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Fitness advice for an already-slim guy

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I'm in my mid 20s, 5'4, 140 lbs, and wear size 30 waist - relatively skinny but I do have some stomach fat which keeps me from having a six pack. I'm also a student so I am short on time. I'd like to create a fitness schedule for myself that helps me with the following goal:

-Find the balance of being "big" or "skinny". I don't want to look skinny, I don't want to look buff, I just want to look strong.

How should I approach this? As of now, I go to the gym anywhere from 3 to 1 times/week. I usually do about 10 minutes of cardio either on a rowing machine or inclined treadmill followed by working big muscle groups by doing squats or pull ups. I keep lifting weights and working different muscle groups until I either get tired or my workout time reaches an hour.

But I have no discipline - I do the same thing every day. I don't know if I should divide my workout into different muscle groups and have a disciplined way of approaching weights.

Please advise.

post #2 of 16

Not quite sure what you want, but here are some suggestions.


If you want visible six pack abs, then your main goal is losing enough weight for them to show. This is much more a matter of diet than exercise. The two things exercise can do are to muscle up your abs if you have not been doing ab work, and help lose weight by doing more cardio. Much more cardio. More like 30 minutes a day than 10 minutes 1-3 times a week. This is even more important for overall health than it is for looking strong.


For lifting- again depends on what you want. If it is a more muscular appearance, then high reps with moderate weights and lots of sets will get you there. If you get serious about this, then cycling (progressively higher weights with lower reps, up to a limit of only being able to do a few reps, then dropping back to high reps with lighter weight), can help. These cycles may run through a month or so of religious 3 times a week lifting. If you are not that conscientious about it, I don't know how well it will work.


If the gym has a good assortment of weights then it is helpful to vary the exercises targeting the same body part. Do bench presses one time, pec flies and triceps extensions another time, use free weights, use machines...

post #3 of 16
I personally found best weight lifting result by lifting twice a week splitting the workouts between upper and lower body. On Tuesdays I'll work on lower leg muscles. For Friday's I lift hard on the upper body. For the other days I'll rest ofter than typical sports exercise such as tennis or taking walks. I've put on between 30 to 40lbs of mass over the last couple of years working out this way.

Being later fall, winter weather, you might look to test your vitamin D levels. It seems D3, the sunshine vitamin, raises testosterone levels and helps with bone and muscle strength. I also like eating foods high in vitamin K2, and also take a supplement, as K2 is thought to help with bone health. Never taken the nutrition protein shakes myself, but many others seem to have good success with them.

From Dr. Cannell's sight:
...Finally, vitamin D boosts testosterone levels! In a randomized controlled trial, 3,300 IU/day of vitamin D increased testosterone levels by 30-40%. In men, testosterone is important for reproduction tissues like the testis and prostate, and it's also important for key masculine features like increased muscle, bone mass, and the growth of body hair...
post #4 of 16
Originally Posted by bonoz View Post

Hi guys,
I'm in my mid 20s, 5'4, 140 lbs, and wear size 30 waist - relatively skinny but I do have some stomach fat which keeps me from having a six pack

But I have no discipline - I do the same thing every day. I don't know if I should divide my workout into different muscle groups and have a disciplined way of approaching weights.
Please advise.

Disciplined diet.

If your problem is fat asking about your workout isn't the right direction.

Not to be rude but at 5-4 140lbs you likely aren't relatively skinny. At that weight size you're either fairly muscular in which case you wouldn't need to be asking these questions or more likely your chubbier then you think.
post #5 of 16
Why do you only do ten minutes of cardio? As others have noted, that's the area you need to work on. Ten minutes of cardio is almost not worth doing. For me, that would be just enough to break a sweat, take a ten minute shower afterwards and sepnd five minutes getting dressed again.

If cardio bores you, try to get into a sport that features cardio. Which is pretty much any sports aside from golfing or bowling.
post #6 of 16
This'll work. Bear with me it's a cut and paste from an email I sent after a similar question received from a coworker.

kay this is a 4 section workout that all you need is a flat bench that is able to incline and some free weights. You do each section 3 times. Each section has only 30 seconds in between (exercise 1-2-3 with no break ) with a 2 minute break between sections. this may be a little confusing, but I'll try and break it down.
Advice, start with very little weight, 5-10lbs as this gets challenging fairly quickly. try to keep same weight all the way through. Msgt XXXX expressed it was important to complete the full count on all exercises, so if it takes you longer, just stick through it and complete. Good luck!

Section 1 (no break between exercises)
exercise 1- 10 regular pushups
exercise 2- 10 lying chest fly's (on bench)
exercise 3- 10 situps
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(2 Minute break)

Section 2 (no break in between exercise)
exercise 1- 10 wide grip push ups
exercise 2- 10 Incline chest fly's (bench inclined)
exercise 3- 10 dips off of bench
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(2 minute break)

Section 3 (no break in between exercises)
exercise 1- 10 close grip push ups
exercise 2- bent over rows (flat bench)
exercise 3- reverse crunch on bench ( lay flat on bench, bring legs and lower abd to uprite, essentially leg lifts almost to 90 degree angle
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(30 second break)
Repeat 1-3
(2 min break)

Section 4
10 free squats with dumbells on shoulders in hands. Just rest them on your shoulders while holding them in your hands and squat down to touch bench with your rear.
Repeat 3x with as little break in between as possible.
post #7 of 16

The elusive 6 pack. The advice here really depends on your body and metabolism. Some can achieve 7-8% body fat easily, others never at all. Diet is the biggest thing. Most everybody eats too much. Cut out all refined sugars and keep carbs at no more than 100 daily. I've noticed good results from high intensity circuit training. Keep your heart rate up for 40+ minutes and you'll see results. Good exercises to mix up there are ladder sprints, box jumps, burpees, and rowing.

post #8 of 16
Avoiding bloating (from water weight and food reactions) is another part of it. Also, fat burning supplements can help. There is a lengthy article about the abs on the website below.
post #9 of 16

Focus on losing fat first before building muscle.


if you want abs and to lose your stomach fat...that is done in the kitchen and calorie counting. These are just rough estimates but a medium pace jog for an hour and you're probably only burning 300-500 calories. If you're sprinting then you're probably hitting 700-800. If you're doing weightlifting with chest/bicep day you're probably not burning more than 200 calories unless you're only resting 10-15 secs between each set to keep your heart rate up.


I don't care about the whole unhealthy vs healthy foods debate or high protein/low-no carbs, the first rule is watch the calories and from there you adjust your diet to healthy foods while still maintaining a 3000-3500 calorie deficit per week (400-500 per day deficit) of your maintenance.


Then to add onto that you should start factoring in your macro/micro nutrients.


I don't have a calculator in front of me but i'm going to probably put you around 1400-1600 calories max per day to lose a 0.8/1 lb a week. Your one big mac meal already covers about 900 calories without pop, a quiznos sub probably is more in the 1200-1600 calorie range.


On workout days you should consume 2500-2700 calories.


Give up all forms of liquid calories. Drink only water, green tea, black coffee, or BCAAs with water only. If you feel the need for some sort of flavour go with diet pop but don't over do it. If you need to have a few alcoholic drinks, switch to Guiness as it has lower calories than a lot of other beer.


Get very good sleep, 8 hours.


This is a bold lifestyle change if you want to hit at least 12% bodyfat to have your abs show. I would tell you to try intermittent fasting but that would probably be too much of a change for you at this point. Better to take it in steps.

post #10 of 16

Agreed with the previous poster.  Fat loss mainly comes from a proper diet.  The same proper diet will make you relatively cut with pullups, pushups, and lunges.


I recommend reading


It is a blog about eating healthy for your heart, but is practically a fat blaster.  You have to go back a couple years into his archieve to read the good stuff.


Ie. I don't count calories at all.  I can get rail thin simply by eating unlimited whole veggies (including potatoes),  whole fruits, meats.  If I'm not hungry enough to eat a whole fruit, then I know I'm not hungry.

post #11 of 16



First you should choose increase muscle mass ore go for the six pack ;)


If i was you i would start with eating 500kcal more then youre body need wich should be around 2500 kcal for you.

Skip the cardio for now and just train strength find a suitable program. To you feel you are a bit to big then go for 1900 kcal and short but intense intervals.


Workout program example. all exercises with 4 Setts and 8-10 Reps.


Monday: Breast and Back 3 exercises for each

Tuesday: Thigs 3 ore 4 Exercises

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Biceps and Tricep 3 exercises for each

Friday: rest

Saturday: Thighs(behind) and Shoulders 3 exercises for each


Before workout its good with slow carbs like oat. After i would take a protein shake with fast carbs like 1 ore 2 bananas


Food: Carbs: Oat, Meat, Healthy bread, pasta etc..

Protein: Egg, Chicken, Milk, salmon, tunah, cheese, cottage cheese etc..

post #12 of 16
^I don't think anyone should ever dedicate an entire training day to muscle groups as small as biceps and triceps.
post #13 of 16

one training "day" is one hour and 6 exercises no one will overtrain theyre arms with that even though it might feel like that the first 3-4 workouts :)

post #14 of 16
It's just a really unproductive day. It makes no sense to go to the gym to train your biceps, or triceps. It would be the equivalent of having a calf day.
post #15 of 16
Especially when you're only spending one day doing both back and chest. Makes no sense to do two big muscle groups one day, then two small individual muscles on their own day.
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