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I started "Operation Christmas" last week. After losing 10-15 kg (down to 80kg) over the last few months with running 3 times a week, I now want to build some muscle, obviously without gaining all the fat again. I trained every now and again over the last few years, but have a way too lazy lifestyle overall, so I am probably not very well trained, but also not entirely new to this whole sports thingy ^^

My plan for the next 3 months is to work out 3 times a week for around half an hour; nothing extreme, just lifting weights and some upper body stuff (always 8 reps per side with 3 sets). My main issue is how many calories should I consume? Enough, but not too many...

A few base calorie-burn calculators gave me widely ranging amounts of calorie usage for my size: 175cm age: 29, gender: male and weight: 80kg.

My plan is a fairly strict 2000kcal per day diet with oats + Micellar protein in the morning, potatoes, steamed broccoli and chicken as lunch, and minced meat with red cabbage for dinner. With the occasional apple or banana thrown in for good measure.

Now for the actual questions: Is this enough workout? It feels like not enough but I usually need a recovery day because of sore muscles, so it probably must be enough... I guess?

Am I even close with my calorie consumption? Honestly, this is the point where I feel the most uncertain.

Do you think I will make meaningful progress during 3 months or is this way too short to gain any muscle?

I am aware that there probably are no definitive answers to this questions, but please give me any experiences and opinions you have. I don't have a strong enough feeling for the topic to really know what I am doing.

Edit: Phew - I didn't include my precise training plan initially because I don't really know the right English names for the stuff I do, but I will try my best ^^

(All in 3 sets)

  • 10x handpress per Hand
  • 8x horizontal pull-up (bar at around waist hight, grab it "lay down" at an angle while holding it, then pull up)
  • 8x dumbbell rowing per hand
  • 2x plank (can manage 30 sec max, 20 secs for 2(6) times)
  • 8x resistance band ... beat down...? I don't know xD I move my hand from around my shoulder to my waist across my body while grabbing a resistance band attached above my head... it's a chest workout ... sorry ^^
  • 8x kneeling pull-downs, kneel down and pull down the bar of the strength station (?)
  • 16x full-body pull-down, stand in front of strength station, grab bar. Go on one knee, while bringing the bar to your chest (8 times per knee)
  • 16x curl, 8 per arm

To explain my goal a little more (and why this is so upper body focused) I am getting married on the 13 of May next year. Till then my weight goal is 73kg and being able to do a proper pull-up, which I could never do before. Which also explains my plans for the next ~7 months: till Christmas build muscle, then lose enough weight to hit ~73 kg and be able to do a pull-up. Right now I am able to lift my body slightly but certainly not high enough to call it really close.

If this gives you any indication for my strength, I can bench press 30 kg plus bar 8x3 times and my curls are with 10kg dumbbells. I have no clue if this is good or very bad, just so you got a little more to work with.

My body-weight stuff also means that the fat I gain during the next 3 months I would have to lose that plus 7 more kgs in the following 5 months, which sounds like a lot to do, so maybe just 2 months of bulk?

For my diet, this rather monotone diet just simply works the best for me. Don't ask me, maybe I'm insane but it's the easiest for me to stick to. But I'm aware it's nothing permanent, just for these 3 months, and if I crave anything I give in moderately so I don't worry much for bad nutrition or something; and it's no long term "solution" for me.

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  • This question should be edited to include more about your workout routine. You're asking "is this enough?", but you're not telling us what "this" is. Also note that opinions are not valid answers here. Please read the on-topic section of the Help Center.
    – Alec
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 15:07
  • Welcome to the site! As Alec has said, more detail on the workout routine would help, as well as being more specific on the goals other than "Is this good?". This is a fairly common question on the site, you can use the search function to find some. If you look for "Stronglifts" or "Starting Strength" you will find a lot geared towards exactly what you are asking. :)
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 6, 2021 at 15:52
  • Hi, and thanks for your responses, I edited in a little more Info and will check out the sites you linked. ^^
    – G.M
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 5:56

1 Answer 1

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There are a lot of things to go over here and would probably be best broken down into separate, more detailed questions in the future. First of all, congrats on losing 10-15 kg! That is lot!

A few base calorie-burn calculators gave me widely ranging amounts of calorie usage for my size: 175cm, age: 29, gender: male and weight: 80kg.

Typically those calorie calculators will give rough estimates based on how active you are. Try to hit near what they say, but don't take calorie counting too seriously. Count your calories for a couple weeks, and after that you should have a rough idea of where you need to be.

After losing 10-15 kg (down to 80kg) over the last few months with running 3 times a week I now want to build some muscle. Obviously without gaining all the fat again.

It takes some very specific circumstances to build muscle without gaining fat, so if you bulk up a little bit that is totally normal. To build muscle you should expect to gain 0.25-0.5 kg per week. Keep in mind a good majority of this weight will not be actual muscle gain, which is why people bulk then cut over and over. If you are gaining too much, cut the calories back. If you aren't seeing any progress, add a couple hundred calories per day. Same thing goes for cutting weight but it can be a little faster, expect 0.5-1 kg per week to be in a good deficit.

My plan is a fairly strict 2000kcal per day diet with oats + Micellar protein in the morning, potatoes, steamed broccoli and chicken as lunch, and minced meat with red cabbage for dinner. With the occasional apple or banana thrown in for good measure.

Your diet sounds pretty rough. It sounds healthyish, but very hard to maintain. With static diets where you eat the same food every day you can find yourself getting macro deficiencies, but that isn't really something you should be overly concerned with right now. The idea here is to find food that you actually like, will fill you up, and that you can eat forever. It is okay to not have a perfectly optimized diet as long as you can stick with it over the long term and is generally healthy.

My plan for the next 3 months is to work out 3 times a week for around half an hour, nothing extreme, just lifting weights and some upper body stuff (always 8 reps per side with 3 sets).

The only way that you are going to gain muscle is by progressively increasing the volume of your workouts. As John mentioned some really good routines can be found by searching Stronglifts and Starting Strength are pretty decent routines for most people.

Is this enough workout? It feels like not enough but I usually need a recovery day because of sore muscles, so it probably must be enough... I guess?

"Is this enough workout?" You are going to get out of the gym what you put into it. If you are putting in the bare minimum effort into the gym, you are going to get the bare minimum results. Good results should come with 3-4 days of gym per week at roughly 1 hour or so in the gym per session assuming that you are trying to improve each time you go while maintaining a good diet, and proper sleep.

DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is not in any way an indication of whether you are building muscle. DOMS happens when you are working a muscle your body is not accustomed to using. It usually only happens for a couple weeks when you first start going to the gym, but it can continue for longer if you aren't working out your muscles frequently enough. If you are experiencing continued soreness, try working out those muscle groups more frequently.

Do you think I will make meaningful progress during 3 months or is this way too short to gain any muscle?

If you had elite genetics it is possible to get ~2 kg of muscle gain in 3 months as a newbie, but the average newbie should expect 1-1.5 kg. As you become more experienced that rate of muscle growth slows down significantly down to a point where after a few years you should only expect about 1kg per year under perfect circumstances. If you are planning to stop working out after 3 months, expect to lose the muscle you gained over time. There is no reason for your body to spend resources maintaining muscle if you are not using it. Use it or lose it.

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  • thanks alot for your answer, I edited in more detailed information, so maybe this helps you giving me a better picture ^^ In regards to DOMS, they are already fading away so probably wont be an issue for much longer
    – G.M
    Commented Oct 7, 2021 at 5:58

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