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Having watched videos such as those by Athlean-x, the common theme appears to be progressive overload while increasing repetitions.

However, someone I met seems to be doing the exact opposite however, and he has gained considerable mass and a leaner body.

His regime is as follows (generalized):

  • 15 minute cardio - either incline walk or run
  • 4 sets/20 repetitions of bench presses, dumb-bells, etc with no overload i.e. For example, he simply lifts 132 pounds/60 kilograms when performing a bench press and does not progressively overload.

I do appreciate everyone is different, however I don't find it easy when there appear to be so many variations to the advice and recommendations.

What is the rule of thumb or what is recommended as being the best approach when you are wanting to lose weight and gain muscle?

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Please do not make the mistake in becoming a 'template hopper', just stick to your SL 5x5 program you started and stay with it for as long as you see progress. You will gain muscle and even loose fat if your diet is clean. Dont look at what the others may have done and use their regime as everybody is different. What works for him might not work for you.

Eric Kaufmann has given you a nice answer and advice on one of your questions about pec-specific training. I could write some magic-fat burning-turn-you-in to hulk-program... in 30 days. But that would be a lie.

The only general rule of thumb I personally can give you, and this is the only regime that works: Eat clean, train hard, dont miss a training session and the most difficult. .. be patient. The results will come, it just takes some time.

You can do some swimming or prowler work for additional 'fat burning' boost between your training days but remember that rest and recovery is as important as training.

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  • Thanks mitro. I am attempting to do just that i.e. avoid being a template hopper as you mentioned. As for rest days, i am not clear on how it works. For example, i generally workout on Saturday, Sunday, rest on Monday, work out on Tuesday - Thursday and rest on Friday. If i feel exhausted more than i generally do, i take an additional rest day. – Motivated Dec 26 '15 at 8:56
  • As I recall correctly the SL 5X5 is three days a week recommendation where you workout on one day and rest the next one. You should follow that shedule as someone made this prescription on purpose - if it fits your life-style. If not, adjust to your needs as it is a template, but stay close to it as possible to get the benefits of it. During the rest days inbetween you could do some swimming, rowing, prowler work or even walk and include some soft tissue work. And dont forget to have fun :-) – mitro Dec 26 '15 at 10:23
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There are no certain rules/methods to be considered "ideal". Each of the recommendations you see in videos & articles are based on research assumptions that may conflict (for example, progressive overloading means a very proper warmup and preparation for the final sets, but in contrast you may "waste" too much energy in these mid sets), but still most of them make sense, so the best way to test them is by trying and seeing if it's good for you (calculable gains as well as your general feeling). As long as you're satisfied with your program's results, in numbers and in the mirror, keep going, and keep in mind that results should be tested in the long term.

In addition to the rule #1 of dedication (diet and training), I follow a general recommendation by Arnold who says that you basically need to "surprise" your body since it gets used to your sessions over time. It means that you should change your plan and methods from time to time, sometimes the exercises order, sometimes the weight/reps for a set and sometimes the whole program. One of his videos where he mentions this can be found here.

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