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108 responses

  1. Meli
    June 10, 2009

    Hi Rusty.

    I have been reading through your site for the past few weeks, and it has given me a lot of great information thank you so much!
    I have also read through the comments because I was too shy to ask myself, and I was sure someone else would have the same sort of question, but I think it would just be easier to ask you directly.

    I am 19 years old, only 5 feet tall and I weigh 51 kilos. I am originally from Canada but currently living in Japan. Before I came to Japan I was 45 kilos and for the past two months I have been trying to return to my regular weight before I go back home. When I was in Canada I played soccer most of my life but quit at the age of 16. When I came to Japan in order to make friends I joined a volleyball team, we usually practice five times a week for at least two hours. For the past nine months that I have been playing volleyball, I definitely gained a lot of weight partly from the change of food and stress, but mainly my appetite became much larger as well. When I started my diet two months ago, I cut back a lot on carbs, and now my portion sizes are much smaller. My diet lately mainly consists of fruits, vegetables, some but not much dairy and little protein. When I started I quickly started loosing weight and with in a month I was 46 kilos and went from a body fat percent of 20% to 16%
    The problem is that didn’t last long I started regaining weight with in the following week, but my body fat percent still remained low. I decided to do more cadio to see if it would help but I ended up going back up to 50 kilos, my legs became larger and my stomach area returned to the same size as before I started my diet and I still cant fit into my old clothes properly. I would just like to know how I can return to the same size I was ten months ago. The work out that I am currently doing on top of volleyball is, I jog four times a week for 30 to 40 min, I work out my arms and back two times a week and my abs three times a week, I also walk everyday at least an hour and a half. Lately I have also not been sleeping very much, I have been getting a maximum of four hours of sleep a night, could this have something to do with it?

    Anyways I’m sorry for the lengthy explanation and I hope it makes sense.
    Even if you can’t answer my question I love your site, and it’s a great place to keep motivation.

    Thank you so much.
    Meli.

  2. Robert
    June 19, 2009

    Hi,
    I have been visiting this site for a few months now,
    my current training is going nowhere.
    So I thought about the training on this site, and to
    try for maximum fat loss and muscle maintenance.
    I was interested in Rob’s barbell circuit training.
    How many times per week do I do the barbell routine,
    or any full body circuit training for that matter?
    I like the idea of mixing cardio with weights.
    how should I attack this?? Thanks,Robert………..

  3. aleks
    June 22, 2009

    hey
    ive found your site through google when looking for ways to build mass because im a teen and wanted to get really big. Then on your your site it reminded me that a nice, lean athletic physique is much better. Anyway im 14 and a half and about 6 foot tall and weigh about 145 pounds and have this sort of physique and not much fat but would like to add some muscle and get more toned for summer here in australia which starts in december. so i was wondering if you have any suggerstions for how i should train to add a bit more muscle ideally around 10- 15 pounds (want the v taper look but not too etreme just like really nice and lean) while staying lean and getting leaner if that makes sense lol. also because ive played soccer for years my legs are a nice muscly size but not too big but id liek to tone them more . so how do u think i hsould do that?

    sorry for the really long comment and lots of question :)

    Thanks, Aleks

  4. G
    July 15, 2009

    I’m new to working out at the gym and want muscle tone instead of mass. I’m not really sure what a good workout routine should be and I got a little confused by the explanation above. Is there any step by step routine you would recommend to start off with? I currently weigh 189 (just found out), 5’7″, and want to shape up. Could you/would you recommend a basic workout routine and from there, I’m pretty sure I can mix it up to my heart’s content.

    thanks, and thank you for the explanation of muscle tone vs. muscle mass, a lot of people don’t know the difference.

  5. Julie
    July 30, 2009

    Rusty,

    I’m 5’4′ and weight about 136 pounds. I do cardio about 5 times a week, and do strength training 3 times a week, which I do on alternate days. But I’ve found a lot of conflicting information out there, so I thought I’d just ask you.

    I want to be slim and toned, so I’m doing HIIT

  6. Julie
    July 30, 2009

    Argh. I hit the submit button by accident.

    As I was saying, I do HIIT followed by half an hour or so on the treadmill. But when it comes to strength training, people tend to favour high reps and light weights for getting the slim and toned look. Obviously as a girl I don’t want to get bulky, and you mentioned to do heavy weight for low reps and not to achieve muscle fatigue.

    How heavy should I lift then? And should I go heavy weights and low reps? Assuming I achieve my ideal body, is HIIT followed by some medium level cardio enough to maintain muscle mass, or should I still do weight training 3 times a week?

    Thanks so much, Rusty!

  7. nathan
    September 15, 2009

    These are good articles, theres one thing im not clear on here though.

    You said that when muscles feel sore after working out you get mass, but what if your workout was just running around and sprinting and then touching the ground or jumping up now and then?

    (like good cardio stuff, gets you breathing heavily but also can leave legs feeling tired)

  8. Jimmy Page
    October 30, 2009

    Working out regularly and hard leaves me in a constant search for low fat sources of quality creatine and vitamin supplements. After having tried numerous powders and stacks, I finally decided to try the Dr Max Powers Anabolic Stack after doing research about the stack and its ingreidents.

    It seems to give me what I was looking for. I take it an hour before workouts and seem to recover much faster with no muscle soreness and more strength and energy the next day. Plus its made me huge. The research I did showed that the creatine included in the Dr Max Powers stack is the most efficient for body building. I recommend it.

  9. Christian
    November 12, 2009

    Great info in regards of work out routines to tone and in how it should be done, however, I have a bit of a problem understanding. I dislocate my shoulder awhile ago about 7mon. and just recently got back into the game in working out..I’m 5’7″ and Im skiptical in how much weight I can do or should I do when exercising, for example in each rep. should I keep a stable wieght or put a little more wieght on the next rep etc etc? for example 1st set of 15reps 10lb then 2nd set of 10reps 15lb? How should I work it out?

    What about the 100reps workout?

  10. Kimi
    December 2, 2009

    Hi there,

    I am very happy to have stumbled in your blog. It seems that women and split routines don’t go together in most of the internet articles. I hope you can help me with my qualms/inquiries about working out.

    I am a former varsity player in highschool and after I graduated college, I still wanted to keep my fitness level high and so I joined the gym last year. The thing is, fitness trainers are expensive here so it is only when you are lucky to have friendly trainers who really disclose information.

    I weigh about 116 pounds, 5’3” in height. I lost weight already after re-entering the gym last July 2009 since I started at 123. I used to do a full body workout with lots of cardio until I found myself not hitting a plateau. My body stayed the same and my weigh did not change and it was only when I had a trapezius strain did I lose 2 pounds or so (from 118 to 116). During my injury, I had no exercise for 2 weeks. Though my intake of food was regulated, I can’t say I was that disciplined.

    Now, the dilemma. When I was done healing my traps, I went to the gym and to everyone’s surprise, I look slimmer and smaller and well yes, I lost 2 pounds. When I look at my body, I definitely look better–skinnier. I just wonder why is it that I looked bigger when I was in the gym when in fact I was just 2 pounds heavier from now. Given that everyone seems to notice such, I am now really scared to hit the gym again since I might get “bigger” again.

    Since I was encountered a plateau before, I asked a few of my friends, ex-trainers and they said that if I want to get ripped, I should go for the split routine and then maintain a strict diet. I was afraid that I might get heavier (numbers and physically) but my friend said that my diet will be the key so I won’t get bigger. So he made me this split program:

    legs and shoulders
    chest and triceps
    back and biceps

    I don’t know how to call this since I am not familiar with the various split programs. I am still on my 2nd day and I’m still not sure how this would affect me. My fear is I’ll bulk up instead of getting skinny/ripped. I do a lot of cardio almost every gym trip, 30 mins before and after of interval training–walk, jog, run then incline.

    I was also told that I could use the circuit program and that for sure won’t make me look bulky but I am just not that attracted to the circuit program since I have to harbor a bench in the strength training area which is dominated by men.

    So now after the semi-novel that I just wrote, what is your opinion regarding my program. The aim is to get ripped in a womanly fashion. Cuts would be okay but not scary looking. i just want to look smaller.

    Hope you can help me regarding my problem.

    Thanks!

  11. Kimi
    December 2, 2009

    And oh additional info. I was told that I should find the weight that I can repeat 20 reps for 3 sets. Generally I am just carrying very light weights since I am still scared of damaging my traps. I use 4 lbs dumbbells and 15-20 pounds for the triceps cable/rope; 30-40 pounds for leg press/inner and outer thigh machine.

  12. Lunch
    December 10, 2009

    Is there any benefit to eat the same amout but 6 times a day instead of 3 or 4 times? Thanks

  13. John
    December 10, 2009

    Hey rusty, great blog. I used to always believe in doing 3-4 sets to failure to achieve great muscle tone, but your method completely makes sense. I also however want to gain 5-10 pounds of muscle + being very toned, so should i keep lifting high reps until i get bigger and then start the toning methods? Or can i gain muscle from doing the toning method? thanks

  14. Crista
    December 16, 2009

    This is awesome. I’ve been doing research for so long on how to lose muscle (or just not gain muscle mass) while still working on tone and being in bikini shape. it’s hard to find anyone willing to talk about the fact that you really can desire to lose muscle mass. I’m a woman, a professional aerialist, who gets comments on her “big muscles” all the time. I’ve been doing P90X for 8 months with admittedly wonderful, body changing results. however, being a mesomorph my arms back and shoulders have gotten quite bulky and my legs are bulky already. i want to keep my near six pack AND my Madonna toned arms but scale it down. everyone says to do high high reps low weights??

    Crista

  15. John
    December 28, 2009

    what excersices we must do to build chest like cristiano ronaldo?
    and how many reps and set?

    or it is from his genetic?

    sorry 4 my english..Thx

  16. patrick
    February 15, 2010

    i was wondering can i substitute regular leg work out with air alert and still lift for upper body?

  17. MR
    May 14, 2010

    Hi,

    I am so glad i came across your website. I have been looking for this information for such a long time. I have never been so confused as there is so many websites out there that concentrate of building muscles. I been wanting to tone my body.

    I hope you have time to answer my questions so i will post incase you do have some time.

    I have been very over weight all my life until 5 years ago. 5 years ago i lost 13 stone. I am now at 75KG althou i would like to be less than this. But please read for the reaons why.

    As you can imagine i lost allot of weight and done it in 9 months by natural exercise (walking on treadmill) and eating healthy.

    Problem was i had so much excess skin i had to have it removed.

    So far i had an abdominal plasty and chest lift. They cut and tightened the muscles as everything was stretched and could not be corrected through exercise.

    Currently althou i lost allot of weight and have had the excess skin removed from my stomach and chest lift i still find my skin to be loose if you get me, i really would like to get my skin tight all over my stomach and sides.

    I am currently awaiting to have the excess skin removed from thighs and buttocks, again there is loads of skin but i still want to tone my muscles for when it is removed. As i think i am going to get allot of loose skin on the thighs aswell once removed.

    Because i went below 10 stone as i had an eating disorder i had to go upto 75KG approx otherwise my surgeon would refuse to do the operation.

    My question to you is:

    I want to tone and tone only. I want to have nice abs but nothing major like a body builder. I am new to all this so your advice will be much appreciated. I have been trying to find these answers for the past 5 years but i got so confused with all the information i gave up. But reading this blog post it has given me the determination to start.

    1) Can you recommend what exercises i should do and how many sets/reps? are there any DVDs or equipement i should get that you recommend for toning?

    2) Do i eat like if i am on a weight loss diet or do i have to go on some sort of special diet?

    3) Is there anything that i should eat that may help in getting the abs i want (toning) ?

    4) What body fat % should i be aming at? i am 75KG at the moment, 22 years old.

    5) I have very thin arms and would like to tone them up. What do you recommend for this.

    6) How many times a week should i do the exercises and for how long?

    I have always been worried as because of all the excess skin that i would never get toned, but your website has given me the confidence and reassurance i need.

    Sorry for all the questions and i hope you can reply as i have been waiting to find a site like this for a very long time. Knowing this information i can finally get doing what i have been desperate to do for a long long time.

    Thanks
    MR

  18. vikas chaudhary
    June 12, 2010

    NONVEG IS COMPULSARY FOR FOOTBALL IF YES THEN TELL ME

  19. Serious mass
    July 18, 2010

    Muscle mass looks better than muscle tone
    Women like muscular body but not too bulky like Arnold Schwarzenegger and jay cutler , it fells good and confident to look like Jean Claud van damme or Sylvester Stallone they have muscle mass but not too bulky
    If you have muscle mass even if u are with a shirt it will look like a bodybuilder but a toned man just looks fit he has to take off his shirt to show his muscularity

    Muscle mass shows strength and power a person has I mean you look strong and you feel strong but not in toning

    I have blasting biceps, awsome chest that pierces my t shirt and cobra lats
    People see me they feel envy
    I don’t have 6 PAC but muscle mass
    But guys having 6 PAC abbs feel envy

    Anytime muscle mass is better than muscle tone.

  20. Naveen
    August 26, 2010

    Hi rusty,
    Im 6′ and weigh in at abt 190lbs with a BMI of about 27. Im currently working on my cardio by way of doing intervals. I do it all on a cross trainer (eplitical machine – hope I got that right). It’s like a stepper sort of thing which has handles for arm movment as well. And I keep my wieght training to a minimum (40 mins max) with abt 2-3 exercises per body part. Training split consists of chest & back on one day and arms+shoulders on the next. also i tend to do a bit of leg work cos i feel my body is slightly out of proportion. Is it possible for me to come out of this rut and get super lean or is it a pipe dream?

  21. Chris
    April 15, 2011

    hi,

    I’m 169 cms with 164 pounds weight. I just started out my workout going to a gym. I am in for the toned body look and the question i have in my mind is like – dont i need to have some muscles on my body to even start with the toning?
    I am not that bulked up with muscles right.
    So i go to the gym start up with some warming up, then hit the treadmill, go walking in it for about 2 minutes and then enter sprint mode and run for 3 minutes and again go to walk mode for 2 minutes and then sprint for 1 minute.
    Then i do some exercises on my hamstring..and my leg area followed by chest press, then legs again, then abs exercise followed by some chest exercises again. Then i’d move to biceps exercise and then do some pullups.
    This pretty much sums up my exercise routine every day – 5 a week.

    I am starting from the scratch nd have extra some fat over my stomach and my chest, which i’m hoping would burn out during my treadmill, chest and abs exercises.
    Am i doing something wrong here? I am thinking of building some muscles first and then tone it?

  22. Scott
    May 13, 2011

    I used to be a fan of buying my supplements at BodyBuilding.com. I have since found DPS.com. MUCH cheaper! No problem with bodybuilding.com. Just throwing another out there.

  23. Deepak
    May 22, 2011

    Hey Admin,,
    I am Skinny guy with a weight of 110 pounds which workout routine i should follow for gaining mass

  24. scott
    June 6, 2011

    for building muscle, 5 days a week is too much, 45 minutes per session on one set of muscles is the right amount, any longer and you are wasting your time as you won’t gain anything, also not giving your muscles time to recover will increase you muscle mass, but you damage you muscles too much and will then take longer to recover or worse damage a muscle too much causing it to fail and then you will be off of weight training for a long time and end up losing mass, but, not giving your muscles enough time to recover will also result in bigger muscles but no increase you strength.

  25. stacey
    July 18, 2011

    Hey there! I don’t see any leg workouts! I am currently 5’6, 134..I bicycle 15 miles 4 days a week minimum. I used to do 2 day full body workouts since I waitress as well and we’re very busy all 4 days I work/bike. I have amped it up to split days but have a very hard time getting definition in my legs, ha?strings specifically, and I want to get rid if bulk, fat or just size in general. I want sleek, defined, great legs! My previous weight was 165 and my goal is another 10#…14 maybe! Can you help?

  26. Jenny
    September 6, 2011

    My workout needed and overhaul. I decided I need to changing by creating a new workout lifestyle lift ing by adding weight training. This made all the difference in the world and has really been what has helped me lose weight. Obviously with that has come toned muscles too.

  27. Jon
    November 5, 2011

    This is a great site, I am ready to try out this workout to see if it really works! I did have a question rather, this workout focuses on toning muscle. Does it also build a good amount of muscle? My arms are very thin and I am afraid that only using this workout would not give it that muscular but defined look that I want. (aiming for ryan reynolds or brad pitt, or possibly just even ryan gosling) Do you think it would be a good idea to switch every 2 weeks or so between this workout and another workout that focuses on building muscle mass?

  28. Jasbir
    November 16, 2011

    Hi,

    I bought your e-book Visual impact for women, fantastic book, totally fits into what i was looking for for a long time as i was scared to workout with weights thinking that what if it will change my hour glass figure.. I really love your book, would encourage to make it a real book for life time collection of books.
    One question I have is sthough that most women say that when they drop down body fat, their bustline becomes smaller and then most fitness models end up getting implants. I want to get really fit and if i do intense cardio, wouldn’t it affect my chest size especially if they are already small size? Does it really happen like that? Can women retain their feminine curves if they do intense cardio and reduce fat levels?
    If i do shoulder exercise according to your instructions, it wouldn’t widen my shoulders right? I love my proportionate body and I do not want to change any dimensions but i want to get stronger and remove the jiggles that I have.
    Thanks
    Jasbir

  29. Melissa
    January 2, 2012

    Hello,

    I’m loving this blog! Happy I stumbled across it. I’m getting married in 6 months and I’m looking to tone up and lose about 15 pounds. I am 5’6″ and 140 pounds. Working out has always been a part of my life but it seems to in spurts. I’ll work out for a couple of months and then get lazy and/or burnt out and quit for awhile. Can you recommend a good workout routine for me to slim down and tone-up for recognizable changes within 6 months? I know eating well is a huge part of it which I’ve been doing pretty well at. I’m not interested in bulking up at all…just seeking toned arms, legs, stomach and overall better physique. Help! Thank you so much.

  30. steven
    January 4, 2012

    Hi Rusty. Just saw this forum upon researching muscle tone vs muscle mass, and i do have a little concerns which I hope you can help me with.

    The story is, i used to be a very thin guy who was 177cm and only about 56 kgs. About two years ago i decided to take up muscle training and have been at it ever since. I got a trainer about half a year ago who i see once every week. With him, I have put on more mass than I did on my own, and now im at a 68 kg range, packing a lot of mass on my upper torso and some on my quads.

    However, now i have come to realize that some parts of my body is too big, espcially the arms which is out of whack with the torso. So I am wondering if it is possible to reduce the size of them without necessairily stopping training or losing A LOT of my hard-gained mass.

    Just to give you more information, The exercise I did with my trainer was usually spilt into 3 days a week: chest/back, legs/abs and arms/shoulders. About a month ago we did a low rep high intensity strength training for a couple of weeks and then rebounded to a mass gaining program.

    I have not raised the issue with my trainer and would like to hear your thoughts on it. He did once mention that i may need to get on the treadmills for a week to lean up a bit…but do you think this is would be sufficient? Also, i always drink a protein after workout, but if i were to bulk down/muscle tone as you have described…is protein shakes still necessary??

    sorry for the looooong message, and i hope you can help! thanks so much!

    steve

  31. Cary
    January 4, 2012

    Dear Rusty,

    I just reviewed your actual workout (Day 1: back and chest; Day 2: shoulders, biceps and triceps), and I was wondering about whether you incorporated circuit training too, or if you rested between each set?

    I am into circuit training right now to keep my heart rate up. Would your workout routine work just by alternating each set (e.g. Day 1: One set of Incline Barbell Press, then one set of chinups, and so forth, then one set of Incline Dumbbell Press and one set of Lat Pulldowns, and so forth)? Your thoughts?

    Thanks,
    Cary

  32. Alex
    January 8, 2012

    Hey, Love the site your articles are great. Would you say the type of physique you recommend would be similar to Joe Manganiello off of the show true blood. He has a great athletic lean physique, I was wondering if you would ever consider doing an article about achieving this type of physique and maybe post it in the celebrity section. Just a thought anyways great site!

  33. Heather
    January 16, 2012

    I think this is the worst information I have ever read!!! I can’t believe it was ever published. Of course, I am reading it almost 5 years after it was published, so maybe this was the “correct” information back then…
    Who knows…but honestly, I teach a muscle toning/muscle endurance class and he whole class is based on high reps, low weight, go to failure. And we see fantastic results. Maybe because we use LOW weight (ie, 2.5/5 lb dumbbells)? That should be clarified in the article. Anyway, just needed to interject my thoughts here….I do exactly what you say NOT to do and I am in the best shape of my life…very tone, very defined and loving every minute of it.

  34. Michael
    February 10, 2012

    hi! i’m in a really dilemma! i’m seeking like a “model” body, not a schwarzenegger’s body of course and my body is like divided in two, my arms, shoulders and back are more define than the abs and legs, but still a lil skinny do i need to make some gain mass workouts for these sections (arms,chest,back and shoulders, and a tone muscle workout for abs and legs? i used to do an abs workout of 12 sets of 60 reps but i hardly define the upper muscles of the abb and no mass gained, i guees i gain resistance, now i do sets of 5 of 12 reps with 90 secs of resting…but now i don’t feel i’m working them is that ok or what do you suggest? that’s my dilemma gain mass or tone muscle :S and how D:

  35. Alex
    May 12, 2012

    Hi Rusty!

    I bought your Visual Impact for Women and have been following it since January. I’m doing a Euro-trip this summer so I’ve also been doing your 12 week cardio program to get fit for that. I believe it’s working great so far, but I have a few questions about eating…

    1) I’ve been aiming for no eating 3-4 hours pre workout and 1 hour post workout. In this post you indicate that it’s optimal to try for 2-3 hours post workout, which I’ve been close to doing anyway. Since 7-9 hours seems like a long time to go without eating, I’m worried/wondering when the optimal times to eat would be as I’m noticing the results on my body but feeling a little worn down lately.

    2) I’ve been doing 5 reps of low-ish weights for 4-5 sets before cardio time. I just want to double check that this is the best way to go about weights (I started your program having the last 5-10lbs to loose but trying not to build muscle as I bulk up VERY easily, esp. lower body)

    Your books/blog posts/comments have been such a breath of fresh air for me! I love your approach to working out as I had been sick and tired of working out just to have my legs get *bigger* >.< Thank You!!!

  36. Josh
    August 25, 2012

    GET A 6 / SIX PACK FAST ! Home Abs Workout (Build Muscle Burn Fat)
    I wanted to really test this device (HealthmateForever muscle stimulator) and see if its claims were true. Needless to say, after about 1 1/2 months of using mode 5 for 20-30 minutes a day at level of 5 or six on both the upper and lower regions of my abdominal muscles, i found noticeable improvement in muscle mass.

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