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I have been hitting the gym for past 5 years but I did take long breaks in the middle, one of them being a year long and others being one to three months. However, recently I have been going to the gym regularly for last 9 months, but I look the same as I did before 9 months ago. My workouts are mostly focused on upper body and do take a day off after 2 days of workout and also have been following this workout plan for last 3 months. I eat a lot of vegetables and chicken. I am 5.8" tall and weigh 85 kgs, little bit on the plum side; I believe thats because of the excessive intake of white rice.

Why do I still look the same ? Is it because I workout in the evening (lot of people said, for better results I should work in the morning) mostly with a empty stomach. I work out in the evening because the gym is close to my work place and I can do my workouts in my own pace without thinking about being late for work. After my workout, I am deprived of food for next 2 hours because thats the time it takes me to reach home, I try to avoid any outside food. Also I have never tried protein shakes either, should I be taking it ? I can see results in one of my friend who recently started taking whey.

Edit:

My goal is to get a muscular but lean body. Like this guy in the picture

https://www.menshealth.com.sg/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Get-A-V-Taper-With-This-Back-Workout-Shortcut-e1530502378740.jpg

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    Hi Flying Gambit, welcome to fitness.se. Could you explain what your goals are? That way you might get a better answer to your question! – MJB Feb 15 at 8:40
  • Along with your goals, outlining what you actually do in a workout and possibly eat in a day. 9 months is certainly long enough to see changes if you are training effectively and eating enough. – JohnP Feb 15 at 14:48
  • @MJB My goal is to get ripped and lean body but I am not able to understand what I am doing wrong – Flying Gambit Feb 15 at 18:48
  • @JohnP I follow this workout plan mentioned here coachmag.co.uk/fitness-technology/4355/… . For breakfast I have something made of wheat, scrambled eggs and some vegetable. For lunch its mostly rice , chicken (mostly very oily because I get this from canteen in my office ) and pulses. In the evening tea and biscuits and for dinner its wheat, something made of lot of vegetables mixed together and either eggs or chicken. – Flying Gambit Feb 15 at 18:53
  • You haven’t mentioned the two most important factors, your nutrition and your training intensity. “Chicken and Veggies” is incredibly vague, are you eating in a surplus or deficit? Are you eating enough protein and getting sufficient micronutrients? How about training intensity? Are you practicing progressive overload? Are you working your sets to or close to failure (giving yourself an appropriate challenge)? The answer to your question probably lies in one or both of these aspects. – JustSnilloc Feb 18 at 17:02
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I visited the article you linked to, and I disagree with their suggestion of doing 8 sets for a lot of the exercises. If someone is lifting heavy with intensity, 8 sets too many. You would have to sacrifice intensity to finish that many sets.

  1. Reduce your workout to only the following compound exercise: bench press, squats, chin-ups, and deadlifts.
  2. Increase the weight on each exercise to where you can literally do at most 8 reps per set before you fail (it needs to hurt). Do only 4 sets. You should be hurting so bad, you shouldn't be able to do a 5th set.
  3. Run a mile or two on your off days to keep your heart strong (if you aren't too sore from doing squats or deadlifts). This will help tremendously with recovery as well.
  4. After you get a feel for what your body is capable of weight-wise, then you can start adding non-compound exercises like dumbbell curls, shrugs, etc.

Monday: 4 sets of 8 reps of squats

Tuesday: 4 sets of 8 reps of flat bench

Wednesday: 4 sets of 8 reps of chin-ups

Thursday: run a mile or two

Friday: 4 sets of 6 reps of deadlifts

Saturday: off day, you should be too sore from deadlifts to run

Sunday: run a mile or two

If you aren't in serious muscular pain the day or two after doing squats, to the point you can't even run, you didn't work out heavy enough. Increase the weight next time.

Avoid garbage exercises that make you swing around kettlebells or 5lb plates, these are weak muscle builders compared to the ones I listed above and just waste your time.

Eat mainly rich, nutritious foods, such as chicken breast, pasta, broccoli, orange juice, oatmeal. Nothing wrong with white bread/pizza/ice cream/candy bars as long as you don’t overdo it. Never go long periods of time hungry, especially if you are trying to build muscle.

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