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Increase Muscles for Cardio Guy

anonymous12345

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37 years old, 170 cm tall, weight 65.7 kg. I got an athletic build, abs contours but I wouldn’t say ripped, though it was close before Christmas.

I generally run 20-30 km per week, and have two gym sessions doing strength. I want to increase my upper body muscle mass. I dead lift 100 kg 8x3 reps, but typically I do 90 kg 8x4 reps. 50x2 push ups. Other than that I do free weights for arms, I’m probably a bit unstructured. Had to stop squatting after an injury with free weights last summer, have kind of healed now.

I have been doing the same regime for many years, but haven’t seen any improvement. My theory is I eat too little, and lift too comfortably. I get tired by my grind/life, so don’t have energy for lifting hard, it’s more of a wind-down for me. Don’t know what to do about that. I work out for mental well being (it works) and I can reduce cardio if that would be advantageous for muscle gain. I have been doing a lot of cardio in my life, social dancing. For this semester I again got access to a decent cantina, I currently eat a lot of vegetables and some meat because “I think it’s good.”

So, the question is, what to do? I think I value being lean/athletic more than looking “strong”, so am a bit concerned about becoming fat if I have to eat a lot. Those that have a lot of muscles tends to have fat too. I want to remain looking lean/ripped, but gain muscles. Some succeed at this, but perhaps it’s rare.

One problem with fitness is the buttload of info out there. Sites, social media, regular media, forums (hello) and the guys at the gym that always have advice (hello again). I don’t know how to navigate this.

I don’t look for the latest fad or whatever, I want something solid, proven that most likely works and I don’t care if it’s dead boring and traditional.

I wonder:
  1. Who should I listen to? What source should I trust?
  2. How to push myself (more) in lifting despite being mentally tired? Running 10 km is no problem, it's great relaxation.
  3. What shall I eat and how much?
  4. How shall I approach how I should exercise? What exercises, how should I progress? If there’s some app or particular website/book I’ll appreciate tip.
  5. Should I reduce cardio?
  6. How do I gain muscles without getting a belly etc.?
 

DonJuanjr

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If you think you're lifting too comfortably, then you definitely are. A good outline for getting stronger, and developing a solid base is to do low rep, for 3-5 sets. Example if you can bench 150 lbs 5 times, then stick at that weight until you can do it 6 times for 3-5 sets. Once you can bench it 6 times(proper form), move up 5- 10 lbs. If you increase to 160 and can only do the first set 4 times, then 3 on the second set, drop the weight to 155. If you can do 155 4 times across all sets, then stick to that weight until you get to six reps on all sets. Then increase again.
 

BackInTheGame78

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You are going to have a lot of issues trying to build muscle while running that much. The two things are diametrically opposed in relation to the type of hormones they release. Distance running is catabolic which breaks down muscle tissue. Lifting is anabolic, which builds muscle tissue. At best they might cancel each other out. Still better if you lift tho because otherwise you will just lose muscle mass every year according to a huge meta study done by Stanford University of distance runners they tracked for 8 years, where every single person lost muscle and gained body fat percentage year over year.
 

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DonJuanjr

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Still better if you lift tho because otherwise you will just lose muscle mass every year according to a huge meta study done by Stanford University of distance runners they tracked for 8 years, where every single person lost muscle and gained body fat percentage year over year.
They're basically running themselves into skinny-fatdom.
 

EyeBRollin

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Do stronglifts 5x5.

Though honestly my experience has been the 3X5 rep scheme from Starting Strength is even better. Once you plateau, switch to 3x3.

Strength training wit low reps builds dense, aesthetic muscle.
 

B80

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Do stronglifts 5x5.

Though honestly my experience has been the 3X5 rep scheme from Starting Strength is even better. Once you plateau, switch to 3x3.

Strength training wit low reps builds dense, aesthetic muscle.
I know some speak highly of these routines, in fact I did Madcow 5x5 years ago. Personally I don't recommend them, higher chance of injury, heavier on cns and peoples form tends to drift from mind/muscle connection to just shifting the weight through any means. Become too fixated on numbers is what I've noticed. End up taking longer rest periods.

I prefer 6-8/9 range now, 1-2 mins rest max. Can still generate intensity and my results plus a lot of the data (not just from roid users) indicates more conducive to aesthetics compared to the low rep routines.

Results mainly governed by diet, consistency and intensity.
 

EyeBRollin

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I prefer 6-8/9 range now, 1-2 mins rest max. Can still generate intensity and my results plus a lot of the data (not just from roid users) indicates more conducive to aesthetics compared to the low rep routines.
In my opinion, low rep schemes are much better for aesthetics. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is useless. There is no reason to have the size without the corresponding strength. Chicks don’t like large body builder physiques anyway.
 

B80

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In my opinion, low rep schemes are much better for aesthetics. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is useless. There is no reason to have the size without the corresponding strength. Chicks don’t like large body builder physiques anyway.
Yeah I guess its subjective. My thoughts are as mentioned above. Most competion body builders rarely use that scheme. They may do some lower reps for things like deadlifts. Why aren;t they adopting 3 rep routines en masse if its optimum for aesthetics?

And you can still lift relative heavy weight in those ranges. I'm not talking about 3 seconds up/down chest presses with 20kg dumbells for 8 reps.

If you#re inclining pressing 40kg DB#s for 8 reps, deadlifting 130kg for 8 reps , 8 clean pullups with 20kg hanging off of you (proper clean reps with full range) you're pretty damn strong anyway compared 99% of the public. There seems to be this idea that people not doing low rep, powerlifter style reps/numbers are 'weak' or your muscle isn't 'functional'. You can still be strong if pushing your limits in mid rep ranges, its just a different range. Most guys have trouble pressing 20kg when starting for a few reps or squatting 40kg or can't get near completeling a pull-up for nonths, even years.
 
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EyeBRollin

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Yeah I guess its subjective. My thoughts are as mentioned above. Most competion body builders rarely use that scheme. They may do some lower reps for things like deadlifts. Why aren;t they adopting 3 rep routines en masse if its optimum for aesthetics?
Competition body builders are all drug cheats. The only people who find their physique desirable are other men (usually gay men).

You still get good size on low reps. But the size is only optimal enough to push the desired weight. There is no wasted muscle mass.

Also from a pure health standpoint, being bulky is terrible for longevity.
 

B80

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Competition body builders are all drug cheats. The only people who find their physique desirable are other men (usually gay men).

You still get good size on low reps. But the size is only optimal enough to push the desired weight. There is no wasted muscle mass.

Also from a pure health standpoint, being bulky is terrible for longevity.

Well my brother competes and he is most definitely natural. I'm not just talking about Mr Olympia type levels, I'm referring to amateurs too. Yes some people in natural shows do take roids, but there are many that dont go down that route too.

Not sure what you mean by being bulky, if your natural you won;t be 'bulky' at all most of the time. That comes down to diet most of the time, rather than rep range. I'm most defintely not 'bulky' at all, running between 6-10% BF% most of the year. Regular cv after most weights session too, so not concerned about health/longevity. Like I mentioned, low rep stuff can be bad for your joints, in terms of longevity. My own, albeit anecdotal, experience of guys doing low reps is they tend to be more bulky/overweight and lacking cardio fitness as they aren#'t generating any intensity (apart from strength side) during set and take longer rest periods to keep hitting the bigger numbers, plus make up excuses not to do any cv. Not saying thats you, but thats from my experience around gyms for 20 odd years.

Visit pretty much any lifting forum and you won;t find many at all advocating 3-5 reps if your main purpose is looking good. Yeah theres a lot of bro science, but also plenty of smart guys whose lives have revolved around lifting for decades too.
 
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