take you a half-hour on the treadmill to manage.

Dietwise, I agree with Magus -- diet is very much the key. I follow a similar diet where I cap the calories I consume per day while demanding I get a certain amount of protein.
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  #4   Add to Eager Muscle's Reputation   Report Post  
Old April 19th, 2004, 07:52 AM
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I don't have a lot of science or training knowledge to back me up, I can only speak from personal experience.

Hard as it is to gain access to a lap pool, I'd suggest you lap swim, sprinting for cardio. A 75' pool is ideal because you can really burn the calories. But even slow, steady swimming in a 40' pool will be aerobic and make you more flexible overall.

As far as making your entire body flexible period, yoga.

I never found yoga and weight lifting to be mutually exclusive, so unless you have serious time constraints I'm not sure why you're cutting back.

Even if you follow a 6 day per week lifting regime, I don't think you'd be overtraining if you swam 2x per week and took a yoga class once or twice a week (particularly if you lift in the morning and do the other in the evening, or vice versa).

Lifting, swimming and yoga were the perfect trifecta for me - between the muscles (more than most men) and the flexibility (more than most women) I gained within a few months, I could quit my day job, believe me.

Last edited by Eager Muscle; April 19th, 2004 at 07:56 AM.
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