I’ve had some great questions from friends and I figured I would post their questions (and my answers) on here just in case any of you run into similar questions. I will continue to update this page, so check back and send me any questions you may have and I’ll do my best to answer 🙂
Q- How long should I be working out.. what is too long? I can only do 4 days so I find myself in there longer because I feel guilty for taking 3 days off.
A- 4 days per week is absolutely enough days to get a fair amount of lifting and cardio in as long as you are planning your workouts well and making sure to hit your target muscle groups each week. I have a great workout plan that I have loved and hits all of the groups really well. It is called a push/pull/leg workout split. Basically you will rotate through three different lifts each week, and since there are 3 total lifts, you will do one of them twice since you are lifting 4 days a week. You will always go in order (ex. push, pull, leg, push, pull, leg, etc.) so you will end up lifting a different group twice each week.
“Push” days involve the pushing motion. So these days you will lift shoulders, triceps, and chest. Try for 3 lifts of each muscle group, 9 lifts total. Do a warm-up set of each lift before starting the lift and then do 3 sets of each lift, aiming for 8-10 reps, with the 10th rep being very hard to do. (form is EVERYTHING, so when you feel extremely fatigued, do not feel bad stopping rather than doing the last rep with bad form.)
“Pull” days involve the pulling motion. So these days you will lift back and biceps. Same thing goes for these, but you can do 4 back exercises and 3 bicep exercises if you would like to, since the back covers so much mass on your body. I love back days and I posted a great back workout here for reference.
“Leg” days are exactly that. You can go a million different directions with legs, but here is a great leg workout that I enjoy.
You can add abs/calves in there on the days that you do not feel too fatigued to add those at the end. Or mix in a few abdominal workouts in between sets of upper body exercises if you are pushed for time. That way, your upper body can still have a rest period between sets, and you can kill two birds with one stone.
You will notice with these lifts that your lift will only take about 45 minutes (leg day might be a little longer) and then you can perform 20-30 minutes of HIIT cardio (I will explain that below under cardio question) afterwards, making your workout about 70 minutes long total. (I strive for my workouts to stay right around 1 hour, and almost always under 90 minutes. Anything over that can be over-training and I end up feeling like I am hurting my body more than helping. Really give the lifting portion your all and make the most of your lifts.
Q- Do I eat enough? I read your post and I really had to count my calories, I think i do, approx 15-1700 calories a day, I’m definitely not looking to lose weight.. WHATSOEVER I am comfortable where I am and I just want to focus on tightening.
A- The best thing I can tell you is that MUSCLE DOES NOT GROW OUT OF THIN AIR. I have said it once and I will say it over and over and over, and I STILL have to remind myself the same thing. Often times we think of “toning” up as cutting calories and starving ourselves. All that will do is eat away at our muscle and leave us with the stubborn fat that we want to get rid of. If you want MORE muscle, you need to eat MORE food. The best thing about this is that as you begin to build more muscle, you will burn more calories just while sitting around doing nothing, because muscle burns more than fat. If you are watching how your body is reacting to increasing your calories (this means with protein AND carbs), you should be able to find a happy balance where you are increasing your lean muscle mass while burning excess fat. A really great way to burn that stubborn fat is through the HIIT cardio I will explain under your next question.
*Also, just as a rule of thumb, try to get your body weight in grams of protein per day. (Or somewhere between 100-130 g). This might sound absolutely crazy, but it WILL make a difference. I try to get around 130 grams of protein per day, as I have been lifting hard and trying to gain more lean muscle mass.
Q- How much cardio do I need… do I do cardio first or after lifting?
A- Cardio is tricky, and everyone reacts differently. If you decide to follow the lifting plan I listed above, try for HIIT cardio any of the time you are lifting upper body, and perform the HIIT cardio AFTER YOUR LIFT. (if you are rotating correctly, this should mean you are doing it 3 days/week, except the weeks where you hit legs 2x)
HIIT (or high intensity interval training) is short bursts of high intensity followed by a longer period of lower intensity to allow your body to recover in between. This can be done on all forms of cardio machines. Here are a few examples of my favorites:
Elliptical– 2 minutes at level 8 followed by 1 minute at level 16
(2 min-level 8, 1 min-level 16, 2 min-level 8, 1 min- level 16, etc etc etc) for 20-30 minutes
Treadmill– 2 minutes at a light jog followed by 45 seconds sprint (rotate same as above)
Stairs– same, 2 min slower followed by 1 min fast
**Make sure on the “high intensity” part you aren’t cheating yourself. GO ALL OUT and push through the 45 seconds-1 min, then allow your heart rate to drop and your body to recover a little on the lower intensity portions in between.
Don’t do cardio on the leg days, rather work really hard on leg day and exert all of your energy on your lifting and training that day. You can still add some cardio on those days by doing jumping jacks, jump squats, alternating jump lunges, etc. in order to spike your heart rate in between sets.
Q- I am addicted to my coffee with cream sugar in the morning… is there any other energy booster beverage i with maybe less calories that I should be drinking instead? I need my morning energy!!
A- Funny you ask about coffee! I drink coffee like a crazy person. At least twice a day! I started logging the amount of creamer I was using and if you only use the 2 tablespoons that the serving contains, it barely has any flavor, so you usually end up adding WAY more creamer and a “morning of coffee” can add up to 300 calories!!!! That’s practically a whole meal!!!!
I came to the conclusion that I like FOOD way more than CREAMER so I started drinking my coffee black with a splenda or stevia packet. It took a while to get used to and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was an acquired taste but I now CRAVE black coffee. Buy some splenda or stevia packets to keep at work (I even like to just use those small packets at home because if I buy the big thing of stevia I end up pouring way too much in)
You can even buy flavored coffee for a little extra flavor, but I now just love plain black coffee with a little sweetener and I am able to save so many calories. It only takes a couple weeks to make a habit so try it out and see if it grows on you
Otherwise, green tea is good but doesn’t have very much caffeine and even english breakfast teas or some of the black teas have more caffeine, but I don’t notice a difference or the “morning buzz” the way I do with coffee.
Hope this helps 🙂 Questions? Comments? Send them my way!
Q- Hi Pretty lady! So I am just getting back into working out since I had surgery (7 weeks ago.) I have been working out with Tanner and he is following one of the bodybuilding.com workouts, the one for Flex Lewis. Anyways, I have been doing the same, just lighter weights. My calluses have gone completely away since surgery so between yesterday and today my hands are pretty sore. Do you like straps or gloves or just wait for the calluses to reappear? Also, I am unsure if I should doing more or less weight for the exercises? I am lifting what I feel like is pretty dang heavy and am doing so to failure at 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. So today, following the bb plan, was back and biceps. I did 90lbs on lat pull downs 3 sets of 8, 65lbs on cable rows 3 sets of 10, a 25lb weight on the bar for T-Bar Rows 3 sets of 10, just the bar for rack pulls 3 sets of 12, and 30lb straight bar for curls 4 sets of 10, and as the last exercise 10lb dumbbell curls at 4 sets of 10. I would love to hear your opinions and thoughts! 🙂
A- Hi girl! GOOD FOR YOU for gettin’ back at it and working so hard!!!! I don’t wear gloves and my hands are definitely proof of that. I have crazy calluses but they rarely hurt when I am lifting now, so that’s a plus. Sometimes I will use grips when I am doing deadlifts with a squat bar or lat pulldowns with a bar that is hard on my hands.
You’re totally right in lifting heavy! I wish that more girls would realize that lifting heavy = a toned and sexy body and that you won’t turn into the hulk! I WISH it was as easy to build muscle as so many girls think it is!!!! I am trying to make gains right now so I am lifting SUPER heavy, as well. I am constantly trying to increase my weight and lift heavier and I work out with a good friend here so he is able to spot me which is a HUGE benefit. If you are lifting with Tanner, use that to your advantage and allow him to spot you so you can really push yourself.
It looks like you are working in a great rep range…the reps and weight really depend on your goals and what you are trying to do. I am always trying to push myself and get stronger, but I also switch between strength and endurance. So some days I will lift a little bit higher rep range and other days I will lift in the 5-7 rep range and lift REALLY heavy. This helps keep my body guessing and makes it so I don’t get bored.
Another great plan on bb.com that might work a little bit better for you would be the LiveFit plan by Jamie Eason, but I totally get if you want to do the same plan as Tanner so you can keep your lifts correlating. You could even just use LiveFit to look at different rep and weight ranges to switch it up.
Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!!!!