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I need some help with my workout routine, supplement guide, and nutrition program.

Current:

Weight: 151 BF: 19.4%

Target:

Weight: 160 BF: 10-12%

Workout:

I have been working out by my self for the last 2 years, mostly working with Kris Gethin's routine. What kind of workout should I follow to achieve good cuts and a six pack. You can see my pic Here. How much cardio do I need to do in a week, and what exercises?

Supplements:

What kind of supplements and protein are good for me for times such as: pre-workout, post workout, and intra-workout? Which one is required to help me make my goal.

Nutrition:

I am vegetarian. What kind of foods should I to avoid and what kind of food is good? How much do I need to eat and how often should I need to eat? Many people say like 8 times a day. Can you suggest me good nutrition plan?

Thank you in advance for help.

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closed as too broad by Dave Liepmann, Matt Chan May 8 at 11:46

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3 Answers 3

Workout: Given your target weight and current physique I would look into Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 strength training program and do HIIT cardio 2-3 days out of the weeks and only after you've lifted weights. 5/3/1 is awesome for both beginners and advanced lifters alike, and it focuses on starting light first to build confidence and momentum into the program. It might be easy with lighter weight but will definitely get much harder as you hit the 5+/3+/1+ sets and as you gain strength.

5/3/1 is often referred to as a "long-term" sustained strength program. While an alternative workout program like StrongLifts 5x5 does "work"(basically thanks to "newb gains") it is easy to bash your CNS(as Dave Liepmann would put it)against your 5RM and burn out or plateau quickly on relatively lighter weight if you're adding weight every workout to your maxes and not eating over maintenance, at least from my experience. Gaining the strength to squat 250lb is really not that easy if you've A. never really squatted and B. don't eat much.

5/3/1 is a cycled program in that you have 3 weeks of working sets with 1 week built in as the deload which gives you a week to practice form and give your CNS/body/mind a break. At the end of each cycle you increase the numbers for your 1RM(1 rep max)on the spreadsheet to get your new work weights for the next cycle. This is how you gain strength.

You can read more about the philosophies of this training program and how to use it here:

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/how_to_build_pure_strength

The principals of 5/3/1 are centered around the 4 major compound lifts: the deadlift, bench press, back squat, and overhead press. After you complete these in a work day you can follow up with assistance programs/exercises as seen below:

In the Wendler's 5/3/1 book, the following assistance plans are presented:

Boring But Big: Main lift, the main lift again @ 5x10 (50% 1RM), and another accessory exercise for 5 sets.
The Triumvirate: Main lift, and two assistance exercises - 5 sets each.
I'm Not Doing Jack Shit: Main lift, and nothing else.
Periodization Bible by Dave Tate: Main lift, and 3 exercises - 5 x 10-20 reps each.
Bodyweight: Main lift, and 2 bodyweight exercises such as the pull up, sit ups, dips, etc.

The bottom line about assistance exercises are that they can be ANYTHING you want as long as they help you reach your goals. So don't think too hard on these, get some good volume in, but don't kill yourself.

Here is a google doc spreadsheet that already has all of the formulas and weekly work outs in place. So once you've read the above article you can use this to start plugging in your numbers. START LIGHT and start with the empty bar if you have to.

Click File > Make a Copy

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Aj5Edflz4F5_dG56ZW5IWUhkWTlxTks4bHd2VU91Y1E&usp=sharing

Supplements: You really don't need to supplement anything besides maybe some oils and fatty acids(fish/flaxseed oils), creatine monohydrate, multi vitamins if you're deficient in any of them, and POSSIBLY BCAAs(branch chain amino acids)if your protein intake is low. BCAAs are found in whole foods such as cottage cheese but the volume isn't up there like it is in a BCAA blend nor are they as readily bioavailable since the BCAAs in typical blends are free floating.

Like many others I don't consider whey protein powder to really be a supplement since it's technically a dairy byproduct, however, you can supplement WITH IT out of convenience. If you choose to supplement with protein powder I would take no more than 0.8g/lb a day(and you don't even have to worry about hitting that max). Also, if you supplement with whey protein powder you do NOT need to supplement with BCAAs since most whey powders contain the same amino acid blends.

Nutrition: This is a tough one. I can't recommend any specific diet but since your goal is to get significantly leaner without packing on much weight, I would recommend that you plan out your daily caloric intake to be 500 less than your calculated TDEE(total daily energy expenditure). To cut to such a relatively low body fat percentage you'll need to accurately count your calories and weigh foods. Don't get caught up on fad diets, just watch your macros and don't go too overboard. Carbs are not your enemy. You will need to be sure to readjust this using updated TDEE values as you gain weight from the newb muscle gains you'll get from starting a strength training program.

The key to any diet is moderation and diversity. Don't let yourself get caught up on the organic vs processed paradigm as studies show that GMOs(genetically modified organisms) are not anymore harmful that natural ones. You won't be doing yourself any favors by following any severely restricted diets and studies show that dietary restrictions often lead to behavioral regressions after fitness goals are achieved. Alan Aragon suggests that you adjust your caloric intake to favor more solid foods versus liquid ones(solid calories vs liquid calories has a lot to do with the quality of calories, the satiety, and the tendency/relative ease to overdrink calories). Just keep this in mind but don't take it too too seriously.

You do not need to plan your meals around particular timing patterns. Plenty of research indicates that meal timing is a hugely irrelevant factor as far as metabolic efficiency is concerned and has no real bearing on it. This is actually a GOOD thing because it means that you can make your meal timings accomodate YOUR schedule. If you find that eating 5 times a day at specific times works the best for you then that's what you should do as long as you keep it in line with your caloric intake requirements, but, just keep in mind that there's no scientific or health benefit to doing such.

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Good answer. You know, I think a good diet and body weight exercises will get your six-pack faster than deadlifting and squatting combined :). –  Kneel-Before-ZOD Apr 15 at 18:10
    
It does look like the OP is looking more for bodybuilding style workouts. The BBB could work, or it might be better for the main work assuming he selects weights heavy enough to make that a challenge. –  Berin Loritsch Apr 17 at 17:52
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While I agree with some points on @ChristopherBruce's answer, I do have a kinda different view of how to reach your goal.

Workout:
While 5/3/1 isn't a bad program, I wouldn't recommend it to beginners, which you seem to be, at least physique-wise. If you deadlift 200lbs, you can skip the following: Why would I not recommend 5/3/1? because it is slow. Granted, you will not bust your central nervous system (CNS) as quickly, because you won't progress much. You're basically only adding 10lbs per month. In the beginning, you'll be able to progress 10lbs per workout, which means 5/3/1 would really limit your progress. Also, to bust CNS, you'd need to be able to recruit it in a sufficent manner, which you probably can't until you're lifting quite heavy.

With that said 5/3/1 is great for intermediate lifters. Keep in mind, lifting for 2 years does not make you intermediate, your strength does. So if you're able to squat your bodyweight and deadlift 1.5x as much, go for it. Until then, I think it would be a waste.

So what would I recommend? That would be Starting Strength, which focusses on workout to workout progression to build a strong foundation fast. It's not the be all, end all of programs though, so consider Stronglifts 5x5, the Westside Barbell workouts or any other fast progressing routine that focusses on compound movements.

Programming:
I'd strongly advise you to build muscle first and work on definition later. Building muscles in the beginning will give you a strong foundation to lose weight later on. So while you might not like it, if you want a 'ripped' physique, it's easier to get muscles first and lose fat later. Sure, you'll look fatter at first, but once you diet down, it'll go much faster and you've already got the muscles.

I don't advise you to gain 40lbs and diet down again. I'm all for slow gains (500kcal surplus), which will add less fat to your frame. A similarily slow diet (500kcal deficit) will get you rid of fat, while conserving muscle mass. You can also micro-cycle these, building muscle for a month, then dieting for a month and repeat.

Nutrition:
Regarding food, you should eat a high protein diet, which might be a bit harder on vegetarians. If you eat eggs and milk (and cheese) though, you should be good. Other options would be lentils, soy beans and the like. There's huge lists on the web, so I'll spare you for now.

An important side note: Don't worry about kidney failure or cancer. There's no conclussive evidence that you'll develop any of that from a high protein intake alone. If you drink enough, and do not have a predisposition for those conditions, you're safe.

Supplements:
You don't need any. Some can be helpful, though:

  • Whey protein may help you reach your protein goals, but is not a substitution for real food.
  • Vitamins/Minerals might prevent deficiencies. I have a better-safe-than-sorry politic on those, as they can't do much harm.
  • Fish Oil is important and can prevent inflammation. Definitely recommended.
  • BCAAs are a great pick if you're dieting. If you eat a normal high protein diet, though, they aren't necessary.
  • Caffeine/Green Tea Extract/Thermo Stacks are supposed to help you on a diet by raising your metabolism. I haven't found one that works yet, so I'd advise you against buying them.
  • Beta-Alanine/L-Carnitine/Other fancy bodybuilder's stuff is in most cases just wasted money. If you're ever looking to gain a 2% performance increase you could consider these.
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Using ratios for body weight to lifts really inflates the reasonable numbers for people who are overweight. It works for light weight people, because it's far less effort. Wilks score takes these things into consideration. –  Berin Loritsch Apr 17 at 17:37
    
@BerinLoritsch: I agree, bodyweight ratios aren't the perfect measure for relative performance. On the other hand, I was really just interested in drawing a very rough line, to discourage self-proclaimed 'intermediates' (read 'beginners') from using unnecessarily complicated programs. For that rough line, bodyweight ratios work good enough, in my opinion. –  LarissaGodzilla Apr 18 at 12:50
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I'l make this really simple.

If you want to gain muscle gradually increase your calories every one or two weeks.

If you want to get lean do the opposite.

I'm guessing your still a beginner so you can do both at the same time by eating enough calories to maintain your weight while training hard.

Supplements: They aren't needed but since your vegetarian you should take whey protein. Absolutely any is fine. Avoid mass gainers though.

Nutrition: you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits in your calorie range and as long as you're getting a good amount of protein. about 1g per lbs of body weight. (doesn't have to be exact)

Workout: Make sure you do mainly compound movements, plus isolation for arms. And MAKE SURE you make progress with your weights/ reps every week.

Its literally that simple. Dont get serious about all the little details and all that scientific crap. Just follow the simple guidelines and you'll make great progress.

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