RPB's guide to Weightlifting
#1
Thought I'd drop some knowledge about improving your physique and lifting. This should cover all the basics to lifting. I've been lifting for 6 years now and have hit the 1100lb club(bench, squat, deadlift) while having 10-12% bodyfat. I wanted to help some of you out who are looking to learn more about lifting or just getting started. Advanced tips at the end.

Lifting weights strengthens your body, improves your looks, fills you out in your clothing and increases your SMV. Bodybuilding is not rocket science but there are a few key principles to know.

1. Gains are made in the kitchen, not the gym. 
-When you train, you're breaking down your muscles. You're literally tearing the muscle fibers and when you eat right, your muscles grow back larger and stronger over time. Both training and eating are crucial and you can't get big without both. 

It's important to know the basics of nutrition: Calories are measurable unit of usable energy. Macronutrients include protein, carbs and fats. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. Use MyFitnessPal to count calories until you have the hang of things. 


Protein: repairs broken down muscle from training through protein synthesis. Supports muscular and cellular function. Without enough protein, you won't build muscle. Sources include: chicken, steak, pork, fish, cottage cheese, eggs, etc. 
Carbs: provide energy to the body. Broken down into 2 types of carbs: simple and complex. 
1)Complex carbs(less of a blood sugar/insulin spike = more lasting energy). Source include: brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, beans, vegetables, potatoes, yams, etc. These are best before workouts and at all other times of the day. 
2)Simple carbs(more of an insulin spike = quick energy rush and carb load but causes a crash due to high glycemic index, less lasting energy). Source include: pasta, fruit, bagels, white bread, cake, donuts, soda, etc. These are best after a workout. 
Natural fats: help you absorb vitamins/minerals, keeps you insulated and also provides energy (contrary to popular belief, they are very good for you). Sources include: olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, avocados, salmon, etc. 


To add mass (bulk): 
To build muscle/gain mass you need to be in a caloric surplus, eating more calories per day than your body's maintenance amount. There are calculators online to find your caloric maintenance and its based on your age, height, weight, activity level, etc. You WILL add fat and water weight during a bulk- the key is to minimize it by not gaining weight too quickly or eating too many low quality foods. 
1)Find your caloric maintenance.
2)Add 300 calories per day to that to start. Adjust by a few hundred per day as needed if you're gaining weight too fast(mostly water weight/fat) or too slow(too low of a surplus). 
3)Eat 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day. 
4)Fill in the rest with carbs and natural fats. Generally 1.75-2x your bodyweight in carbs is good and fats can make up whatever is left over. 


Note: As a newbie, you can gain 20-30 pounds in your first year- most or all muscle. After that it will slow down and you should aim to add a few pounds a year until you find where you want to be. Eventually, you'll hit a limit with your genetics to where you can't get much bigger naturally. And unless you really get into competitive lifting, your physique at this point will be plenty. 

To lose weight (cut): 
To cut weight, you need to be in a caloric deficit, burning more calories than your body's maintenance amount. You WILL lose some muscle while cutting, the key is to minimize it by increasing protein intake a bit while keeping calories down. 
1)Find your caloric maintenance. 
2)Subtract 300 calories per day to that to start. Adjust by a few hundred per day as needed if you're losing weight too quickly(not healthy to lose more than 2 pounds per week unless you started out obese) or too slowly(too high of a caloric/carb intake)
3)Keep protein intake to a minimum of 1g per pound of bodyweight each day. I'd recommend increasing it a bit more. 
4)Decrease carb intake to about 1g per pound of bodyweight each day. Carb intake can be tweaked as with calories. 
5)Fill out the rest with natural fats. 

2)Train each muscle group 1-2x per week. 

As a newbie, you can do 2-3 full body workouts for a couple months(just about anything will work) but after that, you'll need more of a plan. Muscles need 24-48hrs on average to repair(legs sometimes take longer), so your training already broken down muscles by training a certain muscle group more than 2x a week. Advanced lifters can sometimes do periods of training a given muscle 3x a week or calves everyday. 

All chest/triceps/shoulders fall into push movements, back/biceps/traps fall into pull movements and legs are its own category. 

Example split 1 (5 day split): 
Chest, back, legs, arms, shoulders/traps, rest, rest 

Push/pull/legs split (PPL)
Push, pull, legs. This can be done 3x a week (for those not too serious, serious lifters need 4 days a week in the gym or more) or 6x a week by repeating the cycle. 

3) Focus on compound exercises, finish with machines and isolations. 

Compound movements train multiple muscle groups at once, isolations target one. Start your workouts with a warmup, then lead off with a compound movement or two so you can go heavier and get more bang for your buck. Finish the workout with a couple isolation movements to refine and sculpt the muscle. Compounds are more for building mass and strength, isolations are more for shaping the muscle and target smaller, more specific areas. 

Compounds have a higher chance of injury and the heavier you go the more careful you need to be. 

Examples of compounds: Bench, Dumbbell(DB) bench, Overhead press, Barbell(BB) row, Deadlift, Squat, Pullups, etc. 
Examples of isolations: Most machines, DB side lateral raise, DB hammer curls, DB concentration curls, Cable tricep rope pushdown, Seated calf raises. 

4) Train hard. 

Most people don't train that hard in the gym. Overtraining is debated endlessly and I think it can exist, but most people won't ever get near that point. Bring some intensity into the gym and push a few reps PAST the burn, NOT until it starts to burn. That brings me to rep ranges:

<3 reps: powerlifting/sole focus on strength. I rarely do 1 rep maxes as the injury risk isn't worth it. I recommend going a little bit lighter and doing a 3 rep max. Go heavy here. 
5-8 reps: focus on strength building. Go heavy for these. 
10-12 reps: hypertrophy. Use a weight that is challenging for the rep range. 
15+ reps: fat burning, cutting. Light weight and lots of burn in the muscle. 

5) Listen to your body. 

The more experienced you get, the more you'll know you're body. You'll know what exercises work best for you, which ones feel the best burn in the muscle, which ones give you the best pump(visible bloodflow increase that makes you look more muscular for a couple hours), which ones don't feel right, what foods you like best and the best timing to eat, the best routine for you, etc. 

Change your routine, or at least the exercises at least every 6 weeks so your body doesnt get used to it. Shock the muscle(within reason) and keep it guessing every so often. 

There's plenty of resources on the web to find a workout routines or exercises if you can't think of anything. I recommend beginners to follow a full body routine for 2-3 months to start, then transition to 5x5 or a bodybuilding program then create their own if they want as they get more advanced. 

6) A word on supplements...

Order of importance: food, training(you can't out train a bad diet), supplements. Supplements can help but they aren't some magic potion that these companies indirectly lead you to believe. That said, protein powder and creatine monohydrate are the best two and the only two I use. Pre-workout can work well but why rely on caffeine and stimulants just to workout? The rest are largely a waste of money. Unless you eat your bodyweight in protein in real food each day(I don't), supplement with a daily protein shake. I've tried whey, egg protein, and plant protein extensively. Whey is what I find most effective and the best tasting. Plant protein tastes terrible and like drinking sawdust, Egg protein has a bit of a weird aftertaste and some studies show that its not the best to consume that much egg content, and whey can increase acne and can be poor quality but overall I still find it the best. Stick to brands that have low heavy metal content and that keep the artificial and bad ingredients out (acesulfame potassium, artificial sweeteners, etc). Labdoor dot com has a list of the purest whey proteins. 

7) Stay consistent. 

Lots of people start/stop/start/stop and start again and don't take it seriously. Stick with it. Don't make excuses. 4 times a week or so to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour is not too much to ask. I've seen a lot of people come and go over the years and the people with the good physiques are almost always the ones who have stayed consistent with it and know how to eat right as well. Don't let weightlifting rule your life though. It's meant to be something you use to exercise and increase your strength, physique and SMV. Don't be afraid to have a few beers or skip a workout every now and then. Just be consistent overall. 

I'll add more tips if I think there needs to be more added that I may have missed. 
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Advanced tips:

-Increase your intensity and train at least most of your sets to muscle failure. Do this is periods so you don't tax your body too much. 
-Utilize drop sets, supersets, rest/pause, negatives and other training techniques in most of your sets. I like to use these when I'm not doing a heavy compound movement. 
-Carb load for a couple days before a heavy lift day if you are going for a PR. 
-Eat cottage cheese before bed as it contains high amounts of casein protein, which "trickle feeds" your muscles over 8hrs instead of whey which is fast acting and milk protein which is medium speed. 
-Don't ignore micronutrients. Put some focus into vegetables and superfoods. 
-Shoulders, traps and back and the most underrated muscles. If you develop these the as your strong points, you will have a "power look" that will fill out your shirts more. 
-If you can only train 4 times a week but want the most bang for your buck, do: Chest/bis, legs, back/tris, Shoulders/traps. 
-To overcome a plateau: creatine(if not using it currently), carb load, rest for 2 days before the heavy lift day and don't train that lift within a week before the heavy lift day(ie: if going for a deadlift PR, don't deadlift within 7 days of the heavy lift day. You can even do 2 weeks sometimes to good benefit).
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#2
Rep point incoming.
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#3
Nice datasheet that hits many good points.  I've been in the gym regularly for 14 years and I can also vouch for most of this.  

I would like to add though, in terms of supplements, pre-workouts are very beneficial for those who are serious about lifting as they contain all of the necessary BCAAs that will help support both endurance and recovery.  Also a good pre-workout will contain creatine HCL, which is much more easily absorbed by the body than creatine monohydrate and can therefore be taken in smaller doses and have the same or even greater effectiveness.  Plus you don't have to worry about all of the bloating and stomach issues like you do with the monohydrate.  If you are overly worried about caffeine and stimulates, then you can buy one on the lighter stim side or even stim free altogether.

Here is a good article comparing creatine HCL vs monohydrate:
https://www.gnc.com/brand/jym/fitness-ar...drate.html

As far as protein I would go with whey protein isolate at a minimum (stay away from anything that says whey protein concentrate as it is absolute junk protein).  You can also purchase a blended protein, which is what I use, and it will have a combination of something like whey isolate, casein, and egg white protein.

Again this is just me, but I value supplementation on the same level that I value the food going into my body.

And the one thing that simply cannot be overstated in enough in terms of weight/resistance training, is using proper form.  This is the most important and often overlooked principle in the gym IMO.  Yes, sometimes that will mean using less weight.  But the amount of weight being lifted is not the point, and the numbers on the side of plate don't mean jack shit unless you want to be an ego lifter who values numbers over having a healthy musculoskeletal structure.  For those just starting out in the gym, do your research on form and protecting your body from injury.  It's not even a bad idea to hire a trainer from time to time, or better yet have a gym buddy who you can trust to watch your form and critique you on it.  Best case scenario, using poor form will keep you out of the gym for awhile.  The more probable scenario is that you will need physical therapy or even surgery to correct injuries, and the worst case scenario being that your gym career is over.  

So take it from a guy who has had two surgeries, don't worry so much about the numbers on the plate and instead be concerned about proper form and movements.
"I'm not worried if they get pregnant. That is what they are made for. They will figure it out."

-Mister Happy
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#4
A lot of common sense stuff here. And I'm not trying to downplay your datasheet at all, a lot of people need to hear this. When I first started working out I found all this stuff pretty intuitive, but then as I met more people who were into lifting and health I realized how much bro-science and straight up bullshit there is out there related to fitness.

I couldn't find a damn thing wrong with anything you said.
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#5
Great data. I repped you +1
I have two questions:
1. I found that getting enough energy was a big problem for me, and living a regular family life, having the old lady doing all the shopping and cooking, wasn't so easy to have an individual diet plan. Now I am single so I suppose it is easier, however is there somewhere to find an easy menu plan, like a cheat sheet, common things you can easily get at the super market when you aren't worth much in the kitchen?
2. I'm almost 50 and in fairly good shape (i.e. not fat and can walk up stairs lol) but haven't lifted or done regular exercise in years. Do I need to worry about injury? What are some things to watch out for? When I was younger I didn't seem prone to injury.
Thanks!
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#6
(08-02-2020, 02:45 AM)Mister Happy Wrote: Great data. I repped you +1
I have two questions:
1. I found that getting enough energy was a big problem for me, and living a regular family life, having the old lady doing all the shopping and cooking, wasn't so easy to have an individual diet plan. Now I am single so I suppose it is easier, however is there somewhere to find an easy menu plan, like a cheat sheet, common things you can easily get at the super market when you aren't worth much in the kitchen?
2. I'm almost 50 and in fairly good shape (i.e. not fat and can walk up stairs lol) but haven't lifted or done regular exercise in years. Do I need to worry about injury? What are some things to watch out for? When I was younger I didn't seem prone to injury.
Thanks!

I'll chime in on the injury part since I've subscribed to most if not all of OPs statements in this post at one point in time.

Yes! You do need to be careful when you get back to the gym especially after several years. The key is light weight, good form, and full body exercise/range of motion. Age is also a factor, so one should be especially careful with biceps this applies mainly to exercises like concentration and preacher curls that really target the muscle. You can tear your biceps extremely easy even when doing light to moderate weight. And make sure you stretch before cardio or weights. A lot of people disagree with this but it will help you stay healthy and be less prone to injuries.
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#7
Mister Happy have you thought about taking testosterone? I started taking it. But I gotta drop a bunch of weight for my body to really extract it and not turn it into estrogen.
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#8
(Suits is alive!)

(08-02-2020, 02:45 AM)Mister Happy Wrote: Now I am single so I suppose it is easier, however is there somewhere to find an easy menu plan, like a cheat sheet, common things you can easily get at the super market when you aren't worth much in the kitchen?

If you're interested, I use an app called "Cronometer" that tracks not just calories, but protein/carbs/fats, as well as rough estimates of vitamins and minerals. If you use it for a few weeks to track your diet, you'll learn very quickly which foods work to meet your goals and which are just a waste.

Quote:2. I'm almost 50 and in fairly good shape (i.e. not fat and can walk up stairs lol) but haven't lifted or done regular exercise in years. Do I need to worry about injury? What are some things to watch out for? When I was younger I didn't seem prone to injury.

Start performing most movements with just the bar in order to perfect the movement and teach your body how it works. It can help to start with a higher rep goal, as well, to encourage you not to lift too heavy until you're comfortable and your movement pattern is stable.

I've seen people who were out of the gym for two or three months come back, try to squat the same weight they were previously squatting for reps, and tweak their back instantly. "Ego lifting" is bad.

Also, shoulder health. It's worthwhile to add some good movements to make sure you're strengthening and stretching every part of your shoulder, especially if you work at a desk and have a lot of bad influences on your neck and upper back. One of my favorites for this is the reverse fly. Buying a macebell and learning to use it might also not be a bad idea, it really requires you to learn how to control your shoulder capsule and also acts as mobility training.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XOgmnLO7e8
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#9
(08-02-2020, 11:45 AM)Jetset Wrote: ...especially if you work at a desk and have a lot of bad influences on your neck and upper back...

Thanks for the advice bro. I have eliminated the bad influences of the office job haha. I did used to suffer quite a bit, like my arms would fall asleep. Once I quit working in offices and had zero assholes in my life, all that went away. It was the stress, always being angry, it tightens up your neck and shoulders and cuts off blood flow to your arms etc. I can highly advise anyone to downsize your life, in the USA we're just living on borrowed time, slaving away 80 hours in an office to pay your mortgage on the house you don't have any time to enjoy and the car note on the car you sit in 4 hours a day commuting to your slave job. I cut all that away, no more office job no more mortgage... life improves 100%...
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#10
(08-02-2020, 02:45 AM)Mister Happy Wrote: Great data. I repped you +1
I have two questions:
1. I found that getting enough energy was a big problem for me, and living a regular family life, having the old lady doing all the shopping and cooking, wasn't so easy to have an individual diet plan. Now I am single so I suppose it is easier, however is there somewhere to find an easy menu plan, like a cheat sheet, common things you can easily get at the super market when you aren't worth much in the kitchen?
2. I'm almost 50 and in fairly good shape (i.e. not fat and can walk up stairs lol) but haven't lifted or done regular exercise in years. Do I need to worry about injury? What are some things to watch out for? When I was younger I didn't seem prone to injury.
Thanks!

Glad you got some value from it. 
1)I'm pretty lazy at cooking so I've often turned to oven meals and quick cookable meals so I can help you here. 
Some good ones are: peanut butter and applesauce on whole wheat toast, oatmeal and eggs(can add vanilla protein powder to oatmeal), PB&J sandwiches, meal prep some basic meal such as chicken, fish or ground beef with teriyaki or sriracha sauce and rice with veggies, Oven meals from grocery store for bulking include lasagna, enchilada bakes, etc. 
Homemade weight gainer protein shake: blueberries, banana, milk or rice milk, oats, 1 raw egg(optional), melted coconut oil, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Tastes good, is healthy and calorie/carb/protein dense.
Understand your goal (bulk, cut, maintain) and position your calories accordingly. 
2)You'll definitely be more injury prone over the age of 35 or so. Focus on good form, dial back on trying to set PRs and lift super heavy and focus more on machines, and isolation work. Warm up your joints well(ie- rotations for shoulders with 2.5 or 5lb dumbbells before training shoulders) and don't do exercises that don't feel right on your joints. Posture exercises such as face pulls, rear delt flys and cable standing pulls for real delts/upper back help keep your body aligned well.

Cheers
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#11
I've posted evangelically about it for years on RVF and here so I won't get into it all again but weightlifting completely changed my life. Thats a very solid introduction for anyone thinking of getting into it.

It makes you feel better, it makes you look better, it makes you healthier, and it improves your performance in almost any sport. And it requires less time per week than most people assume. I firmly believe its the number one change every man should make to their life if they aren't already doing it.
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#12
(08-04-2020, 11:47 PM)Red_Pill_Brotherhood Wrote:
(08-02-2020, 02:45 AM)Mister Happy Wrote: Great data. I repped you +1
I have two questions:
1. I found that getting enough energy was a big problem for me, and living a regular family life, having the old lady doing all the shopping and cooking, wasn't so easy to have an individual diet plan. Now I am single so I suppose it is easier, however is there somewhere to find an easy menu plan, like a cheat sheet, common things you can easily get at the super market when you aren't worth much in the kitchen?
2. I'm almost 50 and in fairly good shape (i.e. not fat and can walk up stairs lol) but haven't lifted or done regular exercise in years. Do I need to worry about injury? What are some things to watch out for? When I was younger I didn't seem prone to injury.
Thanks!

Glad you got some value from it. 
1)I'm pretty lazy at cooking so I've often turned to oven meals and quick cookable meals so I can help you here. 
Some good ones are: peanut butter and applesauce on whole wheat toast, oatmeal and eggs(can add vanilla protein powder to oatmeal), PB&J sandwiches, meal prep some basic meal such as chicken, fish or ground beef with teriyaki or sriracha sauce and rice with veggies, Oven meals from grocery store for bulking include lasagna, enchilada bakes, etc. 
Homemade weight gainer protein shake: blueberries, banana, milk or rice milk, oats, 1 raw egg(optional), melted coconut oil, 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder, 1 tablespoon peanut butter. Tastes good, is healthy and calorie/carb/protein dense.
Understand your goal (bulk, cut, maintain) and position your calories accordingly. 
2)You'll definitely be more injury prone over the age of 35 or so. Focus on good form, dial back on trying to set PRs and lift super heavy and focus more on machines, and isolation work. Warm up your joints well(ie- rotations for shoulders with 2.5 or 5lb dumbbells before training shoulders) and don't do exercises that don't feel right on your joints. Posture exercises such as face pulls, rear delt flys and cable standing pulls for real delts/upper back help keep your body aligned well.

Cheers

Hey thanks. Yeah I actually eat several of these already which are easy for those who are handicapped in the kitchen to prepare (eggs, oatmeal, peanutbutter) this is a great list of some others as well. Also some good exercises. Thanks bro!

Thanks also Jetset and Zatara!
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#13
Awesome thread bro.

I ran Greyskull LP when I was a noob, honestly didn't like that type of workout too much but it was an awesome way to establish a base of strength. Currently doing a PPL routine 5-6 days a week with more of a focus on isolation and high reps.

How often do find you can go to failure without sizzling yourself?
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#14
If anyone wants some bodyweight pdfs just pm me. I got them from Hannibal on RVF last year. I have Convict Conditioning and some other bodyweight fitness books/programs. It's a great way to build muscle during lockdown.
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#15
Are dumbbells still hard to get in the US?
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#16
(08-10-2020, 01:11 AM)churros Wrote: Are dumbbells still hard to get in the US?

Yes, but in case anybody needs to know this: YorkBarbell.com is opening their online store up for about an hour or two most weekdays around 11am EST.

They get flooded with orders and shut it back down until they clear the backlog, but they have a decent stock of plates and then you can get loadable handles.
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