‘The Coach in association with Improve You Workout is here to help and provide expert advice on everything from training plans to nutrition and supplementation.’
In second place this month, we have Ben Moss…
Every time I look up information on the best exercise regimes I get conflicting information.
I am 33 years old and have an ectomorph body type. I’ve been lifting for around 3 years now but haven’t made any significant gains.
My aim is to gain some size and definition but also to burn off some fat around my stomach. But this is where the conflicting info comes in.
I need to eat a lot to build up muscle, but then that leads to an increase in fat. I eat really clean but that means the number of calories I take in is reduced.
Then there’s the training. Some sites tell you to lift heavy 10-12 reps, but a gym instructor told me I should be hitting 8 reps max to build muscle.
Then there’s cardio…Some workout plans say you should keep it to a minimum, others say do HIIT, some say do it at the end of every work out.
I know workouts need to be tailored to an individual, but there’s so much conflicting info it’s hard to know where to start.
Thanks for your help
The Coach response
You’re correct. There is a lot of information out there and it can be very confusing. Everyone responds differently to training, with some experiencing great results from short, HIIT training, others like myself, respond best to ‘overload’ training, with workouts taking over 90 minutes.
The fact that you have been training for 3 years without any significant gains leads me to believe your problem most likely lies with your nutrition. As you say you’re an ectomorph, which means your natural metabolism is quite high, so you will need to increase your calorific intake. I know you have said you are worried about adding body fat, but with your fast metabolism, if you make sure you eat clean sources of food, adding body fat should not be an issue. You have to have an increase in calories to add any muscle. If not, you will not see any progress.
I’d recommend consuming an additional 500 calories to your diet each day for a 2 week period. So if you are currently eating 2,500, consume 3,000 a day for 2 weeks. See how your body responds to this to start with. Then boost this to 3,500 for another 2 weeks. Keep up this until you are around 4,000 calories a day.
This may sound like a lot, but your muscle growth occurs outside of the gym whilst you are resting and eating for muscle recovery. If you make sure these calories come from lean meats, Impact Whey Protein, Casein Protein, eggs, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc. and you remain consistent with your nutrition, without much junk food, you should notice an increase in muscle size as well as reduced body fat.
With your resistance training and for your body type, I’d agree with your gym instructor and aim for 6 – 8 reps for the majority of exercises, but that doesn’t mean it has to be so rigid. Change things up from time to time. Why not perform say 3 sets of bench for 6 – 8 reps and then on your final set, and in a drop set, where you reduce the weight by 50% and perform another 12 reps straight away. This is a great way to force a huge amount of blood into the muscle tissue.
I’d recommend HIIT cardio after your weight training. You won’t need to do too much due to your metabolism, but every other day, add in 20 – 25 minutes of cardio using a spin bike or X-trainer.
As you’ve been training for over 3 years, I’d recommend adding Creatine Monohydrate, BCAA’s and Glutamine into your pre and post workout shakes to help with muscle hypertrophy and recovery.
Hope this helps
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