This is long, so bare with me.
I am 24 years old. Due to a disease called cystic fibrosis, I look like I'm maybe 16. I'm about 5'2" and weigh 110. I had a double-lung transplant 6 years ago (donate your organs/tissue, it saves lives).
To stay healthy I workout regularly. I take a steroid called Prednisone. I know it affects bones and muscles negatively if I don't exercise. I also take digestive enzymes in pill form. CF disables my body's naturaly ability to produce enzymes to digest food. I don't have medical proof, but I think I digest a large majority of the nutrients foods I eat contain. If I didn't I would have the energy I do. This post may require someone with a sports medicine background due to the meds.
I work out at my university's gym on a regular basis during semesters. For this summer semester, I joined a gym closer to my home since I wasn't going to be on campus. This gym has great equipment. I went regularly over the summer and feel I made good progress with my upper body. But I feel I could've done better.
I worked my upper body 2x a week. I was doing 3x week before summer. I thought giving myself 48 hours+ of rest between workouts would benefit me more. I am pleased with my legs and level of cardio activity; so I don't need advice there.
I exercise smart; proper form, rest between sets, etc. I think if a person around my age would've given the effort I did, he would've seen much more improvement in strength. I eat protein within 30 minutes of finishing my workouts and continue to eat protein throughout the day. I know I don't get the recommended 1g protein per 1 lb of body weight. I feel like I get a proper amount to repair my muscles and help them grow.
I am not looking to get big. I want to gain moderate gains in size and definition. Enough that people can tell I'm in shape by looking at me. I need to be strong enough for everyday life, too.
I'm getting over pneumonia and won't be back in the gym for another week or so. I want to start back again with the right changes if I need them.
My doc has warned me not to eat too much.
So here are my questions about my upper body workout:
1) I know variety is good for muscles. But there's only so many ways to very a bicep curl. How much variety do I need. How often and to what degree should I change up my workout.
2) Do I need to eat more protein still? During a typical couple of days I'll eat: lots of chicken (favorite food), 2 eggs, cheese, turkey, PB, some red meat and soy milk.
3) Would I be better off working my UB 2 or 3x a week?
4) During a typical WO, I will do 2-3 exercises per muscle group: bi, tri, shoulders, chest and back. Too much?
5) Typically, I'd do 3 sets of the same weight. Should I change this? Like increase the weight as I go through sets or do low rep, high weight? How low is low when it comes to reps? 5-8?
I put a lot of time into my fitness and want to get the most out of my effort. I'd really appreciate your advice.
I'll write out what I think would work well for you. working the complete upper body is not something I really enjoy or recommend. you can use variations of these excercises, and add some in if you like. you didnt mention anything about your lower body, but you should work it too, if you arent already.
squats: one warmup set, 3 sets with working weight
overhead press: one warmup set, 3 sets with working weight
ab exercise of choice
barbell bench press: one warmup set, 3 sets with working weight
incline dumbell press: 2 working weight sets
standing calf raises: one warmup set, 3 sets with working weight
deadlifts: increase weight over 4-5 sets, last rep of last set should be very difficult. keep the repetitions below 4, and pause between each one. you could do a 6, 4,3,2,1 repetition scheme?
power cleans: 2-3 sets with working weight, or gradually increase. keep the reps under 6.
seated rows: 3x8
pullups: 3x8, weighted if necessary.
i would do between 6-10 repetitions for you, unless otherwise noted. take a fourth day off, maybe go for a jog or something to keep your cardiovascular system in shape.
after 6 weeks, you might consider changing up your workout, to get some variety. wbb1 or 2, babygotback, etc. the routine i just posted is a favourite of mine though, because it builds up good strength in large muscle groups.
You are getting what seems to be a decent amount of protein, but I don't know what your serving size is. A protein supplement wouldnt be a bad idea.
Last edited by nhlfan; 08-17-2006 at 03:53 AM.
gym lifts: squat: 341lbs, deadlift: 374lbs, bench: 275lbs
My journal: http://www.wannabebigforums.com/showthread.php?t=85034
"F—k you and the Prowler you rode in on"
I'm sorry to hear you have cystic fibrosis. Is there any reason why you are not working your legs?
1) You don't need that much variety. You can do the same exercises for months and still see gains. When you stop increasing the weight it's time to switch things up.
2) Tally up the protein (in grams) so we can answer your question better. You also may want to visit the nutrition/diet section. The people that hang out in there can probably help you a lot more than I can.
3) Working a muscle 2 times a week is optimal for most people (with 72 hour rest between workouts). However, you might not be the in the "most people" category and may need more time to recover.
4) Definately not too much for most people, but due to your condition it may be for you. Then again, it may be too little. If you keep increasing the weight it probably isn't too much.
5) I like to use the same weight and rep scheme for each set. Some people like to pyramid the weight up, I don't think it matters really. I would consider 5 reps or lower to be "low" (or "heavy").
Also working your legs (mainly through squatting) is a must for fitness-minded people. Your legs are where your biggest muscles are located and it would be a shame to neglect them.
First off, I do work my lower body. I see great results there and so I'm not seeking advice for it.
This isn't an accurate number, but I would estimate my protein intake per day would be between 50-60 grams per day.
Thanks for the advice, more is welcomed.
Protein intake is way too low. I know you said your doctor advised you against eating a lot, but your protein intake in grams should be at least equal to your body weight in pounds. You should be getting at least 110g of protein a day.
As far as training variety goes, you can vary rep ranges, rep tempo, rest intervals, exercises, exercise order, # of sets, volume, intensity.... There's a lot of variety to be had even if you never change exercises.
That's about as much advice as I would feel comfortable giving you without talking to your doctor first. I think you need to be in very close consultation with your medical professionals, transplant team, etc. before you make changes in diet or exercise.
A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
Thanks for the advice.
I am looking into getting that Nitrean supplement. Would taking it once a day be enough?
I think 72 hours of rest for me is enough. I was seeing gains with this method. But what if I added a third day but made it a lighter workout (a completely different routine)?
Anyone have advice about the best time to work the upper body? Classes are starting soon and I'm trying to fit it into my schedule.
I wouldnt bother adding a third upper body workout. It would probably be too much.
I dont think it really matters when you work out, it's a matter of personal preference. Another poster claims that your spine is not at its maximum strength until about 3 hours after you wake up in the morning, so be aware of that.
Is nitrean a protein powder? You should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. Also, I don't know how many grams of protein are in each serving so I don't know if taking it once a day would be enough. You'll have to wait for someone else to answer this question.