It is both entirely free and substantially better than this guide. It is based on the combined experience of people who are much further along in their fitness journey than Julian. There are good answers to all common questions and there are solid programs that match various personal preferences.
But for real, their sticky is nice.
But rest assured, there lies some humanity and good insight within, if you can find it.
Although I've always been a "geek" I am into sports since high school - so it is now more than 20 years. Maybe I was just lucky, but I always had good results, even in the era when internet was not there for the information. Never had to take any supplements, and the results were just right. I won't bother you giving advice, because:
1. Everyone's body is different
2. It's simple once you get it, but it might be difficult to explain.
I'll just say that skimming through this guide I've seen a lot of fluff, some good info and also lots of crap.
I think that, for the people here who would like to start working out, the most important things are:
1. You have to build the habit of working out from now on for the rest of your life if you want the results to stay.
2. Find a professional guidance at first. An enterpreneur whose experience sums to (citing from the OP): "I wrote the first draft of this guide months ago. I meant to publish this then. But I unexpectedly lost half the muscle I had gained." is not the best source of knowledge in this area.
I've been weightlifting for about 3 years, no hormones, I'm old (about 50), I'm a doctor and a statistician (ahem, I mean data scientist) and my view is that the vast majority of advice on the net is really bad, so I found this article a refreshing change.
Bloggers select small sized, underpowered studies to support their 'bro science' theories, and it's hard to differentiate what information applies to natural bodybuilding - which is not much since many bodybuilders are on hormone supplements.
My only comments are that creatine in high doses can cause renal stones, and the BMR calculator probably doesn't take into base level activity. E.g. my BMR is around 1600 cal, with general moving around it's around 1800 (before exercise). I measure my exercise calorie burn with a heart rate monitor, and balance my calories intake (using MyFitenssPal). I've been able to control my weight accurately over the last 4.5 years - originally 84kg, down to 64kg, now around 69kg with weightlifting. It's tough being old and trying to put on muscle... and I wasted time not eating enough to start with.
There's simply no money for large, high-powered studies. We have to rely on what observations are actually possible.
However the quality of studies, especially in terms of study design, is steadily improving.
> it's hard to differentiate what information applies to natural bodybuilding
Actually, a lot of the worst studies are done with novice trainees. All we've learnt from those is that pretty much any stimulus works on someone who hasn't trained before.
Studies involving subjects using anabolic and androgenic steroids typically control for that.
Yes there is, the deepest pockets of all are very, very interested in fitness: the military. You can download the Navy SEAL physical training guide for free!
"A three year Naval Special Warfare study comprised of thousands of SEAL candidates has identified the speeds, distances and reps that correspond to success at BUD/S. The graphs in the predictive model show the boundaries of smart training to maximize your odds of success without increasing your risk of injury."
You don't need a 500lb deadlift to lift a machine gun -- or swim with a 50lb pack.
I'm talking about hypertrophy, which is the purpose of the post here.
There's not much money for "hi we'd like to research how to make healthy adults as big as possible, thanks".
If you wouldn't mind, I'd be interested in more explanation of this comment, because it's possible that I'm in the same situation you were in when you were "wasting time" and don't realize it. What did you discover about an old guy putting on muscle without putting the lost (non-muscle) weight back on?
- Based on your testosterone levels and genetics there is a max amount of muscle you can put on per year (without drugs) so exercise and eating over that level doesn't make more muscle, just fat & injury. This varies per person, you have to try and find out.
- You need longer recovery time between heavy weight sessions
- Make sure you eat enough to grow muscle, but no more than necessary
- I've given up the bulk and cut methods i.e. I don't think it's healthy to put on lots of weight and then rapidly cut, it's better to go slow and make smaller adjustments, it will take longer to put on muscle but you will look better for more of the year
I'm not sure about the medical field, but, at least online, when one wants to calculate total energy use, one calculates Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), defined as the sum of one's BMR and the calories burned from activity. (Usually one simply estimates activity, and then uses measured caloric intake and rate of weight change to infer the true value of one's TDEE and activity level.)
Do you have a study to prove that women can grow "beginner" muscles at the same speed as men? I mean common, testosterone levels are drastically different, it will surely affect the muscle growth.
Yes, men have more testosterone, but testosterone is less important to the female muscle development process. In fact, women benefit from higher levels of IGF1 growth hormone, which is critical to muscle growth, as compared to men [1, 2].
"Eight young men (age 20-30 years), six young women (age 20-30 years), nine older men (age 65-75 years), and ten older women (age 65-75 years).
The results indicate that neither age nor gender affects muscle volume response to whole-body ST."
"Six women and 6 men trained the elbow flexors 3 days per week for 20 wks, one arm performing in each session 3-5 sets of 10 maximal concentric actions on an accommodating resistance device, the other arm 3-5 sets of 8-12 coupled eccentric/concentric actions on a weight training device."
"One hundred eighty-one previously inactive healthy Caucasian (N = 117) and African American (N = 54) men (N = 82) and women (N = 99), aged 50–85 yr,<...>
Training-induced increases in absolute MV were significantly greater (P < 0.001) in men than in women, though both sex groups increased MV significantly with ST (P < 0.001), and the relative (%) increases were similar. "
So, if we are to believe the first two, that were, BTW conducted on miniscule samples, and concentrated on only one exercise of a small muscle, we should expect the same muscle gain in 20 year old men as in 70 year old ladies!
I wonder why those old ladies do not feature that much at bodybuilding competitions or Olympic games...
The third, which has larger sample, actually says that there is the difference between males and females, which is in accordance with what we can see at every sports event.
It's obvious you put a lot of work into this, and you know what, it may not be the world's best information on building muscle, but what I do know is that you researched this way more than I have, and actually inspired me to start a workout routine. So there's that.
thanks for putting this together.
Also, none of the weight programs actually have a starting weight low enough to support that, anyway. No program I've seen starts deadlifts at empty barbell. So good luck aligning your deadlift weight with your other weight, like you're supposed to do to not get unbalanced. SL certainly didn't, maybe SS does but I don't recall that. So what are you talking about, anyway?
There's a similar and more significant problem with barbell rows, to the point that I ended up not doing them at all. But deadlift is considered more core.
1) Did you mean deadlift instead of squat in your first few sentences? Squat has the bar on your back, so distance off the ground is not an issue...
2) Speaking honestly, if this is the kind of thing that is going to keep somebody from getting stronger, then they're not gonna accomplish much in life. Working from first principles, there are two ways to get a less-than-135lb loaded bar at the right height for deadlifting:
a. Plates which are less dense than steel. You can buy or fabricate wooden starter plates which are the same diameter as a 45lb plate.
b. Rely on something other than the plates to get the bar in the correct starting position. Blocks, books, Tupperware bins, or (if you have one) the safety bars on a power rack all would work.
3) In Starting Strength, the starting weight for each lift is whatever you can lift on day one. If that is below the weight of an empty 45lb barbell, then you get a woman's (35lb), junior (25lb), or PVC (perhaps less than 2 lbs?) barbell. Your starting weight is not the important part, it's adding weight to the bar each workout.
The SS community believes pretty strongly that strength is for everyone. They train lots of people (women and older people) who don't fall into the traditional strength training target audience (men 16-40).
One point is that muscle memory is probably a real effect. There is a very approachable article on it on Strengtheory although the site is currently down. There is a cached version at . Basically, as your muscle grows it creates new myonuclei, which is energetically expensive, but those myonuclei are not lost when you detrain. You need a certain density of mynuclei to support a given volume of muscular tissue. There is also a brief description on Wikipedia with references .
Another thing to note is that the main benefit of compound exercises for bodybuilders is that compound exercises are much more time efficient than isolation exercises. With regard to the specific exercises you've selected, a few criticisms come to mind. 1. I don't think oblique work is necessary in a minimal program focused on aesthetics. Most people do not need a specific focus on larger obliques. 2. On your leg day you are progamming 4 sets of squats, 3 sets of hamstring curls, and 4 sets of deadlifts. The hamstring curls are at best unnecessary. The hamstring is the primary mover of the deadlift, and squats also work the hamstrings. It would be better to program barbell hip thrusts to develop the glutes. In general you should add specific glute exercises for an aesthetic-focused routine targeted at both men and women. 3. The seated pulley row and lat pulldown work substantially the same muscles. They should be separated in the workout at least. In general I'm pretty skeptical of bodybuilding split type workouts for beginners. I think it makes more sense for beginners to do full-body workouts, as the hallmark of being a novice is that you can make strength gains every workout. Body part split routines are necessary in part because intermediate lifters require more time for their body parts to recover from a given exercise, so working a body part once a week makes more sense.
It is probably not the case that 4 sets is "ideal" for hypertrophy. There are diminishing returns, but not negative returns, and 4 sets is certainly not enough to get "maximum hypertrophy" as you claim in your addendum. Part of the reasoning failure here is that you claim that it's impossible to lift with middle amounts of reps for more than 4 sets, but that is probably not relevant, because what matters for hypertrophy is the number of sets you do to near failure. Being within the magic rep range is not very important.
I think that's all the criticism I have time for now. Seems like a good start, and hopefully you can use some of this information to improve the guide.
5: I believe this is discussed in detail in Practical Programming for Strength Training by Rippetoe.
This. It's a lifestyle. There are no shortcuts or miracle plans. Just do it for fun and for the overall health benefits. The muscle will come as a nice side benefit.
> Although I've always been a "geek" I am into sports since high school
I've been also working out for 18 years now. It's odd that society still has this stereotype that the geek types don't do sports.
Funny anecdote: one of my best friends and training partner is an ex-professional olympic weightlifter (national team of my country). He's also very geeky and now that his elite sports life has ended is trying to launch web and mobile projects. Recently I have convinced him to start learning programming...
The best thing you could do to learn how to build muscle is to go to a big bodybuilding forum and just do whatever bro-science they spout. I've been following bodybuilding forums and casually looking at research for many years, and invariably the bro-scientists are way ahead of scientific proof, in terms of methods and techniques, all the way down to finicky details. You'll also get the truth about what you can and can't do with/without anabolics.
Edit: I see that the author is here. It's not a bad guide, good design etc, but frankly it rubbed me the wrong way to basically read "I'm right and everyone else is wrong, because I researched", without having a highly impressive build to back it up. Even professional body builders don't prescribe certain techniques/methods as gospel.
This time I have invested heavily into medical help to solve the problem from the core and not just from the pain perspective. It seems to be paying off so far and I would recommend the course of action I have taken to anyone else suffering from back problems (severe scoliosis in my case due to office cave man exacerbating underlying imbalances from a serious accident). My regime is chiro, sports massage, a physical therapist who doesn't hold back when doing active release and core strengthening exercises once capable.
Also know when is enough. It took years to start listening to my body and to realize I couldn't train like I used to.
well the professor in the talk has published dozens of papers so it's a good way to start. I'm not going to provide you with a literature review sorry :)
I'm personally quite chaotic and hate planning. Some weeks I hit the gym five days, some seven, some none. As such my training routine involves an auto regulating method which adjusts volume as needed. Periodisation (or lack thereof) is done with a simple recursive algorithm.
3/4 goes for nutrition as well. Screw counting macros, calories and weighing myself. If I like what I see on the mirror, great. If I feel that I'm getting flabby, I drop a PSMF day here and there until I look better.
What I lose by doing this is some of the neurological component, so I don't have those zippy gains that you get from beginner training. But I'm always completely recovered or nearly so every time I go in, and that seems make the bigger difference long term as I'm never left feeling overtrained, I can go in every week and give it 100% pretty consistently and the progress is trickling in month by month.
This is all to second: Definitely do your own experiments and focus on an all-factors outcome of building a lifestyle you are OK with. It took me something like 15 years of training to get to a point where I felt in full control of how I was going about it.
How exactly would a beginner do all that?
Anyway I'm with you! Enjoy the ride, and don't let fitness suck the life out of you.
Oh it's such a bad advise for beginners, lifting weights when you body wants to sleep is an easy way for beginners to lose interest in weightlifting and injure yourself. Also sleep is incredibly important for muscle growth.
But I'd much rather go to the gym around 9pm than 9am. Much, much easier
Addendum: I understand if you're still making progress, but maybe give it more than a few months before you start publishing advice on how to gain 20 pounds of muscle?
There was a recent 'study' (most research in this area is pretty bad, small sample sizes, low powered studies) that showed muscle/size improvements: hormones + exercise > hormones > exercise > neither.
For those who want a non-engineer's guide, I cannot recommend strengtheory.com enough. Greg Nuckols is legitimately strong and legitimately up to date with the research.
I'm also struck the idiosyncratic exercise selection. For most beginners a boring group of barbell exercises and a flourish of bicep curls and pullups will get them started. Typically in less time, with less equipment.
Take the dumbbell RDL, for example. Most people can't get the barbell variant even vaguely right and it has an entire bar to cue you about what path to follow.
Hand grippers? Right out of the gate? The good ones aren't cheap. Or you could just wait until grip strength is a limiting factor.
For noobs, do StrongLifts 5x5 or Starting Strength instead.
Minimal viable workout over premature optimizations! Hand grippers and citrulline malate you'll probably not need for a long long time.
Although my strength-building workout of choice has always been sawing, splitting and stacking firewood. Talk about building functional strength...
Shovelling, splitting wood, rowing, churning butter, harvesting food, etc.
The thing I would worry about the most is that the guide is made to seem better than others because it has some cited studies, but who's to say that those studies are statistically valid (which is somewhat hard to come by in the field of nutrition and fitness) or that the author didn't pick certain articles to back certain points and pick others to back others?
However, when it comes to the actual increase in the number of muscle cells, this process is much more difficult to launch. From my experience, this cannot be done without proper hormonal background. By this, I do not mean exogenous (injected) hormones. I mean that one has to have proper levels of testosterone and growth hormone. The former is regulated by the psyche and can be described as the hormone of successfully overcoming difficulties and becoming a winner. An interesting thing is that your brain does no care whether you successfully beat someone in a computer game or just finished a marathon. It will still reward you with testosterone. On the contrary, if you beat yourself over small things, you will fill yourself with cortisol, which is inversely related to testosterone.
Needless to say, to me the muscle growth constitutes invoking the second scenario. That is a formidable but not at all impossible task. It requires knowing how to work with yourself and your mind.
It's still controversial whether creating new muscle cells (hyperplasia) is possible at all, as distinct from expanding the existing cells (hypertrophy).
> The former is regulated by the psyche and can be described as the hormone of successfully overcoming difficulties and becoming a winner
Actually, testosterone in males is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular-adrenal axis. Mood can affect it, but not by very much.
The concept that hormones are the sole predictor of hypertrophy doesn't fit the observed facts: people are high or low responders to training, to food, to rest, to hormones and so on. There's no single predictor of hypertrophy that you can minimax.
You start with the well-tested classics and adjust from there.
> Actually, testosterone in males is regulated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Mood can affect it, but not by very much.
What is mood?
Two subjects, one eats grass, one eats meat. Who grows more?
Two subjects, one trains, one doesn't train. Who grows more?
Two subjects, one is hormonally-responsive, one isn't. Who grows more?
Two subjects, one is 8, one is 88. Who grows more?
Two subjects, one starts with very many myofibrils, one doesn't. Who grows more?
Two subjects, one is tall, the other is short. Who grows more?
Once again it depends on the hormonal background. I only eat raw fruits and vegetables. I assure you that I have plenty of muscle, endurance and strength. All of these were built on this diet.
> Two subjects, one trains, one doesn't train. Who grows more?
All things held equal and constant, the one who trains. You are missing my point. If hormones are there, you will literally build muscles from raising a coffee cup a few times.
> Two subjects, one is hormonally-responsive, one isn't. Who grows more?
This misses the point. We are no discussing how to get hormones to change from one state to another. We are discussing two different stationary hormonal backgrounds.
> Two subjects, one is 8, one is 88. Who grows more?
Once again, hormonal background. 8 year old will not grow muscle. He will have more growth hormone, but not testosterone. The former is responsible for growth but in a different sense which is akin to restoration.
> Two subjects, one is tall, the other is short. Who grows more?
My point is ceteris paribus. Yours seems to be "only hormones matter".
I would think that the observable differences in response to exogenous hormones would be a pretty big clue that it's not all about hormones.
> simply muscle cells retaining water and sugar as fuels
Yes, muscles store glycogen (causing sarcoplasmatic hypertrophy)
There's also myofibrilar hypertrophy which is related to actual protein content increase
> when it comes to the actual increase in the number of muscle cells, this process is much more difficult to launch
This is "rare" and it is called hyperplasia
The evidence against there being any such difference is becoming more and more overwhelming. Studies based on either muscle biopsies or cross-sectional scans basically show no difference.
The emerging consensus is training to approximately around failure is the main predictor of hypertrophic outcomes. Which is why both "train heavy!" and "train volume!" seem to work. The difference is that "train heavy!" also has nervous system adaptations.
Some surplus protein is converted to sugars (glyconeogenesis), from there it has a good shot at being converted into triglycerides and stored as fat.
If it was as simple as raw physical storage, bodybuilding would be dominated by eating-contest winners.
Human strength is limited not by the muscles but by the tendons and nerve signals. Here is an explanation.
When you try to lift something your body knows instantly whether it is able to do it or not. If you do not believe me, go try and deadlift an impossible weight. As soon as you start lifting it after setting up, your body will relax and will not let you. It is a protective mechanism. Now, it the weight is close to what you can handle it will let you fight the weight and attempt the lift.
Similarly, there are many occurrences where a mother will lift (with ease) concrete blocks of several hundred kilograms to save herself and her child. Perhaps the more famous one was of a man who was stuck under a huge boulder after an accident in the mountains. As far as I recall, the boulder was about 600kg. He threw it off with ease. You know what happened with him? He tore every single muscle off his bones while doing that. I am giving these examples to illustrate why such protective mechanisms exist. If they did not, we would be tearing muscles off bones daily.
Now, when it comes to powerlifters, they use low repetition and high weight precisely to increase the limits of their tendons and the power of their nerve pulses. In addition they are working the creatine-phosphate (ATF) energy capacity of their body that is responsible for very short-term work. This has nothing to do with protein. I assure you that any person is physically capable (speaking of muscles) to lift huge weights. It is just that your body will not let you.
When it comes to bodybuilders, they train their strength (tendons and bones) as well, but as a side-effect to trying to bloat their muscles.
OK but there is also neuroactivation - at any time your nervous system can "drive" about 30% of the fibres in a muscle. If you could achieve 100% neuroactivation you would be 3x stronger instantaneously - at the risk of as you say destroying connective tissue. But it is not "with ease", it is at great cost, so the body will only unlock this feature as a last resort.
- General problem-solving is a skill, guy seems to have it and it does apply to fitness research
- His success in various fields undoubtedly require perseverance, which also is a relevant trait.
Lately I have been "greasing the groove" by doing low-rep pull-ups (and push-ups). You do it every day and there is no "training to failure." See https://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/greasing-th...
The cute thing about bodyweight fitness is that you can do it anywhere without any special equipment.
Having an athletic performance goal (squat/bench/pull/clean more, sprint faster, close a harder gripper, do more pullups etc) is not only more "motivational", it also sets a measurable and objective goal to work towards.
This advice worries me. You do not warm up to increase performance in each session, you warm up so that you can keep doing sessions (hint: you can't work out when you're injured).
If you think about it from an evolutionary perspective, a warmup to increase performance makes no sense - you wouldn't have time to stretch first if you were about to be eaten by a hungry mammoth - the body would want to jump straight to peak power and if you get injured it's better than being dead...
By the end of the first page my impression is that you started lifting for 90 days and decided to nerd out and write a guide (which is probably not true, but I'm also not motivated to continue reading to find out).
Tell me your stats and the timeframe you achieved them in. Can't really approach this topic abstractly and theoretically like engineering.
I mean check this out: http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean-infog...
Or read t-nation.com
Looking fit ≠≠≠ being fit.
After about 6 months +- you'll plateau. This is good.
Switch over to a 5x5 program like StrongLifts. Read about proper form. Watch YouTube videos about proper form. Ask about proper form. Avoid personal trainers and do this yourself.
I like the SL app since I can mentally check out and just think about form.
Learn to love the squat.
Never skip your warmups.
Go from there.
All that and learn to love the squat. Paused ATG. Squats make everything better.
You can also record yourself with a tripod and camera and watch later.
Another way to learn is to watch other people (People who look like they know what they are doing) in the gym. If you are the outgoing type, you can spark a conversation with them and ask them to watch your form (or spot your lifts). You get lot of practical knowledge this way.
Form is everything. If you cannot do the reps with proper form (and breathing), reduce the load till you can, then slowly progress. It is worth it.
One thing that stood out to me was the author's idea that creatine is not beneficial for women to the point where we may as well skip it. There is research showing the opposite of what the author has stated. Example: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9390981
Creatine, as he says, is among the most widely researched supplements. Aside from providing potential cognitive benefits it has been shown to be effective for both men and women working toward strength gains. And as another user commented, creatine supplementation could very well explain part of the great weight gain the author claims to have experienced as it causes muscles to retain water and appear bigger (in both genders).
We're also building iOS and web versions now and all of us developers working on the app are weightlifters with 3-10 years of experience :) Please take a look at it and tell me what you liked and what you didn't. Thanks
[Edit] Website (an oldish version): https://42.do/
Also, I've never heard of muscles shrinking due to being overworked. Can you elaborate on how this happens?
For hypertrophy, past a minimal amount of stress, it increasingly seems that it doesn't matter.
For strength it matters.
"inclined leg press with seated row (superset 1), barbell bench press with cable hamstring curl (superset 2) and front planks (set 3) and Tuesday/Friday: machine-
guided shoulder press with bicep curls (superset 1), triceps
extension with wide grip pull downs (superset 2) and machine-guided knee extension (set 3). "
Both the low rep and high rep group did these supersets. It would seem like making the low rep group do supersets(extra exercises between the sets) would defeat the purpose of calling it low rep. It may have hampered the low rep groups gains.
From the link you supplied:
"Though there is no apparent advantage of lifting with different loads on changes in muscle mass, there is undoubtedly a neuromuscular advantage to lifting heavier loads if the primary outcome is performing a 1RM test (28). Conversely, it appears that periodic practice of the chosen strength outcome (e.g. 1RM) is effective at eliminating the majority of any post-training difference. "
"In conjunction with previous data (28), it appears that if 1RM strength is the primary goal, performing the to-be-tested exercise with heavier loads, either consistently and/or periodically, may be required for optimal improvement."
So if you want to develop maximum strength(at the reduced rep range), you have to periodically practice in that rep range if only for the neuromuscular advantage. In this case, at least a 1RM every three weeks for the men in this study.
Stopping one rep short of exhaustion is an important technique: It doesn’t decrease your rate of gains and it increases your recovery time between sets so that you can complete all your reps (study, study, study) [3, 4].
#2: Shrinking from overworking is surprisingly a real thing. The science is unclear as to how exactly muscle mass responds to resistance exercise, so my answer would be made up if I gave you one. What I can tell you is that "being overworked" is the result of lifting too heavy for too many total reps. This might seem impossible since your body should be unable to continue lifting past a natural point of exhaustion, but if you use machine exercises (especially a pulley machine), it's easy to cause a disproportionate amount of stress to your muscle relative to the incrementing heaviness trajectory you were lifting for free weights.
A disciplined training program and diet got me what the article promises (over 20 lbs of muscle mass and significant strength gains) without buying any supplements. I can't remember how long it took, but it wasn't that much longer than 3 months. As long as you're not going for the unusually bulked up look, a disciplined training program and diet will get you where you want to be.
Btw, is anyone aware of "engineer's guide to xyz" aggregator?
Subtleties are always there at the end.
Agreed with his thoughts on male physique attractiveness, though, as well as the section about steroids.
Overall, seems like a nice guide, and I appreciate someone, for one, remembering that women exist. Very detailed and comprehensive, even if it's not necessarily super accurate (doesn't have to be, does it?). I may add it to my schedule in addition to the kickboxing if I can justify a 2nd gym. I find it interesting that he stats with grip, grip and basic hand strength is my #1 problem for so many situations. I spent about 2 hours preparing a bike rack because I simply didn't have enough strength to move the metal rods in place.
I think his arguments for how little time it takes vs. how easy it is to get to a decent baseline (rather than chasing the popular ideal) are good enough. And having your own home equipment is probably a much better predictor of consistency than any amount of motivation. The other motivation stuff I would say is decidedly not useful. Exercise at this level is indeed available to almost everyone and doesn't require you to be a hyper-motivated super hard working person, you just need to decide that it's something you want to do and fit in your schedule.
I know it's a cliché, but it's also true... men have different preferences, just like women have different preferences. However, if we're looking at average preferences across the world, I'd say men overall do prefer fitness over thinness (assuming it's toned fitness instead of a bodybuilder physique).
I suspect the idea that men value thinness above fitness may in part come from the fashion industry, where height and thinness are definitely prized highly, but in my opinion that's mostly because they make it easier on fashion designers (long flowing lines, less need to tailor the clothes to the body shape of the model).
> "And, even then, they care about the face more than they care about the body."
I would say this is true, but again I can only speak for myself. In my personal opinion a woman with an attractive face is attractive almost regardless of their body shape.
> "The motivation to exercise for that kind of reason is just not there for women, in my opinion."
Sure, the motives are different. From what you've said, it sounds like you're already committed to working out, so this isn't something that applies to you, but what I want to make it clear to anyone reading this is... do it for yourself. None of what I've just said about body preferences matters, feeling healthy is better than just looking good. If it gives you a confidence boost too, great. I guess what I'm saying is don't let a feeling of 'not being good enough' drive you, instead enjoy the results you get out of what you put in.
There has been research to indicate that both genders regardless or orientation, check out the hindquarters of prospective partners. Regardless of who you are into, squats will benefit everyone looking to maximize their attractiveness. Men bench pressing and bicep curling with the goal of impressing women, are largely wasting their time...
I started strength training a year ago. Didn't really get serious about it until march of this year. I'm 50+ and had to devote several months to work on flexibility and what I call "injury proofing" myself. This meant mostly working with machines to slowly get things ready for free weights. In March I quit machines and switched 100% to free weights under the Rippetoe program.
I've seen visible improvements in shape, for example, my t-shirs are now tighter around my biceps. And, yes, I am significantly stronger than a year ago. What's the problem, then?
Well, I probably have 30 lbs of fat, with a good chunk of it around my belly, that just makes me miserable. My lifting coach tells me I need to accept it and eat more. I hate it and want my "you look pregnant" fat belly gone. Not sure what to do other than to stop lifting and going on a low calore diet. I am afraid I would lose all the gains of the last year of work. I am approaching a 300 lbs deadlift at this point.
When I go to a regular gym I am often stronger than most guys there. I am grabbing hundred+ pound dumbells when everyone else is working with 75-pounders. Yet, I am the one who looks fat. It's frustrating.
You won't lose the strength permanently. I took off years while doing my degree + my first 2 years and in the past 12 months I regained 20 years of lifting strength.
From a high level, it looks like this article aligns and agrees with Might's.
Although I think it's yet to be proven Julian can make you look like Charles though. Achieving gains is a bit different than building a well rounded athletic body - the kind that is recognizable and aesthetically pleasing.
My physique was like Charles' but I got it from playing sports over years, not from doing isolated exercises in the gym. It's easy to spot who got big in the gym, as certain muscles are overemphasized.
So it's quite easy to be healthy and strong. Just pick an activity you like, and eat well. IMO, gym work should be on top of that, to get you competitive in the sport you choose. It's not a complete development unless you really know what you are doing and are extremely disciplined. That is, doing things the hard way.
- nutrition. eat enough protein and calories. i don't think people have to overthink this. if you're getting fat and don't like what you see eat less. if you're constantly weak and tired eat more. if you're good at tracking cals/weight then do that.
- get enough sleep.
- pick a good beginners lifting plan: something like stronglifts or starting strength. these are help you build solid habits and good form, but in the end it's just picking up heavy stuff and putting it down until your muscles fatigue within a certain amount of reps. repeat the next week.
- the most important factor: consistency. even 2 good spaced out workouts a week will do wonders, but you'd be surprised how many people can't manage that. a shitty program and diet/sleep will be overcome by just straight consistency. you will progress slower, have an off week or two or three, but by the end of each year you will have progressed. this is where i think people fail the hardest, and think of it as some like grueling journey to the "finish line" as fast as possible when it's really a long marathon for the rest of your life. nobody wins an award for getting leaned out in 3 months vs 6, you're building habits for life (sorry, just a rant)
i'm obviously simplifying, but for most of the population and even for the "goal" pics in that article, you could train indefinitely on a basic program and achieve that.
having jumped on this train at age 29 and going on year 5, i can tell you that it all these tricks and tips might help you in the short term, but in the end everyone is going to learn some things the hard way and make some of the same mistakes over and over. there are no shortcuts (edit: unless you use some "help").
1. go to the gym for 2 hours every day
2. don't eat junk food, drink beer, or drink soda
#2 actually comes as a side benefit from #1, for me anyway, because my body now keeps my mind in check when it comes to food.
I do fitness classes. No heavy weights. Mostly women - some of whom could kick my butt. There might be one other guy besides myself in a class of 40. I don't care - they've let me in on their fitness secret - let me join the tribe.
I wager that this sort of thing is already taking place quietly on a small scale, given the large and growing number of people with access to the necessary tools and ability to do this.
There's basically a Nobel prize for anyone who does because it's the holy grail for muscle-wasting diseases. So the research is fiercely intensive.
10/10/13 - 12/11/13, 205lbs - 235lbs, 3.75lbs per week
4/24/14 - 9/12/14, 235lbs - 275lbs, 2.2lbs per week
4/29/16 - 8/22/16, 385lbs - 315lbs, 2lbs per week
I don't know exactly what my body fat % is, but I do have the healthy layer of fat that you would expect of somebody who is "bulking". My gut feeling is that my body fat % is similar now at 320 to what it was at 245.
I followed Starting Strength's gallon of milk per day recommendation and generally ate as much food as possible. Lots of carbs, didn't really pay much attention to my protein intake, though I eat a "normal" amount of meat.
I should say, though, that my gut feeling is that I could have grown faster in the last two spurts. Gaining has, so far, never felt difficult and, as a father of two small children , my lifestyle is not really compatible with optimizing recovery. I've been super stressed through a lot of my training and I'm a notorious insomniac even on nights where kids don't keep me up.
The last one won't be a rambling blog post, either. It will be science.
They sell you something as a pre-requisite to the thing that needs to be done.
These priorities are seriously out of whack. If you simply ate healthy (in a caloric excess) and did a basic strength training program at a gym (5x5 or Starting Strength), you would get superior results to citrulline malate and hand gripper exercises. Check out these pyramids to understand how to prioritize your nutrition and exercise.
Notice for nutrition, supplements are the smallest part, whereas calories (energy balance) are the most important. Funny how this article focuses on the least important part.
Or for training, notice that the most important section is specificity - if you're training for strength and size, you need to train the exercises that maximize the strength and size of as many muscles as possible. So therefore would you choose big movements that work lots of muscles with lots of weight to build lots of muscle simultaneously (i.e. squat, deadlift) or small movements that work few muscles and therefore influence a small amount of mass (i.e. hand gripping and crushing strength).
You don't need to pay for anything to get in shape (other than a gym membership). I'm a competitive powerlifter who graduated high school at 6'1" 140 lbs and I routinely walk around over 200 lbs now at 30, without ever having to pay for hand grippers or someone's workout plans to make it work.
the startup equivalent is, "i don't want to be a billionaire, i just want to make a couple million bucks, that's all. where do i start?"
luckily, losing fat is easier than startups, because it's deterministic.
you can not spot-reduce fat. you need to lose fat all over your body. your genetics determine where it comes off first/last/etc. anyone telling you otherwise is selling you something.
for fat loss, look into a ketogenic diet and high intensity interval training combined with strength training.
I was in my best shape when I added some HIIT skipping and sprints to my routine. But basically if you are training naturally it is very hard to lose fat without dropping muscle too.
There are some middle ways, that people have come up with. But
all these require extreme dedication, planning and sacrifices.
1. A workout regimen that includes strength training 2-3 times a week and ideally also some form of moderate aerobic exercise (lots of walking is fine).
2. A diet that is at or below your basal metabolic rate (if you're an adult male that usually means somewhere in the 2,000-2,500 calorie range) and is high in protein (for muscle growth/maintenance), medium in fat (for satiety and hormone production), and low in carbohydrates and alcohol (for limiting blood sugar spikes).
A recipe for unlimited plateauing. Don't tell this guy about mesocycles.
He's still in the "newbie gains" phase - where nearly anything you do results in gains - so take everything he says with a huge grain of salt.
These sort of statements are misleading - women who are more physically attractive (unfortunately, what most males prefer) tend to prefer the model on the right (in my experience).
So definitely the "left" type. A lot of women say they are intimidated by too much muscle.
I. Initial Annoyance with Gym
a) The biggest barrier is building the willpower to get to the gym. I live in a snowy city, so I knew that heading to the gym would be torture in the winter.
b) Working full-time meant that the only times to head to the gym were before work (6-8) or after work. I wanted to match my exercise time to when I had the motivation.
c) Heading to the gym is a huge cost. If you do 4 sets, it might only be 20 minutes of actual lifting, an hour round trip to/from the gym, 20 minutes showering. I think mentally, you know that heading to the gym is a a huge time-sink, cluster of obligations that goes far beyond the actual lifting.
II. the Home Gym - It was the obvious solution to the issues above. In addition, it's been a massive cost saving over the years. It's not a massive setup, here's what I have:
a) Bowflex Selecttech dumbbells - they adjust weights from 12.5 pounds to 52.5 pounds (there's a version that goes up to 90lbs too). You can do a lot of different exercises with them
b) Jump rope - a heavy leather rope, not a speed rope. It's incredible how fit you'll get from jumping for 15 straight minutes every other day. Plus it beats running because you can watch TV while you do it.
c) Two kettlebells
d) Resistance bands - these have been marginally useful, but they're also cheap and really portable. I bring them with me when I travel
e) interlocking floor mats - these protect the floor, but I've never dropped anything in nearly 8 years
f) a yoga mat - for situps
g) an Xbox - I'm not kidding. I would play Pro Evolution Soccer and Fallout 3 while doing situps.
h) Medicine ball - Don't get one. It's no fun unless you have someone to throw it to.
I researched different lifts using ExRx primarily using these two links:
All of those items can be tucked away into a closet or under the bed. I stuck with that for the first four years of my home gym. Ultimately, I added two large pieces that increased the space taken up, but still don't dominate the room they're in:
* An adjustable bench that folds flat
* the Power Tower (that's really what it's called) - a station for chin-ups/pull-ups and Roman chair lifts
You won't be Instagram-huge, but you can get large muscles. It's a little underpowered for chest since it lacks a bench press, but you'll still have chest gains doing isometric dumbbell presses.
Finally, this summer, I've lately found a ridiculously effective way to motivate myself to consistent exercise -- I only play video games while exercising. It's essentially a Pomodoro-style alternation between 8 minutes of playing, then lifting 10-15 reps of each exerise. It's incredible to realize that it only takes about 4 minutes to run through your exercises. I think people often spend the interval between sets agonizing about how tired they are and dreading the next set. Now, once I'm done lifting, I go straight to another mental task (video games) which feels like a reward for lifting. Once cycled through my exercises 4-6 times, I drink a protein shake, maybe play videogames for another hour, then continue with the rest of my day.
It sounds bizarre, but it's been a ten year progression to fit exercise as painless as possible. I wouldn't recommend this for beginners though. Exercise equipment isn't the sort of thing you want to buy lightly. Also, I had lifted a bit in high school, and consistently in college before starting the home gym. It's likely best to learn the basics first.
- Greater bone strength AND flexibility, preventing posture issues
- You'll be perceived better in your development team when it comes to leadership, arguments, etc. It's hardwired in us
Seems like a deal to me!
That just means you get to eat more yummy food.
>and are pretty useless, except for our stupidly wrong society's standards
That depends on what you want/like to do.