Ask The Hitman

Well.
Here goes mine one, and probably hilarious question. Asked you to be just absolutely sure. answer it my friend @Hitman :laughing:
Is it a madness to take 240 grams protein per day?? All from vegetarian sources :- low fat milk, curd, pulses, lentils, cheese, paneer, ....
No medicine, no enhancements, no physical problem...
Age 31, body weight 77-79 kgs, height 188 Cms
4 hours in gym every morning, 3 hours of sport every evening, 6 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work.....
What's say bro!!
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Well.
Here goes mine one, and probably hilarious question. Asked you to be just absolutely sure. answer it my friend @Hitman :laughing:
Is it a madness to take 240 grams protein per day?? All from vegetarian sources :- low fat milk, curd, pulses, lentils, cheese, paneer, ....
No medicine, no enhancements, no physical problem...
Age 31, body weight 77-79 kgs, height 188 Cms
4 hours in gym every morning, 3 hours of sport every evening, 6 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work.....
What's say bro!!
The answer is simple...it depends on your specific nutritional requirements that not only allow you to stay in your current shape, but allow you to recover from training. If what you are taking is not causing you digestive stress, no stress on your kidney filtration, and no overall negative impacts on your well being, but in fact is allowing you to do the sports you engage in while also being able to live a normal life, then it is quite clear it works for your specific body.
 
@Hitman
You answered this before in my previous question about whether a caloric deficit would still allow you to get stronger, but would a caloric deficit also allow you to look bigger too after working out?

Also, for someone wanting to add mass (preferably muscle mass as I'm skinny but not anorexic), any type of fasting should be out the window right? I read up about the benefits of intermittent fasting as well as your post on it in this thread and I'm guessing fasting isn't the way to go for someone to add on muscle mass due to such a low calorie intake? (Guess I'm just wondering whether working out while doing intermittent fasting will slow down/prevent the progress of gaining lean muscle mass)

Thanks a lot always!
 
Last edited:
Well.
Here goes mine one, and probably hilarious question. Asked you to be just absolutely sure. answer it my friend @Hitman :laughing:
Is it a madness to take 240 grams protein per day?? All from vegetarian sources :- low fat milk, curd, pulses, lentils, cheese, paneer, ....
No medicine, no enhancements, no physical problem...
Age 31, body weight 77-79 kgs, height 188 Cms
4 hours in gym every morning, 3 hours of sport every evening, 6 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work.....
What's say bro!!
Are you being serious? 4 hours gym and 3 hours sports time every day? Only 6 hours of sleep? Be careful your body needs time to recuperate.
 
The answer is simple...it depends on your specific nutritional requirements that not only allow you to stay in your current shape, but allow you to recover from training. If what you are taking is not causing you digestive stress, no stress on your kidney filtration, and no overall negative impacts on your well being, but in fact is allowing you to do the sports you engage in while also being able to live a normal life, then it is quite clear it works for your specific body.
Well in that case, you're right.
There are no negative impacts on any organ of my body, plus I never feel dizzy, tired or out of energy, digestion is at its peak and so is my sleeping ease (it takes just 10-20 seconds for me to go completely asleep once in bed)....
So yeah....thank you hitman for enhancing my self belief

Are you being serious? 4 hours gym and 3 hours sports time every day? Only 6 hours of sleep? Be careful your body needs time to recuperate.
Yes dear, I am 100% serious....
And actually I have trained and reshaped my body to have 5 hours of sleep even before I started heavy exercise and all (15 years of age), then I added an extra hour of nap which is working perfectly fine for me since I went completely in-attack on the schedule I just mentioned....
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
@Hitman
You answered this before in my previous question about whether a caloric deficit would still allow you to get stronger, but would a caloric deficit also allow you to look bigger too after working out?

Also, for someone wanting to add mass (preferably muscle mass as I'm skinny but not anorexic), any type of fasting should be out the window right? I read up about the benefits of intermittent fasting as well as your post on it in this thread and I'm guessing fasting isn't the way to go for someone to add on muscle mass due to such a low calorie intake? (Guess I'm just wondering whether working out while doing intermittent fasting will slow down/prevent the progress of gaining lean muscle mass)

Thanks a lot always!
Muscle building takes places when you have a caloric surplus, because the first thing your body is going to do is make sure your baseline expenditure is met to keep you functioning in the physical state you are, that includes keep you at your current weight. Understand that if you are working out, you are in fact adding to your daily expenditure, so if you goal is to put on some good muscle, I would recommend not training more than three times a week, but keeping your calorie consumption in a surplus on all seven days.

Now, you have a couple of ways of bulking up, the dirty bulk - which is just eat anything you want, you will get bigger, put on some muscle, but you will also put on some body fat, this method is quicker. Now, while it may look bad, it is OK to use for a couple weeks each year just to put on size, that you can then use your diet and cardio to help preserve the muscle but have more leaner looking shape to your body.

You can do the clean bulk, this is basically over eating only on clean food sources, this can also provide the effects describe above, but they take slightly longer for someone who is an ectomorph, as you describe yourself to be.

My suggestion is to have fully structured mass phase, maintenance phase, cutting phase, maintenance phase cycle as your goal here. This is something I do all the time so I don't lose too much size from being overly ripped for most of the year.

Have a period of bulking, this could be two or three months, depending on your nutritional choices and your genetics. During this time, focus on a lot of compound movements that target specific muscles, like bent over bar bell rows to widen and thicken those lats. Get plenty more rest, so three workouts, allowing yourself to grow. Then have a period of maintenance where you stop getting bigger and try to hold that new shape, basically adjusting your set point, so your body gets used to this new size.

Once you able to hold it, start your cut, to bring out the ripped defined muscles that are hiding under the fat which you are removing. Finally, when you are at the right size and lean enough, go back into maintenance, stop dropping body fat and again allow your body to readjust it's set point. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be for you to hold and retain muscle this way.
 

K-H

Hall of Fame
Muscle building takes places when you have a caloric surplus, because the first thing your body is going to do is make sure your baseline expenditure is met to keep you functioning in the physical state you are, that includes keep you at your current weight. Understand that if you are working out, you are in fact adding to your daily expenditure, so if you goal is to put on some good muscle, I would recommend not training more than three times a week, but keeping your calorie consumption in a surplus on all seven days.

Now, you have a couple of ways of bulking up, the dirty bulk - which is just eat anything you want, you will get bigger, put on some muscle, but you will also put on some body fat, this method is quicker. Now, while it may look bad, it is OK to use for a couple weeks each year just to put on size, that you can then use your diet and cardio to help preserve the muscle but have more leaner looking shape to your body.

You can do the clean bulk, this is basically over eating only on clean food sources, this can also provide the effects describe above, but they take slightly longer for someone who is an ectomorph, as you describe yourself to be.

My suggestion is to have fully structured mass phase, maintenance phase, cutting phase, maintenance phase cycle as your goal here. This is something I do all the time so I don't lose too much size from being overly ripped for most of the year.

Have a period of bulking, this could be two or three months, depending on your nutritional choices and your genetics. During this time, focus on a lot of compound movements that target specific muscles, like bent over bar bell rows to widen and thicken those lats. Get plenty more rest, so three workouts, allowing yourself to grow. Then have a period of maintenance where you stop getting bigger and try to hold that new shape, basically adjusting your set point, so your body gets used to this new size.

Once you able to hold it, start your cut, to bring out the ripped defined muscles that are hiding under the fat which you are removing. Finally, when you are at the right size and lean enough, go back into maintenance, stop dropping body fat and again allow your body to readjust it's set point. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be for you to hold and retain muscle this way.
I never knew about the maintenance phase. Makes so much sense. No wonder people usually lose a lot of muscle when go straight to a cut.

How long should a maintenance phase last usually.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
I never knew about the maintenance phase. Makes so much sense. No wonder people usually lose a lot of muscle when go straight to a cut.

How long should a maintenance phase last usually.
Ideally, six months each year, split into two x 3 months if you are not training for a show. It is not ideal to start cutting immediately following a bulking phase.
 
Hey Hitman,

I know nothing about fitness or working out -- I wouldn't even know how to start, and have never been to the gym in my life... I know that it's really important for me if I want to become a better tennis player.
I have a hard time putting on weight -- despite eating a lot (although inconsistent). I am 6'6-7" and fluctuate between 170 and 180 lbs.
I'm not so much into the idea of being able to lift massive weights or getting massive biceps. I just want to get all around stronger, get in better shape, and put on some weight.
Thanks
 
Muscle building takes places when you have a caloric surplus, because the first thing your body is going to do is make sure your baseline expenditure is met to keep you functioning in the physical state you are, that includes keep you at your current weight. Understand that if you are working out, you are in fact adding to your daily expenditure, so if you goal is to put on some good muscle, I would recommend not training more than three times a week, but keeping your calorie consumption in a surplus on all seven days.

Now, you have a couple of ways of bulking up, the dirty bulk - which is just eat anything you want, you will get bigger, put on some muscle, but you will also put on some body fat, this method is quicker. Now, while it may look bad, it is OK to use for a couple weeks each year just to put on size, that you can then use your diet and cardio to help preserve the muscle but have more leaner looking shape to your body.

You can do the clean bulk, this is basically over eating only on clean food sources, this can also provide the effects describe above, but they take slightly longer for someone who is an ectomorph, as you describe yourself to be.

My suggestion is to have fully structured mass phase, maintenance phase, cutting phase, maintenance phase cycle as your goal here. This is something I do all the time so I don't lose too much size from being overly ripped for most of the year.

Have a period of bulking, this could be two or three months, depending on your nutritional choices and your genetics. During this time, focus on a lot of compound movements that target specific muscles, like bent over bar bell rows to widen and thicken those lats. Get plenty more rest, so three workouts, allowing yourself to grow. Then have a period of maintenance where you stop getting bigger and try to hold that new shape, basically adjusting your set point, so your body gets used to this new size.

Once you able to hold it, start your cut, to bring out the ripped defined muscles that are hiding under the fat which you are removing. Finally, when you are at the right size and lean enough, go back into maintenance, stop dropping body fat and again allow your body to readjust it's set point. You will be amazed at how much easier it will be for you to hold and retain muscle this way.
If you look for that look, then chest, shoulders, back and then arms in that sequence. Never neglect what the impact of what good shoulders can do for you, they frame your body, create that wide strong look and help make your waist look smaller in T-shirts.

In regards to what exercises you should do, that really depends on how your body responds. You may be a mesomorph with great genetics who only needs to throw in a few pull ups and pushups and looks good, or you may be an ectomorph and be a hard gainer, struggling to put on muscle. Keep in mind also, everyone responds differently, and while there is an overall baseline, your chest may develop better than mine doing push ups, but my anterior deltoids might develop better than yours doing the same thing.

Keeping a decent diet is important also, and also knowing that body very quickly adapts. So, for instance, you may need to go from standard push ups for a week, to decline push ups for the next week, just to get that stimulus. Training is always about changing the variables, intensity, and execution of the workout, even if all you want to do is impress people in your T-shirt.
Yea, I'm an ectomorph.

If all I have is dumbbells and only have 7kg and 10kg dumbbells (dont have access to a gym, financial reasons and time), and one of those pull up bars you stick to the door frame, that's all that is necessary to work out and get in shape right?
(Is it better to go higher reps and less weight (7kg in my case), or lower reps and higher weight (10kg) for size for ectomorphs?)
I do:
dumbbell shoulder presses
dumbell chest flies (the one with a vertical grip on the dumbbells, starting from the floor with arms stretched out, and bringing them together)
dumbbell back row (bent-over one arm dumbbell row)
(12x4) for each exercise, 1 minute rest between sets
*I have done pull-ups and push-ups but I struggle to do more than 10 at a time with proper form (due to fatigue, not laziness) for both exercises after doing one set.

I'm aware that there are plenty more dumbbell exercises for other muscles, but wonder if these specific ones are sufficient enough for the shoulders, chest, and back?

Or should I substitute these completely, and use compound movements more often like push-ups and pull-ups as you suggested in one of your earlier responses to me?

With the second quote that I grabbed from your reply to my previous question on the previous page of this thread (the Muhammid Ali picture), is it safe to say that as an ectomorph who struggles to put on muscle as easily as a mesomorph would have a much harder time to get that look, or is a djokovic-like body more likely to be achieved for an ectomorph?

Lastly, how much time does it take for you to notice an increase in size for your average client of an ectomorph body type, assuming proper, consistent workout routines and proper nutrition intake?

EDIT: Oh yeah, am I delusional in thinking that I feel less quick and/or agile on the tennis court, or feel slightly less coordinated in my movement after stretching out my hamstrings and quads? For example uhhh...feeling like i have less strength in my legs to push off the ground when chasing for a drop shot, as opposed to not stretching i feel like I can run significantly faster (I do static stretches, i'm also trying to achieve the level of flexibility to be able to have my palms touch the floor standing up without having my knees bent with ease, as well as being able to do the splits like djokovic)
But i feel like it's detrimental to my movement and i have to wait a couple days at most to feel (in my mind anyway) my strength in my legs again after stretching them out to the farthest they can go before feeling too much discomfort. (and pain?) I am assuming the body just needs to get used to it, and the legs will feel the strength they had before the stretching happened.

Thank you!
I would like you to start doing something known as Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF stretching, this type of stretching is far more effective than static stretching in opening up the muscle and tendons. I would recommend that you do PNF stretching for both the hamstring and the quadriceps three times a week, and the remaininglIf you are unable to get a partner to help with PNF stretching then you can do it by yourself, by lying with the back on the floor and legs stretched out. Then use a resistance band, or a towel which you hold in both hands, with it going around the sole of your foot, and lift the leg up towards a 90 degrees angle, and then continue to stretch it towards your chest. Hold each position for about 12 seconds, lower back to original position, and then do it again.

I would suggest that you keep to about 10 minutes each session.
Is there an equally effective way to stretch out the muscles and tendons to do the splits? An equivalent PNF stretch for it?
 
Last edited:
@Hitman , I have stayed on the workout routine you gave me.

I have progressed on the walking single leg lunges to the point where my grip strength is beginning to be the limiting factor.

On the working set to failure I used two 30kg dumbells today (one in each hand; 66 lbs per dumbelll)

My legs were almost at failure on the 18th lunge (9 each leg) but my left hand grip gave out just before my legs.

Any suggestions?

Also, should I stay on the same routine or change anything? Progress has slowed a bit for some exercises.
 

Rago

Hall of Fame
No wonder people usually lose a lot of muscle when go straight to a cut.
Many people lose a lot of muscle on a cut because they put too much focus on toning (not lifting heavy enough) and/or poor nutrition (insufficient protein and/or too big of a calorie deficit).
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Hey Hitman,

I know nothing about fitness or working out -- I wouldn't even know how to start, and have never been to the gym in my life... I know that it's really important for me if I want to become a better tennis player.
I have a hard time putting on weight -- despite eating a lot (although inconsistent). I am 6'6-7" and fluctuate between 170 and 180 lbs.
I'm not so much into the idea of being able to lift massive weights or getting massive biceps. I just want to get all around stronger, get in better shape, and put on some weight.
Thanks
Hey @Freddy Cat

This fluctuation of about 10lbs, what is it? Muscle? Fat? Water retention?

OK, two things we need to look at here. The first is the biggest and most important of all. Your nutrition. Remember, without the correct nutrition, nothing really productive will happen, genetics only take you so far. You need to be consuming 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound body weight daily, this needs to be your foundation on which you will build muscle, strength and overall better well being. So, if your body weight is 180lbs, I want you to consume between 180 and 270 grams of protein daily. The key objective, and the thing I want you to think about each day is Nitrogen Retention.

Maintaining a positive state of nitrogen retention in your body enables it to stay anabolic and allows the activation of metabolic pathways within your cellular structure to start protein synthesis. Lets take a step back here and talk about genetics and how nitrogen plays a part. DNA exists inside the cell nucleus and never leaves it, however the DNA double helix uncoils and allows messenger RNA to be created, which takes the genetic code of how to build muscle protein to the cytoplasm of the cell. For this to happen, nitrogen must be available, since nitrogen is a key element in creating both DNA and RNA molecules. RNA then helps the binding of amino acids to build the muscle protein you see, which in itself requires nitrogen.

So, first thing, increase your protein consumption. Secondly, increase your low glycaemic carbohydrates during days of rest from foods such as oats, sweet potatoes, yams, and brown rice, along with the consumption of healthy fats from nuts, seeds and even some organic dairy. By the consumption of these foods, you are enabling a protein sparring effect, so you body retains a positive nitrogen balance, allowing you to grow and get stronger.

On days of training, including tennis, get in more fast acting carbs such as white rice, pasta. The idea is for you to stay in positive nitrogen balance.

Now for training, the wonderful thing about never having worked out before is, that anything you touch will turn to gold. In other words, you are in the honeymoon phase of training, almost every single exercise you do will yield results in strength, size, and overall better shape. However, I want you to concentrate your efforts primarily on wide grip pronated pull ups, until you are able to do them with weight. For you, I want you to use your tall frame as the resistance for now, and move it up against gravity, building that raw strength in your arms, shoulders, and back. For legs, walking deep lunges, this will target the quads, hamstrings and glutes, make sure the knee doesn't come over the foot as you lunge, so it protects your knee cartilage. And finally, just for now, push ups so that you are hitting that chest.

That is all I want you to do for at least the six weeks. Let me know if you notice improvements.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Yea, I'm an ectomorph.

If all I have is dumbbells and only have 7kg and 10kg dumbbells (dont have access to a gym, financial reasons and time), and one of those pull up bars you stick to the door frame, that's all that is necessary to work out and get in shape right?
(Is it better to go higher reps and less weight (7kg in my case), or lower reps and higher weight (10kg) for size for ectomorphs?)
I do:
dumbbell shoulder presses
dumbell chest flies (the one with a vertical grip on the dumbbells, starting from the floor with arms stretched out, and bringing them together)
dumbbell back row (bent-over one arm dumbbell row)
(12x4) for each exercise, 1 minute rest between sets
*I have done pull-ups and push-ups but I struggle to do more than 10 at a time with proper form (due to fatigue, not laziness) for both exercises after doing one set.

I'm aware that there are plenty more dumbbell exercises for other muscles, but wonder if these specific ones are sufficient enough for the shoulders, chest, and back?
How about trying to lift the heavier weight for more reps. This way you are not only increase muscle endurance, but strength also, by doing something that is known as volumeization training, gorging the muscle with blood but causing micro trauma to actin and myosin contractile proteins that make up your muscle fibres. Try not to think that the lighter the weight the more you reps you need, and the heavier the weight the less reps you need, because that is not true. What is true is that you should not do a lot of rep if you are implementing progressive overload with each working set, in other words, if you are continuously lifting more weight with each subsequent set, then be careful not to fatigue the muscle with lactic acid and deplete it of muscle glycogen before the bigger lifts.

If all you are lifting is 10 kg, you are not subjected to this. What you need to do is be creative with what you do. For instance, lets say you with those 10 kg dumbbells you do seated alternative dumbbell curls until failure, immediately after that you stand up and do standing dumbbell curls. Since the standing variation is easier than the seated version, you will get further reps in. Now lets say you focus on negative training....you curl the weight up in one second, pause and then take three seconds to lower the weight, now you are using the time under tension training philosophy which will increase heat shock proteins in your cells to burn intramyocellular lipids and increase protein synthesis. Finally, use the drop set principle of training, reach failure with the 10kg, then immediately do the same exercise with the 7kg without rest, combining negative training into that.

You can see just how creative training can be if you stop for a minute and think about how you can stimulate the muscle fibres with only what you have. My suggestion is to stop counting reps, because it will only hinder you. Go on instinct and push to failure.

As for your push ups, I would suggest working on increasing the muscle endurance in your triceps by doing dips, use a chair, place your arms to either side, and start the movement.

Or should I substitute these completely, and use compound movements more often like push-ups and pull-ups as you suggested in one of your earlier responses to me?
As stated above, firstly get the most out of them, which I don't think you are doing, there are many variations you can do, of course correct me if I am wrong on that. But, yes, I fully recommend doing compound training, because there is no better way to bring about faster positive changes in your body than that. I am only taking into consideration that it appears you are somewhat limited by what you can and cannot do due to external factors.

With the second quote that I grabbed from your reply to my previous question on the previous page of this thread (the Muhammid Ali picture), is it safe to say that as an ectomorph who struggles to put on muscle as easily as a mesomorph would have a much harder time to get that look, or is a djokovic-like body more likely to be achieved for an ectomorph?

Lastly, how much time does it take for you to notice an increase in size for your average client of an ectomorph body type, assuming proper, consistent workout routines and proper nutrition intake?
Do not let your genetics be the be all, end all here of what you can and can't do. Yes, mesomorphs have a higher ceiling when it comes to muscle building potential than ectomorphs, but training intensity, frequency, rest and most important of all, your nutrition all also play a massive role in what you end up as. For instance, a mesomorph, with the correct training can become slim, and an ecto can put on some good muscle. Djokovic has the body he has not only because of his genetic make up, but because it is the ideal body for him to play elite level tennis at. If Djokovic wanted to get bigger, and focused solely on building muscle, he can put on some serious muscle. So try not to let that limit your thought process on what you can and cannot do.

EDIT: Oh yeah, am I delusional in thinking that I feel less quick and/or agile on the tennis court, or feel slightly less coordinated in my movement after stretching out my hamstrings and quads? For example uhhh...feeling like i have less strength in my legs to push off the ground when chasing for a drop shot, as opposed to not stretching i feel like I can run significantly faster (I do static stretches, i'm also trying to achieve the level of flexibility to be able to have my palms touch the floor standing up without having my knees bent with ease, as well as being able to do the splits like djokovic)
But i feel like it's detrimental to my movement and i have to wait a couple days at most to feel (in my mind anyway) my strength in my legs again after stretching them out to the farthest they can go before feeling too much discomfort. (and pain?) I am assuming the body just needs to get used to it, and the legs will feel the strength they had before the stretching happened.

Thank you!
The question really here is, how often are you stretching? Is it just before your tennis matches, or do you take time to stretch every day? Ideally you should strength on days you are not playing tennis, and follow it up immediately with explosive body movements that involve transfer of massive amounts of kinetic energy. For instance, deep squat into a high star jump, or box jumps. If you are not having periods like this, it is difficult to have a good mind and muscle connection when you start to feel in a physical state that you are not normally use to. I would suggest to start such a routine, to help better build that connection between mind and muscle.

Is there an equally effective way to stretch out the muscles and tendons to do the splits? An equivalent PNF stretch for it?
PNF for splits? The best ones are doing the side splits and also the lunges. You will want to stand up straight and try touching your toes also, since that opens up the hamstrings and glutes for more flexibility.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
@Hitman Any pointers on how I can lose visceral fat? Being a vegetarian am looking for diet and lifestyle changes. Much appreciated.
Visceral fat for as dangerous as it is, is probably the type of fat that is more easier to get rid of if you get your hormones in check. The first key is to reduce overall cortisol levels in your body, in other words, do things that will help remove stress from your life. This stress can be in any form, mental, emotional, financial, physical, all these things have an impact on your endocrine system and how your body starts to store fat around your organs. Walking helps a lot, in fact if you are walking around 30 minutes each day, that will help prevent the depositing of visceral fat and in fact starts to burn fat away from around those organs. Make sure you are sleeping well, more people who are sleep deprived will have a certain amount of visceral fat that is above acceptable limits, and finally cut out the excess sugars and processed foods, eat as clean as possible and drinks lots of water. Visceral fat is about lifestyle changes, but not just from a fitness perspective, it should be an all round improvement in everything which encompasses your life.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
@Hitman , I have stayed on the workout routine you gave me.

I have progressed on the walking single leg lunges to the point where my grip strength is beginning to be the limiting factor.


On the working set to failure I used two 30kg dumbells today (one in each hand; 66 lbs per dumbelll)

My legs were almost at failure on the 18th lunge (9 each leg) but my left hand grip gave out just before my legs.

Any suggestions?
OK, I would suggest you to get some weight lifting straps, which will help prevent the grip strength from being the limiting factor significantly, allowing you to push harder and lift more than you are now. Lots of lifters use them, for dead lifts, pull ups etc so they can get the most out of their working sets.

Also, should I stay on the same routine or change anything? Progress has slowed a bit for some exercises.
Well, lets not change it yet, since I think from what you are saying, it is your grip that is the weak point, meaning your muscles can be pushed harder, further and for longer periods. If you can get to the point after getting the straps, that you are now able to fatigues those legs, then we are ready to change it up, right now, I don't think the legs are getting as much time under tensions as they are capable of handling. We need to see what is the limit, and break through it to help you get stronger.
 
How about trying to lift the heavier weight for more reps. This way you are not only increase muscle endurance, but strength also, by doing something that is known as volumeization training, gorging the muscle with blood but causing micro trauma to actin and myosin contractile proteins that make up your muscle fibres. Try not to think that the lighter the weight the more you reps you need, and the heavier the weight the less reps you need, because that is not true. What is true is that you should not do a lot of rep if you are implementing progressive overload with each working set, in other words, if you are continuously lifting more weight with each subsequent set, then be careful not to fatigue the muscle with lactic acid and deplete it of muscle glycogen before the bigger lifts.

If all you are lifting is 10 kg, you are not subjected to this. What you need to do is be creative with what you do. For instance, lets say you with those 10 kg dumbbells you do seated alternative dumbbell curls until failure, immediately after that you stand up and do standing dumbbell curls. Since the standing variation is easier than the seated version, you will get further reps in. Now lets say you focus on negative training....you curl the weight up in one second, pause and then take three seconds to lower the weight, now you are using the time under tension training philosophy which will increase heat shock proteins in your cells to burn intramyocellular lipids and increase protein synthesis. Finally, use the drop set principle of training, reach failure with the 10kg, then immediately do the same exercise with the 7kg without rest, combining negative training into that.

You can see just how creative training can be if you stop for a minute and think about how you can stimulate the muscle fibres with only what you have. My suggestion is to stop counting reps, because it will only hinder you. Go on instinct and push to failure.

As for your push ups, I would suggest working on increasing the muscle endurance in your triceps by doing dips, use a chair, place your arms to either side, and start the movement.



As stated above, firstly get the most out of them, which I don't think you are doing, there are many variations you can do, of course correct me if I am wrong on that. But, yes, I fully recommend doing compound training, because there is no better way to bring about faster positive changes in your body than that. I am only taking into consideration that it appears you are somewhat limited by what you can and cannot do due to external factors.



Do not let your genetics be the be all, end all here of what you can and can't do. Yes, mesomorphs have a higher ceiling when it comes to muscle building potential than ectomorphs, but training intensity, frequency, rest and most important of all, your nutrition all also play a massive role in what you end up as. For instance, a mesomorph, with the correct training can become slim, and an ecto can put on some good muscle. Djokovic has the body he has not only because of his genetic make up, but because it is the ideal body for him to play elite level tennis at. If Djokovic wanted to get bigger, and focused solely on building muscle, he can put on some serious muscle. So try not to let that limit your thought process on what you can and cannot do.



The question really here is, how often are you stretching? Is it just before your tennis matches, or do you take time to stretch every day? Ideally you should strength on days you are not playing tennis, and follow it up immediately with explosive body movements that involve transfer of massive amounts of kinetic energy. For instance, deep squat into a high star jump, or box jumps. If you are not having periods like this, it is difficult to have a good mind and muscle connection when you start to feel in a physical state that you are not normally use to. I would suggest to start such a routine, to help better build that connection between mind and muscle.



PNF for splits? The best ones are doing the side splits and also the lunges. You will want to stand up straight and try touching your toes also, since that opens up the hamstrings and glutes for more flexibility.
Thanks a lot for such a tailored response and to such a long question! Appreciate it.
Will try to refrain from asking further questions until I make progress in regards to this topic as it appears to be quite time consuming to answer questions from everyone including myself, especially when they all seem so specific to the questions being asked.

: D
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Thanks a lot for such a tailored response and to such a long question! Appreciate it.
Will try to refrain from asking further questions until I make progress in regards to this topic as it appears to be quite time consuming to answer questions from everyone including myself, especially when they all seem so specific to the questions being asked.

: D
Lol. No problems. :)
 
I've had this theory for a while about myself being fit and would love your opinion @Hitman

So I'm 6"1 and I range between 215-225lbs. I feel if I'm able to do the following in a concentrated time-period (30 min) then I'm at a good level:

35-35-30 set of 100 push-ups done with bars.
10 neutral-grip pull-ups in 1 go.
20x3 hammer curls with 25lb dumbbells

Before I blew out my knee I would run a 1km in under 4min daily as well. Now I track a 2km walk in 25 min.

There's obviously a lot of other things to do but sometimes when I felt out of shape I'd track myself with that in like I said under 30 min. If I was way under I'd really focus on getting back to.
 
@Hitman
Is canned fish that bad for you? I remember my high school teachers telling me I shouldn't be eating it too much because it's processed.

I eat canned fish up to 3-4x a week regularly with rice and soysauce.

The "bad" stuff I've read about canned fish is usually stuff about trans fats, sodium content, and preservatives.

Is canned fish really that bad for you in your expert opinion?

(If this part helps, I purposely pick canned fish with 0grams of trans fat, and a low sodium content to avoid the "bad" stuff as much as possible (the cheapest ones you find in grocery stores, since the branded/well known ones all tend to have a significantly higher sodium content and have 0.1-0.4 grams of trans fat content, but these also do have a higher monosaturated, polyunsaturated content and protein compared to the cheaper ones)
 
Also...I have been diagnosed with a hernia. Should I be worried about muscle loss post-surgery since I wouldn't be able to strain my muscles for a month minimum? Surgery may happen within the next 6 months depending on the waiting period. Do you think I should avoid working out or straining the affected part?

My doctor said my hernia is a result of weak abdomen. I'm guessing working out and strengthening my abs is one way to lower than chance of it happening again?
 
Last edited:
Also...I have been diagnosed with a hernia. Should I be worried about muscle loss post-surgery since I wouldn't be able to strain my muscles for a month minimum? Surgery may happen within the next 6 months depending on the waiting period. Do you think I should avoid working out or straining the affected part?

My doctor said my hernia is a result of weak abdomen. I'm guessing working out and strengthening my abs is one way to lower than chance of it happening again?
Do you have the "sports hernia" or the one with piece popping through, visible?
 
The 4 hours in gym sounds terrible enough itself. Either you don't train intensively enough or you are massively overtrained.
Well, I'd provide the data here...
10 mins of pranayam to start
30 mins of intense stretching
50 mins of intense cardio
30 mins of intense flooring
100 mins of extreme weight training
15 mins of yog & 5 mins of eye exercise to end ....

Approximately 12-14 hundred calories burned in 4 hours
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
I've had this theory for a while about myself being fit and would love your opinion @Hitman

So I'm 6"1 and I range between 215-225lbs. I feel if I'm able to do the following in a concentrated time-period (30 min) then I'm at a good level:

35-35-30 set of 100 push-ups done with bars.
10 neutral-grip pull-ups in 1 go.
20x3 hammer curls with 25lb dumbbells

Before I blew out my knee I would run a 1km in under 4min daily as well. Now I track a 2km walk in 25 min.

There's obviously a lot of other things to do but sometimes when I felt out of shape I'd track myself with that in like I said under 30 min. If I was way under I'd really focus on getting back to.
I guess if that is your absolute baseline test, it is fine. However, you should be continually striving to increase your baseline test. So where you are doing those 100 push ups over three sets, do them in one. Or time test it. See how many of those push ups you can do inside of a minute, this will test your ballistic strength, as well as the fast twitch fibres and anaerobic pathways.

The body is very powerful at adapting, there was a time when I was teenager, and I couldn't do more than 10 push ups. Now, if I don't pump out 100 inside of a minute on my knuckles without breaking a sweat, I don't think I am at a good level.

Your body is a constant state of motion, you are either going forward, or you are going backwards, but you never stay the same. If your body has adapted to that baseline level, then it is no longer a challenge to it. Now, of course, I am not saying you need to go do a Rocky IV workout to see if you are a good level, but you need to change it up just enough that your baseline level comes up.

How about adding in squats into vertical leaps? Or burpees? or even chirpees (a burpee combined with a pull up).
 
Hello again @Hitman

Turns out I have delayed this plan of mine again due to some little annoying health problems I had over the past three months but I will be going to the gym after all, which is a much better option than the previous one I was considering back when asking you the first time. I will start later this week most likely, going with my friend who already has some experience, but I figured I can still ask you before I start...

The plan itself sounds simple. Improving the back, chest, arms, shoulders, stomach... Basically all upper body parts, mostly arms. Keep in mind I am a thin, weaker guy and the closest thing to a beginner you can find, no prior experience. Obviously I would like to know which exercises would be the best for each part. But also apart from that, what's the best order (I heard once that the largest muscles should be worked on first during the workout and then proceeding in the descending order), how long should each workout last, as well as how many should I have during the week. I wouldn't want to overtrain and cause any harm, because I already said, I am a beginner. I am also curious on how long would it usually take to notice results if the proper program is obeyed consistently, though this is also partly my impatience so if you feel like it's right you should just ignore this last part.

If you can, I would like to hear your thoughts.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
@Hitman
Is canned fish that bad for you? I remember my high school teachers telling me I shouldn't be eating it too much because it's processed.

I eat canned fish up to 3-4x a week regularly with rice and soysauce.

The "bad" stuff I've read about canned fish is usually stuff about trans fats, sodium content, and preservatives.

Is canned fish really that bad for you in your expert opinion?

(If this part helps, I purposely pick canned fish with 0grams of trans fat, and a low sodium content to avoid the "bad" stuff as much as possible (the cheapest ones you find in grocery stores, since the branded/well known ones all tend to have a significantly higher sodium content and have 0.1-0.4 grams of trans fat content, but these also do have a higher monosaturated, polyunsaturated content and protein compared to the cheaper ones)
OK, before we even get to the actual food, lets talk about something else that you are more than likely and having been consuming for a long period of time, and that something is Bisphenol-A or BPA. BPA is a synthetic substance that is used to line the surfaces of food containers such as plastic bottles and cans, such as those canned fish types you consume. BPA is a toxic chemical that has been very well documented on it's negative effects on the human body. It is known to cause damage to the reproductive system in both sexes, can cause increases in blood pressure, elevates the risk of obesity, causes the loss of Vitamin D which then impacts your mental well being, as well as causing a drop in testosterone level and muscle building ability (quite the opposite of what I am sure you want if you are trying to eat healthy), and it can also be passed onto your offspring and cause development problems in the fetus.

Long story short, you should try you absolute best to minimize the amount of food you eat from cans, or if you do need canned food, make sure you are buying BPA products. Check the can before purchasing next time.

Right, now onto the fish. Canned fish will never be the same as the fresh or even frozen fish, firstly because they will be full of leaked BPAs more than likely, but if you are consuming fish that are higher up in the food chain, such as tuna or shark, then the mercury content will be very high. Mercury is a heavy metal, that in high concentrations can cause all kinds of physiological disruption to the normal working of your body, in particular your cognitive abilities, so if you are buying these products, then make sure the mercury content in them is low. I prefer never to eat canned fish, and very rarely eat food from a can, but that is me, and I understand it is not always convenient for others to do that, so be aware of the foods you are buying.

Yes, avoiding fish loaded with salt will always be a good thing, so from that perspective you have it spot on.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Also...I have been diagnosed with a hernia. Should I be worried about muscle loss post-surgery since I wouldn't be able to strain my muscles for a month minimum? Surgery may happen within the next 6 months depending on the waiting period. Do you think I should avoid working out or straining the affected part?

My doctor said my hernia is a result of weak abdomen. I'm guessing working out and strengthening my abs is one way to lower than chance of it happening again?
Firstly, I am sorry to hear you got diagnosed with hernia, hopefully you will get that rectified soon. Do not worry about muscle loss post surgery, and my advise is not to exercise at that point until you are recovered. The reason for this is, your body has gone through the trauma of surgery, meaning it will be in a recovery phase, and will be using all of its energy to make sure you heal and recover as quickly as possible. If you train during that initial one month period, you are only adding more trauma to your body, raising your cortisol levels, causing stress levels then to rise as a result and delaying your healing. Also, the food you are taking in will not be adequately used, as some of it will be getting shuttled to your muscles and the rest to your surgically repaired area. What you need to do during point is to rest and focus on the diet, make sure you are taking in one and half gram of protein per pound body weight. What this will do is, is causing a muscle sparring effect, allowing you to keep your muscle tissue, while the body uses the dietary protein to heal.

Now, it may look like you have lost muscle, but in reality, it will be a drop in muscle glycogen. Because your muscles will have muscle memory, within a month of you getting back into training on a good training program, with the diet needed, you will be back to where you were.

You should do overall core work to strengthen your abdominal area, not just hitting the abs alone. This includes hitting the lower back muscles, the glutes and the pelvic floor muscles. The abs are just part of it, the muscles surrounding and complimenting them are just as crucial. So, I would do core related training a few times a week to really maximize the strengthening process.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Hello again @Hitman

Turns out I have delayed this plan of mine again due to some little annoying health problems I had over the past three months but I will be going to the gym after all, which is a much better option than the previous one I was considering back when asking you the first time. I will start later this week most likely, going with my friend who already has some experience, but I figured I can still ask you before I start...

The plan itself sounds simple. Improving the back, chest, arms, shoulders, stomach... Basically all upper body parts, mostly arms. Keep in mind I am a thin, weaker guy and the closest thing to a beginner you can find, no prior experience. Obviously I would like to know which exercises would be the best for each part. But also apart from that, what's the best order (I heard once that the largest muscles should be worked on first during the workout and then proceeding in the descending order), how long should each workout last, as well as how many should I have during the week. I wouldn't want to overtrain and cause any harm, because I already said, I am a beginner. I am also curious on how long would it usually take to notice results if the proper program is obeyed consistently, though this is also partly my impatience so if you feel like it's right you should just ignore this last part.

If you can, I would like to hear your thoughts.
OK, so lets break this down. The first thing I will advise is something that I DON'T want you to do at this stage of your training, which is basically at the beginning, and that is to follow a bodybuilding split workout routine, of target specific muscles. That is not for you as of right now, so I don't want you going in there doing chest one day, arms another, shoulders another etc. You are naturally an ectomorph person, which means you are naturally a slim person, so what I want you to do is focus on two elements here...building strength and size.

To do this, I want you to do total body training two to three times a week, using only compound movement. The exercises I want you to do each time you are in are the following -

Squats - Barbell Squats
Hip hinge - Dead Lifts
Vertical Press - Shoulder Barbell Press
Vertical Pull - Pull Ups
Horizontal Press - Bench Press
Horizontal Pull - Bent Over Barbell Rows
Abdominal - Plank

That is all you need to do, focus on these movement, since they will hit virtually every single muscle in your body, and yes you need to hit your legs, if you want your upper body to grow, trust me on that, it will help elevate your testosterone levels and as well growth hormone levels, needed to build muscle. And do these exercises with pyramiding and progressive overload, increasing the weight with each subsequent set. Don't worry too much about lifting heavy, it will come, but get that movement going, these exercises activate a lot of muscle, which answers your question about being impatient....the fastest way to build muscle all over is to use compound lifting.

Change the routine each workout. If on Monday you start with squats and end with bench press, then on Wednesday, start with bench press and end with squats. Keeping the body guessing will force the body to get stronger and bigger to adapt to the changing stimuli. No need to do numerous sets, three to four sets is enough.
 
I guess if that is your absolute baseline test, it is fine. However, you should be continually striving to increase your baseline test. So where you are doing those 100 push ups over three sets, do them in one. Or time test it. See how many of those push ups you can do inside of a minute, this will test your ballistic strength, as well as the fast twitch fibres and anaerobic pathways.

The body is very powerful at adapting, there was a time when I was teenager, and I couldn't do more than 10 push ups. Now, if I don't pump out 100 inside of a minute on my knuckles without breaking a sweat, I don't think I am at a good level.

Your body is a constant state of motion, you are either going forward, or you are going backwards, but you never stay the same. If your body has adapted to that baseline level, then it is no longer a challenge to it. Now, of course, I am not saying you need to go do a Rocky IV workout to see if you are a good level, but you need to change it up just enough that your baseline level comes up.

How about adding in squats into vertical leaps? Or burpees? or even chirpees (a burpee combined with a pull up).
Thanks @Hitman.

I can do 50 pushups in 1 set. I haven't timed myself in a looong time. I do pushups in a slow manner as it causes more strain and I find has helped maintain my triceps.

Squats because of my knee I do without weight. I just do 20 with a stand still at the bend.

What's your advice on abs? I use the ball and just do crunches till I can't and do 5 sets.
 

Rago

Hall of Fame
Almost every single person that I have met has some excuse (knee, back, not going to parallel on reps done with bodyweight...) to not squat.

But how many hours do you guys that do barbell compound movements/full body exercises sleep everyday? Anything less than 6 and I feel like crap.
 
@Hitman
When cycling, is it better to build up leg muscles through weight exercises like lunges for example, or to build up leg muscles through cycling at a resistance high enough to work the leg muscles as it's more specific and builds muscular endurance (as you are specifically targetting the muscles you are using when cycling?)

Also, my legs give out before my lungs when I use my stationary bike. Does this mean I should focus on building strength in my legs completely or will simply cycling on my stationary bike at a resistance high enough to have them "burn" be enough? (They probably wouldn't be burning anywhere near as much as proper leg work out, but I'm trying to add in extra information but I don't know how to be articulate enough here.)

When it comes to eating carbs like rice (white or brown) or pasta, is eating cereal as a source of energy to replace rice or pasta good? I'm a really picky eater (shame on me) and have been substituting cereal for my white rice quite often but not sure if this is a good thing. I know most cereals are full of sugar, so I pick out the cereals with minimal amounts of sugar. Is it the milk that I have to watch out for as well if I eat cereal as a major substitute for rice/pasta everyday (as I use full cream milk)?
Cereal 1 nutritional label:
Cereal 2 Nutrional Label:

Thanks as always
 
Last edited:
Ey yo @Hitman , nice of you to share your experience.

I am in this particular pickle: My back squat is less than impressive and I want to join the ranks of respectable lifting society. Help a brother out.

It's simply not a lift that comes terribly easily to me, and I seem to progress less well in it than a hip-dominant lift such as the deadlift, but also other types of leg exercises such as the leg press or split squats. My self-diagnosis is that my build is less than ideal for squatting – for one, I feel like I'm not able to stay as upright the guys who seem to really master the squat. Might be down to poor ankle mobility or long femurs, not sure. I like what Bret Contreras writes about how anatomy affects squat form here, but I digress...

Anyways, does the Hitman have any tips or hacks on how a non-natural squatter can make the most of his potential? (For context, I currently do squats on day A in an ABA program. Typically 3 working sets of 6 reps (to hit a kind of middle-ground between strength and hypertrophy). Usually complement it with leg presses, leg curls, and calf work. I deadlift on day B.)

iirc @Daniel-San seems to have good physio knowledge, so if you too have any input, it's welcomed.
 
D

Deleted member 754093

Guest
Ey yo @Hitman , nice of you to share your experience.

I am in this particular pickle: My back squat is less than impressive and I want to join the ranks of respectable lifting society. Help a brother out.

It's simply not a lift that comes terribly easily to me, and I seem to progress less well in it than a hip-dominant lift such as the deadlift, but also other types of leg exercises such as the leg press or split squats. My self-diagnosis is that my build is less than ideal for squatting – for one, I feel like I'm not able to stay as upright the guys who seem to really master the squat. Might be down to poor ankle mobility or long femurs, not sure. I like what Bret Contreras writes about how anatomy affects squat form here, but I digress...

Anyways, does the Hitman have any tips or hacks on how a non-natural squatter can make the most of his potential? (For context, I currently do squats on day A in an ABA program. Typically 3 working sets of 6 reps (to hit a kind of middle-ground between strength and hypertrophy). Usually complement it with leg presses, leg curls, and calf work. I deadlift on day B.)

iirc @Daniel-San seems to have good physio knowledge, so if you too have any input, it's welcomed.
I assume you have long femurs? Never mind, just re-read the post and saw that you addressed that. Hitman can point you more into a strength training/bodybuilding direction, and @RogueFLIP is the best to about anatomy/physiology. I am but a student at this point

T1000 may also be a good source because iirc he has a similar body type and is a power lifter

What I can suggest is this: there are ways to assess and improve your ankle mobility. What kind of shoes are you wearing? If you elevate your heels slightly, do you feel like you’re staying more upright?

It’s also important to note that there’s no such thing as perfect form, contrary to popular belief. It’s dictated by your anatomy, which you but cannot alter. I think there’s also research out there showing that an emphasis on picture perfect form is not really necessary, and that doing something with ‘sub-optimal’ form is not inherently dangerous.

Bret Contreras is a big advocate of hip thrusts, correct? You could augment your routine with those. I personally would not recommend hamstring curls and would prefer a closed chain alternative like a single leg deadlift or valslide leg curl. You can always add weight to that, too

I have long limbs, and when I used to do barbell squats, I found front squats to feel much better, so that’s also a possibility.
 
D

Deleted member 754093

Guest
Ben Bruno also does a lot of creative leg training stuff, like landmine squats which help taller people stay upright. I’ll link the article later
 
I assume you have long femurs? Never mind, just re-read the post and saw that you addressed that. Hitman can point you more into a strength training/bodybuilding direction, and @RogueFLIP is the best to about anatomy/physiology. I am but a student at this point

T1000 may also be a good source because iirc he has a similar body type and is a power lifter

What I can suggest is this: there are ways to assess and improve your ankle mobility. What kind of shoes are you wearing? If you elevate your heels slightly, do you feel like you’re staying more upright?

It’s also important to note that there’s no such thing as perfect form, contrary to popular belief. It’s dictated by your anatomy, which you but cannot alter. I think there’s also research out there showing that an emphasis on picture perfect form is not really necessary, and that doing something with ‘sub-optimal’ form is not inherently dangerous.

Bret Contreras is a big advocate of hip thrusts, correct? You could augment your routine with those. I personally would not recommend hamstring curls and would prefer a closed chain alternative like a single leg deadlift or valslide leg curl. You can always add weight to that, too

I have long limbs, and when I used to do barbell squats, I found front squats to feel much better, so that’s also a possibility.
Good input, thanks!

w/r/t shoes, I do lift in flats, and so weightlifting shoes is something I have considered, when I'm finally able to justify splurging on a hobby I'm not particularly good at:D I do feel like elevating the heels is something that would indeed help. My uni gym has a lot of olympic/powerlifting enthusiasts, and they almost invariably use those kinds of shoes. I guess plates or something similar is a cheaper alternative.

Good point on form being relative to the individual. I should add that I don't have any pain issues with the squat and think I'm able to hit the fundamentals well enough (not rounding the back, opening the hips/knees, fairly straight bar path). My issue is primarily that I feel I don't perform as well in the squat as other exercises. Feels like the forward tilt becomes a slightly limiting factor when I try to push the weights, but for all I know this could just be a symptom of some underlying issue like quad weakness or what-do-i-know.

re: leg curls, reason I do them instead of say another deadlift variation is to isolate the hammies a bit while letting the erectors/lower back rest. (I do deadlifts and back extensions on the other training day + obviously squats.) But the valslide leg curl looks interesting, I will try that out as an alternative. How do you add weight to it? I do also like the hip thrust a lot, but have never really made room for it as a consistent part of my routine. Do you think it would make more sense to have it on the same days as squats or deadlifts?
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Thanks @Hitman.

I can do 50 pushups in 1 set. I haven't timed myself in a looong time. I do pushups in a slow manner as it causes more strain and I find has helped maintain my triceps.

Squats because of my knee I do without weight. I just do 20 with a stand still at the bend.

What's your advice on abs? I use the ball and just do crunches till I can't and do 5 sets.
For abdominal training, keep in mind you should be working not just the rectus abdominals that make up the six pack, but also the underlying transverse abdominals which actually are the muscles responsible for keep your insides tightly tucked in, as well as bring your stomach in. Also, the external and internal obliques that are responsible for trunk rotation, and finally the serratus muscles which help with tying in your core into ribs.

Best way to test your strength on these, is in my opinion one of the best strength building and muscle endurance exercises you can do. It is what is called the hanging clock, and something I use a couple of times a week. In this movement, you will hang from a pull up bar, and instead of doing the traditional hanging leg raises, you twist your body slightly to the right, and then in almost clock like motion, you will bring you legs together up one side of your body, rotating your body until the legs are pointing towards the ceiling, and then down the other side, just like the hands of a clock. When you do one clockwise rotation, the next rotation is anti-clockwise. Have a strong mind muscle connection and consciously pull your belly button in towards to your spine, so you are indeed performing a vacuum and tightening up while hitting every part of your abdominal anatomy.

This is hard, since it will challenge your grip strength and your arms also, but if you can master this, you strength will explode.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Almost every single person that I have met has some excuse (knee, back, not going to parallel on reps done with bodyweight...) to not squat.

But how many hours do you guys that do barbell compound movements/full body exercises sleep everyday? Anything less than 6 and I feel like crap.
Sleep of course is very important. If for whatever reason I cannot get the hours I need for a couple of days, I make sure that I get a few extra extra hours, even if it means having an hour or so during the day where possible.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
@Hitman
When cycling, is it better to build up leg muscles through weight exercises like lunges for example, or to build up leg muscles through cycling at a resistance high enough to work the leg muscles as it's more specific and builds muscular endurance (as you are specifically targetting the muscles you are using when cycling?)

Also, my legs give out before my lungs when I use my stationary bike. Does this mean I should focus on building strength in my legs completely or will simply cycling on my stationary bike at a resistance high enough to have them "burn" be enough? (They probably wouldn't be burning anywhere near as much as proper leg work out, but I'm trying to add in extra information but I don't know how to be articulate enough here.)

When it comes to eating carbs like rice (white or brown) or pasta, is eating cereal as a source of energy to replace rice or pasta good? I'm a really picky eater (shame on me) and have been substituting cereal for my white rice quite often but not sure if this is a good thing. I know most cereals are full of sugar, so I pick out the cereals with minimal amounts of sugar. Is it the milk that I have to watch out for as well if I eat cereal as a major substitute for rice/pasta everyday (as I use full cream milk)?
Cereal 1 nutritional label:
Cereal 2 Nutrional Label:

Thanks as always

OK, so this is a two part question, so lets break this down to answer it.

When cycling, is it better to build up leg muscles through weight exercises like lunges for example, or to build up leg muscles through cycling at a resistance high enough to work the leg muscles as it's more specific and builds muscular endurance (as you are specifically targetting the muscles you are using when cycling?)

Also, my legs give out before my lungs when I use my stationary bike. Does this mean I should focus on building strength in my legs completely or will simply cycling on my stationary bike at a resistance high enough to have them "burn" be enough? (They probably wouldn't be burning anywhere near as much as proper leg work out, but I'm trying to add in extra information but I don't know how to be articulate enough here.)


When looking at muscles fibers, no matter which part of your body they come from, it is important to understand that you have basically two types that respond in two completely different ways. The first is your slow twitch fibres, or your oxidative, red fibers, which are responsible for providing you with endurance. These fibres play an important part in development of new capillaries and enhance better blood flow to all the muscle tissue. These fibres however are not primarily for strength or explosive movement, while they do share some of these traits with their counterparts that I will mention, there main objective is to help increase endurance and stamina through effective blood flow, effective exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and effective removal of lactic acid by the process of aerobic respiration. The other type is your fast twitch, white fibers, these fibers are primarily responsible for increasing your strength, as well as the size of the muscle, so they are the ones that make bigger stronger muscles. This is done through both sacromere expansion, which is the bascially the expansion of your actin and myosin contractile proteins, as well as sarcoplasmic expansion, this is increasing the overall volume within the muscle cell. They work in the absence of oxygen, producing lactic acid, but are they are what are responsible for those explosive movements, including when you really go for it on the bike.

As you can see from what I have described above, it is important that you train both fibers, but keep in mind, your genetics decide what percentage of each you have. If your legs are giving out too quickly, your fast twitch fibres need more work, because your slow twitch shouldn't be the ones responsible for providing the majority of the power, their main job is to effectively increase the blood flow, to increase stamina, and endurance, but they need the fast twitch to off load the work. My suggestion is that you start getting squats and even some vertical box jumps into your training, as well as sprinting up a flight of stairs to activate those fibers more, if genetically you don't have as much fast twitch, then you will need to focus even harder to get the most of what you have. Give it a go.

When it comes to eating carbs like rice (white or brown) or pasta, is eating cereal as a source of energy to replace rice or pasta good? I'm a really picky eater (shame on me) and have been substituting cereal for my white rice quite often but not sure if this is a good thing. I know most cereals are full of sugar, so I pick out the cereals with minimal amounts of sugar. Is it the milk that I have to watch out for as well if I eat cereal as a major substitute for rice/pasta everyday (as I use full cream milk)?

If you are going to consume cereal then make sure they are as close to single ingredient as possible. I know of people who have had cereals as part of their diets, but made sure there was zero sugar and salt in them. With milk, things can get blurry, most of the milk we have is not ideal for us, due to the process of getting that milk onto the supermarket shelves, I personally will keep consuming milk to a minimum, yes I do have it here and there, but this is more of a treat, that something that makes up my staple diet. At the time of writing this, I have not had any milk in two weeks. Now, I am not saying you shouldn't have milk, but there are better alternatives, try almond milk for instance, but avoid soy milk due to the estrogenic properties of soy.
 

Hitman

Bionic Poster
Ey yo @Hitman , nice of you to share your experience.

I am in this particular pickle: My back squat is less than impressive and I want to join the ranks of respectable lifting society. Help a brother out.

It's simply not a lift that comes terribly easily to me, and I seem to progress less well in it than a hip-dominant lift such as the deadlift, but also other types of leg exercises such as the leg press or split squats. My self-diagnosis is that my build is less than ideal for squatting – for one, I feel like I'm not able to stay as upright the guys who seem to really master the squat. Might be down to poor ankle mobility or long femurs, not sure. I like what Bret Contreras writes about how anatomy affects squat form here, but I digress...

Anyways, does the Hitman have any tips or hacks on how a non-natural squatter can make the most of his potential? (For context, I currently do squats on day A in an ABA program. Typically 3 working sets of 6 reps (to hit a kind of middle-ground between strength and hypertrophy). Usually complement it with leg presses, leg curls, and calf work. I deadlift on day B.)

iirc @Daniel-San seems to have good physio knowledge, so if you too have any input, it's welcomed.
Yes, the femur plays a part, but trust me, it is not the important part. I have seen guys over 6 3 who have incredibly long femurs, yet can perform picture perfect squats. A few things need to addressed here, the first is are you stretching before your lifts or even on days when you are not squating? In particular stretching of the hamstrings. Tight hamstrings, pull on your pelvis and tilt your body forward when performing the squat, I have seen this so many times with my clients when trying to correct their form. I would suggest that you stretch almost every day, if not every day, this includes static stretching, dynamic stretching and PNF stretching. The other thing I would suggest is standing up with your back against a wall, and look at yourself in the mirror, while you perform a body weight squat. How good is your form? Are you pushing your chest out? Is your head straight? At what point does the body begin to tilt forward, half way through, or when you are at the bottom? By doing the squat against the wall frequently, you are forcing your body to adapt to a known focal point, that being that you are trying to keep your body pressed against the wall as much as possible throughout the movement.

Over a period your posture will begin to get better, I am not saying you will have the perfect straight back, but spinal re-correction does take place when you give your brain a focal point. Finally, there is no ideal position to squat, some do better with their feet slightly further apart than others, so I suggest that you work with the positioning of your feet to find that sweet spot that helps your back stay as upright as possible, remember to push out that chest. Pushing out the chest automatically retracts the scapula, the squat is a total body exercise, not just something for the legs, which is why it is the king of all exercises. Come down slowly into the squat and then explode up, transferring the energy straight up vertically, again this helps keep everything perfectly aligned.

One final thing, forget about doing a leg day sometimes and make it simply a squat day. That way you are not thinking about the other exercises, a few times a month, I only do one compound exercise during the workout, and the idea is to make sure I have a powerful mind muscle connection with it, it helps immensely, especially when I go back to bringing the other exercises back into the routine.
 
OK, so this is a two part question, so lets break this down to answer it.

When cycling, is it better to build up leg muscles through weight exercises like lunges for example, or to build up leg muscles through cycling at a resistance high enough to work the leg muscles as it's more specific and builds muscular endurance (as you are specifically targetting the muscles you are using when cycling?)

Also, my legs give out before my lungs when I use my stationary bike. Does this mean I should focus on building strength in my legs completely or will simply cycling on my stationary bike at a resistance high enough to have them "burn" be enough? (They probably wouldn't be burning anywhere near as much as proper leg work out, but I'm trying to add in extra information but I don't know how to be articulate enough here.)

When looking at muscles fibers, no matter which part of your body they come from, it is important to understand that you have basically two types that respond in two completely different ways. The first is your slow twitch fibres, or your oxidative, red fibers, which are responsible for providing you with endurance. These fibres play an important part in development of new capillaries and enhance better blood flow to all the muscle tissue. These fibres however are not primarily for strength or explosive movement, while they do share some of these traits with their counterparts that I will mention, there main objective is to help increase endurance and stamina through effective blood flow, effective exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and effective removal of lactic acid by the process of aerobic respiration. The other type is your fast twitch, white fibers, these fibers are primarily responsible for increasing your strength, as well as the size of the muscle, so they are the ones that make bigger stronger muscles. This is done through both sacromere expansion, which is the bascially the expansion of your actin and myosin contractile proteins, as well as sarcoplasmic expansion, this is increasing the overall volume within the muscle cell. They work in the absence of oxygen, producing lactic acid, but are they are what are responsible for those explosive movements, including when you really go for it on the bike.

As you can see from what I have described above, it is important that you train both fibers, but keep in mind, your genetics decide what percentage of each you have. If your legs are giving out too quickly, your fast twitch fibres need more work, because your slow twitch shouldn't be the ones responsible for providing the majority of the power, their main job is to effectively increase the blood flow, to increase stamina, and endurance, but they need the fast twitch to off load the work. My suggestion is that you start getting squats and even some vertical box jumps into your training, as well as sprinting up a flight of stairs to activate those fibers more, if genetically you don't have as much fast twitch, then you will need to focus even harder to get the most of what you have. Give it a go.

When it comes to eating carbs like rice (white or brown) or pasta, is eating cereal as a source of energy to replace rice or pasta good? I'm a really picky eater (shame on me) and have been substituting cereal for my white rice quite often but not sure if this is a good thing. I know most cereals are full of sugar, so I pick out the cereals with minimal amounts of sugar. Is it the milk that I have to watch out for as well if I eat cereal as a major substitute for rice/pasta everyday (as I use full cream milk)?

If you are going to consume cereal then make sure they are as close to single ingredient as possible. I know of people who have had cereals as part of their diets, but made sure there was zero sugar and salt in them. With milk, things can get blurry, most of the milk we have is not ideal for us, due to the process of getting that milk onto the supermarket shelves, I personally will keep consuming milk to a minimum, yes I do have it here and there, but this is more of a treat, that something that makes up my staple diet. At the time of writing this, I have not had any milk in two weeks. Now, I am not saying you shouldn't have milk, but there are better alternatives, try almond milk for instance, but avoid soy milk due to the estrogenic properties of soy.
Thank you again Hitman! :giggle:
very helpful and will use your info as a guideline
 
Top