Aaron Savvy, ACSM Certified Trainer
I'm a 26-year-old guy, 6' 1" between 180-190 lbs, 19 percent body fat and my job keeps me from working out every day. I try to work out every other day, but sometimes it’s only once per week. I'm not very toned and am looking to get more toned but not add bulk. What can I do to maximize my workouts when I do have time to squeeze them in?
—Elijah, Santa Monica
I feel you. I train clients all day in the gym, and even I have to squeeze in my workouts. It’s tough, because a lot of us work long days and yet we fall short on obtaining our fitness goals. Unfortunately, our body does not wait for us. It will form and mold to how we live our lifestyle. There has to be a frequent pattern in working out and eating right for the body to grasp and understand the direction we want it to go in. A minimum of three hours per week is advised for any sort of effect to happen. When you’re at the gym, I want you to stay in the 10-12 rep range. This will allow you to stay in complete control of each rep, and it will help tone and build definition for you. See that you finish your exercise with cardio. Remember, your body is the most important investment you can ever make. It is a machine, and it’s what takes you from day to day—to work, to provide and survive. Treat your body right. If your body breaks down, how will you then put in those long days at work?
I'm Asian, and I have found that it is very difficult for me to gain and/or maintain muscle mass at the gym. What would you recommend for someone like me? What kind of resources do you think would be helpful for me to read? Thanks very much.
The rule of thumb for taking in protein is one gram of protein per pound of body weight. If your goal is to weigh 180 pounds, then you would consume and break that up into 180 grams a day. Supplements are going to be important. I would get on a BCAA (branch-chain amino acid), multi-vitamin, EFA (essential fatty acid), an enzyme, weight gainer in a protein powder form and even a nitric-oxide. I would see that each of my reps is in the four to six rep range. After three months, I would increase my protein intake to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Remember, your nutrition is going to be most important. Your body will only build and react to what you put into it.
I have a question about fitness. I haven't really been doing any of it, honestly, and I'm really keen to start, because let's face it—being 18, you want to bulk up. I really want to get some definition on my body because right now I'm a little lackluster. I don't have much money for buying equipment or gym cards, and I really don't know where to start. Help!
—Kneil. North Hollywood
Let’s put the focus on finding a way for you to get started. I would look into getting a membership at your local YMCA. The YMCA is typically low on monthly costs. If that’s not an option, you can go “old-school style.” You can run outside for cardio and perform push-ups in your bedroom. For a few bucks, you can purchase a pull-up bar at Target that you can stick on your bedroom door. You’ll be able to target both your back and your chest. You could target your legs by performing wall squats. Standing, simply place your back flat up against a wall. As you inhale, you are going to slide your back down the wall until you reach a sitting position. Return to where you started by exhaling. Perform four sets of 12-18 reps. I hope a few of these tips will hold you over until you’re able to get into a gym. Best of luck to you!