So I am looking to start working out regularly, and I need some recommendations on exercises to do/weight lifting techniques.

I am 17 and consider myself athletic. I play lacrosse, soccer, and hockey, and am looking to increase my strength and muscle. Anything would be a help since I am rather new to the world of working out in a gym. I usually just run or bike a lot and do training sport specific.

Specs: 6 foot (1.82m) and 210 lbs (95kg).

I just feel like I am larger than I should be when it comes to fat and want to build more muscle

  • Can you add your height/weight, and why you think you need to lose weight?
    – JohnP
    Mar 10, 2014 at 0:02
  • I think you should rephrase that to "... losing fat". Unless there's a weight class you're trying to get into, losing weight and increasing muscle is like saying, "I want to lose weight and gain weight". Gaining muscle will help you lose fat, as you'll be burning more calories while attempting to gain muscle. Mar 13, 2014 at 16:22
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I intended to do so but forgot. @DanAndrews
    – Seplo
    Mar 14, 2014 at 19:11

4 Answers 4


The other answers touched on strength training, and I agree that working with a barbell is going to give you the best bang for your buck. The four exercises that are going to give you the most bang for your buck are:

  • Squats
  • Overhead Press
  • Deadlift
  • Bench Press

There are several programs that help you get started. Starting Strength is an excellent book and beginner program. It will provide you with a lot of the foundational knowledge you kneed. However, as an athlete, you might want to seriously consider The Juggernaut Method 2.0. The Juggernaut Method is built for athletes, building explosive strength, etc. I have the book, and it allows you to adjust your training maxes based on your current performance. That means you'll take advantage of your beginner gains. You may want to get the Starting Strength book and the Juggernaut Method book at the same time. Starting Strength provides probably one of the best breakdowns of the main lifts you'll see. It also provides some really good basic knowledge that will help you understand the other book.

Don't Forget Nutrition

A big part of performing your best as an athlete is eating like an athlete. That doesn't mean eat everything under the sun. It means you need to eat good foods in the right amounts. One area where I think Starting Strength does a disservice is it's emphasis on eating your way out of a plateau. It's really easy to eat a bunch of crap and get really fat if you follow that advice. As you mentioned, that's not going to help you.

You will find a lot of conflicting advice about nutrition, and it conflicts because the eating protocols work better for some people than others. The basics are as follows:

  • Eat plenty of protein from lean meats (chicken, beef, seafood). 0.75g per pound minimum, 1g per pound is typically recommended.
  • Eat at least .35g per pound fat. You will need a combination of saturated and unsaturated fats. Try to choose sources that are low in inflammation.
  • Fill up the rest of your calorie requirements with carbohydrates. Choose sources high in fiber, as that helps keep you satisfied longer and supports other body functions.
  • Supplement with a multivitamin, omega-3s, and creatine monohydrate (accept no substitutes, 5g per day)

Over at the Juggernaut Training Systems site you'll find examples of minor nutrition conflicts. But if you understand why they are there it does make sense. Powerlifter Brandon Lilly prefers a more carb heavy diet, while powerlifter/strong man Chad Wesley Smith prefers a more fat heavy diet. It really just boils down to how their bodies deal with the macros.

Start with fixing the sources of food, then work on finding your maintenance calories. Once you have that, you can adjust up or down to fit your training needs at the time. The minimums I provided above are there to support normal metabolic function as best possible. If you find that getting the protein you need starts breaking your calories for loosing weight, first make sure you aren't trying to be too aggressive, then consider supplementing with whey/casein. Avoid the mass gainers that are loaded with sugar and dextrose, but get the regular whey/casein. That helps you keep the protein up even though your diet requires fewer calories.


For building muscle and losing weight, a combination of cardio and weightlifting will be the fastest way to see the results you desire.

For muscle building, Strong Lifts and Starting Strength are the most popular and recommended exercises. Make sure that whatever weightlifting program you follow works your whole body and not just specific parts.

Combining them with a good diet that comprises lean protein, complex carbohydrates, vegetables and fruits, you should begin to gain muscles in a short time.

For cardio, High Intensity Interval Training is the most recommended. I don't know of any specific HIIT program, but P90X and Insanity videos are mainly HIIT programs. So, if you don't find any program worth doing online, give one of those (particularly the Insanity videos) a try.

Most weightlifting and cardio programs follow a routine of 3 alternating days of weightlifting and 2/3 alternating days of cardio. So, weightlifting could be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays while cardio is on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Try to have enough rest as much as possible too.

Good luck on your new adventure :).


Building muscle will mean you will 'gain' weight. If you want to substantially gain muscle mass, you will need sufficient nutrients during your workouts and during recovery. Importantly, consume plenty of carbs before and during your workout and extra proteine post workout. You will need to do heavy reps in short sets, giving each muscle group at least two days of rest between workout. Doing so you will gain muscle mass and likely slightly gain some fat mass, overall you will get heavier, but as your muscles gain more than your fat, your body composition would still be leaner. You might be able to tune your diet in such a way that you don't gain any fat mass or even have a slight decrease in fat mass, but however you turn it, if you want good muscle building results, you will need to accept an overall gain in total weight. This should not be a real concern though, when you look in the mirror you will look leaner, when you use a measuring tape, your waist will get leaner, your weight should not concern you really when you are out to build muscles.

If in contrast your first concern is to loose fat, as it might be if you happen to have health issue, or just want to look ripped when your on the beach, than you need to abandon rapid muscle increase goals. You should do lots of cardio, drasticaly limit your carb intake to almost zero, do long sets of relatively light reps, etc. You will be loosing your fat mass relatively quickly, and if you tune your diet and training program carefully you may manage to do so without loosing muscle mass.

I've tried to find some kind of middle road, but it doesn't seem to give half the result of what I'm about to suggest:

  1. Start off with 18 months 'strength first', get some real strength into those muscles, gain muscle mass, gain some weight in the process but try to find the balance as to at least not gain any more fat mass. Keep your far-mass gain in check. If you are gaining less than 1kg of body fat for every 5kg of FFBM increase than you're doing fine.
  2. Go on the ripping program for 6 months. Keep your FFBM in check. If you're loosing less than 1 kg of FFBM for every 4 kg of body weight your doing fine.
  3. Determine the goal for your FFBM and your fat percentage. Go on a muscle building program until your FFBM has overshot your ideal FFBM by about 5%.
  4. Go back on the ripping program until your FFBM drops below the desired value, than continue at 3.

And as for nutrition, as Barin suggests, 1g proteins per pound of body mass is a good starting point. His suggestion for carb versus fat is really of though. I would suggest the following during your muscle building periods:

  • 1 gram of protein per pound
  • 1.5 gram of carbs per pound
  • for the rest of your calories: fat

During your ripping phase, cut your carbs even further:

  • 1 gram of protein per pound
  • 0.5 gram of carbs per pound
  • for the rest of your calories: fat
  • So if I do 4 days of heavy reps and 3 of cardio and running, that should provide me with a good regiment if i tune my diet correctly? Also, any suggestions (videos articles etc) for what specific exercises to do?
    – Seplo
    Mar 10, 2014 at 0:27
  • I've tried to find a balance like that for years but never succeeded. Some people manage to do it, but for most of us interleaving longer periods of muscle building with shorter periods of ripping seems to yield the best overall results.
    – Pibara
    Mar 10, 2014 at 22:28

Two activities people rarely talk about when the subject falls under bodybuilding. Calisthenics and stretching. They will benefit you greatly. It forces less worked muscles to work and tear and grow in ways you cannot achieve through the typical muscle building routine nonacrobatic type athletes or the standard newb will follow. If you want to grow even faster and stronger (and bigger), I can't stress the importance of those two categories enough. Eg. Gymnasts, martial artists. But I know this from first hand experience.

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