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I wrote this up for one of the members and felt others could learn or add on to it if they wished. It's not perfect but I think it's a great nudge into fitness/aesthetics.

Quote:First, you must crystallize your goals. As a beginner, you can lose fat and gain muscle, but it won't go on forever. Gains are also going to come nicely.

On your own, you can and should look up information, bits at a time. Read an article here and there. Take it easy. Whenever you don't understand something, look it up.

Don't expect to learn everything at once. It will take a while for concepts to stick, for ideas to pop up. Just read as much as your curiosity drives you to. As for a suggestion, I would suggest you read up on Bret Contreras and Anthony Mychal as well.

For now, I would suggest you bulk up using intermittent fasting. Considering you are a beginner, you may reduce considerable fat and gain muscle as well. It consists of an 16-hour fast and you eat in an 8-hour window. Check under "the protocols" below to determine the best time to fast:

To bulk up using IT, you must consume surplus calories on the days you workout while eating maintenance or less on rest days. I would suggest you begin to count calories in your head somewhat. It shouldn't be too bad if you read nutritional labels and use the internet. For you I would suggest you log how many calories you consume on average now and add 500 calories (as a start, you can add more later on).

Protein consumption should near 1 gram per pound of weight. Bear in mind an ounce of meat has seven grams. I always use this when I measure the serving to guess how much I am consuming.

Basically, you consume more carbs/less fats and workout days and on rest days you consume less carbs/more fats.

The important thing about diets is not to overanalyze everything. The most you should do is measure meat you eat and eat good choices. You can sneak in a candy bar every once in a while. Don't be bound by diet plans. It sounds good on paper, but it is not always realistic. Choices and portions are king here. Use this to guide your eating. For example: I need to consume 300 calories more to comply with my caloric needs. I will drink half a liter of milk to do so.

Cut out soda, junk food, and candy; if you indulge in these items, keep it to a minimum. Limit portions.

Food: (Might be redundant sorry)
Whey Protein Isolate (really useful)
Various fruits and vegetables (to your liking)
Grains that are not bleached
Olive Oil (I would measure this out, it's calorie-dense)
Milk (it has saturated fat)
*Look on for more ideas

As for workouts you can work on strength, hypertrophy, etc. One very important thing to remember here: you will always improve as long as you have progressive overload. This means putting and lifting more weight on the bar. It doesn't have to be a weekly increase (a fallacy), but eventually you should increase the weight on the bar.

I would recommend you indulge in compound lifts such as: bench press, dips, pull ups, squats, deadlifts, etc. You can look up more. You can also add some isolation in there too such as: bicep curls, skullcrushers, calf raises, lateral raises.

For strength, work in 3x5 parameters (this means you lift something five times in one set). For hypertrophy, a total of 24 to 30 reps is optimal (both mass volume and surplus calories are essential to gain muscle, remember this).

Here are some parameters:
Load: 80-100% of 1-RM
Common Patterns: 5x3, 3x3, 4x2, 5x1, 5-4-3-2-1 as well as series of triples or doubles or singles
Cadence: maximally accelerated concentric
Rest periods: 2-5 minutes
Description: Do not try to reach concentric muscular failure on any set unless you are attempting to find your maximum.

Load: 60-80% of 1-RM
Common Patterns: 6x3, 5x4, 4x5, 3x6, 10x2 as well as series of triples or doubles
Cadence: maximally accelerated concentric, quick turn-around between eccentric and concentric (when applicable)
Rest periods: 45-120 seconds

Speed and hypertrophy are not outlined in the Prilepin table. For these exercises, refer to the following:

Load: bodyweight, near bodyweight, or 10-30% of 1-RM
Cadence: fast eccentric and concentric
Rest periods: 30-90 seconds
Description: Speed work is performed with openly accelerated calisthenic or lightly weighted exercises. Openly accelerated means that the body or weight is not slowed down at the top of the rep. In other words, the body doesn't stay in contact with the ground or the weight does not stay in your hands. Box jumps, split jumps, clap push-ups, and medicine ball tosses are all examples of this type of exercise. (Note that, while the Olympic lifts are also openly accelerated lifts, they are better trained using power or strength parameters.) An important distinction to make is that these exercises are not plyometrics. Therefore, force should be absorbed and dissipated between eccentric and concentric motion. As a result, the sequence of events for a set with one of these exercises should be: 1) jump/lift as fast as possible, 2) land/catch and absorb impact, 3) "pause", 4) repeat.

Load: 70-85%
Reps per set: 5-12
Volume: 20-40 total reps per muscle group, with about 24-30 being optimal.
Common Patterns: 5x5, 4x6, 3x8, 3x10, 2x12, 10x3
Rest periods: 1-2 minutes
Description: You should work within a few reps of concentric muscular failure and occasionally reach it. (Again let me emphasize that working with this parameter in mind does not necessarily equate with an increase in bodyweight. To build mass that results in a weight gain, you must work out with sufficient volume, progressive overload, and eat a caloric surplus, getting enough of each of the individual macronutrients.)

Note that, in all four cases, the percentages given above are guidelines to help you choose the initial weight you should use at the start of a training cycle. You should not try to maintain this exact percentage or stick with the same weight (unless you are progressing by volume concurrently) throughout your training cycle. Finally, keep in mind that, because percentages are guidelines, they vary in their accuracy between individuals. Factors such as genetics and, more important, training history can effect how your percentages are distributed in terms of your rep maximums. For the purposes of this guide, 80% of your 1-RM is assumed to be approximately an 8-RM, while 90% is approximately a 4-RM -- use this comparison in order to adjust your use of percents.

You can workout three times a week. It can be a split or a full body workout. I would recommend the split for the near future for when you wish to sculpt sufficient amounts of muscle you will have gained with isolation exercises. For now, the emphasize should be on compound lifts. You can add a few isolation exercises at the end.

Brush up on form on your lifts. This is important so that you may continue this ambitions in the future without problems. Don't worry about the weight at first. Keep it light and steady as you focus on form.

Basically you can do this three times a week, change the exercises as you see fit. Some you may like, some you may not. This is a sample routine. The only thing I would advise you to do is keep the incline press and the theme of compound lifts. It doesn't have to be Rows or Bench Press. Change it to some compound you prefer.

Incline Press 3x8 (very very important if you want an aesthetic chest, trust me, always do it)
Bench Press 3x5
Rows 3x8
Weighted Pull Ups 3x5
Leg Press 3x8
Squats 3x5
Bicep Curls 3x10
Skullcrushers 3x10
Lateral Raises 3x10
Calf Raises 3x10

Since your bodycomposition will be changing constantly, I would suggest you measure progress not on your body (although mirrors help) but on the weight on the bar. As long as you are progressing on the bar, you are golden. Buy one of those Accu-Measure Body Fat Calipers, they can help you gauge body fat as well if you want to.

Good luck. Take it easy. Read this over and over if need be. Remember one thing: everyone's different. This is what has worked for me and many others in the past. You may be different. You may like or react differently to something. The thing to do is adjust and adapt accordingly. This is key to success. That's why I gave you options and choices in the diet and workout.

Hope it all works out.
Thanks for posting this. I'm about to do a four-month bulking phase while using IF. I'm hoping to shed a bit of fat while still putting on muscle, since I've never done IF before.

Quick question: you said eat maintenance on non-workout days. Why is this? Conventional bulking calls for eating a surplus EVERY day. Won't you not get enough calories to put on the proper amount of weight?
No Problem Smile. Martin Berkhan answered this a while back in the comments. Apparently it IS possible to gain muscle with a short-term caloric surplus under such a small window. But this is more along the lines of body recomposition. You can add additional calories if you wish. Personally, I'd stick with the former option though.

The post-workout refeed he refers to is something I forgot to add to this guide too.

Here is a nice guide to the refeed thing:

I would only refeed on workout days; every other day should be less carbs/more fats as mentioned.

With this in mind, you're golden. Good luck!

Ah and here's the quote I was referring to:
Quote:'I have a question about body recomposition that's on my mind for some time now. Is it possible to grow muscles while being on IF schedule and in calorie deficit?'

Yes. The post-workout refeed I advocate seems to be sufficient to elicit muscle growth as evidenced by several client cases and anecdotal reports. Your thinking on this is right on the money (short-term caloric surplus and muscle gain).

Credit for the parameters to Chicanerous who frequents one of the other forums I visit. I thought I had put it in quotes in the pm but it didn't take.
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