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Down 100lbs, looking to add muscle

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Hey all.

Just registered and wanted to ask some questions without doing it all in my “welcome” post.

First of all. PLEASE, critique me. Tell me what I’m doing wrong, what I need to do, etc. I don’t have a big head (atleast it’s smaller than it use to be)


Anyway. Dropped 100lbs last year as a goal I wanted to accomplish. Did 99% cardio, now I want to start building muscle. I honestly don’t care too much about getting ripped or cut, or having amazing abs, I just want to “bulk up” without “fattening up”. I really just want to be big without being fat anymore. I want my shirts to be filled with muscle, not fat. You get it.


So my thing is I work out 7 days a week. 4 am. Not because I’m hardcore or a gym guy, but because I’m not. If I give myself 1 day to fail, I’ll make it a week, then a month. No slack=no failure. I have always heard that your first few months or year are the biggest opportunities to make big improvements, so I want to make the most of it. I don’t want any “get ripped in 2 weeks” plans, I just want the most efficient way to get the most out of my work outs. No cheats or gimmicks, just strategy. The hard part is the internet is full of the “how to get abs in 7 days” F that. I just want to know which is really the most efficient routines.


So I’ll break it down. I only take 2 supplements, protein powder and creatine. Sometimes I’ll do a pre workout, but only when 4am feels like 2 hours sleep.

As I said, I go to the gym 7 days a week. I start off with 10 min of cardio. Some bike, some elliptical, but usually my go to is uphill HITT. I walk for 1 min uphill, then run for 1 min uphill then walk, etc. try to get my heart rate from 140 up to 160 and back to 140. Then I’ll do 30-40 min of weight lifting.


I literally have zero knowledge of weight lifting. I learn shit off YouTube. I got to planet fitness (a sin I know) and I don’t really know anyone with similar goals as me, so not a lot of people to lean on (hence why I am here).


I’ll attach screen shots of my daily routines, mind you they usually vary once a month or so. I’ll swap a few work outs in and out to keep it fresh. I know the first thing you are goin to say, “why are you skipping leg day” yes, guilty. I don’t have any leg days, or abs, it’s back/biceps/chest/triceps. I honestly just hate my legs. I guess from being overweight for so long and carrying all that weight they are already so big. Not fat, solid, but too big. My calf’s are just huge.


Please take a moment and just critique my workouts. Tell me what I’m doing wrong. Is it too much, too little, not enough rest. I had 2 rest days worked in last month, just doing cardio or abs, but I felt like I left the gym unsatisfied. Like I just wasted the trip. Mind you, it’s planet fitness. There isn’t a ton to work with. I just want to make sure I’m using my time as wisely and efficiently as possible.


I guess my biggest question is, can I lift weights 7 days a week and allow enough rest for muscle growth? I tried to alternate muscle groups so there is atleast 24 hours in between. I also do 50 of something each month. This month I’m doing 50 squats, next month it will be 50 lunges, 50 pull ups the month after, etc. just as a monthly challenge.


I doubt these will upload in order but:

Monday: Back/biceps

Tuesday: chest/triceps

Wednesday: back

Thursday: shoulders

Friday: triceps

Saturday: biceps

Sunday: chest






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7days a week.


what a program. and the amount of exercises is.... dizzying.


its awesome you lost that weight and I'm totally in awe for your hardcore program




I do worry about you not giving yourself enough rest.


I'm not an expert but I'm well read; and most of the experts in weight lifting stress simple compound lifts 3-4x a week (your "split" is fine) and most importantly PROGRESSIVELY overloaded.


what does all that mean...


a Compound lift is one that exercises a lot of muscles at once. and they are MORE important than other exercises. most program obsess about these lifts.... generally there are 5

Squat, Press, Bench, Deadlift, and Row


Progressive Overload means your weights are getting stronger on a regular basis.  and adding more and more weight means you body Adapts by strengthening your muscles


lastly we use SETS and REPS when doing weight lifting.  for example; do 5 lifts consecutively, and THAT is a Set.  do 5 of those sets, weighting a few minutes in between sets for your muscles to recover. 


I don't know where your at or what you know about weight lifting.  but what I'm reading just seems WAY too complicated.


if you current program Isn't working SIMPLIFY.


if you Want to continue that 7 days a week program.  3 days of it, do some kind of cardio to give your muscles a chance to relax.





PS anyways. wow.  I reread everything and I'm still dizzy.  you don't have to do a Different exercise every day, though.  some exercises are simply better than others.  it sounds like you've been at it for a while and its not working well.

if so, I just think its too much and NOT focused.  some lifts really give a lot of Bang for the buck.  Db Presses,, are Arnold overhead presses on there?  stuff like that.


PPS yeah I'm going to "critique" you a little for your thoughts about legs. sorry man, they are SO important to overall strength.  Deadlifts and Squats are Really, really important- but where are they.

mmm Yikes I don't see it and it goes against everything I read about making a program.


some people don't focus on them as much as others- but too entirely skip it!?  dude, I just can't agree.


welcome to the rebellion.  pick and choice through all my advise i'm no expert.  do you have good form on all these exercises.? …. impressive.  I'd have you show ME a few of these if you were local.


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Oh, hey, I commented on your other post and now I see you've added more details here. Okay, so here are my thoughts. I see a lot of small exercises, and I see that you're working out every day. I see that there's a lot of focus on pressing, and nothing much for legs and hips. I can't see the logic behind the exercise choices.


Personally, I think for a beginner who is just looking to get stronger and more muscular overall, this approach doesn't make sense. I think you'd be better off with three or four workouts per week where you alternate two workouts that cover each of the following six movement types: horizontal and vertical press, horizontal and vertical pull, hip hinge, and squat. Why? Because these cover most of the muscles in the body. That means you can go in, do three lifts (horizontal press, horizontal pull, squat), and go home. Then two days later you go in and do the other three lifts (vertical press, vertical pull, deadlift or other hip hinge). Boom, you worked out pretty much your whole body and still had a day of rest. Sure, you can do more days, more exercises, more volume... but why? As a beginner, you'll adapt super fast to the really simple approach I mentioned. Keep in mind that muscles are weakened in the gym, then get stronger while you rest and eat. And you can always add in specific exercises like the flyes or raises or curls later on if there's a specific muscle or weakness you want to work on. 


So yeah, I'd say save the bodybuilding splits for later, and start with a beginner programme like starting strength or stronglifts 5x5. That's just my personal opinion. I'm not a trainer. You can do whatever you want. And be sure to have fun and get some rest! 

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Thank you for the replies! I know it’s overkill. Like I said, I really just want to take full advantage of my “intro” to building muscle. I have always heard the beginning is when your body can make the biggest changes. I’m not tired, I’m not exhausted, I don’t feel extremely sore. But I leave feeling achieved. Covered in sweat and ready to get after it.

To kinda touch on both of your points. I do 50 squats a day, just simple 35 lbs at 5x 10reps. I usually do each set between my normal workouts.
IE: bench 10 reps do 10 squats bench 10 more do 10 more squats. Etc. I kinda use it as my rest between sets. Keep my heart rate up, but not get too extreme.

As far as increasing weight, let’s say we are talking curls, I’ll do 35lbs 10-12x, then 40lbs 10x then 45 8x. Next week I’ll try to up it by 5lbs. Usually I just try to make my 3rd set a “push till failure”. If failure is 8, I do 8. If it’s 4, then it’s 4.

I usually do as heavy a weight as I can until I can’t keep proper form. If I have to twist my body to get another rep, I’m done. Full range of motion, no swinging, no jerking, no half reps.

I don’t mind going hard, I enjoy it. To be honest most evenings If I’m just around the house I’ll do a few hundred reps with super low weight of whatever I did that day. Knock out 30 curls at 15lbs or something.

But with all that being said, I know there is overdoing it when my body says I am over doing it, and there is overdoing it which isn’t noticeable, but doesn’t move you forward toward your goal. Right now I feel solid. I enjoy it, I don’t leave tired or worn out. But I just want to make sure from a experienced perspective that even though I feel good, am I not giving my body enough rest without even knowing it.

And also, I’m definitely seeing results. I only started lifting weights regularly around mid December and people have already started to point out the difference.

And I don’t know if the pics showed in my original post. I do have rows mixed in 2-3 times a week, sometimes cable rows, sometimes being over rows. Any of my bench presses are with dumb bells, really 75% are dumbbells. There are a few cable workouts in there, and a few EZ bar workouts, but mostly dumbbells, just because I think there is a little added bonus to trying to balance both arms in addition to pushing or pulling.

I totally respect your opinions. This is not meant to be a combative reply at all, in the contrary. I’m looking to learn, so I appreciate it!

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Ugh. Daughter has the flu, didn’t get home from the Dr. till 11 last night, slept through my 3:45 alarm, didn’t wake up till 5. Walked in the gym at 5:15, 10 min of cardio and back home. No slack.
Guess I am taking a rest day like you guys suggested today anyway

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your Definitely ONLY overdoing it when you body says so, no matter what random strangers say on the internet.


no one knows you body like you do


today then is a good experiment.  does the rest help.


I'm curious (and its relevant)... ARE you unhappy/unfurfilled with your workout in some way?


it kind of sounded like you were when you wrote... but now, then not so much.


this is MORE important than all advice combined.  if what your doing is WORKING (or your happy with it), you have no need for advice at all. its counterproductive and can inspire even doubts about what you are doing that are unnecessary.


the website is filled with people doing their own hardcore workouts and getting support from everyone else.


unfortunately for many people that post on these forums (not just you); there is so much that can't be conveyed and shared (at least not well) over the internet.


how to meet YOUR goals,  how to Make your goals and find the right exercise to do that, how to adapt your program to what your body is doing.


that kind of stuff is why they pay coaches.  thats not to be trite or impolite about what we would be willing to do.  share any question you want, or even send us video if you want feedback.... but honestly.  coaches still are better. the founder of this forum is a coach and can do that if you are interested. ( I have not pursued this, so I can't tell you how useful and instructive it is).... I think they call it the "academy"



I invite you to join our community though and set up a challenge thread.   this gives you the chance to regularly update people on how your goals are going.  these people become friends and offer a sense of accountability.  


as you get known and know people it becomes easier to query for specific advice.


best of Luck.

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Thank you! Like I enjoy it, I leave the gym and want to go back. Days like today where I only got 10 min in seemed pointless. Like I set myself back, or wasted and opportunity. My biggest concern is am I over doing it? Rest is key, I know this, muscles need time to rebuild, but the hard part for me is trying to convince myself that I need more rest.
I feel like when I add rest days I’m just giving myself an excuse to not lift weights. I felt good enough to lift weights, I want to but “it’s my rest day”.

I just don’t want to look back in a year and add up all my rest days and say I could be 30% stronger if I didn’t have 3 rest days a week ya know? But at the same time, I don’t want to look back and say I could be 30% stronger but I chose to workout non stop and never let my muscles rebuild. LOL. I’ll work out 5 times a day if I’m up for it, and my body allows it, but what’s the point if I’m actually setting myself back.

Just where is that line between going as hard as you can and moving forward, and going too hard and actually going backwards. Where does too much working out actually become a disadvantage because you are always breaking down muscles and not rebuilding them.

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well lets still talk then.


it IS a risk I fear that you might have that issue. but...

A) you are NOT going to know how much MORE you could have done if you had done xxx'

'B) the more you take advise, the less autonomy you have.  "Autonomy" (the ability to do what you want to do) can be a pretty great gym drug by itself and keep you motivated.  "motivation" has definite and certain upsides in weight lifting and your sure to do a program Better if you have passion for that program.  so thats the other side of making changes even if guided by great advise.


on the other hand; overtraining isn't just about results either.  overtraining risks injury and imbalances (in your program) also can do the same thing.  

thats you biggest risk. not  lack of results.


I would say GENERALLY

Bad form is the worst gym mistake and leads to injury/overtraining fastest.  but not having "recovery"  (note I didn't say "rest days"; its NOT quite the same thing)-is second. so the concern is truly warranted.  you surely Knew that when you wrote the post (and more importantly when you ramped up to 7day a week exercise)


onto your broader point.


I had a GREAT awesome workout today and am really pyched about it right now.  in fact, my Workouts are generally the highlight of my day; something I look forward to and something I consider to be the most Enjoyable time.


I didn't start this way; but I got addicted to both running,weight lifting, and body weight calisthenics (burpees, pullups, that kind of stuff)


so I'm very empathetic about you want for daily exercise time. it can make you feel Great!


many of us sandwich cardio and weight lifting but I have heard of more intense programs include both.


in THAT case, perhaps a few of those days could just be chill?  not pushing max weights, no big sets and less volume??  the novel and eccentric stuff.  something cool that you just read about.



I really think you SHOULD carefully consider other programs and how they differ from yours.  read Harriet's good posts and read alot stuff that @defining has written to other people.


people ask questions about programming all the time and the fundamentals do not change, person to person.  Everybody gains muscle pretty much the same way.


I have a feeling that if you paid a coach that person WOULD alter your program even over your objections. 


but I'm NOT a coach though and I think No coach worth his fee will offer you specific programming regiment (For Free) over the net.

this is NOT that kind of place.

its open to all to comment on, because its just advice and observations from people that might be well-read but aren't (neccesarily) qualified or credentialed.  ( I do want to add that I don't KNOW if some of the people here aren't fitness trainers,etc... they COULD be.  but i'm quite sure they won't do that for free on a post like this)


as a last comment, I've read one things widely on the internet that I truly believe.


there are ALL kinds of advice, tips, programs, and suggestions on how to make a weight lifting routine that works and is effective.


generally, almost ALL weight training programs work.  maybe not as well as others  but if you are lifting weight in some way (or even just HOLDING it, like isometric)... your body will adapt to that strain by building new muscle.  that's ALL there is to that.  its easy to make things too complicated.  if you feel it in your muscles and you do that routinely, you WILL gain strength.


I think I've said enough.  I wish you luck.


truly man about the 100# congrats.  that's a stunning achievement rarely done by people and indicates great discipline. 

I'm sure that kind of commitment can make many good things possible.

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Thank you. I appreciate all your advice. I’m proud I was able to stick to losing the weight, but not so much proud of the number, it just signifies how much I let myself go. The big accomplishment for me was getting to the gym 365 days straight. At hotels, on vacation. The only time I missed entering a gym was Disney, but we were actively walking 20k steps a day, so that in itself was doubling my “move” goal. Not that it’s working out per say, but I don’t discredit the extra activity.

I have since put 15 back on, but I don’t believe it’s fat. When I was losing weight I was doing strict fasting, most days only having one large meal for lunch. Now that I’m hitting weights more I feel like I need more fuel. I still eat well, but break my fasts with protein shakes, 3 meals a day, as well as trying to get a snack every few hours. Hard boiled eggs. Banana. Almonds. Etc. Good foods, but still calories I didn’t have before, or during what use to be fasting times. I’m also hoping some of that is the result of adding some muscle weight as well as stored water from creatine. A little advice here would also be helpful

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regarding supplements,etc

I have no (or little) knowledge.  I'm just generically taking muscle milk after most workouts hoping that is good enough.



do you want to comment on that?


... other people, too, have a lot of expertise but she comes to mind as she answers many of these types of questions.

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OK. Third time's the charm! (due to my own stupidity in duplicating/asking stuff to be deleted) Starting with the requisite disclaimer that I'm not an expert or fitness/health professional, just a random stranger on the internet.


As others have already mentioned, by not taking rest days you run the risk of actually REDUCING your gains due to insufficient recovery time. This is highly individualistic, and the only way you'll figure out YOUR sweet spot is by experimenting. You are also at a higher risk of potentially injuring yourself, for the same reason. That doesn't mean that you CAN'T work out 7 days/week, just that you need to be smart about it, and be open to changing things in the future as needed.


To work out every day you MUST:
- manage your recovery properly; 7+ hrs sleep/night, gratitude journal/meditate for stress, etc
- eat enough, and properly; 1g protein/lb of bodyweight, fruit & veg, TDEE or TDEE+10% 
- ensure that you are not experiencing symptoms of overtraining
- balance this high frequency with appropriate intensity & volume; keep the daily workouts to <30min ideally
- program in a deload week AT LEAST every 6-8 weeks, where you'll only go to the gym 2 times/week for a light workout

RE: exercise selection, I'll again echo the others where simplifying will likely be a better choice. I've heard the phrase that you have to 'earn' doing isolation work, and as a beginner you are typically best served by focusing more on compound lifts. The 'monthly goal' 50 rep stuff resembles 'grease the groove' training, but might not be a good synergistic addition to the existing lifting volume.


Personally, I also prefer a balanced push/pull ratio for shoulder & back health; I also like push ups better than most bench pressing because it involves the whole body, and you can incease the difficulty by trying them on rings/TRX!


So, bearing in mind that you're not too keen on lots of leg work, here's something that I might choose to do for a 7 day/week program:

  • Mon: Pulls Ups, Hip Thrusts, Push Ups; all at a weight that you can manage for 6-8 reps, 3-4 sets each
  • Tues: Goblet Squats (5-6 reps, 3-4 sets), rowing machine for 3min sprints:2min rest/x4 for 20min
  • Wed: Inverted Rows (or seated cable rows, if you prefer), Half-Kneeling unilateral DB press (both at 6-8 reps, 3-4 sets); then Bear Crawls or Spiderman Crawls for 10-15min min
  • Thurs: Deadlifts & Incline Bench Press (each 5-6 reps, 3-4 sets), Cable Face Pulls for 10 reps/3-4 sets
  • Fri: Pull Ups, Push Ups (same weights as Monday); DBFarmer's Walk for 50m, rest briefly and repeat for 15min
  • Sat: Rowing machine sprints 20-30min
  • Sun: Turkish Getups 10x each side, Overhead DB Back Lunge 6-8 each side, 3-4 sets


You can carry on with the 10min warmup if you enjoy it, but I'd also recommend a bit of a cool-down (I like sun salutations, but that's just me); even just easy walking again for 5min would help. Percussive massage or foam rolling may also help with recovery.


Stuff like the crawls, getups, lunges, and loaded carries will help to develop dynamic core work and bracing, as well as mobility. Deadlifts and Goblet squats will work forearms/grip strength in addition to whole-body stimulus. Using a rowing machine adds some extra pulling volume without feeling like you're going overboard, and helps balance lifting with a bit of conditioning as well.

For eating, like I mentioned above you can eat just above your TDEE for slow & steady growth. I'd recommend keeping a food journal for a couple weeks to make sure that your macros and kcal are coming in around where they should. If you are gaining more than 1lb/week, cut back the snacks. Keep girth measurements to track progress (limbs, shoulders, waist, hips), plus how clothes fit.


No additional supps are really necessary at this point, though the creatine is never a bad choice. Pre-workouts are typically mostly caffeine with a few other bits and pieces mixed in, so you can always just have a cup of coffee 20min before you work out.


Mostly you should just keep in mind that working out every day is working FOR NOW, but you may need to be open to changing that in the future depending on how your body responds to this type of training over time.


Remember to go slow, be safe, and have FUN! Welcome to the forum.



@TGP Thanks for the tag!

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44 minutes ago, Defining said:

Oh, FFS, I posted a HUGE post, and then duplicated it and asked Tank to delete the duplicate, but it looks like both are gone. Sorry dude, will have to retype it later. :( 

FWIW I never saw a huge post, I saw two posts, both of which said they were duplicates and asking for deletion.

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Just now, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

FWIW I never saw a huge post, I saw two posts, both of which said they were duplicates and asking for deletion.


You are 100% correct! I tried editing the second post with a larger one, but I suspect that it was deleted somewhere in the middle when I wasn't paying attention. Totally my fault, thanks for deleting the duplicates!

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On 2/10/2020 at 7:21 PM, firstwarrior said:

 I do 50 squats a day, just simple 35 lbs at 5x 10reps. I usually do each set between my normal workouts.
IE: bench 10 reps do 10 squats bench 10 more do 10 more squats. Etc. I kinda use it as my rest between sets. Keep my heart rate up, but not get too extreme.


Okay, so you've got some squats. That's good. But there are three things I want to mention.

1. I personally think you should increase the weight on them just as you do with your other lifts. Progressive overload is the key to getting stronger & more muscular.

2. I also think that you should REST between sets. When you don't rest, the next set feel subjectively harder, but you perform worse. Lifting can be deceiving in that a workout that feels subjectively hard isn't necessarily the best proof that you're getting stronger. Lifters who rest fully between sets lift more on their next set, which means they get a better workout. You do not need to keep your heart rate up between sets. 

3. I still think you need a hip hinging movement such as a deadlift or similar. 


One more thing. It seems you're determined to workout without rest days, which is fine, but it also invalidates my previous advice to do full-body workouts. If you really are going to workout on consecutive days, then splits are best. Just like on your charts where each day seems to have a muscle area focus. If you alternate between upper and lower body, or perhaps push, pull and lower body, then different muscle groups get at least 48 hours rest in which they can grow. So the only thing I'd change is to make at least one day for squat/quads, and one day for hip hinge/glutes/hamstrings. 

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1 hour ago, firstwarrior said:

Quick question, and this is not sarcastic, but squats do not count as a hip moving exercise?

They are generally considered to be a knee dominant movement, especially with goblet squats where the loading is more towards the front of your body which tends to engage your quads more than your posterior chain/glutes.


This might be a helpful read: https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/how-to-build-your-own-workout-routine/

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7 hours ago, firstwarrior said:

Thanks for all the replies. Just getting caught up here.

Quick question, and this is not sarcastic, but squats do not count as a hip moving exercise?


Nah, they're a little bit different. They overlap in the muscles they use, but for most people, the squat will work the quads more, while the deadlift works the hamstrings and lower back more.

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