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Saucy Size
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I joined the local YMCA last week. This morning was my first focused workout day: 90 minutes mixed cardio and weights. It was fine -- mostly I stuck to the cardio stuff 'cuz I'm already pretty strong there, but I also did some bench presses, lat pulldowns, the dip-assist machine, etc. Mostly upper-body stuff. Now, I've lifted freeweights in the past but it was all pretty informal: some curls, some bench presses, whatever. I've never had access to all this fancy equipment!

After carefully reading the diagrams on each machine, I gave most of 'em a try. Some are way harder than I can do right now, but mostly I see how they do what they do. And, of course, there's an endless rack of freeweights as well.

And now I'm wonder: What do I do with all this stuff? $70/month for two adult memberships is pretty trivial, and I have time to get in there and work out (especially in the summer, when my riding is waaaaay down). I want to put my time and money to good use.

AZ forum gym rats, I need advice. How should I piece together a good gym program, assuming limitless access to gym equipment and a willingness to make some diet changes? My goals are:

1) Crosstraining for mountain biking, improving core strength and upper-body strength so I can handle better and tougher rides, and

2) Transform myself from this:



to this:



What do you think, guys? Any ideas where I should look, what I should read, information to carefully avoid?

Thanks guys!

p.
 

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Registered
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bodybuilding.com has a site with loads of information and the forums there are pretty helpful as well. If you're starting off I would try like a 3-day split workout there are many posted on the site.
 

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Kathleen in AZ
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The way you look is 20% what you do and 80% what you eat. While weight training is a great thing to fine tune the body, the biggest changes will be from diet. This is especially true for people like us who already exercise a ton with our biking. "Fat fit" is how I used to describe myself... I could bike forever, but still carried around an annoying extra 15 or 20 lbs. www.physiquetransformation.com is how I changed my eating - the new ways stuck and I've kept *most* of the weight off for almost 2 years now. Along the way, my fitness exploded and I was riding faster and stronger than ever... just by learning to eat right! Anyhow, that's my 2 cents.
 

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I am Walt
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6,393 Posts
Push/Pull

Been doing that since my teens...25+ years. Basic premise is:
Day 1 - Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)
Day 2 - Pull (back, biceps)
Day 3 - Cardio or legs. This is a mountain biking or trail running day for me; I don't do legs anymore - haven't for years.
Day 4 - Push again, but different exercises
Day 5 - Pull again, but different exercises
Days 6 and 7 - Cardio, which I use for mountain biking or trail running.

About 10 years ago, I dropped the second Pull day to serve as a rock climbing day. I've since changed that to a cardio (mountain biking) day since I don't climb anymore...:sad:

So I now lift three days (2 Push; 1 Pull) and do cardio three days (either 3 x mountain biking or swap one ride for a good trail run). And I take one day off every week, which also serves as my make-up day if I miss a workout due to whatever.

I like this routine. I should note that my lifting sessions are no more than 60-75 minutes, and I use moderate weights and high (10-12) reps, with a number of supersets (two different, but complementary exercises back-to-back with no rest). And I time myself in-between sets: 45 seconds for Pull and 60 for Push. That keeps it moving, keeps the heart rate up, and jacks you up a bit. And when someone is talking to you that you don't like, you just point to your watch and go do your next set...

I'll most up more detail on the specfics later.
 

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I am Walt
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6,393 Posts
Push

Push
- Always three exercises per muscle group, three sets each of 10-12
- Different combos on the two days per week

Example:

Chest
Barbell bench press, 3 x 10 (Thurs do barbell incline press)
Incline bench press, 3 x 10 (Thurs do flat dumbbell press)
Flies (cables, machine or dumbbells), 3 x 10 (Thurs do a different fly move)

Shoulders
Standing military, barbell, front of head, 3 x 10 (Thurs do seated military behind the neck)
Seated dumbbell press, 3 x 10 (skip this on Thurs)
Straight arm lateral raise, dumbbells, 3 x 12 (Thurs do fronts first, then sides, supersetted)
Front or bent arm raise, dumbbells, 3 x 12
NOTE: Superset these last two

Triceps
Tri extension with curl bar, 3 x 10 (Do this on Thurs too)
Tri kickbacks with dumbbell, 3 x 10 (Thurs do pushdowns with bar or rope)
Dips 3 x 12 (Thurs do something different for this one)
Note: Superset last two if you want
 

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I am Walt
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6,393 Posts
Pull

Pull

- Little different, do 5-6 exercises for the back and 3 for the biceps
- Different combos each time

Back
Lat pulldown, behind neck 3 x 10 (alternate the order of these first two each time)
Front pulldown, leaning back, 3 x 10 (feel free to work in pull-ups - I don't do them because they kill my shoulders and your form goes bad)
Seated rows 3 x 10 (or t-bar rows)
One-arm bent over dumbbell rows, 3 x 12 each arm (or one-arm cable pulls)
Lat pullover machine, 3 x 10
Barbell shrugs, 3 x 12
Dumbell shrugs, reversed, 3 x 12 (or standing upright row)
NOTE: Superset these last two

Biceps
Barbell straight-bar curls, 3 x 10 (or curl bar curls)
Curl machine, 3 x 10
Seated dumbbell curls, 3 x 10 or 12 (or concentration curls)
 

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Ouch, I am hot!
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4,765 Posts
Paul B said:
So I joined the local YMCA last week. This morning was my first focused workout day: 90 minutes mixed cardio and weights. It was fine -- mostly I stuck to the cardio stuff 'cuz I'm already pretty strong there, but I also did some bench presses, lat pulldowns, the dip-assist machine, etc. Mostly upper-body stuff. Now, I've lifted freeweights in the past but it was all pretty informal: some curls, some bench presses, whatever. I've never had access to all this fancy equipment!

After carefully reading the diagrams on each machine, I gave most of 'em a try. Some are way harder than I can do right now, but mostly I see how they do what they do. And, of course, there's an endless rack of freeweights as well.

And now I'm wonder: What do I do with all this stuff? $70/month for two adult memberships is pretty trivial, and I have time to get in there and work out (especially in the summer, when my riding is waaaaay down). I want to put my time and money to good use.

AZ forum gym rats, I need advice. How should I piece together a good gym program, assuming limitless access to gym equipment and a willingness to make some diet changes? My goals are:

1) Crosstraining for mountain biking, improving core strength and upper-body strength so I can handle better and tougher rides, and

2) Transform myself from this:



to this:



What do you think, guys? Any ideas where I should look, what I should read, information to carefully avoid?

Thanks guys!

p.
Unless you want to look like the below, don't listen to Walt.

 

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.......................
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3,049 Posts
A bit off the subject, but a good Yoga class (not a weanie, frou frou class; no Hari Krishna music) is really good for mountain biking. It does a great job balancing out your legs (no injuries!) and hits your core really well. That last is what I most directly notice a benefit from.

On an even more vaguely related note, since I've been back on the bike this weekend, and the singlespeed in particular, I noticed my arms getting tired from climbing. Silly though it sounds, that never used to happen. I still had loads of climbing fitness when I started singlespeeding, and lost that strength in the last year riding gears.

Damn gears. Back to the boulders I go...
 

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parenting for gnarness
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6,251 Posts
First and most importantly: find out when the hotties come to your gym, it will provide extra incentive. Next, start making up nicknames and backstories for all the regular gym freaks. Feel free to be very creative and scandalous - the drama keeps me going back for more. What happened to Pittsburgh Ed and his knee wraps? giant fake-booby Barbie's arms are looking fat maybe she is fighting with her blond kung fu boyfriend, who i think deals crank? how can i start a conversation with blond milf elliptical-trainer mom while we're picking our kids up at the daycare? Did the paramedics save the guy who coded on the lat machine (true story, and he was heavy too, took 6 of us to get him off!). Soon you will feel like Norm walking into Cheers, and your workouts will be better since you are in a happy place. This is important advice!

To your real question... its really hard just up and designing a program without a goal, and even then what works for you and your injuries and keeps you inspired is very personal. I have my 3 zones - legs, core, upper body - that I try to hit 2x a week with my set of stuff for each of them. Total is maybe 80 minutes x 2, which I might break up over the entire week at the gym or at home w. freeweights. For me, the key is to be flexible so it remains fun and I keep doing it - very regular since 2000, so its working for me. But you can see that Walt is more methodical, and obviously that works for him.

For each muscle, you can hit it with so many different things - free weights, machines, isometric, big weights vs. high reps, etc that there are limitless possibilities and its easy to get overwhelmed or overwork one thing at the expense of the rest. I would suggest start with a few exercises, at moderate effort, for each of your areas that get most of the muscles in those areas, and keep notes or remember what you did. Its not really important to track yourself for monitoring progress, but more to give yourself some history and help you find what you like. If you have a particular goal then definitely incorporate that into your selections, try different things, and see what is fun. If its not fun, you will stop doing it. Give yourself a decent amount of time that is realistic for your commitment: 10 or 15 minutes per area, 2x a week initially? Just something to put some parameters around this and help you grow into it.

Here's an overview of what muscles I work, just to give you an idea. Its not targeted or professional, and the only thing I won't let slip are the quad lifts or my knee aches. But it suits me and i have fun with it.

Core:
abs, back. I use extension and pull-down machines, multiple sets starting small, working up, then back down. I do a lot with full extension, for me I really like the stretching that goes with the strength. I also do just crunches. ~15 minutes. I compensate with yoga, but like the machines for this as it helps me keep form that i don't always have doing just situps.

Chest\Arms: incline and reverse-incline bench, only about 110 lbs as I personally am not looking for bulk, just a few sets and then a few at 50 lbs. Pec fly machine - 2 or 3 sets at 80 then 100 lbs. Then about 10 different sets of light freeweights for a vareity of shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms, and twists. I pretty much hit everything with those freeweight sets, so it all gets worked. I like freeweights cause I use machines for everything else and it keeps things fresh. I also like being able to do part of my routine away from the gym - freeweights are cheap and easy to have at home if you want, and every hotel or condo usually has some too.

Legs: I hit my legs with big weights. Probably not needed for biking, but i've always done this and it makes my knees and hips feel very solid. I do feel like I have a good power move on the bike, but not sure if its from muscle or good technique. Anyway, I do the quad sled for quads and calves. The quad lift, hamstring machine, hips push and squeeze. Typically I start small, build up and peak, then for quads and calves I will do lighters reps at the end to develop stamina in those muscles.

I can go into more specifics about anything if you like, but I think now just getting something going and having fun will be good for you. Ask questions or get a buddy sometimes, it will help you find your own program. I agree with Walt about keeping up the cardio as the rush will help you get through the workout and make it more fun. Don't underestimate your efforts or torpedo yourself - eat and drink right to have a good workout, just like if you wanted to have a good ride. Remember to have fun!
 

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parenting for gnarness
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ionsmuse said:
A bit off the subject, but a good Yoga class (not a weanie, frou frou class; no Hari Krishna music) is really good for mountain biking. It does a great job balancing out your legs (no injuries!) and hits your core really well. That last is what I most directly notice a benefit from.
an emphatic +1!
when i skip a few weeks, I first notice my posture gets lazy and soon my back just feels a little sloshy, that will lead to achiness if I don't goto a class or do a session on my own (I'm not as good by myself, but better than nothing). the hips and hamstring stuff is great for biking. I also really like the emphasis on lengthening as it eases my arms and shoulders.

our gym's classes end with a 10-minute relaxation session that I always skip - I'd rather spend 10 minutes on the trainer, or relax in a hottub. As long as I am discrete about leaving quietly, the instructors have all been cool with it.
 

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Saucy Size
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh man...I loved yoga. Loved loved LOVED it. Had a 3x/week practice at a very hardcore studio. Two level 1/2 classes, one level 2 class. Changed my life. And then they folded up and I had to go looking for a new studio! Now it's been two years and I'm back to my pre-yoga life, and now I look at the cost of real yoga ($150/month or so) and it's just too much to spend. :-(

p.
 

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livin' the dream......
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Great info in this thread, thanks for those who posted answers and links. I've been looking for some guidance online with work out routines, and it is a bit overwhelming.

I know Walt's workout works for him as his arms are bigger than my legs...................:eekster:
 

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Powered by ice cream.
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Check this out.

fixedgeardan up here turned me on to it. The book is easy to follow. I know nothing about yoga, but this is how I imagine it. Slow controlled motion from your core. Dan swears by it, and he's probably the most well rounded, physically fit person I have ever met (strength, cardio, flexibility). I'll let you know in a month or so.
 

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to prevent any early injuries i typically have my clients do three full body workouts a week for the first three to six weeks, depending on conditioning level. cardio and flexibility training 2x a week. the days off usually end up being like Wednesday and Saturday, but these are required as necessary. if you are sore, just do a light day with a lighter intensity. flexibility training is very important as it will help prevent back pain and keep your posture in check. my clients do a bit of core training three times a week, but for only a small bit. the goal for most core muscles is endurance, mainly because of the type of muscles they are. every now and again they do a harder session strictly dedicated to core to hit the stronger muscles.

once the full body workouts lose their effect i shift to body part specific routines much like walt suggested. still training core only a few times a week. keep riding as much as you can to prevent any newly strengthened muscles from hindering your riding form. but watch for signs of over training. it is surprising how easy this can happen. high resting heart rate, loss of motivation, sore throat, etc. as you get better at consistency you will see patterns and you can train around these.

i really think you should train legs. unless you want some major hip imbalances down the road and to make a future physical therapist rich, train your legs, mainly hip dominant type moves like lunges and squats etc.

without getting too in detail, thats pretty much it. balance your routine and you will be fine. if you need more help, im sure this forum can help. but remember what one person tells you may not be specific to your needs. assess your needs and break each one down systematically to determine the best course of action.
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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DurtGurl said:
The way you look is 20% what you do and 80% what you eat. While weight training is a great thing to fine tune the body, the biggest changes will be from diet. This is especially true for people like us who already exercise a ton with our biking. "Fat fit" is how I used to describe myself... I could bike forever, but still carried around an annoying extra 15 or 20 lbs. www.physiquetransformation.com is how I changed my eating - the new ways stuck and I've kept *most* of the weight off for almost 2 years now. Along the way, my fitness exploded and I was riding faster and stronger than ever... just by learning to eat right! Anyhow, that's my 2 cents.
Actually, this isn't true. Exercise has much more of an impact on your physique than diet. Don't get me wrong...diet is important, but not nearly as important as exercise. Look at anybody who diets and does nothing else. They are "skinny fat", meaning they are healthy in terms of their overall weight, but their body fat % is sky high...which isn't good.

Case in point -- a female friend of mine was about 5'7" and weighed 110. She was a size 3. Most guys were like "wow she is so thin". Her body fat % was over 25% however!

Cardio exercise (i.e. cycling) is actually not very good for weight loss and overall physical conditioning. It's good for the heart and good for the muscles that participate (i.e. running = legs). As with any cardio exercise, your body only burns calories while you are working and for a very short while thereafter. If you bike for 2 hours, you burn calories for 2 hours (and maybe another hour afterward). That's it. Once your body cools down from the workout, it's back its normal slow calorie burning self. And to make matters worse, if you don't eat enough while you do heavy cardio exercise, your body burns the first thing it can -- muscle -- which in turn takes away the very thing you want to keep on your body. You want more muscle on your body to burn more calories...and when you lose that muscle, your metabolism slows down. That's why so many runners and cyclists that don't have a weight lifting routine are somewhat flabby up top.

Weight resistance exercises (i.e. weightlifting) are far far better than cardio for weight loss and overall physical conditioning. After you do a strenuous weight resistance routine, your muscle fibers are "torn" (at a microscopic level). At that point your body goes into repair mode and does all it can to rebuild the muscle tissue. The end result is an elevated metabolism throughout the day, combined with increased muscle mass, which in turn burns even more calories.

And if you want the benefits of cardio while doing a weight lifting session, limit the rest intervals to 30 seconds. Try it sometime. It hurts. Bad. My weight lifting sessions generally have 45 second rest invervals, which is typical (most trainers recommend 45-60 seconds).

Thx...Doug
 

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Fragile - must be Italian
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Paul - you've already gotten a lot of good advice, so I won't repeat what everybody else has said.

But here are a few pointers that have kept me in top shape...

1) Work HARD in the gym. Grunt. Push. Yell. You should be breathing harder than usual -- not panting, but not comfortable either. I've seen more calories burned in a game of poker than I've seen some people put into their weightlifting routine. You know how you feel like you are going to puke when climbing up National because you are trying so hard? Put the same effort in the gym when you lift. It works.

2) Keep your workouts from turning into social hour. Stick to a 45- or 60- second rest interval between each set (30 seconds if you really want to burn it). Keep moving.

3) Mix up the moves. If you do the same thing all the time, your body will get used to it and the results will fade away. If you do squats one week, try the hack slide machine the next. Never be afreaid to try new things. Always watch others and see what they do. I've learned so many great moves by watching others in the gym.

4) For your stomach (core), do only those exercises that require balance. The core's primary function is balance, so make it work for that function. Skip any "crunch" exercise where you sit in a machine.

5) Balance out the moves. For every muscle you PUSH, make sure you work the opposing muscle that does the PULL, otherwise you'll develop imbalances in the body.

6) Mix in plyometrics with the weights. This really adds power to your body, especially the legs. Google the term and you'll see all kinds of cool moves you can do and the benefits they bring.

7) Never neglect the tried-and-true moves where you use just your weight -- pull ups, chin ups, push ups, etc. These give you a true indication about how strong you are in relation to your body weight. Most muscle heads I know can barely do 10 legitimate pull ups at once. That's pretty sad. I try for 20.

8) Eat lots of protein and "good" carbs -- fruit, legumes, grains, etc. When possible, skip anything white.

9) Drink a protein shake with some carbs within 30 minutes of your workout. Your body is in repair mode at that point and can greatly benefit from the protein, carbs, and overall calories. If you miss the meal, the benefits of your workout are greatly reduced.

10) Throw away the scale. I know too many people that focus on the scale and get disappointed when the weight doesn't fall off. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you might actually gain weight but lose inches around the waist. Use your "fat clothes" as a guide for how much your body is changing.

Well, that's about it. I've stuck to these principles over the years and have been able to maintain a great physique. My latest body check was 152 lbs with 6% body fat...not too bad for a 39 yr old white collar guy.

If there's anything else you want to know, don't hesitate to ask.

Thx...Doug
 
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