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Posts posted by Defining

  1. ^^^^ What Zach said. :) I'll also add that body composition monitors are generally very inaccurate, and probably shouldn't be used to track anything more than very general trends. When you're trying a new routine, you need to give it a MINIMUM of 6-8 weeks of good effort before reevaluating (unless you are an intermediate or advanced lifter, and know how to assess your progress faster).


    Also, it will be just as important to track your recovery strategies (eg. sleep, stress management, nutrition, soft-tissue work, etc.) as it is to track your workouts. If your body is struggling to cope, it can't improve!


    Finally, I'd recommend following a tried-and-true program rather than trying to create your own to start with. That could be Strong Curves, Starting Strength, or StrongLifts for muscle gain; for endurance/heart rate work, maybe something like Couch to 5K? Progressive overload and sufficient recovery is hugely important to make progress in any fitness goals.


    Don't forget to have fun! And welcome to the forum.

    • Like 1

  2. On 7/2/2020 at 7:03 PM, Valette said:

    @Defining, how would you incorporate rowing and glut work? Out of curiosity. :) To answer your question: I do love it.  

    Well that's the most important part! Personally, I'd have some 'higher rep' (ie. 6-10 reps/set) rowing and glute specific exercises included in each workout, mostly because most of us sit too much and some extra posterior chain & back work never hurts. But that's just what I like to do, no reason for you to do the same unless you're either curious, or have tried it out and found that it helps your own goals.

  3. Things you didn't mention: your recovery programming or diet. :) That should be planned just as much as your workouts, IMO - which will help prevent you from overdoing it! Items could include sleep goals, nutritional goals, gratitude journaling, planned off-days, active recovery, stretching, massage, yoga, meditation, etc.


    The workouts look ok to me, minus my personal biases for extra rowing and glute work. Most important question: are you enjoying these workouts? 

    • Like 2

  4. Hi Patrick, this is an 18+ server, so I hope you'll come back in two years when you're old enough. :) @Tanktimus the Encourager


    In the meantime: you are not eating enough. At your age your body is still developing, and you should NOT be worrying about losing weight - you should be focusing on eating nutritious foods to stay healthy and full of energy (minimum 2,000-2,200kcal/day using your stats). Getting enough protein and staying active are also great habits to cultivate, but I discourage you from worrying about lowering your bodyfat percentage right now (unless otherwise directed & guided by a licensed and qualified medical professional). Completely aside from any developmental concerns, maintaining a very low caloric intake can cause lots of undesirable long-term hormonal adaptations, which will end up working against your efforts.


    If this is something you are concerned about, I will also recommend you speak to the adults in your life (eg. parents, gym teachers, etc.) to discuss SAFE options, and for some perspective on if it's even something necessary to worry about or not. Take care of yourself!

    • Like 1

  5. 21 minutes ago, //Min said:

    As for the physio, can I visit every 2-4 weeks? My last physio asked me to come every week so I thought that was a norm.

    One of the challenges with chronic injury/pain like what you've described is that it CAN take a while to figure out where the issue is coming from. Hell, even with my injury where we KNOW what was affected, we're still not actually sure where the nerve is being directly affected, and we're still experimenting with different exercises to manage/improve symptoms. The other unfortunate reality is that sometimes injuries don't fully heal, and running/jogging may be too high impact for yourself.


    A good physio should be giving you exercises to do in between sessions, yes; the goal should always be that you can manage the condition yourself long-term. It would be reasonable IMO to say that you want to take the opportunity to really focus on the exercises, unless you find that hands-on therapy makes a big difference for you right away. Part of having more time between sessions may help because it gives the strength training a chance to take effect. It can take months to truly start seeing real results in some cases, for reference re: timelines. 


    I also avoid medical treatment unless absolutely necessary, but in the doctor's defense re: your ankle - there really aren't many reliable ways to confirm damage in the connective tissues without a MRI (which would typically be considered unnecessary if there aren't other symptoms, as far as I know) and the inflammation from the initial injury is often enough to mask additional symptoms for the first few weeks. So beyond knowing that you likely didn't break something, assuming it's a sprain was probably reasonable. The doc for your knee though was there to help you - even if they're having a bad day.


    This is an area of your life where it's really important for you to advocate for yourself, and communicate your expectations and concerns; even if that's uncomfortable to do. I'd also be sure to disclose all of the things you've mentioned: ankle, knee, and hip - changing your gait (ie. how you walk) can absolutely be interrelated with all of the areas you've mentioned.

  6. I will also chime in with my own recent physio experiences: I was rear-ended in the early spring, and am still dealing with some nerve issues as a result of the whiplash. Bodies are very unique, and even our muscles & nerves don't always insert in the same places. Different skeletal systems can also compensate in different ways (eg. women, whom often have wider hips, may be more prone to valgus collapse). Pain is also sometimes referred from other areas - so where you're FEELING it may not be what's actually causing the issue.


    Echoing Paul, none of us are qualified to help you diagnose the issue, and while I understand your hesitance in working with a physical therapist when your last experience wasn't productive, I still think having a professional help you with troubleshooting may be beneficial. Maybe one visit every 2-4 weeks to discuss changes/new exercises to try?


    In the meantime, reverse lunges are often touted to be safer for your knees, which it sounds like you're already trying. And pretty much everyone can benefit from some extra work on the posterior chain (hamstrings & glutes mostly), since we all sit too much. Hip thrusts and other activation exercises are generally very low risk and have good potential to help strengthen your core & posture muscles as well. You can also look at a split squat or goblet vs a bodyweight squat, as a way to focus on alignment. Also heel & toe raises, plus seated/prone leg raises, are a nice gentle way to get things moving without too much load on the joints. 


    At any rate, I hope you find success with your goals, and let us know how it all goes! :)

  7. 2 minutes ago, Harriet said:

    I just thought strength and hypertrophy adaptations were better below 15 reps, and that reps higher than15-20 start achieving more adaptation for endurance? The first study you linked showed that 20-25 rep sets increased strength and hypertrophy, though. So now I'm confused, given everything else I've read. One thing, though. I would find it really hard to take a 25 rep set close to failure. For me, the higher the reps, the more 'fuzzy' failure becomes... I don't fail absolutely so much as I just hate the set more and more until I give up. But it's definitely nice to know that lighter weights could still promote strength and hypertrophy (given that gyms are closed and all I have is kettlebells).

    It's all so much more nebulous than that, there are no full stops or lines between different types of adaption. Truthfully, any repetitive action we do with our bodies will result in changes. And I agree, 25+ reps are miserable sets. IMO the 'safe' range for most folks is often 5-12, but it totally depends on the individual.

    • Like 1

  8. 1 hour ago, Harriet said:

    Really? I'm interested in this. Can you recommend a source?



    As we've discussed before, there are many flaws and limitations in fitness & nutritional studies, so it's all with a grain of salt.

    The study I was thinking of, when I said that there's no significant difference in experienced lifters:


    To support the opposite idea, that heavy loads will improve strength more:


    To show that in novice lifters it probably doesn't matter that much: 

    older study that shows similar results: effects of 4 and 10 repetition maximum.pdf

    In favour of periodisation:


    Just to complicate things, lifting speed can also affect strength gains:


    Examples of sex-specific strength adaptations:


    Overall discussion:

    If we are taking this at face value, my previous statement is wrong: lifting heavier stuff generally makes you better at lifting heavier stuff, vs lifting lighter stuff. But in a more nuanced way, 'strength' isn't only benefitted by lifting heavy, but through intentional periodisation of different loads, rep ranges, and volumes. This type of variety is also beneficial to prevent nervous system burnout, for long-term strength gain.


    I will also correct myself in that getting close to failure has more benefit for hypertrophy vs strength; sorry for the incorrect statement above, that was absolutely my mistake. That being said, I still have strong misgivings around making a blanket statement like 'you need to lift heavy to get stronger', especially since the statistical difference between heavier or lighter loads is not always significant, and is heavily dependent on individual factors. Essentially: no, you don't have to lift heavy to get stronger, and yes you can achieve both muscle and strength gains in higher rep ranges.


    Details in spoiler, so I don't take over the OP thread any more than I already have. Cliff notes: your body gets better at what you ask it to do often (ie. principle of specificity), so when you work closer to your 1RM you get better at lifting close to your 1RM. That being said, strength is not an independent principle from hypertrophy, any more than it is from neural adaptions. Also, the lifter's experience can affect how they may respond to different intensity, frequency, and volume (not to mention sex, gender, hormone levels, and genetic predisposition).


    'Strength', especially when talking about joint stability (ie. knees) isn't just about the absolute load you can move, but also endurance, range of motion, and the connective tissue itself. As it stands, I'd still hesitate to recommend working with heavier loads for novice lifters, especially when there's a concern around joint instability or potential injury. Hence the original suggestion to go talk to a professional first.

  9. You could also try DLing with dumbbells instead, which will help keep the center of gravity more balanced and reduce load on your spine. If you're not already, I'd also recommend incorporating some hip thrusts and glute-activation drills to help ensure that your posterior chain is 'pulling it's weight' so to speak. ;) 

  10. On 6/22/2020 at 8:31 PM, AlexSpall said:

    I am concerned that my body is genetically stuck

    This isn't really a thing, actually - there could be some hormonal balance issues that would make you more prone to holding onto fat, but everyone's bodies will follow the laws of physics (energy in, energy out).


    ALSO, the measurement tools available to determine body fat percentage are notoriously inaccurate - the ONLY thing they may help with would be tracking progress over time, but you can just as easily track your waist girth instead.


    That being said, your kcal is WAY too low for your weight/age/sex. You CAN cause some crappy adaptive responses if you're exercising a lot and not eating enough, which is exactly what you've described.


    IMO, here's what I would suggest doing (bearing in mind that I'm not an expert or doctor): go back to eating at your TDEE (minimum 2,200-2,500kcal) for AT LEAST 4 weeks. Keep your protein intake up, as you have been. Sleep lots. Focus on nutritious foods. Try to work on your weight lifting and making progress with that (I'd also recommend lifting before jogging, or even only jogging on days you don't lift). This will help your body to resume normal function, without the 'panic' it may be in from your eating well below what you should be.


    By cutting your caloric intake down that low, you are far more likely to lose more muscle - which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish. After the four weeks of maintenance, try something like MATADOR instead: two weeks at 70% of your TDEE (ie. 1,500-1,750kcal) while keeping your protein intake consistent, then two weeks back at maintenance, then back and forth alternating every two weeks until you reach the level of leanness that you want.


    To lose FAT (not just weight, because you can do that by peeing), you need to focus on progressive overload with weight lifting, getting in enough protein, resting enough and managing your stress, and fueling your body enough to STAY HEALTHY rather than adapt to what it's perceiving as starvation.


    Even as a young fit male, getting abs isn't going to happen overnight. Remember to be safe, go slow, and keep in mind that it's also important to HAVE FUN! :) Welcome to the forum.

    • Like 2

  11. I'm going to side with the 'go see a professional' end of things here: knees are too easy to injure if you don't know where/what the pain/instability is coming from. Going heavy without any context or working up to it can just as easily cause permanent damage.


    IMO @//Min I think you need to speak to a physiotherapist, and/or a trainer with a strong rehab/kinesiology background to discuss your symptoms and what will be safe for you to work on, in order to improve the situation without putting yourself at risk.





    Side note:

    On 6/25/2020 at 7:45 AM, Harriet said:

    it's light and you won't gain strength and muscle as fast as you could with a heavier weight

    Harriet, absolute strength isn't always the most important metric  -  I have added more info below to clarify.

    • Like 1

  12. 1 hour ago, First Mate Davy said:

    I've thought a bit about different protien sources, but did come up with much besides seitan that seemed like a good fit. I'm hesitant about tofu because I have trouble eating gooey foods (strong dislike of certain textures, and don't seem to be able to learn to like them), but I definitely should check the fiber content of soy snacks and such. Dairy maybe but I'm a little lactose intolerant. I'll think about adding "breakfast for dinner" with scrambled eggs, or something like that, to the rotation. 

    Rice protein powder is usually pretty easy to digest. Depending on HOW lactose intolerant you are, whey or casein isolate may still be ok since they're pretty refined. Mushrooms are good, and firm tofu isn't at all gooey (plus you can freeze it and it'll get spongey), as well as nutritional yeast, seitan as you've already discovered, tempeh is quite lovely too, plus plenty of veggies have higher protein content themselves. I'll copy/paste from another thread where I posted this:



    Kinda depends on how you feel about eating mostly veg & legumes. ;) 40g protein/500kcal = ~1gprotein/12kcal


    chickpeas = 1g/18kcal

    adzuki = 1g/17kcal

    green peas = 1g/16kcal

    black beans = 1g/14kcal 

    artichoke = 1g/14kcal

    brussel sprouts = 1g/14kcal

    cauliflower = 1g/14kcal

    lentils = 1g/13kcal


    corn = 1g/12kcal

    broccoli = 1g/12kcal

    edemame (soy) = 1g/12kcal

    tempeh (fermented soy) = 1g/11kcal

    portobello mushroom = 1g/10kcal

    asparagus = 1g/10kcal

    mung sprouts = 1g/10kcal

    collard greens = 1g/10kcal

    mustard greens = 1g/9kcal

    tofu (curdled soy) = 1g/9kcal

    bok choy = 1g/8kcal

    nutritional yeast = 1g/7.5kcal

    TVP (defatted soy) = 1g/7kcal

    button mushrooms = 1g/7kcal

    spinach = 1g/7kcal

    watercress = 1g/6kcal

    alfalfa sprouts = 1g/6kcal

    pea or rice protein powder = 1g/5kcal

    seitan (gluten) = 1g/4-6kcal (tasty & versatile, but some folks can't digest it)


  13. 1) congrats on becoming more active, please also take a look at your diet to make sure you're getting enough protein (0.8-1g of protein/lb of bodyweight), veggies/fruits, and calories to fuel your workouts :)


    2) x2-4 times a week; the trouble with donkey kicks has to do with weaker core muscles, which is another reason I'd recommend a whole-body routine to ensure a balanced workout


    3) I am hugely supportive of working out to improve your body shape, but you should also work on loving your body in all of its forms


    Go slow, be safe, and have fun! Welcome to the forum.

    • Like 1

  14. You can also try Happy Baby pose. ;)


    Increasing your fiber gradually would generally be the recommendation - going into it cold turkey like that is of course going to be a shock to the system. Usually takes a few weeks to a couple months at absolute most to adjust. In the meantime: chew more, and eat slower. You can also incorporate fermented foods into your diet, cooking the beans w/ kombu, and try blending the legumes into other dishes like hummus.


    On a side note, if you are in a caloric deficit I'd recommend trying to keep your total protein intake to a minimum of 0.8g/lb of bodyweight, and ideally closer to 1g/lb of bodyweight; this will help to preserve your muscle in favour of losing fat vs 'losing weight'. A protein powder may help to hit these numbers, especially if you're limiting meat.


    You may also want to consider intermittent energy restriction (eg. MATADOR protocol), which would be in deficit for two weeks, at maintenance for two weeks, and then alternating back and forth - this will help protect against some of the hormonal adaptations you may run into if you're in a deficit for too long.

  15. I'll also chime in that WHAT and HOW MUCH you eat will also make a big difference when it comes to gaining muscle and/or losing fat.


    Some cliff notes suggestions:

    - 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight

    - 5-8 servings of vegetables/fruit a day is a good goal

    - eating close to your TDEE - either 10% more or less depending on if you want to lose fat (eat less) or gain muscle (eat more) without any radical changes in your diet/energy

    - get enough sleep (7+hrs/night)

    - manage stress as best you can (gratitude journaling, meditation, walking outside, etc.)

    - and making sure you're working out your entire body in a balanced way (Starting Strength as suggested above, or StrongLifts, or even the beginner bodyweight routine are good places to start) at least 3x a week (total exercise should ideally be at least 150min a week)


    Go slow, be safe, and have fun! :)

  16. 18 minutes ago, Madalin said:

    Well..i was thinking..what If i just eat 100g of bread and add 100g chicken to replenish that 100g bread,trying to have more movement and by the time add more kg to my training routine that will make me burn more calories?IT s an ideea just,what You think?

    Eating more protein and working out with similar kcal is effectively a recomp, yeah. It'll take a while, and you ultimately still may not lose enough fat to reduce the lower abdomen deposits without a real deficit, but it's certainly worth starting with if that's what you're comfortable with. I still think you need to eat more vegetables and follow a specific program, or have a trainer set up one for you.

    • Thanks 1

  17. I'm not saying that's what you should do, no. 70% of your TDEE (assuming that 3,500kcal is in fact your maintenance intake) would be 2,500kcal. If you keep  your protein intake up and continue to do resistance training, you should mostly lose fat, especially since you are young and active - but yes, there is always the risk of losing muscle while in any caloric deficit.


    That's kind of how it works in order to lose fat - either be in a deficit for at least a certain period of time, or really dial in nutrition and training long-term for a slow body recomposition plan.

    • Thanks 1

  18. 1) 3,500kcal may still be more than your TDEE; you may gain muscle but you will also likely gain fat over time - unless you have been eating at this level for months with no change, I suspect it is more than your maintenance intake


    2) you need to eat some/more vegetables and fruit


    3) you should confirm that you are eating at least 2g of protein for every kg of bodyweight


    4) side note on your weight lifting, please ensure that you are following a balanced routine; if you don't know how to program one yourself, use something like StartingStrength or StrongLifts - neglecting the posterior chain and/or lower body are common issues when people create their own routines


    And to answer your original question: you cannot selectively lose love handles, since you cannot spot reduce fat loss. If you want to have less fat on your lower abdomen, you will need to simply focus on overall fat loss; bearing in mind that the cushion on the lower abdomen is typically the last the leave and the first to come back when you gain weight again.


    Unfortunately, the only answer is ultimately to do a small cut, and/or recomp over time to lose more fat. If you want to do a proper cut, I'd recommend something like the MATADOR protocol where you are in a higher deficit (eg. 70% of TDEE) for two weeks, and then maintenance kcal for two weeks, and then alternating back and forth between deficit and maintenance every fortnight in order to avoid some of the hormonal adaptations that can occur when losing fat/weight.


    Good luck, be safe, and don't forget to have fun. Welcome to the forum!

    • Thanks 1

  19. So, there are a couple of different factors to unpack, if I'm reading things correctly?

    1) You'd like to (need to) work towards increasing a 3 rep max

    2) You have some limitations that would/should prevent you from regularly lifting that heavy (ie. concerns about back) as well as time constraints

    3) You are unsure when you will need to be 'ready'


    FWIW, I'm a big fan of the method you're already using, which is to increase reps with the same weight until you've hit your goal and then drop down reps and increase weight to start again. Personally, I use something very similar with an added component: rep goals. So let's say you need to hit 25 reps every workout, so you're focusing on total volume in addition to reps per set; 5x5, 4x6 +1, 3x7 + 2, 3x8 +1 = increase weight and go back to 5x5 to start all over again.


    If you're wanting to try working on lower reps, you could look at pyramid training, or something like 5/3/1. If you're not wanting to do lower reps every week, you could program in a 'test' day once a month maybe, to see how the 3 rep max is going? Don't forget that warmup sets are important, especially with heavier weights! The advantage of not regularly using lower rep sets is potentially less fatigue/wear&tear on your nervous system.


    Alternatively, you could add accessory lifts to accelerate your progress with DLs like inverted rows and hip thrusts for example (which arguably should maybe be added to the rotation regardless); or pallof press and KB swings. These could help with training objectives while avoiding unnecessary loading on your back/spine (or in the case of the pallof & swing, adding to cross-axis stability). You could also rotate in some unilateral work like single leg dead lifts, or even single dumbbell single leg deadlifts (also good for the stabilizers in your core).


    Are you able to acquire a trap bar? If not, maybe shift your focus to DB deadlifts if possible instead of using the BB, to practice the slightly different movement pattern in anticipation of the testing. Finally, I'd probably also include the other exercises for the test (backward and overhead medicine ball throw, hand-release push-ups, sprint-drag-carry, hanging leg tucks, etc) because they are also 'skilled' movements to a certain extent, and would likely benefit from some direct training as well.


    All this being said, I don't do much low-rep work myself, and I'm most certainly not an expert. Maybe @Grumble or @Gainsdalf the Whey could chime in?

  20. 1 hour ago, PaulG said:

    I do agree with you that in general, cutting/bulking cycles are the fastest way to reach the ideal body comp most people have in their heads.

    I mean, I don't like cut/bulk cycles - I think they're a form of yoyo dieting, and can cause undesirable long-term hormonal adaptations. Not to mention that if you're not incredibly precise on both sides of the coin, you're just as likely to lose nearly everything you gained, and vice versa. That's why I prefer recomps, lean bulking, or a staggered deficit like MATADOR.


    1 hour ago, PaulG said:

    Usually you start bulking, the first week or so you might shed a small amount of fat as a delayed effect from your cut, before the effects of the surplus really take hold. Then you start gaining muscle and fat in whatever ratio your genetics and plan are set up for. Some folks in their first-ever bulk see their bodyfat percentage go down even though they’re gaining some fat, because they’re gaining at a ratio that’s almost all muscle; is that what you meant?

    It really depends on the individual, but beginner weight lifters are in the advantageous position of typically being able to both lose fat (in absolute numbers, in addition to as a percentage) and gain muscle simultaneously. It rarely lasts more than the first 3-9 months for most folks, but there it is.


    Young men in particular are generally well primed hormonally speaking to gain muscle, and if they are more active without eating everything in sight they'll also probably lose fat during that honeymoon period. This is also partly why for bulking you don't actually need much more than 10-15% extra over TDEE, since anything more than that is more likely to be stored as fat rather than being used to fuel protein synthesis.


    There are also some interesting examples of some trained athletes being able to both gain lean body mass and lose fat mass in the same time period while in a caloric surplus with VERY high protein intake (3.3g+/kg of bodyweight) and undergoing novel training stimulus with progressive overload. Obviously though, it does depend heavily on genetic predisposition and existing hormonal profile though.

  21. 7 hours ago, PaulG said:

    It doesn't immediately sound to me like losing fat would be unhealthy for you. At first glance you don't seem overweight for your height, so if your goal was to gain muscle, no one would tell you that was a bad idea.

    You are 100% correct! I just think that for a young male beginner lifter, it's a bit of a waste of time to go on a deficit when most of the time they can lose fat whilst gaining muscle for faster results. That being said, I totally agree that it wouldn't be unhealthy at that weight to lose some fat, and there's likely a bit of extra padding that could be lost without any ill-effect.


    Zach also makes a great point - abdominal fat is a pain in the backside to lose, so to see abs you may need to be quite lean indeed. :) At any rate there are no real 'bad' options, other than not eating enough to stay healthy.