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72 responses

  1. DangeRuss
    January 16, 2008

    So i went and worked out yesterday and as i always do now i used lower reps around 4-6 but i noticed that i still get “the pump”. I’m working out in a carb-depleted state, i at a pear and plum at 1030 then worked out at 430. I worked my biceps, triceps, and shoulders, then i used an excercise bike on the interval setting for 20 minutes. Is it bad if i’m feeling a pump during my workouts?

    Russ

  2. admin
    January 16, 2008

    DangeRuss,

    It really isn’t bad to get a bit of a pump. I still do as well…just don’t strive for it. When you diet strictly for a longer period of time you will notice less of a pump. I know my body is in its best fat burning state when I get less of a pump while working out. You can’t avoid it altogether.

    Hope that makes sense,

    Rusty

  3. Adrianne
    January 16, 2008

    Hey Rusty, thanks for or all the info. I have a quick question. I’m currently working on Tom Venuto’s program , so far its working for me , but my Im not loosing as much weight as I used to loose when I went on fad diets. So my question is, in his book Tom Venuto’s recommends weight training with cardio, Im ok with the cardio part but I really dont wanna bulk up with doing weight training. I only use light weights (no more that 5lbs) Do you think its a better idea? I really wanna loose body fat especially my belly which is why Im doing intense cardio with (Barrys Bootcamp) .

  4. admin
    January 17, 2008

    Adrianne,

    Tom’s book is great. Use that as a guide book, because his methods do work well. His focus is on long term weight loss, just like what I recommend. Avoid some of those fad diets. Tom doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves…his book is an exceptional value. You won’t go wrong in following his advice.

    Rusty

    PS: I advocate a different approach than Tom does…but both of our approaches work well.

  5. star777
    January 21, 2008

    Hey Rusty,
    Do you have recommended reading for girls on how to weight lift for toning?
    Thanks!

  6. admin
    January 22, 2008

    Star,

    You have a good point. My site is great for women when it comes to dieting and cardio…the nice thing is that is 80% of the battle. At some point I am going to team up with a successful female personal trainer who only specializes in training women.

    I am really picky, so I haven’t found this person yet. I’ll keep you posted!

    Rusty

  7. Brandon
    January 22, 2008

    hi, rusty I’m 18 years old im about 6’0 150-155 I am a skinny kid naturally, no one on both sides of my family is fat, so im an ectomorph i guess you could say. Ive read alot of your articles and im just taking things from each one to form what i think is a good routine but it could be completely wrong or at least im sure you could give some guidance to help me reach my goals faster. i’m trying to go for that Brad pitt Fight club look (who isn’t) or maybe andre birleanu (that dude from that Vh1 show) his body is tight check him out. i proly need to pack on some muscle, i look more like ed norton from fight club than brad pitt but see what you think of my routine.
    5:40am- cardio 20 mins
    6:10am-protein shake and clementine
    11:30am-chocolate milk, apple
    ( by the way im in a high school lunchroom during this time, not the best food choices ya know.)
    3:00pm-weight training + cardio
    5:00-9:00pm- big meal eat probably around 1500 calories during this time, try to keep it healthy but there is only so much a kid living with his parents can do. I also work at a burger place where I handle fryars so its hard not to take some fries every now and then.
    Im wondering if this is a good routine, i’m still a little confused with the weight training, the whole get stronger but no mass, im under the impression of working out in a calorie deficit with heavy weights and lift slowly without going to failure. is that right? or am I missing something? just looking for some suggestions to point me in the right direction to developing a totally kick-ass body, and I know you know how to get there. Holla back.

  8. admin
    January 23, 2008

    Brandon,

    You are going to need to take a bit of a different approach than I typically recommend on this site. You have an extremely high metabolism. You should drop the morning cardio, because you won’t need it…plus the rest will help you get better results from your training.

    Train for strength and performance. Do 5 sets of 5 when you lift, but really try to increase the weights. Even more emphasis on this than I normally recommend. Rest a decent amount in between sets, so you don’t compromise your ability to lift heavy.

    Do high intensity interval training 3 times per week. At this point in time you won’t need to do it daily. Only do it 5 times per week if you begin to look soft.

    Believe it or not, you are extremely lucky to be naturally skinny. Every bit of muscle you put on will stand out. Your diet doesn’t sound perfect, but who’s is? The great thing is that you have room to eat a little “looser” than most…for now anyway…that will change. So…get stronger and do really intense “sprinting interval” type cardio…it will get you the body you want!

    Rusty

  9. Susie
    January 23, 2008

    Hey Rusty. I have a question. I tend to gain weight from the waist down. When I lose weight so that my bottom half looks good my upper half looks to skinny. Should I do intense cardio and just work out with weights on my upper body? How often should I do cardio. I have about 10 pounds to lose. Thanks so much!
    Susie

  10. admin
    January 24, 2008

    Susie,

    You will be fine with 4-5 days of cardio per week. You are exactly right…I would stick to cardio and a bit of lifting for your upper body. Once you lose those 10 pounds, then you can decide if you want to do weights for the lower body…or more or less weights for the upper body. Right now, become a student of intense cardio!

    Cheers!

    Rusty

  11. Immy
    January 24, 2008

    hi rusty this is a great site. i just want to clarify one thing about the reps that i do when weight training. how much reps should i do to achieve muscle tone without bulking up too much and making my muscle look amazing. should i also increase weight so i can reach these reps.

  12. admin
    January 27, 2008

    Immy,

    Yeah…do less reps with more weight for tone. Do less overall volume. That will build muscle density instead of size, which is the key to permanent muscle tone.

    Rusty

  13. Benny
    March 12, 2008

    Hi Rusty. I am really confuse with repetitions and sets.
    After reading your articles, I came up with something.
    Is it true if you do more repetitions; example 10 reps; you will gain more mass size?
    My current workout style is :
    I used to do 4 sets of 12 reps with increase in weight on every set but I don’t enjoy it and also I reduced 10 pounds in 3 months. Funny instead of growing muscle I reduced my fat.
    Recently I change it. My new workout style is, I’ll start with 1 set of 6 reps with heavy weight to stimulate the muscle, continue with 3 sets of 10 reps with medium weight, and i’ll finish with 1 set of 15 reps with light weight. I find it fun this way and I enjoyed it at least.
    Can I continue with my current workout style or is it wrong? Should I change with you style doing no more than 6 reps each set?

    I am sorry for my complicated question and I really seek your advice.

    NB: I am 6’0 with 140 pounds, probably in the hard-gainers category. I really like your idea of working out on empty stomach, so you’ll burn more fat while working out. I really don’t want to bulk up like those bodybuilders, but I was intending a little increase in size especially shoulder, back and calves.
    Thank you.

  14. admin
    March 12, 2008

    Benny,

    Your set and rep plan sounds solid. The reason why you want to lift more reps for mass is that a high volume of lifting is what builds muscle. The reason why you don’t see bodybuilders doing a lot of low rep work, is that is what builds muscle density (permanent muscle tone), but it isn’t very effective at building size.

    If you want to gain size, lift the rep plan you outlined here and make sure you eat a quick digesting protein source with simple sugars after working out. I know this sounds wrong, but take non-fat milk and mix it with chocolate milk powder. This is the cheapest and extremely effective post workout drink ever. It tastes great too. One hour later eat a healthy well balanced meal. This post workout nutrition is what is going to add that little bit of mass you are after. Hope that helps.

    Once you get close to the size you want, begin backing down on reps. Do 5 sets of 5 reps for two different exercises for each body part until those muscles get really dense and toned. This is when you are going to want to focus on cardio quite a bit as well. Once you get toned and want to get ripped…lift less sets and reps, but go a bit heavier for 3-5 reps…this is when you want to push your limits on cardio.

    This plan will transform your body and you will look outstanding!

    Rusty

  15. Benny
    March 16, 2008

    So in order to build muscle density, I have to do 5 sets of 5 reps.
    Can I combine superset with your method, i.e. bench press of 5 reps of 100lbs, continue with 5 reps of 50lbs, 5 sets of these ?

    Here’s a common question, isn’t doing low reps with high weights will make the muscle size bigger? Cause I really don’t want a ‘boobs’ on my chest [like those bodybuilders], instead I want a flat thick pecs instead.

    I really appreciate your time and ideas.

    Thank You :)

  16. admin
    March 16, 2008

    Benny,

    The muscle will not increase in size when you do a low volume of heavy lifting and you stop short of failure. The superset you described in called a “drop set”. This is an effective way to build muscle. I wouldn’t do them once you gain the amount of muscle you desire.

    Rusty

  17. Matt H.
    March 17, 2008

    Rusty,

    Hey man got a quick question for you, So this morning when i was at the gym(before breakfast of course) I was looking around and I noticed these meatheads who were walking around like they’re always hugging a tree. And their backs looked like tortus shells. I’m being serious. How can you possibly be that cool or attractive when you remind people of nija turtles. Anyway back to the question; please tell me everything you know about how to NOT EVER get the “tortus shell back”??? Im concerned man. Cause I’ve been coming to this site everyday now for 2 months. And I’ve been dedicated as f#%k to cardio for the fist time in my life, I’ve lost a decent almont of noticable bodyfat and I dont want to ruin EVERYTHING.

    I’d really appreciate it man,
    Matt

  18. admin
    March 17, 2008

    Matt,

    That is hilarious. I know exactly how to avoid this look. The reason they have this look in the first place is that their front delts and pecs are WAY stronger than their back muscles. The muscles in the front of their body is winning the battle and it pulls everything forward.

    I have a simple strategy to avoid this. Train chest and back in the same workout. Make your very last exercise low cable rows. Go light and pull your shoulders back and push your rib cage forward to meet the bar or handles (I like the narrow grip parallel handles). Hold the cable handle in the flexed position while you try to really pull your shoulder blades together. This is the main reason that I suggest working your back after working your chest. You can avoid turtle back!

    Rusty

  19. Matt
    March 18, 2008

    Wait so your saying that when you have turtle back that it is caused by your chest and shoulders pulling everything forward and creating the bad posture or “turtle back”/”hunchback thingy”?
    And its less about being overly muscular and more about overdevelopment of the chest in shoulders that create the illusion of the turtle?

    matt

  20. admin
    March 19, 2008

    Matt,

    The turtle back is more about bad posture than it is about massive back muscles. Obviously staying slim helps a ton, but it is mainly about bad posture.

    Hope that helps,

    Rusty

  21. Bryan
    May 6, 2008

    Rusty, if i pyramid my sets 12, 10, 8 , 6 but continue to do cardio, basically not bulk up, but still break down the muscles, would that be ok? Or do you still recommend 5 and below rep wise?

  22. admin
    May 7, 2008

    Bryan,

    You can do pyramids if you aren’t concerned about gaining strength. I just did a post on this, because your question brought up a great point.

    Pyramid Sets Are Bad for Strength Gains

    Thanks for the “memory jogger”. Have a great one!

    Rusty

  23. Cenz
    June 2, 2008

    Hey Rusty,
    I was just checking out the picture you posted in your comments from 1/5/08. Obviously, the girls look good. But do you think any one of them is doing strength training? Or could do a set of pull ups? Most of the girls on the site don’t look terribly athletic. Do you view these girls as examples of the training you advocate, or more as inspiration?

  24. admin
    June 2, 2008

    Cenz,

    I think those girls look great. A tiny bit more athletic would be ideal, but I bet no woman would complain if they looked like these women…men wouldn’t either. The ultimate female body is probably the women on the cover of “Shape” magazine…at least that is my definition of ideal.

    Rusty

  25. Emad
    July 23, 2008

    hi Rusty,
    thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge with us.
    Im 6Ft and wieght 181Ib. my lower chest is soft and saggyand not hard. I tried high repetition work out but didnt work. althouigh i do alot of cadio (1 hour 3 tpo 4 times aweek after my high repetition work out)could you please advice me with a program where I get fit. I m not interseted in gaining more4 mass yet I iwant to nbe toned and ripped and have mucles as rocks. NEED HELPPPP PLEASE

  26. Sterling Brown
    May 11, 2009

    I’ve been working out three nights per week for 51 years, except for three months in 1972 paddling a canoe from Pittsburgh to New Orleans. For 15 years I owned gyms. I always encouraged trainees to be stong and fit, not huge. I saw lives ruined by steroids — both men and women. At 5′ 10.5″ I weigh 160 pounds and have the strength to do whatever I want. That’s what’s important: usable strength. Also flexibility and endurance. I split it into upper body and lower body: low sets, low speed, moderate weight. I expect to still be training thirty years from now. Cut the junk out of your diet, get into a sensible schedule, stop checking out your biceps in the mirror, and you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to floss. Investigate the lost art of reading great literature. A world exists outside of you. Your neighbor is lonely. Say hello.

  27. Montana
    August 10, 2009

    Im a very Narrow built woman waist and hips are nearly the same size Gentics i know…. but how do i slim down my upper body so i look some what proportion i build Muscle very easy on my upper body and have recently become Musculer and i HATE it how can i looose this Muscle……..

  28. Nathan H
    February 11, 2010

    Hey Rusty,

    Im 17 years old and im a tier 1 hockey player. I weigh 142 and im 5’5 so i for sure have size, not fat of course. Im playing juniors next year and im looking to get in peak shape, get stronger, and get defined and add a little muscle mass.

    Here are my main questions: Is it ok too do heavy lifting for about 2 or three weeks to get my mass i want, then go back to low reps to get defined and get my muscles dense?

    Two; I know i already have a six pack, i used to be able to see it very well. Will jump roping everyday for about 15-20 minutes and swimming 2-3 times a week be enough to bring my body fat down?

    I also read your article on how to get six pack abbs, i noticed that you dont beleive in the crunches, situps and machines. I have been noticing many people do not beleive in this conventional stuff anymore. **Would workouts on excercise balls be ok? I need to tone my lower abbs, i just never feel any workout when i do planks.

    Please respond back as i need advice from a trusted source. Thanks!

  29. Luvnish
    November 26, 2012

    Thanks for sharing this. I actually have been following your philosophy in my own way. I simply do free-weight work outs at home and a pretty good amount of cardio. That’s been working out fine for me so far.
    And yes, my body stays lean even when I can’t work out for a week. But overtime, I’ve turned into a workout junky; my body needs the regular workouts else I feel sluggish.

  30. Zee
    December 13, 2012

    Great article, don’t take everything for granted. The pump is a great feeling. Of course it all depends on your goal(s). It takes a lot of work and dedication and knowledge to be a big big body builder. Best of all, train so that you feel good and have confidence in yourself, that’s the best part. You feeling good and having confidence will make you achieve anything. If you feel good training to get bigger then do so, if you want too stay smaller and look good then do so. Don’t leave your core and legs out, those are the most neglected part, especially the legs. I been going to the gym since May of 2010, I gone from 220lbs to 165lbs and still counting as of today, im only 5-4 ft tall. I look great, sexier, hotter, whatever suits you, haha…get the idea. One last very very important matter, don’t hurt yourself with heavy weights, there is really no need to train with weights that you can only do 3-4 reps, its just not an effective workout; unless you competing, then forgot i mention it, Best of luck!

  31. Anonymous
    January 7, 2013

    Cleg Burris here. I read this article with great interest as the pump is the pinnacle of my session. Let no one tell you different. It is priceless and that’s just the way it is. I mean my pump last week keep my bike tire full all the way down to the store and back.

  32. Jay
    January 22, 2013

    I’m sorry but I do not agree with a lot of things you say. I am not a expert nor do I claim to be. The first thing I want to say is that women looking to get a good shape should absolutely do leg workouts especially squats.. simply google befote and after pictures to see the results.. also no crunches/ sit ups?!? Are you crazy? There is obviously a reason these exercises are staples. I personally do abs like this(with great results): one minute of correct sit ups, one minute of toe touches, one minute of bicycles, one minute of planks and then one minute of push ups.. 4 sets and call it a day. Sure not everything works for everyone but I bet my way works 100x better than yours:) anyways.. good day!

  33. Tristan Van Cleave
    March 21, 2013

    Rusty! I need your help so please answer this if you can! So, I try and follow your website advice because we share the same ideals about what is most attractive when it comes to fitness. Currently my goal for the last nine years has been to look like Bruce lee, and then after reading an arttical you posted that included a picture of Jared Letto I switched to him, but the idea is the same; lean, skinny, looks like a twig in cloths, looks amazing with his shirt off, although I need help! I have been working to get lean for the last three years, and since I had always been overweight as a child it’s been hard to master, (my fattest was 220lbs at 13 years old and I was 5’3 inches tall…so FAT!). Right now I’m 17 years old and I weight 160 and I have been lifting weights and doing cardio for the last 3 years, but since my body fat percentage is about 20% I don’t look anywhere close to how I want. I am a track and field runner for my high school, so since I am now injured, (training error cause my Achilles tendon to nearly tear) I can only do my workouts on the eliptical machine, arodyne bike, or walking at about 4 mhp at a 12% incline on a treadmill, and I just try and go for as long as I possibly can to avoid the resistance to build my legs. Well that was long winded but my question is this; since I know that my diet, (which I will get under control soon) is the only thing holding me back from getting lean, I want to know if that kind of activity is something I need to worry about as far as muscle gain goes because honestly I’m scared and stuck between a rock and a hard place because what I really want is just to get lean! But! I don’t want to gain anymore muscle at all. I also do upper body work mostly centered around pull ups, push-ups, dips, and various upper body dumbell exercises with the most weight I can and the lowest ammout of reps I can with the weights I own (a pair of 30 lb plate dumbells that I can evenly adjust between 30, 20, and 10 pounds), and another issue is that I’m not able to do cardio or weights in more than a few hours fasted state most days due to school. So, I guess what I’m asking is how do I prevent muscle gain in any part of my body (I’m as muscular as I want just not as lean) when I’m not able to run or lift weights in a more carb depleted state? Sorry if I’ve given you a puzzle here… I hope you can help. Also! I should point out that until this week I was doing the eliptical for 30 to 60 minuets a day 5 days a week and working out upper body twice a week by splitting chest shoulders and tris into one day and back and bieceps into another. Hope to hear from you soon! Yours truly Moody-Male-Teenage-Fitness-Geek.

  34. mrapollocreedjr
    April 24, 2013

    Dude! Sounds like you just hit a plateau & prolly gave up after awhile on mass. Either that or you’re just not the one for getting bigger. I’m sorry, but id rather be the lion in the room than the scrawny cut up guy. In a brawl who would you really give it too, rocky balboa or John Cena. And girls love the massful big guy look.they love muscles, you know the old cleche’ size doesn’t matter? Nah! Size matters not just with muscles either. I’m a combo of both I’m cut with some mass. Whenever I post pics on fb with the pump, the ladies go bananas! Now if you’re too big with no cuts, you’ll end up looking all big & sloppy like mark henry or that new guy big E Langston. I admit that looks stink. But back to me, when I take my shirt off, I’m the 8-pack predator! I know what you mean about the pump with an out of shape stomach, cause I see that often, I’m thinking whenever I see this like “bet you won’t take that shirt off. He gave off the appearance of overall muscles but deep down if a girl asks him to take the shirt off, they’d persistently refuse! Lol. Personally I got the apollo creed look at his best with the traps shoulders six pack back muscles etc. I love the roman reigns look & the rock look. Say what you want but if you walked in a store with rock, from the sound of it dude, you wouldn’t exist that day! Get bigger man fill out your shirts with the arms busting out the sleeves! Train hard stay focused & progress will attract to you! Live long & prosper. Law of attraction!

  35. Sir. Bob Geldoff
    November 5, 2013

    Totally agree with Jay. Don’t get me wrong, your phylosophy will absolutely get an average woman an averagely-good body, but not a spectacular one. For a guy to get a decent physique it requires hours upon hours of heavy lifing, but for a woman to get your standard “good body” they just need to not be fat, basically. Every time I hear a woman say, “Look at that woman! She has such a good body”, the person they’re pointing to is just slim. That’s it. As Jay said, compare that to women like Myria Livia Pedron and Valeria Orsini (her more recent pics since she’s been lifting). I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get that body, those legs, or that ass by NOT doing squats or deadlifts. Most women want a big curvy bum and shapely legs. They don’t want to be all skin and bone, but they also don’t want any wobbly fat or cellulite on them. So if they don’t want their legs and bums to be BONE or FAT, what else is left? Muscle. Ladies, if you want legs and a bum like the two women I mentioned, squat and deadlift HEAVY.

    And also ladies, don’t worry about “excess muscle mass”. A woman who’s not taking steriods or testosterone will NEVER get “bulky” even if they try. You’ll just look GOOD.

  36. Secretos para Ganar Musculo
    November 7, 2013

    Compound exercises are multi-joint exercises like
    bench press, squats and bent over rows. There are days you need to stay away from
    weights, on such days light cardio-pulmonary exercises are enough.
    The best meals are those that are composed of slow-to-burn
    food such as brown rice or oats.

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