Abs By Oct. - Comment On Plan?

[quote]detazathoth wrote:

exelent article

Ok lets get down to biz:

1- Like many have said, dumb the thing about Abs by October. All your gonna do is disappoint yourself and hurt your body.
-You have already dropped a lot of fat, now its time to pack muscle into your body and gain strength.

2- FOOD:
-So far I can say you are doing OK with your diet. HOWEVER, since you have drop so much wieght I like others, suggest that you increase your calories above a “Maintenance Level”. (That is eat a little more that what you would need to stay at the same weight)

-Start by eating 3000 calories, if that is still to little, jump to 3500. Make small increments to find the right amount your body needs. Otherwise you’ll find yourself eating too much for 2 months, and then eating too little for another 2 and have no progress. Just eat a little more protein rich food than you are currently doing. (don’t forget your fish-oil) .

-As usual, stay away from junk food.

3- Lifting:
-1st and foremost, you need to create a LONG TERM goal towards fitness. It will change as you keep lifting over time, but you always should have one to keep your training and yourself focused.

-There a few things that need to be fixed about your exercises routine:
A- No more Lifting, HIIT, nor Cardio while STARVING! Eat a good amount of carbohydrates before each workout.
B- Since your starting to build muscle I suggest you stick to the Big Compound Movements for most of your workouts.
–Such as the Bench Press, Deadlift, Squat, Shoulder Press, Pullup/chin ups, seated cable rows. And their variations. I would also encourage you to learn the Olympic lifts, the Clean & Jerk and Snatch. (the big thing here, no machines, stick to free weights and cables)
–You can also do isolation exercises to bring up areas and/or muscle groups that you find weak.
–When it comes to reps and sets, don’t kill yourself over it, a simple 5X5 will do just fine. Check out this article:


Remember, after 4-6 weeks you want to change your program and your lifts a little bit. That is change the reps and sets, change the time of day you workout, or the order of exersices. That way your body keeps getting new stimulus to grow.

-Also, get enough rest.

-Ok I need you to clarify something for me, you said you do pull-ups but I can’t understand what your saying:
Here is your quote:
“”“I can do 8 pullups for 3 sets, and then I start at a weight where I can do 12 reps…if more I add a little until its either very hard to 12 or I have to stop around 10"”"
–Are you doing Lat pulldowns (where you sit and pull down the bar), or what???

Thats about all I can say for now, if you don’t know how to do some of the compound lifts correctly just ask. There are links to many articles and videos that people can point out to you.

my 2 cents

[quote]SARG wrote:

First off, don’t take the shots to heart, if you read around you’ll find that everyone gets some form of initiation. You posted a pic, expect to get honest answers/opinion.[/quote]

Yeah. In fact, you should be thankful that your pictures is in the beginner’s forum and that TC’s asked vets to be a bit nicer. If you’d posted in the physique photos thread, you’d be fried to a crisp by now.

My personal advice is to gain muscle first. Eat a clean diet, but eat enough and train hard enough to gain muscle until you’re about 15-20 lb heavier. After you’ve gotten the foundational habits to eating and training right down and gotten more reading under your skin, it’ll be lot easier to cut the weight, and you’ll have a better idea of how to go about it.

Step 1–get good habits
Step 2–master good habits to be second nature
Step 3–educate yourself with reading
Step 4–six pack. Easier with hardwired habits and proper training.

If you do decide to cut anyway, you make sure to blitz an all out war on fat (while NOT starving yourself silly) for 4-6 weeks, gradually up calories to let your metabolism recover from the drain for 2-3 weeks or so, and hit it again for 4 weeks of war. But I can say you probably aren’t going to be satisfied with the end product when you have so little muscle left.

[quote]NeoSpartan wrote:
-Ok I need you to clarify something for me, you said you do pull-ups but I can’t understand what your saying:
Here is your quote:
“”“I can do 8 pullups for 3 sets, and then I start at a weight where I can do 12 reps…if more I add a little until its either very hard to 12 or I have to stop around 10"”"
–Are you doing Lat pulldowns (where you sit and pull down the bar), or what???

No, I was talking about pullups – above that I was listing super-sets, in this case it was:

Pullups/some chest exercise such as cable crossovers:

Where I meant I do 8 pullups (or chinups), and then do 8-12 reps of the chest exercise…sorry, that was unclear. I don’t really do lat pulldowns – they don’t ever “feel like” a good workout, and when I could start doing pullups, I just prefered to try and work with those.

Thanks for the rest of the advice.

Another question about starting to get big. How much fat would I be putting on while I try to add like 20 pounds or something? Is it going to be enough that my face starts looking a lot fatter again? I’m already at around 19-20% as stated before.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
Yeah. In fact, you should be thankful that your pictures is in the beginner’s forum and that TC’s asked vets to be a bit nicer. If you’d posted in the physique photos thread, you’d be fried to a crisp by now.

As I’ve already said, I’m here for advice, not for a rating. I know how good I look, and how much better I could look. Isn’t it easier to give some advice when you’re looking at the person who its for? A picture gives a little more info than height+weight+body composition.

Anyway, that aside.

Everyone is talking about how the goal I’ve set is ridiculous, so I’m going to provide a justification with how I came up with it – you can tell me if that’s still ridiculous.

The guy I’m basing my goal on is John Stone. He’s also sort of why I was taking daily pictures – I’m not expecting to see a daily change, but when you try and dedicate yourself to something its great to be able to have something to remember it by, and to have something that you do that reminds you of your goal everyday. Anyway, John has his pictures here:


Do you guys agree that I look better than him on 1/6/2003? (I hope so). I’m probably a little bit between his progress on 2/6 and 3/6. I think he looks good between 6/6 and 7/6…a little bit thin but not the marathon runner look or anything.

So lets say that my goal was to look like John Stone (blond highlights aside) as he does on 6/6…

There are 5 months between now and October 1st, and 6 months between 1/6 and 6/6, so thats an ok comparison time-wise.

Let’s look at some numbers.

John Stone:
215 lbs
30 BFP

so he has 150.5 lbs of FFM and 64.5 of FM

160.2 lbs

so he got down to 147.4 lbs of FFM, and 12.8 lbs of FM. He lost a few pounds of muscle, which is consistent with the idea that you can’t really gain muscle while you lose fat.

Lets take a look at myself:
170 lbs today
19 BFP

so I have 137.7 lbs of FFM and 32.3 lbs of FM

say I drop to his same amount of fat, and lose 5 lbs of muscle by October 1st. I’d have

132.7 lbs of FFM and 12.8 lbs of FM for a total weight of 145.5 lbs → 8.8 BFP.

That is a little bit too light, eh? =)


As everyone has been saying I DO need to add on some muscle to start with.

So lets start setting some goals. I’ll continue to use John as a benchmark, since I don’t know where else to get a lot of other data on what people look like at a particular weight and body copmosition (does there exist any kind of database like this?)

I’ll work up to the same FFM that John Stone had at the beginning, and then some (5 pounds on top of that). That means I ought to get up to 155.5 lbs of FFM, which is 17.8 lbs more than I have :o

I’m guessing I won’t gain 18 pounds and then drop 20-30 in 6 months (October 1st was a date of note because of a bet =)…but guess I’ll have to go double or nothing for Oct/1/2008), but anyway…

What do you guys think is the time I’d take to get that big? To gain 20 pounds as someone who hasn’t tried to put on a lot of weight before – is that a 4 month thing?

I probably plan to continue lifting 4x a week – 2 days upper body, 2 days lower body&abs.

Here is what I ate today based on hearing everything about eating more. Usually I wouldn’t eat toast in the morning (following John Berardi’s 7 habits, I’ll just go with fruits and veggies, for most carbs). That’s what I’d consider my main “bad habit” if anything.

2 c milk 180/0/18/24
1 egg 80/5/6/0
1 c egg beaters 120/0/24/0
3 oz spinach 20/0/0/5
1 Tbsp olive oil 120/14/0/0
2 slices ww toast 180/1/8/32
2 Tbsp peanut butter 210/16/8/6
total 910/36/56/67

8 oz chicken (like 9 oz raw?), boiled 281/3.2/59/0
6 oz broccoli 58/.6/11.3/4.8
3 oz ff cheese 90/0/15/3
1 oz olives 66/5.7/0/3.8
total 495

2 c yogurt 220/0/22/32
3 slices turkey 180/3/33/3
5 oz pineapple 68/0/0/18
5 oz strawberries 47/.5/11/1
2 oz grapes 40/0/10/0
2 cucumbers 90/1/22/4
total 645

6:40 pm
5.5 oz salmon 245/14/30/1.5
10 boiled asparagus stalks 32/0/6.3/3
half an avocado 161/15/8.6/2
2 tomatos 22/0/5/1
total 460

9:30 pm
3 oz ff cheese 90/0/15/3
1 apple 72/0/19/0
1 orange 62/0/15/1
2 c milk 180/0/18/24
total 404


11:30 pm
2 c milk 180/0/18/24
3 scoops whey/soy/casein mix 225/3/40/4
1.5 c blueberries 100/0/25/0
total 505

12:50 am
1 oz almonds 164/14.4/6/5.6

grand total: 3583/96/357/315.6

My workout took a bit over an hour and I did

4 sets of squats @ 12 reps
95 lbs
105 lbs
115 lbs
125 lbs

Towards the later sets my back felt like it was bending a bit, so I guess I should stay towards 110 or so.

How can I increase the weights to where I’m only doing 8 reps? My form seems to just start to suck after some threshold, but I can do 12 reps before hitting that threshold.

My squats were supersetted with decline cross-situps (reaching elbow to opposite knee) at 20 reps, and I used a 5 lb weight on some of them.

Deadlifts, 4 sets of 12 reps
145 lbs
155 lbs
165 lbs
175 lbs

Supersetted with another ab exercise at 20 reps

Hack squats, 4 sets of 12 reps
90 lbs (I don’t count the weight of the machine, if thats standard or something…)
120 lbs
180 lbs
200 lbs
(apparently I didn’t know how much I really could do on this. 2nd time doing hack squats…)

One-legged cross-over deadlifts (I never heard of these but after asking some guy doing his legs today he recommended these). Too hard to balance, so I did 4 sets of 12 reps, with a 10 lb weight in hand.

What is another good hamstring exercise? I only really know deadlifts (and leg curls but I don’t like them much)

superset with leg raises 4x20

8 exercises – 2 quads, 2 hams, 4 abs. Is this fine? I will increase sets over time, but I’m used to doing 3.

So how’s this day sound boys?

(Now I sleep)


Wow. relax a little. plan to work, work your plan. when your plan ceases to work, change your plan.

Well, it seems like you are very ambitious, and that’s good.

I, by no means, consider my self an expert, but I will offer some general advise and raise a few questions.
You might want to (if you aren’t already) take some time and read the “Are You a Beginner II” thread and articles tagged in it. And why not start with one of those programs? I say this because it seems that you don’t have a lot of faith in your current program (example, “what should I do for hams?”).

If you follow something that has already been tested and proven you won’t have you wonder what excercises you should be doing. In regards to your current program, if you choose to continue that is, why the supersets.

Don’t get me wrong, supersets are great, but as most everyone here will tell you (and they’ve told me) put your focus on the basic compound lifts. If you’re doing squats and running back and for to a bench (or whatever) to do abs, are you really putting all you energy and focus on your squats? Probably not.

Not to mention, a lot of excerises require you to use your abs for stabilization so you may be working them more than you’d expect.

While it’s good to have someone to “compare” yourself to, you have to remember that you’re not ‘that guy’. Meaning, what worked for him may not work for you. Figure out what works for you. For exaple, you’ve planned out you diet down to the wire so far. Stick to it, if you’re not getting the results you want after a month or two, make some changes and keep going.

Hopefully by that time you’ll have read up and will have a good idea on what to change or tweak to get you back on track. Same thing for training programs, try one, stick to it, see what you get out of it.

It’s understandable, if you’ve never seen your abs, to want that 6 pack. It’s possible to do it by October–that’s a whopping 20 weeks away. It’s not so much that your goal is ridiculous, as that some of us were there in your shoes once and are basing advice off our personal experiences.

Also, some of us have been frustrated by daily pic taking. Once frustrated, it’s hard to get motivated again. You work yourself into a mental rut, not physical. The opposite is true as well–it’s easier to gut out a stubborn physical rut/plateau if you’re still highly motivated and determined.

Take pics maybe once every 2 weeks, a month, or every 2 months. Trust us. Also, weigh yourself only once a week, preferably after you get up on empty stomach/bowels. Your weight will fluctuate too much from day to day.

If you’ve been at a calorice deficit longer than say…8 weeks, I would relax the caloric restriction for a little bit and let your body’s metabolism recover. Take 1-2 weeks off dieting and eat to gain, clean foods only of course, but eat significantly more than you do now. I think if you are sitting at 19-20% bodyfat, I’d reverse my earlier advice. It was made on no sleep. Cut 5-6% more bf off, MAYBE get down to 12% (probably still won’t see a 6 pack), and start gaining muscle from there.

I think 20% bf is a bit too high to Start a bulk. If you’ve already been bulking, then it’s acceptable, but I don’t think I’d personally want to start bulking at 20%.

Once again, our advice comes from our experiences, so that’s all we’ve got. A lot of people here who did the 6 pack thing were disappointed with how small we were when it showed up. It’s your choice.

Ok I’m gonna out on a limb and revise my initial impression. You may have more heart than I originally gave you credit for and God knows you are probably bigger now than before I started training.

I mean these next few simple points in all seriousness if you really want to make some impressive changes to your physique.

1> Forget about John Stone. You have John Stone on the brain and quite frankly I didn’t even go to the page because it doesn’t make any difference what this guy did or didn’t do. Inspiration is one thing, but you have your frontal lobe glued to this guy,s image in your mind.

2> Forget about October. You may do “something” between now and then, but having yourself mentally hung up with that time frame is going to pull you in all kinds of directions and keep you from going forward.

3> Simplify your approach. From where you are if you put the effort you’ve invested in planning all this into a simple beginners training program until you build a personal foundation of knowledge of yourself you will get much further much faster.

4> Temporarily expunge the word ABS from your vocabulary. If you change your mindset and hence your goals to truly include all of you, the abs will come along for the ride. I don’t mean avoid direct ab work, but just that if you have yourself mentally preoccupied with your midsection neither it or anything else will be all that they can.

You are of course under no obligation to take anything I just said seriously and if you don’t I will not be offended. That was my attempt at being genuinely helpful.