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Old 04 December 2012, 12:13 PM
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Default Strength Training

I am looking to start getting back into training again.

I really want to concentrate on my arms, chest and back as my legs are already quite muscular due to the running I do.

For the past 10 days I have been doing a combination of press ups, bicep curls and tricep extensions, reaching fatigue on the 3rd or 4th set.

I can already see the difference and I hope to continue the improvement when i get a bench and barbel sorted out.

Are there tips? I'm not really looking at 'body building' as there are ways to do that without actually increasing your overall strength. I do want good definition though.

Any advise appreciated.
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Old 04 December 2012, 12:20 PM
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6 to 8 reps with reasonably heavy weight and 5 sets, concerntrate on good form and technique,
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Old 04 December 2012, 02:57 PM
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Are you training for strength or definition as both requires different techniques. For strength; heavy weights, low reps up to one rep to max. For definition, cardio and light weights and high reps, and then there's the diet and all your efforts will amount to nothing if you don't get that right.

Last edited by jonc; 04 December 2012 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 04 December 2012, 03:11 PM
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Agree with Jonc, strength training is a differnt ball game. SOunds like you aiming for the definition from you original post.

If you are going for strength lots and lots of Legs and back. Squats dead lifts and a bench press( I know thats not legs or back). Very heavy low reps but lots of sets
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Old 04 December 2012, 03:29 PM
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Surely, with strength training, I will bulk up anyway??

Basically, I want to bulk up. I don't want super lean muscle.

So the trick is heavy weights and low reps?
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Old 04 December 2012, 03:54 PM
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Ah, if you're training for mass, then that's different again. Use moderately heavy weights, 3 - 4 sets of 8-10 reps, with the last few reps almost to failure. Stick with compound movements, ie, like squats, bench press, shoulder press, movements that require movement of more that one joint. You'll need a high calorie and high protein diet. Diet is most important and is key to what you want to achieve and need to eat up to 6 small meals a day if you want to see real gains.

Your body type will also determine how quickly you pile on the mass, ectomorph - thin and lean with narrow hips and shoulders - typicallyhard gainers, endomorph - chunky wide shoulders and hips and naturally strong and gains fast but watch the fat content in your diet. And lastly mesomorph, the "ideal" body type, narrow hips and wide shoulders and builds mass easily.

I'm ectomorph and from my experience, you definitely need that high calorie and protein diet otherwise it take ages to see any gains in size.
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Old 04 December 2012, 04:02 PM
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What will the strength be for? Different approaches are needed for different goals. If its just bragging rights, lift heavy stuff on low reps and split the routine into two body areas per session (abs every session) and eat well.

If its for a sport, you'll need specialist training. Strength is useful in all sports but a runner doesn't want bulk, a boxer wants speed and power, etc.
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Old 04 December 2012, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Matteeboy View Post
What will the strength be for? Different approaches are needed for different goals. If its just bragging rights, lift heavy stuff on low reps and split the routine into two body areas per session (abs every session) and eat well.

If its for a sport, you'll need specialist training. Strength is useful in all sports but a runner doesn't want bulk, a boxer wants speed and power, etc.
It's to look and feel good.
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Old 04 December 2012, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc View Post
Ah, if you're training for mass, then that's different again. Use moderately heavy weights, 3 - 4 sets of 8-10 reps, with the last few reps almost to failure. Stick with compound movements, ie, like squats, bench press, shoulder press, movements that require movement of more that one joint. You'll need a high calorie and high protein diet. Diet is most important and is key to what you want to achieve and need to eat up to 6 small meals a day if you want to see real gains.

Your body type will also determine how quickly you pile on the mass, ectomorph - thin and lean with narrow hips and shoulders - typicallyhard gainers, endomorph - chunky wide shoulders and hips and naturally strong and gains fast but watch the fat content in your diet. And lastly mesomorph, the "ideal" body type, narrow hips and wide shoulders and builds mass easily.

I'm ectomorph and from my experience, you definitely need that high calorie and protein diet otherwise it take ages to see any gains in size.

I would say that I am endomorph. Have always been fairly broad and my body has always responded well when I keep the training going for more than a week!

As for diet, I am not eating tuna. I will throw up!
I have no problem eating lots of lean chicken, steak, fish etc. I don't think I can do the 6 small meals a day though due to work and family commitments.
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Old 05 December 2012, 09:31 AM
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Can anyone recommend a protein shake for muscle size and definition ?,I tried sci-mx one but it upsets my stomach really bad
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Old 05 December 2012, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Mattiepkr1984 View Post
Can anyone recommend a protein shake for muscle size and definition ?,I tried sci-mx one but it upsets my stomach really bad
I really don't believe in all that crap. If you get stronger, you will naturally get bigger.
Had a good read last night of certain techniques to increase muscle mass. Eat well and gradually but consistently increase the weight you lift. Say 5lbs per 1 or 2 sessions.

That's what I am going to do and will report back in a month or so to let you know how I got on.

The workout I did last night seems to work well for general fitness:

25 x Press ups (Full press ups, chest to the floor - I use push up bars)
25 x Sit ups
25 x Reverse sit ups (no idea what the correct term is but I lay on my stomach raising my chest and feet
25 x Squats

Repeat 4 times.

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Old 05 December 2012, 11:00 AM
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The thing to remember is everyone is different and unique.
The only way you will truly learn what works is trial and error, listening to your body and changing things.

There is no point opening Muscle mag, looking at Dorian Yates or Ronnie Coleman's workouts and copying them. You are not them, genetics, body composition (the list is endless) means everyone is unique. Take them as an example, one trains 1 set to failure the other trains 3-4 sets - both are Mr Olympia winners multiple times !

Having said that - there are basics to kick off with :

Training - to gain size and strength start with a multi-joint, basic mass building routine that incorporates all the major muscle groups - Bench Press (chest), Shoulder press (shoulders), pull-ups (back), squats (legs), Barbell curls (biceps) etc
These exercises also hit secondary muscles (bench press hits pecs and also shoulders, pull-ups hit back and also biceps etc)
Stick to basics (3 sets 80-10 reps) on each exercise, and to start hit each body part 3 times a week (or 3 times in a 7 day period) You will need to move that to 2 or even 1 part per week as you develop.
Then listen to your body - you will soon discover what works and what doesn't.

Having done bodybuilding for a good few years I know what exercises work, how many times to train each part per week, how much rest to get in-between sets etc. And I didn't get that from any book or anyone down the gym.

Nutrition - Vital but very difficult to get right. Again stick to basics and see how your body responds, then tweak if your not gaining size / weight / muscle.

80% of this working is down to nutrition, its more important than training. What good is a Ferrari on the drive with no petrol in it ?

Start off with basics - consume 0.8g protein per pound of body weight and spread that over 6 meals a day. Its difficult, but if you add in a decent protein shake as a "meal" for a couple of those meals, it becomes easier.

Increase calories by just 200 per day, check results after a month. This means having a base line, so measure all your bits. After a month...have you gained a bit on your chest or biceps, or are they no bigger but you have put on a bit of fat ? etc etc....something needs changing.

I could write pages on nutrition !

Rest - overlooked by most. You are in the gym to break down muscle, muscle then repairs and grows when your asleep (provided the nutrition is right !)

Sleep for 8 hours - 8 hours potential growth. Sleep for 4.......

I could go on for hours, but basically - train, eat, sleep and use the next 4-6 months to really gauge what works, and change it if it isn't !

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

Ro.
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Old 05 December 2012, 11:23 AM
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Lots of different approaches as people above have pointed out, and everyone's body, metabolism etc is different.

For a 'beginner' compound exercises (as already mentioned) are better ie squats, bench press, shoulder press etc. If you can get a bar installed somewhere then chin ups (close hands for biceps and wide grip for lats and shoulders) are also an excellent all round exercise.

Once you have a bench then you can do flys for your pecs etc.

What works for me personally is 4 sets of 8 reps. Whenever I've tried higher weights and lower reps I've found I've injured myself (but I may well be older than you!)

Personally I use a gym because otherwise I get bored of the limited number of exercises that can be done at home. Saying that quite a lot can be done at home. This guy (funnily enough called Scooby!) may have a slightly gay voice but his workout videos are very good and show just how much you can do with very little kit.

He also concentrates on avoiding injury by using proper technique.


And has already been mentioned...nutrition. Eat frequent small meals with plenty of lean protein ie skinless chicken, fish, egg whites etc. Keep some unsalted, roasted nuts in your bag for when you are peckish.

Good luck!
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Old 05 December 2012, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Gear Head View Post
It's to look and feel good.
Just pay me 20 a week and I'll compliment you all you want
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Old 05 December 2012, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by chocolate_o_brian View Post
Just pay me 20 a week and I'll compliment you all you want
Appreciate the offer Andy but I think I will stick to working out.
It's cheaper!
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Old 05 December 2012, 02:03 PM
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You might look good but you'll always be ****
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Old 05 December 2012, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ant View Post
You might look good but you'll always be ****
I'd rather be a good looking **** than an ugly nice guy!
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Old 05 December 2012, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Gear Head View Post
I'd rather be a good looking **** than an ugly nice guy!
If only working out made you better looking. Sadly it doesn't.

Six pack or not, I can't deny I'm an ageing, balding, greying old ****.
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Old 05 December 2012, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jonc View Post
Are you training for strength or definition as both requires different techniques. For strength; heavy weights, low reps up to one rep to max. For definition, cardio and light weights and high reps, and then there's the diet and all your efforts will amount to nothing if you don't get that right.
I have to disagree with light weights high reps. I done bodybuilding for years (recently started again) and the only thing that will see definition is low bodyfat from ur diet. Light weights and high reps won't build ur muscle to the quality as weights u can lift with the correct form and still push urself to ur limit. I could ramble on for hours. Everyone has there own ways of training. What works for them etc etc. but diet is over half of what it takes to get in shape. And don't overtrain. U see people in the gym training there arms 3 times a week and never gain size. U build muscle when u heal if u train over and over ur constantly destroying ur fibres without letting them heal. Common sense. There is no secrets train hard with correct form and eat properly.
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Old 05 December 2012, 09:16 PM
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If you finish every session feeling completely f3cked, you're more than halfway there.
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Old 05 December 2012, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by marshall332bhp View Post
I have to disagree with light weights high reps. I done bodybuilding for years (recently started again) and the only thing that will see definition is low bodyfat from ur diet. Light weights and high reps won't build ur muscle to the quality as weights u can lift with the correct form and still push urself to ur limit. I could ramble on for hours. Everyone has there own ways of training. What works for them etc etc. but diet is over half of what it takes to get in shape. And don't overtrain. U see people in the gym training there arms 3 times a week and never gain size. U build muscle when u heal if u train over and over ur constantly destroying ur fibres without letting them heal. Common sense. There is no secrets train hard with correct form and eat properly.
You're preaching to the converted, been weight training since the early nineties. If you read my post, I never said light weights would build muscle, I said light weights and high reps AND cardio for definition and stressed the importance of diet too.
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Old 05 December 2012, 11:25 PM
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5x5 stronglift routein works well.. concentrate on compound lifts

5x5 squats
5x5 deadlifts
5x5 bench press
5x5 bent over rows

throw in some pull ups or shoulder press aswell, if 5x5 is too much then go for 3x5 to begin with. dont go mad with the weight to start off, go for an amount that you can do the full 3/5 sets with and try to up the weight by around 2.5kg every other training session moving onto every session once you get stronger.

as above you need to eat/train/sleep properly... overall strength and size doesnt come from what you can lift it come from what your feeding your body to grow. if you struggle to eat (like me) blend it as a drink, you need to get it in wether you want it or not. i use whey protein from 'myprotein.com' and ive got the best results from there products.. ive used maximuscle and usn but found myprotein better.

dont give up.. train hard, eat hard and sleep
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Old 06 December 2012, 12:04 AM
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well where to begine

firstly time, time and more time - yes small results can be acheived relativley quickly especially if your starting from fairly out of shape.

secondly there is no right or wrong emthods, its what works for you, but be careful in your assessments as mistakes are aeasy made and can be costly in terms of results vrs time,

3rdly understadnt diet there is NOTHING more important than a basic understanding and being able to apply it to your own physique.

explaining some terminology - toning = its abuzz word used by many with no real definative meaning. every persons body is made from the same muscles in various size shapes or level of development. so underneath any fat most people are similar in composition. toning is the name given to exposing a muscle or group of muscles to appear more defined. there are several processess involved
female for example are prone to fat storage on there arms and wish to tone this area. but in order to expose the muscle shape, tie in ect bodyfat levels must be low enough in this are to allow the shape to be exposed.

but removing this layer of fat is acheived by controlling your diet, tailoring macro nutrient intke to put you body into a state where it uses fat stores as a source of fuel - thus reducing the that fat that covers certain areas. unfortunatley when dieting or trying to lose fat you cannot choose where your body uses the fat from, the only answer is to lowerfat as part of your excersise and nutrition programme. so after a while of effort you may fnd a loss of 2mm of bodyfat has been acheived, this in result will mean the muscles anywhere will be covered by 2mm less fat and muscles will appear more defined as a result - bonus!
add to this bonus if youve been training your arms significantly for this time there is a chance these muscles will have grown very slightly and this will exxadurate the perceived effect, the bigger the muscle the more it shows through the fat, and if the fat layer has also been reduced then the result seem even more impressive.

we all have body parts that are more stubborn thanothers for fat staorgae, typically males retain fat around there abdominal section, females around arms and thighs. regardless you cant choose excersise that target specific fat loss from areas, thats genetically controlled and unable to be manipulated. so doing 100 sit ups daily is unlikely to result in fat loss from your stomach, but if you have good nutrition plan in place this excersise will result in calories burned and could have the effect of a small fat loss from the totality of your body composition.

for just strength there are umpteen techniques 5x5s, fst 7 ect.

if it just for looks , the typical chased look is broad shoulders, small waist, large arms and legs, with some effort easily attainable, nutrition and time are the key imo

Last edited by jef; 06 December 2012 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 06 December 2012, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Gear Head View Post
I'd rather be a good looking **** than an ugly nice guy!
You realise a gym won't change your ugly mug

I signed up to the gym last night.
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Old 06 December 2012, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jonc View Post
You're preaching to the converted, been weight training since the early nineties. If you read my post, I never said light weights would build muscle, I said light weights and high reps AND cardio for definition and stressed the importance of diet too.
That whole post wasn't aimed at u. Just the part about the high reps low weight. In my view that is a waste of time as even your saying u never said it builds muscle so why do it?. I am on my phone and was easier to just add my whole post in one.
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Old 06 December 2012, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Ant View Post
You realise a gym won't change your ugly mug

I signed up to the gym last night.
Very true.

Well I have been quite strict on making sure I do some form of exercise every day.
Yesterday was more a recovery day so I just did 30 minutes on our cross trainer and 80 press ups in sets of 20.

What I find surprising is how good press ups seem to be for my abs.
I have always had '4 pack' but the lower muscles always seem to react very poorly to sit-ups.
It has just never made a difference how many crunches I performed. But I can 'see' the difference already.

As for building muscle in my upper body, I am going to continue with what I am doing and just try to improve my diet. I don't binge on chocolate or crisps but I don't eat enough red meat or lean chicken. If I don't lift weights on one day, I will do at least 60 press ups. And I mean full press ups. I use push up support bars as it kills my wrists otherwise. But I do fully extend and then lower so that my chest touches the floor. No bouncing.

As people have said, everyone is different. I am not new to training. I have been going to the gym or running since I was 14, so 16 years now! Not for any other reason but to control a condition that I have called Cholinergic Urticaria. Basically it is very strong heat rash which gets worse when my sweat glands become blocked. The more exercise I do, the better I feel. It is worse during the winter as I keep going from hot-cold enviroments.
The problem is that it has started to become a chore. I exercise because I have to, not because I want to.

Having a goal is what I need. If that is just improving my overall strength which in turn leads to improved muscle mass and definition, that's all I need. I find that if I start laying down plans for exercise, I soon become bored.

All I was really after was some exercises to help improve my overall strength.
It would seem like compound exercises are the way to go, so I will concrate on using my bench and barbel once I have decided which one to go for!

Thanks for the tips people.
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Old 06 December 2012, 11:53 AM
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If it's become a chore, my advice would be to get a training partner, a bit of competition can do wonders and you'll have someone that will push you that bit harder whilst giving you that safety net when they spot you.
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Old 06 December 2012, 12:06 PM
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well since its all being discussed hijack!!

Im currently training for climbing, so that low weight and high strength. My weight is down to 70kgs and bodyfat was 9.1 & 9.2% this morning. I would ideally like to get to 8%, keep my weight as is and up my strength.

Over the last 4 months I have lost around 10kgs and 6% bodyfat. My training has been cardio (rowing and xtrainer) during my lunch break, with some pushups, pullups and abs between cardio sets. I also climb 3 times per week....

For those that know climbing Im bouldering at v5-6 level and top roping at 7a - struggling with a 7b now. Basically that just means that I use a lot of very small pinch and crimp holds, not the full jugs that you can get a hand around. It also means that I have already torn most of the tendants in my fingers - both hands

Diet is rather strict... Not really a high protein diet (as I tend to become VERY grumpy and cant last long on them), instead, its balanced, quality food based proteins (chicken, turkey, fish, some steak) with a good split of carbs and fats. I cheat day a week, Saturday, I can eat what I want and how much I want, but I do tend to just crave things like chips and bigger portions, although cake is sometimes involved

Sunday to Friday I track all my food (and drink - no alcohol) and my calorie goal (without exercise) is 1570 per day. Since I train most days, I get about 300 more from cardio and then if its a climbing day, another 200 for that.

Ideally I need to be able to get to do a 1 armed pullup and lower off.

I am finishing this program in 2 weeks time as Im going on holiday, but would like to start with a new program in the new year. Im getting very tired of just cardio, so will be moving the cardio to home have a bike on an indoor trainer and missus wants a rower, so Im not arguing.

Any suggestions on training programs?

Thanks in advance
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Old 06 December 2012, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by grahamc View Post
full jugs that you can get a hand around.

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Old 06 December 2012, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by grahamc View Post
well since its all being discussed hijack!!

Im currently training for climbing, so that low weight and high strength. My weight is down to 70kgs and bodyfat was 9.1 & 9.2% this morning. I would ideally like to get to 8%, keep my weight as is and up my strength.

Over the last 4 months I have lost around 10kgs and 6% bodyfat. My training has been cardio (rowing and xtrainer) during my lunch break, with some pushups, pullups and abs between cardio sets. I also climb 3 times per week....

For those that know climbing Im bouldering at v5-6 level and top roping at 7a - struggling with a 7b now. Basically that just means that I use a lot of very small pinch and crimp holds, not the full jugs that you can get a hand around. It also means that I have already torn most of the tendants in my fingers - both hands

Diet is rather strict... Not really a high protein diet (as I tend to become VERY grumpy and cant last long on them), instead, its balanced, quality food based proteins (chicken, turkey, fish, some steak) with a good split of carbs and fats. I cheat day a week, Saturday, I can eat what I want and how much I want, but I do tend to just crave things like chips and bigger portions, although cake is sometimes involved

Sunday to Friday I track all my food (and drink - no alcohol) and my calorie goal (without exercise) is 1570 per day. Since I train most days, I get about 300 more from cardio and then if its a climbing day, another 200 for that.

Ideally I need to be able to get to do a 1 armed pullup and lower off.

I am finishing this program in 2 weeks time as Im going on holiday, but would like to start with a new program in the new year. Im getting very tired of just cardio, so will be moving the cardio to home have a bike on an indoor trainer and missus wants a rower, so Im not arguing.

Any suggestions on training programs?

Thanks in advance

All I get from that post is you showing off!

I really don't think you need advise on fitness do you?
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