Gym, Fitness and Nutrition Thread - With FAQ intro (the unnecessary read) I will simplify this whole thing now by saying that if you want to get big, eat more and lift more; if you want to slim down, eat less and do more cardio. For anyone still reading... I've created this thread in response to a few requests from those looking for a little advice, and to make it a little easier for someone to find the information in one place. First thing I will say however before anyone reads the numerous walls of text, is that it really isn't a science, there is no template. What might work for one person may/will need adapting for someone else. Only you can do this by getting to know what works for you over time. For example I know that I can only do a heavy leg day once every 4 days, otherwise my lifts will drop. A little info on me. Received a diploma in both Personal Training and Nutrition whilst finishing my masters @ Uni. Nutrition and the philosophies of training for different sports always interested me, and rather than simply following advice, I wanted to learn. However, I will say that I have learnt more by reading and then putting into practise different "sciences" and theories than actually studying it. So I only recommend or advise something if I have tried it myself. I used to be a sprinter for Derby (100m/200m) so I was always fairly lean/slim, but during my first years of Uni I dedicated myself to packing on some size and managed 15st @ ~12-15% BF. To do this I pretty much did what is to be stated in the bulking portion of this write up. And quite frankly I didn't enjoy eating that much to get there. So I've been both on ends of the scale. I now maintain 12st 5lbs - ~13st @ ~8% for the most part, but I am shredding down to 6%BF for when I move to Syndey and pick up where I left off in modelling. The logic is that I can then bulk till I reach 12% BF, as the lower it is when I start then the lower it will be when I finish. Once @ 12% I'll stay there. I've decided to do this with a little less of a general approach and have it so that one can hopefully tailor the information to suit them along the way. Calories Regardless of your goal (bulking/cutting) it helps to know how many calories your body burns naturally (BMR) + exercise (TDEE). Knowing this you can then eat more/less depending on your goals. BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) = 66 + (6.23 x weight lbs) + (12.7 x height inches) - (6.8 x age in years) TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) For this you use a multiplier, dependent on your activity level, to multiply your BMR. â€¢ sedentary - little or no exercise, desk job - multiply your BMR by 1.2 â€¢ active - light exercise/sports 1-3 days per week - multiply your BMR by 1.375 â€¢ moderately active - exercise/sports 3-5 days per week - multiply your BMR by 1.55 â€¢ heavy exercise - exercise/sports 6-7 days per week - multiply your BMR by 1.725 As an example I'll use a BMR of 2000 x 1.55 = 3100 TDE. So depending on your goal you can know how much more/less you need to eat. If you plan to bulk add 500 calories/day and work from there; if you plan to cut then drop this by 300 and work from there. Bulking Eating Regime (using above example from calories section) 1. Eat ~500 calories more than your TDEE. So using the above example 3100 + 500 = 3600 calories/day. 2. Split that between 6 meals equally (so eating regularly i.e. every 3 hours.) 3. Split those calories into the macronutrient ratio 40/40/20 P/C/F (for a bulk, different for cutting). â€¢ I.e. 3600 = 1440 (calories from protein), 1440 (carbs), 720 (fat). â€¢ 4 calories to each gram of protein/carb and 9 per gram of fat. So, 360g Protein/360g Carbs, 80g Fat per day. â€¢ Eat clean. Natural fats (fish oils, nuts etc), no processed foods. Small list: Chicken, eggs (whites and yolks), oats (plain), milk (whole, skimmed whatever to meet your caloric intake), wholewheat pasta/rice, olive oil. Gym Routine 1. Lift big. So compound lifts: Squats, Bent-Over Rows, Bench Press (incline/decline/flat), Deadlifts, Barbell Overhead Presses. You focus on the compounds for 6 months you would gain a decent amount of mass all over. 2. Keep the rep range between 5-8 for size. If you can do more, up the weight. 3. Technique. If you cant perform a rep with perfect form lower the weight. 4. Cardio twice a week to stay the fat. When bulking properly you will gain minimal fat. As you have a similar frame to me it shouldn't be too much of an issue. 5. Workouts needn't be longer than 60 miniutes tops. After that you will start to use protein (i.e. muscle) for energy and in effect slow your progress. Unless of course you chug a high calorie protein/carb blend during your workout. Quick Summary - Eat big/clean. (I will add that you don't necessarily need to eat clean but it will minimise the fat gain and ultimately make you feel better in the gym). - Lift big (5-8 reps, high weight) - Sleep ~8 hours/day. - Be smart and don't overtrain. Very common when people first start working out as they are eager. It feels like the flu and you will be out of the gym anywhere from 1 week - month. Cutting/Losing Fat Eating Regime (using above example in calories section) 1. Eat ~300 calories less than your TDEE. So 3100 - 300 = 2800 calories/day. 2. Split that between 6 meals equally (so eating regularly i.e. every 3 hours.) It is perfectly possible to use the above macronutrient ratio and lose weight but I find that a lower number of carbs and more healthy fats work better. 3. Split those calories into the macronutrient ratio 50/20/30 P/C/F â€¢ I.e. 2800 = 1400 (calories from protein), 560 (carbs), 840 (fat). â€¢ 4 calories to each gram of protein/carb and 9 per gram of fat. So, 350g Protein, 140g Carbs, 93g Fat per day. â€¢ Eat clean. Natural fats (fish oils, nuts etc), no processed foods. Small list: Chicken, eggs (whites and yolks), oats (plain), wholewheat pasta/rice, olive oil. 4. Don't eat carbs within 3-4 hours of sleep. 5. Eat carbs around your Pre/Post workout if possible. Gym Routine If I am honest you can maintain your bulking routine and simply add some cardio sessions. But I'll go into it further detail for those specifically looking to lose weight/tone. Also, performing big lifts for low reps is pretty hard if you lower your carbohydrate intake. 1. Compound lifts. 2. Keep the rep range between 10-15. If you can do more, up the weight. 3. Technique. If you cant perform a rep with perfect form lower the weight. 4. Cardio 3-5 times a week. I recommend 2 steady state and 3 HIIT sessions. (Notes to explain shortly). 5. Workouts needn't be longer than 60 minutes tops. *NOTE* on cardio: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is one of the most effective ways to burn fat. To summarise, you minimise the possibility of utilising muscle for energy and it raises your metabolism so you burn more calories of the course of the day not just in the gym. A simple HIIT program would be a 5 minute warm-up followed 2 minutes sprinting at full pace followed by a minute jogging. Repeated for 15 minutes, and then a 5 minute cool down. 5/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/1/2/5. Supplements 1. Not necessary, but nonetheless useful. 2. Protein powder: useful to meet your protein requirement as frankly eating that much in form of chicken etc/day is both expensive and exhausting. Buy protein with 90% protein count. Most products out there are ****e and full of sugar, most people go for big names. Don't do it. I have a site if you need one for the cleanest protein powder, and it's also cheaper. A few from here have used it. 3. Creatine: Buy CEE not mono. Mono is nowhere near as effective and also causes bloat and is pretty tough on your kidneys. Simple CEE from GNC will do, again, no need for fancy brand ****e. Cycle it, so 2 months on 2 months off. I personall do 1 month on, 2 months off. 4. BCAA's: DEFINITELY get some of these. They prevent your body from going into a catabolic state so you needn't fear that you are burning muscle for energy. Take first thing in morn with food, pre/post workout. The ONLY supplement I would say everyone would "NEED". It's natutal, found in meats but to get what you need you would need to eat an incredible amount of food. 5. Fish Oils: Available from Hollands & Barrats cheap. But there are better out there. Another supplement that's extremely useful when dropping BF%. Misc - Take photo's/measurements and record them each month. - Have a workout log/diary so you can look back and see exactly what works and contributed towards your goals. - Don't sacrifice doing things you enjoy such having a session at the weekend. Moderation is the key, if 90% of your lifestyle is healthy it's not going to do any harm. - Sleep. Aim for 8 hours/day. This is when you actually build the muscle NOT when you are in the gym. - If you do compound lifts, hit the weights 3/4 times a week (not on concecutive days) and cardio twice. - If you don't have regular rest days (again when you actually build the muscle) you will become overtrained and actually lose muscle. Compounds regularly are taxing on CNS so you need rest. There are a few sections that I plan to add but I am knackered and this should cover most of what people were asking me. I'll be adding the following over the next few days. - FAQ. - Sample of a days food on a bulk/cut. - Recommended Routines. - Useful websites/books. - Recommended Supplements. - And Others. Anything posted that could help this thread I'll add to the front page, so those of you who wish to contribute please do so. Any questions, please post here and I'll answer them in this thread so that the information may help others. Or PM me if you wish.