The turning point - to gain or lose?

Discussion in 'Gator Country Health and Fitness' started by ThomasGoldkamp, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. ThomasGoldkamp
    Offline

    ThomasGoldkamp New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    19,497
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    Ratings Received:
    +11
    At a point in my life where I'm starting to notice it's not as hard to gain weight as it once was. Part of that I'm sure is just my activity level on a daily basis.

    When I was in high school, I tried like hell to gain weight. I struggled to get past 135. Eating like crazy every day and working out twice a day, four days a week with heavy lifting (with a lot of natural cardio mixed in from soccer and track), I was able to get up to 150 by the end of my senior year in high school.

    Freshman year of college, I continued my four-day-a-week workout program with weightlifting and mostly stopped doing all the cardio. Somehow, I lost 15 pounds and was back down to 135.

    Sophomore and junior year of college, I worked out sparingly but my weight stayed around 140. My senior year I got into working out more frequently and got back up to 150-155 or so.

    About a year later, I'm now up to 165-170. Most of it is good weight since I've been back into a more-or-less, four-days-a-week workout routine. But I'd be willing to bet my body fat percentage is slightly higher than it used to be.

    Anyway, long story short, I'm at the point where I'm wondering if I shouldn't actively start focusing on doing more cardio. Very curious to see what happens to my weight if I don't work at gaining or losing, but I want to stay in good shape. Anyone got any recommendations when you went through a similar period where it seemed like either A) your metabolism is slowing down, or B) you're just filling out a little more?

    How did you adjust?

    Thanks for any and all thoughts and advice in advance!
  2. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    Thomas, my two cents:

    No, your metabolism is not slowing down. Your activity level just isn't nearly what it used to be. So, you should not be surprised that you're heavier than you used to be.

    You can do cardio. But it is not necessary to lose weight. What you really need to do is dial back the calories in a manner which is sustainable for you. Fair warning: you can't out-exercise overeating.

    For exercise, my prescription:

    Medicine: strength-training.

    Dose: one set to failure.

    Frequency: once or two times a week at most.

    Then get on with your busy life and watch your body change. You're probably 'shirt big' right now. Lose the fat and build some muscle and you'll eventually look great without a shirt.
  3. LeafUF
    Online

    LeafUF Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    13,461
    Likes Received:
    298
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wandering
    Ratings Received:
    +364
    My initial response is almost always to say get bigger. But that isnt what everyone desires so shoot for what makes you happy. If that means putting on some size then maybe now you are at a time when you can do it. But if you prefer to be thinner and do not like the added weight you are putting on maybe you should try to lose some of it. Not that you need to do cardio for that though. I actually find cardio has an overall negative effect on my appearance.
  4. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    Interjecting again, the only way I'd recommend 'getting bigger' is by means of mechanical stress, i.e., strength training. I NEVER recommend bulking-and-cutting as it's typically a great way to get fat. And also because I don't believe it's necessary to gain muscle.

    Take the fat off by reducing calories. Strength train HARD to grow muscle, if indeed, after your years of training, you have any more muscle in you to gain.

    HOWEVER, again, typically men *look* bigger when they've leaned out, even if the muscles have not grown, and even if the muscles have become slightly smaller.

    Incidentally, there are studies that show that muscle will grow, on starvation level diets, given sufficient stimulus. This is why I'm skeptical of the notion that you need a 'calorie surplus' to gain muscle. My own son reduced calories and added slabs of muscle.
  5. oI2ange
    Offline

    oI2ange Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,043
    Likes Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Ratings Received:
    +174
    i never personally worry about my actual weight- i just care about my body fat %. as long as i'm gaining muscle and trimming my body fat down, that's all i care about.

    i was a bit like you, OP- really skinny going into college, then started to gain a bit as i got older. this was probably due to a lack of working out as much. right now i'm actually the same weight as i was in college, but my body fat % is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay lower. this is due to in a change in workout and an increase in frequency.
  6. ThomasGoldkamp
    Offline

    ThomasGoldkamp New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    19,497
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    Ratings Received:
    +11
    My body fat percentage was at 4.2% two years ago. I'd venture to guess it's around 8% now, which really isn't all that bad. I'm really not worried about that jump as long as it doesn't continue to climb.

    I'm also interested to see if I can actually add strength now. I had hit a plateau for about three years where I just couldn't lift any heavier. Based on what I've been able to do the past three weeks, I'm thinking my plateau is gone and I'll be able to hit a new strength ceiling. That's great, and what I've been trying to do for years. Just not sure why now is any different.

    I mean, I sometimes only eat one meal a day, so my calorie intake from food isn't bad at all. It's not like I'm adding more weight from calorie intake, which kind of confuses me about where the weight gain is coming from. Either way, I'm fairly sure it's a positive thing as long as my metabolism isn't drastically slowing down.

    As far as my actual strength training, I do a lot of to-exhaustion lifts. I almost always go up in weight as I progress through a set, while lowering the reps as I work through the set. By the time I'm on the final two sets, I'm usually burning out at the higher weights.

    I also do a lot of negative reps to exhaustion. Curl machines where I start at a high weight and then go down by one weight each time as I let the weights pull my arms down as slowly as possible. All the way through the weight rack. That kind of thing.
  7. LeafUF
    Online

    LeafUF Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    13,461
    Likes Received:
    298
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wandering
    Ratings Received:
    +364
    So you are still extremely lean. Sub 10% is damn low to me. If I were you I would look for a good strength building routine. There are plenty out there that you can find for free online. Just a few to look into:

    Sheiko
    5/3/1
    Westside Barbell
    Stronglifts 5x5

    You might have stalled because you simply werent following a good program. I also imagine that if you put in a lot of intensity to your lifting you may see your strength go up and that bf% start going back down.
  8. ThomasGoldkamp
    Offline

    ThomasGoldkamp New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    19,497
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    Ratings Received:
    +11
    I try to change up my workout routine every two months or so specifically to avoid plateauing.
  9. LeafUF
    Online

    LeafUF Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    13,461
    Likes Received:
    298
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wandering
    Ratings Received:
    +364
    And yet you have been plateaued for three years according to your posts. Maybe what you are doing isn't working?
  10. ThomasGoldkamp
    Offline

    ThomasGoldkamp New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    19,497
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Gainesville, FL
    Ratings Received:
    +11
    Part of it is I think I just physically couldn't lift any more given my weight, plus I hadn't been in a steady routine at that point. So, yeah I agree that what I was doing (or not doing) wasn't working. :laugh:
  11. LeafUF
    Online

    LeafUF Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Messages:
    13,461
    Likes Received:
    298
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Location:
    Wandering
    Ratings Received:
    +364
    Yeah no matter what plan you are on not sticking with it will not give you results. I also think changing every two months really doesn't tell you if one routine is working or not. The ones I listed have standard progressions so that you are increasing constantly leading to higher maxes or personal records routinely. Just need to stay at it and plan accordingly.
  12. oI2ange
    Offline

    oI2ange Premium Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    2,043
    Likes Received:
    39
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Ratings Received:
    +174
    you also probably need to eat more if you aren't gaining a ton of muscle the past 3 years lifting. one of my friends has been working the same lifts for probably 5 years now and hasn't gained anything...i feel it's because he's not eating anything and his workouts are more high rep/etc stuff instead of strength workouts.
  13. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    I'd guess the latter rather than the former. Most people eat too much. Conversely, little if any strength can be garnered from high reps, at least the way most people do them. I myself don't understand the high-rep mentality.
  14. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    One reason why people stall (and few seem to want to take this to heart) is because they work out TOO FREQUENTLY.

    If I were a powerlifter, I would do 5-3-1 three days a week. This has you doing each lift every 8-9 days. And if you've been lifting awhile, you NEED that sort of recovery.

    Plus, studies have shown that muscles require 7-10 days to recover from a training session! With that in view, why would you want to come back and work it two days later ?!?

    That's like determining that 15 minutes in the midday Sun is optimal for a suntan. Then resting for five minutes and coming back out in the Sun!

    The exception is for people who just don't train very hard. If you just go through the motions, terminate a set when it becomes mildly uncomfortable (as most do), then sure, you should be able to train more frequently. But why would you work out this way ?
  15. gator929
    Online

    gator929 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings Received:
    +13
    I realized in 2009 that i needed to get back in the gym. Was at 205 then and not feeling good. Been in the gym about 4 days a week since then, 1 day of interval traing on the treadmill and 3 days of lifting. I started with a day dedicated to each muscle group (back day, leg day, etc) but didn't really feel like i was getting stronger. Now i am doing a full body routine focusing on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts and pull ups. Down to about 180 and definitely added some muscle, but have plateaued out. What other conpound exercises should i be focusing on now to bust through the plateau? Also, i hate the intervals, but figured it would help get the fat off, is it reslly needed?
  16. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    Are you doing squats, deadlifts, pulldowns, etc. three days a week ? What does your routine look like ?
  17. gator929
    Online

    gator929 Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Ratings Received:
    +13
    I am. Pretty basic routine that I found online. Squat 6-8 reps, rest 75 s, Deadlift 6-8 reps, rest 75 s, pullups 10 reps, rest 75 s, barbell bench 6-8 reps, rest 60 s, repeat the circuit 3 more times. I try to progressively get heavier with each circuit. Usually work some barbell curls and shoulder isolation exercises in at the end. Am I overdoing it??

    My diet habits seem to be pretty good, try to eat as much protein as I can. Sometimes do splurge on the weekends though. I have been at 180 for a while now, and still think I have about 5 more lbs of fat to lose.

    Thanks for any advice you can share.
  18. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    I admire your dedication. But yes, I'd say you're overdoing it. I'm about to start a new thread on training frequency. If you want to get stronger and build muscle I'd guess something like squats on Monday, bench press on Wednesday and deadlift on Friday would be more productive. That way you get to focus on a particular lift at a time. But in my opinion, squats and deadlifts in the same week may be ovderkill.

    One thing to think about: if you're doing these exercises in circuits, three times a week, that to me is an indication that your intensity level is not particularly high. In other words, you're not operating anywhere near your strength levels. You're currently working on cardiovascular endurance, Among trainees who emphasize strength, some will typically report that a single set of heavy deadlifts wipes them out. I myself was never able to do them more than once every 7-10 days or so. And sometimes I'd just do them every other week.
  19. Dreamliner
    Offline

    Dreamliner Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2007
    Messages:
    64,851
    Likes Received:
    364
    Trophy Points:
    83
    Ratings Received:
    +1,714
    Thomas, just to quickly break it down: 4.2% BF is probably leaner than Usain Bolt. Even 8% would probably have you looking totally-ripped and ready for a photo-shoot as a male fitness model.

    If that's the kind of body you have then not only can you gain weight, it would be hard not to gain weight unless you have some sort of parasite. Bear in mind that fitness models don't generally retain that frontpage look year-round. Typically, or so I've read, they usually have to slave away to achieve that sort of look for days out of the year, weeks at best.
  20. RepubliGator84
    Online

    RepubliGator84 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2009
    Messages:
    3,472
    Likes Received:
    53
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Ratings Received:
    +233
    Spend more time working :grin: just kidding

    I put on weight in high school by power lifting for football and just naturally filling out. I figure i would probably focus mostly on that to build the body mass

Share This Page