Let's talk gym!

I thought I'd open a new separate thread to discuss Gym, weights etc.  Since it's closely related to sprinting, endurance running as well as running form and technique (having a strong core, etc) I thought I'd post it right here in the beginners section. image

So, whether you use freeweights or a machine, whether you exercise in a gym or at home, whether you exercise alone or with others,  let's talk, Gym!  Pete, Steve, Tom, Andrew and any other guys (and gals of course) are welcome as well.  image OK, bad joke. image  

So, as for me, I use a Total Trainer 2000 exercise machine.  I use it every other day for about an hour, and usually go running before or afterwards - and will again when my knee's better. image  I'm not a muscle-bound machine - far from it (wish I was) - I be an Ectomorph.  Or skinny guy if you prefer.  My goal is to pack on a little muscle, broaden out a little, get lots more definition and lose the stomach. image



  • Gym?  Whose he?


  • Hee hee hee...

    Anyway, I've been looking into MaxiMuscle and protein shakes, that sort of thing.  Has anyone here used them, if so do they actually make any difference and what do they taste like?  Hope they're not euuughh....

    And of course, how much do they cost and are there any lesser known brands that do exactly the same job for less money?

  • This looks good:


    8 bottles - at three workouts a week, that'd last me almost three weeks.  Might give it a trial to see if I see any difference, can always stop buying it if I don't. image

    This might be worth a try as well:

     Promax Crisp Bars

  • Get yourself some of that Whey Protein from Holland & Barrett when it's on offer - just as good as the expensive stuff at a fraction of the price! 

     I use chocolate flavour for when I'm just making up a drink and vanilla flavour in my porridge every morning.

  • Thanks for the heads up!  Does it come in banana flavour?  That's my favourite milkshake flavour. image  Have you tried something like Promax - does it do the same job?  Promax is about £25.99 at play.com (!) banana flavour - 908g.

    I checked Holland and Barrett - it's more expensive than play.com right now, but as you said they often do great special offers. image

  • Not sure if it comes in banana flavour, I just go straight for choccy and/or vanilla.  Yum! image

  • Vanilla works well for me as well.  So, are you seeing a difference?  My main aim is to get more toned really.  I mean, I'm never going to have loads of muscle, so I'd rather go with definition rather than bulk, although as I said I am looking to pack on a little more. image

    It does come in banana at Holland Barrett's site by the way. image

    So what do you use, Blimpy?  Free weights or a machine?  I just find that using the machine makes it much easier to maintain correct form and of course it means you don't need various dumbells or things around the room. image

  • I'm like you - very lean and am trying to build a bit of muscle.  I AM  seeing results, but that's not just through having the odd portion of Whey!  I'm running a lot of miles every week and am in the gym 4 times weekly.  My diet is also obsessively clean at the moment. (See how I added 'At the moment'?!!) 

    In the gym, do compound moves - Squats, Deadlifts, Pull-ups, etc.  Also lots of core work, but change it every day - don't just do crunches lol!

    Don't go near the machines - I did that for 2 years with no results.  Now I've ditched the machines, I'm starting to see results in a very short time-span.

  • Yep, I don't just do crunches.  I also do leg raises and today I added a crunch into that as well.  Ouch.

    So, compound moves are better overall than isolation?  Chin-ups vs bicep curls for example?  I can't do 'proper' chin-ups, but since the machine has varying levels of resistance, putting it on the top level allows me to do 8-10.  

    This is my machine, by the way:


    I'm going to be getting some weights for it (as shown in the picture) as the leg exercises have become too easy.  It must be doing some good because family members have said my shoulders look a little broader - family members who aren't free with their compliments. image  

    Chuck Norris uses Total Gym

     I wonder if he really does use it, or if he only endorses it to make some money...

    I had to post these:

    Chuck Norris Facts
    You've seen them online and heard them on TV... these Chuck Norris facts even crack up the man himself! Here are some classics, with a few new ones we here at Total Gym came up with:
    1. When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he goes up and the world goes down.
    2. When the boogeyman goes to sleep, he checks under his bed for Chuck Norris.
    3. After a workout, Chuck Norris rubs his muscles down with liquid-hot MAGMA.
    4. When Chuck Norris exercises, the machine gets stronger.
    5. Chuck Norris does not lift weights, weights rise before Chuck Norris.
    6. There is no chin under Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
    7. The average person can do 80 exercises on the Total Gym. Chuck Norris can do 1,080.
    8. Chuck Norris can do the 6 to 8 Minute Workout in 6 to 8 SECONDS.
    9. A great Pilates exercise on the Total Gym is "Hug-A-Tree". Chuck Norris does not hug trees, he roundhouse kicks them.


    One thing I would say is that I don't buy this 6-8 minutes, or even 20 minutes a day - I don't think that would be effective at all.  I usually do around an hour, maybe a little more when doing legs as well, which I'm not at the moment - doc's orders. image

  • Banana is Gaspari MyoFusion all the way! Normally around £40 for about a 5Lb tub and hands down it's the best banana flavour out there! Use that link I sent you earlier RR

    TraInning time, 20 - 30 mins only works if u are lifting heavy, so you're talking 3 excercises maybe supersetted with a BW move but generally free weights and normally including one of the "big" moves I.e squats, deads and bench

    Pull up bar, there is no substitute, every home should have one! I've been lifting for years but have only managed to do chins or pull ups this year and it really helps the core and definition and practice is key image

    I train at the gym three /four days a week for between 45-60mins at the moment but will move to a shorter routine when I start increasing the mileage in the new year

    Happy training boys!
  • Yep, many thanks for that - they're easily the cheapest I've found so far.
  • Good idea for a thread Road runner

    I do classes rather than sit on my own in the gym, better for time & motivation I find

    So a body weight conditioning class, pump fx, circuit class all different days.

    Reason I know it works...

    After doing some gym work 3-4 years ago, routine set by personal trainer,, stopping once I got into good shape and choosing only to do running & cardio, okay for awhile then slowly finding running going worse, weight going up then stopping

    Started doing these classes Nov 2010, and off 10-15 miles running a week low speeds was only 13 seconds off a PB at half marathon by March

    So weighted lunges , squats, dead lifts, bent over & upright rows, dips.. lots of others... Works for me. circuits I find great .. increasing your ability to suffer was phrase a coach used... Too true !

    PB has now been smashed out of sight, nearly 4 minutes.
  • Just run to the gym, 6.5km and plan to run home afterwards - GHD's, 1 leg get ups, deadlifts, split squats and dips all on the cards this morning
  • That's great going, Gastank - especially in this cruddy weather!  I just know my legs are going to absolutely kill me after the first run back: I did five minutes of rowing yesterday by way of warming down after my Total Trainer session and today, my legs are mildly sore.  That's after only five minutes.  I plan to do ten to fifteen minutes running next Tuesday.  image

  • What's GHD, Gas?
  • Every girlies knows that - good hair day!
  • Or a brand of hair straighteners
  • Personally, I just kitted my garage out with home equipment.

    The gym is always closed when I finish my shifts, been getting lazy with the weight training. I'm not entirely sure how much I should be able to lift these days. Female, 19, around 110lbs?image

    Any ways, bought myself a cheeky wee spinning bike in the pre Christmas sale. Should be good now that I can't get running on the ice.

    Can anyone recommend a decent treadmill on a near student budget?

  • LOL!! CrossFit term

    Glute Ham Developers - using a back extension bench face down, lower torso to floor and then raise back past parallel pushing chest out

    Will try and find pic link on web

    Have more of them tomorrow with a 10-15kg plate supersetted with one leg bodyweight squats (3x10's) - then back squats pyramid to 80kg supersetted with weighted chin ups 5-10kg (5x5's) and finally bicep curls (prob about 5kg will be all I can manage after chins!) supersetted with 55kg front squats (3x8)

    Steel - Nordic track I think do some decent ones, and check eBay people always trying shift bulky stuff around Christmas (to make room for more bulky stuff) - tr looking at yaktrax pro/ microspikes/stablICERS in the specialist off road/outdoor/ultra online stores cheaper than a treadmill and lots of fresh air image don't know how much you should lift, everyone is different, start low and work up - you should be looking to almost "fail" on rep 8-9 of a 3 sets by 10 rep lift (IMHO) if u can do 3x10 easily up the weight in 2.5kg increments until you find your niche. Like running never try to add too much to your previous week total, safe lifting would be 2.5kg per week.

  • I have a nice little spreadsheet, which shows the number of sets and reps to aim for depending on your training goal i.e. Power/Strength/Hypertrophy/Endurance and also allows you to fill in the weight lifted for number of reps to ascertain your one rep max (1RM) and therefore your associated target weights in each of the aforementioned categories - i built it myself based on some other versions i've seen and used previously as well as my own thoughts and research.

    If anyone would like a copy (it's in open office format) message me your email address and i'll send it next time i'm on the main computer....

  • Gastank, you said that you used exercise machines for two years with no results - why do you think that was?  Did you find them too easy - could you easily do 8-10 reps without muscle fatigue?  After all, lifting a weight surely has the same effect on the muscle whether it's attached to a machine or not?  Speaking for myself, I am definitely noticing results with the Total Trainer 2000. 

    This is my current routine - based on one I found online, with some tweaking - two different formats, so one should open. image



    Using that, I have tweaked it until I reach between 8-10 reps for each exercise, apart from some exercises - I'm not sure if you're meant to train those muscles as intensely - could you clear that up for me, Gastank?  Calf raises, for example - the routine I found online recommended 20 reps, but should you also aim for 8-10 reps with calves?

    It's not easy to tell how much I'm lifting - it's a case of lifting increasing amounts of your own body weight, depending on what incline setting the machine's on. image  There is a way to find out how much you're lifting, but I can't be bothered to do it.  All that matters is I'm reaching muscle fatigue (failure?) around rep 8 or 9 on most exercises.  The leg exercises are getting too easy now, or they were before I stopped doing them because of my knee, so I might have to get some extra weights for the 'Power Bar'.

  • RR - it's not that machines didn't work for me it's more a case of they worked well for an initial period of time but then progress slowed and my personal trainer moved me in to free weights. So it's not a case of not working or being to easy, more the case of core strength... When you lift something heavy in real life, you don't just use that primary muscle you've been training but also many others to stabilise the load. I also found that with free weights my progress accelerated again, having stalled somewhat on the machines following my initial progress. Another to consider is that Abs aren't build on machines or using Situps and crunches, in reality they're build from core moves as the body uses them to stablise as mentioned previously. Having said that of course they're still eluding me image BUT they are there just not visible, diet is still the issue for this former fat boy (abs may be something you already have or are not really interested in)

    Calves, again depending on what you're training for, calves are hard to develop so a lot of people would train them for hypertrophy I.e. 8-12 reps OR combination of strength and hypertrophy (5-8 reps) - 20 reps would be training them for endurance and would be my preference since in my case I have substantial valves, and really what I need out of them is stop getting injured during long runs or periods of intense training for martial arts.

    With regards to "effort" I would say you should always be failing on the last two reps of the final set, whatever rep/set range you choose, but the number of reps vs. sets are specific to training goal.

    Going into gym now, they've just opened the door!

    Let me know if I've missed something, remember mate I'm no expert but done a heap of reading and found what worked for me.. There's literally hundreds of different views out there and probably more than 50% all work to a greater or lessor extent - trial and error my friend, if it's working go with it, if it stops working change it - simples!!! image
  • Alternatively, for a far more fun way of developing your calf muscles, run up hills and down again. Running down hill also helps core muscles because you are trying to stop 50kg from over balancing. Certainly feel it after working on our local HC1 rated hill.
    I have strong leg muscles, but very flabby arms . Can I work on them using dumbbells and what should I be doing?
  • A few years back I was going to the gym regular doing all the normal stuff that you see everyone else doing (bench pressing, bicep curls etc), initial gains in strength were good but they did slow down, I would change it up every few weeks to shock the muscles and keep it interesting, even after a year going 3 to 4 times a week for about an hour at a time, I.still could only manage 2/3 assisted pull ups. Then I stumbled across something called crossfit on the internet, thought it sounded interesting so gave it a go.
    I set up a few things at home (not sure is my normal gym would like me taking over the entire gym for 20 - 30 mins) and started doing the WODs (work oh of the day), within about 2 months I could easily do 10 unassisted pull ups. A lot of the WODs take less than 30 mins, but in that time you push yourself all the time, and the lifting moves used are all functional movements so you use more muscles than normal.
    It also improves your fitness, at the time I stopped running training but still improved on my half marathon pb.
    I would recommend taking a look, it probably is not everybody's cup of tea, but I would never go back to bench pressing and bicep curls.
  • I was using whey protein from sci-mx, it was around half the price of maxi muscle, but not sure if that was just because the shop I got it from sells it cheaper. It seemed to be just as good as maxi muscle too.
  • I would back everything that Robert has said and add to it, I too only learned how to do a pull up this year thanks to CrossFit - pull ups and chin ups are your classic strength move and despite YEARS of time in the gym on more programmes than I can think of CrossFit is the only one that got me to do unassisted pull ups and chin ups. For the record today's workout included 5x5 chin ups with a 5kg weight, not a lot but that's on top of the 82kg that I weigh!

    I would however also ask people to consider the rather new school idea of CrossFit Endurance or CFE for short, it combines everything that is great about CrossFit with the WoD (workout of the day) with Dynamic and Max Effort traditional Strength Training + your selected discipline i.e. running

    When training for my first half marathon, I didn't have the time to fit in a traditional running plan, and instead had a CFE programme devised to deliver the result. I trained for 16 weeks having NEVER run using the programme and completed the Great North Run in 2hrs13mins, not great but i was pleased, especially since my longest run during training was around 6.5 miles and purposefully took 90 mins.

    I am still currently only running once a week (which will change in the new year) but my normal distance is around 7-10 miles without too much problem i.e. I still haven't actually followed a traditional running plan yet I can manage a reasonable long run without too many problems.

    It's another thing worth looking at and By' Eck you could do a lot worse than look at CFE for toning those arms and upper body. In fact I would say that you could probably tone your upper body better without dumbells and sticking to bodyweight excercises/WoD's, after all you don't want the bulk, so it would be worth considering? Do you have a smartphone/iPod touch there are a number of WoD/CrossFit apps available and you could try the CFE and CrossFit websites, both of which post a new WoD daily.

    yes the terminology is confusing, but thank goodness for the internet, there is a wealth of information out there and loads of tutorials and how to's on You Tube

  • Hi RR, Gastank and Byeck *waves*. Popping in to say hello.... but all this serious talk and different exercises that I've never heard about is a bit scary. Lol!

    Actually it reminds me of when i started running 2 yrs ago and people mentioned, tempo, race pace, intervals.

    So if my goal is to be able to do a pull up (or is it chin up? or is there a difference?) what do I need to do... other than buy a bar to stick across a door frame so i can actually attempt one of course?

    I need things really, really simple.  imageimage

  • image

    Pull up - palms facing away from you when gripping the bar - hardest variant more dependent on "lats" back muscles than arms

    Chin up - palms facing towards you when gripping the bar easiest variant

    There are others in between of varying degrees of difficulty but that keeps it simple

    Step 1 - buy a bar

    Door mounted is fine, although mine is a little low, so I have to fold my legs to properly hang from it. Wall mounted is better since you can mount at your ideal height. Pro is door mount can be removed, doesn't leave marks etc - I learnt on a door mount

    Step 2 - mount it somewhere you walk past frequently! Idea is that a number of times during the day / evening "you have a go"

    Step 3 - focus on the lowering phase i.e if you can't get your chin above the bar from a "dead hang" (arms fully extended and body hanging) you need to focus on controlling the lowering phase of the movement. To do this two options a) jump with hands in position to get chin above bar and then "lock out" that position b) place an object either side of the door frame that you can stand on to get your head above the bar and then take the strain and remove feet from pedestals/objects to a "feet together" position. Initially focus on a 30 sec lowering movement, 10 secs head above bar, 10 secs head just below, 10 secs dead hang

    Step 4 - Repeat often!

    Step 5 - Be patient, every week at a similar time try to do just one chin up properly, you'll be amazed the first time you do it! Don't get disheartened, the lowering method does work! Perserverence is key here

    NO SWINGING image pull ups and chin ups are a core strength exercise and momentum is not required / permitted - if momentum is used it's called "kipping" a gymnast technique often seen on the parallel high bars

    that's it... Good luck, let me know how you get on
  • Hi, Chili!  Nice to see you, to see you... NICE!!!!

    Like you Gastank, my running's going to be limited for now.  The problem I've got right now is the fact that I have to walk to the common before I can have my run (doc's orders) - for the first two weeks back.  That means because you can't pile on loads of layers because you'll overheat as soon as you start running, I freeze to death on the way to the common.  I'm going to try and get out there when it's not too frigidly cold but it'll only be to keep things ticking over.  My main focus for now will be my resistance workouts - and I'm going to try and get some rowing in even though I find it more boring than the treadmill. image

    Tomorrow, I'm going to order some Promax from the Predator site you linked to, it's so much cheaper there!  

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