The Physical Conditioning -thread

Brother Michael

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First of all BMI = Body Mass Index. What you are referring to is body fat content (percentage).

And as someone who used to deal with the same issue, I feel your pain. Here are a few things that helped me to get my abdominal region in a fairly good trim.

Weighted side bend is one of my very favorites for getting those ripped obliques.

Rotary torso is perhaps my favorite abdominal/upper body exercise of all time.

Then there is of course seated ab rotation on an ab bench using a weight disc roughly in this manner

But to put it bluntly, pretty much all rotational abdominal exercises help you to develop obliques. It also helps in my case that I play tennis, so it comes with the territory. But as you also know and mentioned, lower body fat content is what really brings out the muscle definition
 

RaptorJesus

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First of all BMI = Body Mass Index. What you are referring to is body fat content (percentage).

And as someone who used to deal with the same issue, I feel your pain. Here are a few things that helped me to get my abdominal region in a fairly good trim.

Weighted side bend is one of my very favorites for getting those ripped obliques.

Rotary torso is perhaps my favorite abdominal/upper body exercise of all time.

Then there is of course seated ab rotation on an ab bench using a weight disc roughly in this manner

But to put it bluntly, pretty much all rotational abdominal exercises help you to develop obliques. It also helps in my case that I play tennis, so it comes with the territory. But as you also know and mentioned, lower body fat content is what really brings out the muscle definition
I play too, and kept up with my rotational medicine ball work. It keeps my core strong but I get plenty of core strength from Yoga. I need definition, and it seems like no matter how much I work the core it only makes my rectus abdominus bulk. Sometimes I can get my transverse abs to bulge and I get a good cut to the groin, but those damn obliques. Look at this pic, see how jagged the obliques are, that is what I want. I think the plan will be to work out like crazy, build the muscle on a mass building diet, and then cut carbs and drop fat percentage the few weeks before the trip. It sucks because it will be hard keeping to a strict diet around Thanksgiving time, and right before christmas.



Dream abs.


Me now, well me 8 lbs. lighter anyways.
 

Brother Michael

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Trust me, you just need to work harder on the obliques and combine that with rigorous aerobic exercise. Running, hill sprinting etc. For comparison, here's what I have to show from all my work. Granted far from perfection, but I would like to think that the direction is correct.



(apologies for the eyewatering brightness, my camera is a relic)
 
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RaptorJesus

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What do you guys listen to when working out? Chilled out music to keep you relaxed, or super amped up stuff?


My playlist is normally by genre, but whatever genre it should be fast paced.

Rap-Any club music

Metal-All slayer and metallica

Electronica-Always hardstyle

Especially when running I need something to maintain my pace.
 

geeman

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I have found out that Rap is good for running. The beat gives a nice pace, not too fast and not too slow.

For lifting I mostly have some angry metal :)
 

Racin

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I play too, and kept up with my rotational medicine ball work. It keeps my core strong but I get plenty of core strength from Yoga. I need definition, and it seems like no matter how much I work the core it only makes my rectus abdominus bulk. Sometimes I can get my transverse abs to bulge and I get a good cut to the groin, but those damn obliques. Look at this pic, see how jagged the obliques are, that is what I want. I think the plan will be to work out like crazy, build the muscle on a mass building diet, and then cut carbs and drop fat percentage the few weeks before the trip. It sucks because it will be hard keeping to a strict diet around Thanksgiving time, and right before christmas.
If your BF is in the single digits and your oblique isn't showing, you most likely need to put on some muscle mass.
Also I wouldn't do 300 crunches every morning. Your muscles need to rest, around 48 hours, to build mass. I would raise the intensity(% of 1rm) and volume, and be sure to train the obliques 3 times a week.
 

RaptorJesus

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If your BF is in the single digits and your oblique isn't showing, you most likely need to put on some muscle mass.
Also I wouldn't do 300 crunches every morning. Your muscles need to rest, around 48 hours, to build mass. I would raise the intensity(% of 1rm) and volume, and be sure to train the obliques 3 times a week.
Im a bit chubby now, more like in the 11-13% range as of Sunday.
 

otispunkmeyer

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anyone know good diets for lean mass gain? i mean seriously, ive been chipping away (in an addition sense) at my weight for about a year now... i slowly rose from 74-75 to around 79, not quite reaching the 80 mark.

now its sunk back to 76/77 region (and im probably 73/74 after that massive log i just annihilated the toilet with hahaha)

sounds like a dream ticket for a lot of people doesnt it? losing weight hand over fist if i cant keep up the gym work and stuffing my chops with anything i can lay my hands on...... it is not. i hate it. i wanna get to 80-85kg region and stay there.

i dont use any supplements at all, not creatine, not whey protein or other protein powder products..... i always thought it was just a scam, but at the moment ill try anything.
 

Brother Michael

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i dont use any supplements at all, not creatine, not whey protein or other protein powder products..... i always thought it was just a scam, but at the moment ill try anything.
Three things you are doing wrong/are not doing at all.

1. I understand you do a lot of cardio, swimming in particular. It slows down the process of muscle gain a lot, I should know since that's what I have been doing all along - if I would cut back on the cardio, I could gain a few kilos easily. It's all about goals, I like to stay lean and ripped so I', not that concerned about muscle mass. But for you it could be worth a try to cut back on the cardio for a month or two.

2. Eat more - I know I know, but it really is true. I have to eat like a horse just to stock up on normal working day's worth of energy since my body's energy consumption is sky high. So combine that with rigorous workout, you need to take in anything you can. It's not enough that you make the feel of hunger go away, you need to really eat yourself full, otherwise when your body starts processing the food, when the normal energy consumption has been taken care of, there is nothing left for the musclefibers to work on.

3. SUPPLEMENTS !! Dude, far form a scam. Creatine is extremely useful, however very difficult to use properly, a lot of people overdo it which leads to excess liquids forming thus making you look a bit...well not chubby, but rounder. It is the main reason I have personally stayed away from the stuff but I know people who use it and when done properly, it is the best way to gain muscle mass quickly. Whye proteins on the otherhand should be on every single gym/exercise enthusiasts daily intake list. They are not a scam, wuite the opposite. When I started working out some years ago I weighed around 57kg - with gym and protein I gained 7 kg in 4 months. Of course You shouldn't expect those kinds of results since you already are in shape, but seriously, get some good protein powder and take at least one shake/day, if not two. I personally go with one - right after my workout, but I guess the ideal would be two/day: first one about an hour or two before your workout and then the second one you start taking in at the very end of your workout, let's say when you start finishing up and start doing situps etc.

Gaining that much mass isn't that difficult but it takes some work and sacrifice on the subject of being ripped - that's why most guys who want to gain mass do it on two separate stints: "mass gaining" period followed by "burning the excess off" -period so that you get that muscle definition back.
 

otispunkmeyer

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^ i see.... yeah my goal is completely just lean muscle, i don't need to be big... i just need some extra muscle mass so that i can get more power from my stokes. maintaining flexibility is also key but i don't think ill be at risk from losing any going along with my plan. to be fair i have fairly thin legs, though they are rather strong, but i could gain kg's easy building leg muscle....problem is, legs aren't used much when swimming freestyle... its all upper body. having big heavy legs doesnt always help.

a good swimmer on the british team is liam tancock, he's actually a bit of a short arse in the middling 5 ft range....but his weight is roughly 85kg, and its pure muscle. im 6ft 3 and 77kg, and just enough body fat to make me look like im not malnourished lol, so even at 85 id be away from where i maybe should be but, one step at a time. 85kg is a good reasonable target, i made it to nearly 80kg.

my metabolism is big, the guy who measured it at the gym said he'd never tested anyone with a metabolism so high.... apparently.....im not sure how high it is exactly but he told me i need at least 2000 calories a day just to exist, thats before doing any actual work, movement, thinking, training.

i know doing heavy cardio is at odds with some of this weight gain stuff, but its unavoidable i have to swim... to keep the stroke, the feel, to work on the stroke technique, to keep some form of swim-fitness. sure you can be fit, but being swim fit is a completely different, higher, league of fitness. perhaps its worth cutting back a session or two, to help.... the worry then is, once ive gained the mass, its keeping it on. my body seems to have a propensity for losing weight quickly...in fact its odd that if i have to go without training for a week or 2, i lose weight, despite eating like a horse. essentially i have to train to gain weight! opposite to what most of the numpty's flailing about on the cross trainer go for! ha-ha

i will have a look at whey then.... and perhaps creatine, but id have to be sure of using it right. i read that whey and casein kind of complement each other because of the periods over which they work. suggestions have been to mix whey with milk rather than water to give a solution that has a little more of a time delay release effect. i also read whey is a good thing to take immediately after working out and that isolates, while expensive, are the best ones to go for because you don't have to take as much (something like 15g or so in a sitting)

on creatine, i read about loading up on creatine for a week, or just taking small, but regular amounts for a longer period of time before coming off them for several weeks, just to keep the muscles replenished with energy so that you can work yourself that little bit harder. but yeah ive seen some people who take too much creatine and do too little with it, it just has a kind of inflation effect that soon wears off. i could maybe buy a small pot of the stuff and just take something like 5g a day or so. see if it makes a difference. i know taking too much for too long doesn't do your bowels any good.
 
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bartboy9891

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Neither whey nor creatine is going to make massive changes to your lean body mass. Make sure you are getting at least 1g/lb of bw of protein per day and eat fucktons of calories on top of that. If you think you are eating a lot but are losing weight, then you aren't eating a lot.
 

otispunkmeyer

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Brother Michael and BartBoy,you seem fairly knowledgable on this subject. id like to pick your brains so that i may understand better what i need to be doing. Nutrition is my big weak point, i simply do not know what foods i should be eating bar avoiding crappy junk food and eating fresh meat n veg

this is how my normal weeks worth of exercise goes

Cardio/Endurance:

tues, thurs, sunday = 1.5 hour swimming sesh on each, typically averaging 3000m in an hour (depends on what we focus on)
there is also provision for a further 1 hour on a friday evening, however this is mostly technique work for speed lifesaving and isnt really a massive cardio load.

Weights/Land conditioning

3 times a week is my target, not sure if this is enough, but its all i realistically have time for.

its organised in a 5 month block, each month the exercises stay roughly the same but the reps/weight/technique differs. (month 1 = increasing reps through the month, 2 decreasing reps, increasing weight, 3 circa 20 reps at fast pace, 1 rep a second for example, 4 is the same as 2, 5 is a taper month gradually lifting less an less

Incline chest
front pull downs - modified to mimick swimming stroke

seated narrow grip row - oft varied, one day ill use the machine, next i may do inverted press ups using the smith machine, or pull a levered bar bell
front/side raises - usually combined with a squat

bicep curls - standing, usually single arm and often incorporate a shoulder press at the top of the curl
tricep - standing, but sometimes lying down on my back with arm across the body with weight on the opposite side and then extending my arm

lat pulls -
free space - chop n change between pectorals, decline press or wood chop/weighted side bends

leg press- sometimes swap for weighted step ups
calf raise

quad extensions
hamstring curls

normally i end then with a small core set - plank, med ball, gym ball, dish, ... lots of compound exercises like holding a 6kg bar and sitting up with it and looping it over my feet to my bum. really good exercise this as you have to really crunch to get that bar clear of your feet. i normally alternate this with raising my legs and arms to meet in the middle from a stream line position... it ensures that the core in engaged 100% of the time, becuase if you arent in a crunch your in a dish position or somewhere between the two.

after that, i normally have a little test for my self which is to do as many unaided wide grip pulls ups as i can.

so thats the exercise, im quite happy with it... it doesnt take inordinate amounts of time to do because you super set the exercises with little rest and its swimming focused.

but where i come unstuck is eating. i eat lots, but i bet its not the right things. i plan to get some whey isolate this week and start taking it. but eating for recovery is beyond me. i guess this is why i feel very sore the day after sometimes and sometimes the soreness is hampering my swimming.

after swimming i know i should be eating within 30 minutes, either banana's, yoghurts, cereal or such like but for weight training?

and what foods do i need to be eating during the day? i typically have corn flakes for breakfast, is it wiser to switch to oats or alpen? is it better to eat little and often? i need a diet that can give me energy to work out, grow and recover... but it baffles me because theres too much info.
 

public

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Looks like I need do contribute a bit to this thread. I officially started my physical conditioning in this town by spending one and a half hours at a local gym yesterday.

I want to lose a couple of kilos and have more energy to do stuff; I don't need to grow muscle mass, but to become more agile. And I want to keep any unnecessary bloat away.

I guess going there twice a week wouldn't be out of the question; I want to start the right way by not overdoing anything, but still do enough for something to show.
 

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Picked up my gym pass, which is good for a month. I'm thinking of going there twice a week, 1.5 hours of exercise at a time. Couple this with regular visits to the swimming hall in the same building complex, and I'm hopeful to get some results.

I took some training music with me for yesterday's gym visit, and seems like the car shop tracks from the first Gran Turismo really get me into training mood. :mrgreen:
 

LeVeL

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Last Saturday was my first day back at the gym after a three month hiatus. Not only that, but I also did a targeted triceps exercise for the first time. The result is that I was sore as all hell all week - primarily arms and chest. Went back on Wednesday but only got a chance to bench before I got kicked out for wearing shorts with zippers (like its my fault that I forgot my gym shorts at home :p) Anyways, the bench did not help my soreness. Today if Friday and I'd love to get my swell on again (bro!). However, my arms are still pretty damn sore. Go anyways or skip another day?
 

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I last frequented a gym in the winter of 2004-2005, so it's been a long time coming for me. :p
 

RaptorJesus

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I love the pump you feel after a tough workout, that soreness and exhaustion is a superlative feeling. It's a fantastic endorphin rush, but I just love the feeling of being totally wasted tired. Its a release from my normal jumpy anxious self.
 

bartboy9891

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Brother Michael and BartBoy,you seem fairly knowledgable on this subject. id like to pick your brains so that i may understand better what i need to be doing. Nutrition is my big weak point, i simply do not know what foods i should be eating bar avoiding crappy junk food and eating fresh meat n veg
Protein is the big thing, whether it's in powder or meat or liquid (milk for instance) form, just make sure you are getting enough of it. If meat weren't so cheap here I would just buy some protein powder. Meat is something you should be eating every day, but if you are still struggling to get enough protein in, just buy one of these:

http://www.myprotein.co.uk/products/pea_protein_isolate
http://www.myprotein.co.uk/products/impact_whey_protein
http://www.bulkpowders.co.uk/product.php/272/18/super_pea_protein_isolate
http://www.bulkpowders.co.uk/product.php/276/18/whey_protein_concentrate_82___instantised_

and if you have some to spend and want stuff that (apparently) tastes better, try:
http://www.myprotein.co.uk/products/true_whey

Pea protein isn't drastically different from whey, but it costs less. And when buying protein, don't fall for all the marketing shit, just go for value. The ones I posted are the most cost effective from an already very cost effective site. I'd be cheap and just the awful tasting unflavored kind, but the chocolate, mint chocolate etc are probably the best bet. For whatever reason, the chocolate ones are the only ones that taste like what they are supposed to taste like.

Also eat leafy green vegetables and whichever fruits taste good to you. Don't avoid eating fat and don't avoid eating carbs and don't avoid eggs because they are "high in cholesterol"; as long as you are getting enough fat and protein and carbs in on a daily basis, you can eat whatever you want in order to maintain a calorie surplus to build muscle. Eggs by the way are an excellent protein + fat source and cholesterol intake isn't strongly related to serum cholesterol levels anyway. Make sure to take in lots of fish oil if you aren't eating fish on a regular basis; just buy fish oil capsules in bulk and take in as much to get at least 2g of EPA/DHA per day. But check the label, a 1000mg fish oil capsule often only has 300g of EPA/DHA, so you would have to take at least 7 a day.

this is how my normal weeks worth of exercise goes

Cardio/Endurance:

tues, thurs, sunday = 1.5 hour swimming sesh on each, typically averaging 3000m in an hour (depends on what we focus on)
there is also provision for a further 1 hour on a friday evening, however this is mostly technique work for speed lifesaving and isnt really a massive cardio load.
Make sure you are resting enough between your swim sessions and weightlifting sessions.

Weights/Land conditioning

3 times a week is my target, not sure if this is enough, but its all i realistically have time for.

its organised in a 5 month block, each month the exercises stay roughly the same but the reps/weight/technique differs. (month 1 = increasing reps through the month, 2 decreasing reps, increasing weight, 3 circa 20 reps at fast pace, 1 rep a second for example, 4 is the same as 2, 5 is a taper month gradually lifting less an less
I would scrap this plan. In order to get stronger, you must increase the load in as linear a fashion as possible. Increasing and then decreasing and then increasing sounds very counterproductive to me.

Incline chest
front pull downs - modified to mimick swimming stroke
I would avoid too much specificity when it comes to weight lifting. IE, you don't need to mimic a swimming motion in the weight room to make that swimming motion better. Just focus on making the muscles involved in that action stronger in their full range of motion.

seated narrow grip row - oft varied, one day ill use the machine, next i may do inverted press ups using the smith machine, or pull a levered bar bell
front/side raises - usually combined with a squat

bicep curls - standing, usually single arm and often incorporate a shoulder press at the top of the curl
tricep - standing, but sometimes lying down on my back with arm across the body with weight on the opposite side and then extending my arm

lat pulls -
free space - chop n change between pectorals, decline press or wood chop/weighted side bends

leg press- sometimes swap for weighted step ups
calf raise

quad extensions
hamstring curls

normally i end then with a small core set - plank, med ball, gym ball, dish, ... lots of compound exercises like holding a 6kg bar and sitting up with it and looping it over my feet to my bum. really good exercise this as you have to really crunch to get that bar clear of your feet. i normally alternate this with raising my legs and arms to meet in the middle from a stream line position... it ensures that the core in engaged 100% of the time, becuase if you arent in a crunch your in a dish position or somewhere between the two.

after that, i normally have a little test for my self which is to do as many unaided wide grip pulls ups as i can.
You could simplify this a lot, I would focus on squat, bench press, overhead press, deadlift, some sort of row, and chin ups. If you high bar or front squat, then I would do Romanian Deadlifts to get more hamstring work. You want minimal overlap between chin ups and rows, so when you row you want to pull towards your chest to minimize the lat involvement. Chin ups should be done with a shoulder-width grip to ensure a large range of motion and add weight if you can do 10 in a row. I would get a dip-belt and progressively add weight or reps on a weekly basis. IE, do sets of 5 with 15lbs lets say, and then try to get 8 reps in a set prior to adding another 5lbs etc.

Accessory work: curls + weighted ab work, see this post:
http://forums.finalgear.com/sports/the-physical-conditioning-thread-35664/page-8/#post1404823

And make sure you are increasing the load over time and doing low reps/sets. I like 3 sets of 5 for every lift I just mentioned, and 1x5 for conventional deadlifts. Accessory work can be higher reps, but again, make sure you are increasing the load over time. You ALWAYS want to be lifting more than the last workout, and more could mean more reps or more weight but you want to aim for more weight when possible. For squat, deadlift and bench press, you should be able to add 5lbs to your reps every time you do that lift. Then progress will slow to match the other lifts, but you should still be adding weight on a weekly basis. If you are stalling, try to increase the number of sets you can do until you feel comfortable adding more weight.

With OHP for instance, let's say you stall (this is almost guaranteed to happen at some point) at 125lbs for 3x5 and try as you might you can't lift 130 for more than 1 set of 5. Over the next few workouts, try 125lbs for 4 sets of 5 and then 5 sets of 5. At that point, you should be able handle 130lbs for 3 sets.

Also apart from maybe the legs/lower back, you want to minimize the overlap in one workout. So separate OHP and bench press because they both heavily rely on the triceps for instance. Try something like day A: squat, bench, rows and day B: overhead press, chin ups and deadlift. Also you want to ideally work in some explosive work such as power cleans or power snatches, here is an excellent easy to follow video on how to power snatch:
http://vimeo.com/14870568

so thats the exercise, im quite happy with it... it doesnt take inordinate amounts of time to do because you super set the exercises with little rest and its swimming focused.
You can keep the workout I mentioned above to less than an hour assuming you don't take long breaks between each exercise. But I would focus on one lift before moving on instead of super-setting them. Swimming involves many if not all muscles in the body and any workout that involves all the muscles of the body is swimming-focused workout.

but where i come unstuck is eating. i eat lots, but i bet its not the right things. i plan to get some whey isolate this week and start taking it. but eating for recovery is beyond me. i guess this is why i feel very sore the day after sometimes and sometimes the soreness is hampering my swimming.

after swimming i know i should be eating within 30 minutes, either banana's, yoghurts, cereal or such like but for weight training?

and what foods do i need to be eating during the day? i typically have corn flakes for breakfast, is it wiser to switch to oats or alpen? is it better to eat little and often? i need a diet that can give me energy to work out, grow and recover... but it baffles me because theres too much info.
See first paragraph. Soreness is normal but not necessarily an indication of a productive workout. Walking 10 miles will leave my legs much more sore than if I were to squat a few sets, but which one is making me stronger? Though it could mean that you are not sleeping and eating enough between workouts and swimming sessions.

After swimming and/or lifting, you want to eat carbs + protein, just eat food in general prior to and after exercising. Ideally you would even eat a little protein+carbs bit DURING lifting, but personally my stomach hates that.

I would eat oats instead of Corn Flakes because I enjoy the taste, but you can eat whatever gets you going. Meal frequency probably doesn't matter a whole lot, eat when you are hungry but make sure you are eating enough at the same time.

I hope some of this info is helpful :)
 
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bartboy9891

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Looks like I need do contribute a bit to this thread. I officially started my physical conditioning in this town by spending one and a half hours at a local gym yesterday.

I want to lose a couple of kilos and have more energy to do stuff; I don't need to grow muscle mass, but to become more agile. And I want to keep any unnecessary bloat away.

I guess going there twice a week wouldn't be out of the question; I want to start the right way by not overdoing anything, but still do enough for something to show.
What are you doing in order to get more "agile" ?
 
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