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Need a time-efficient and effective workout routine for a busy professional (LONG post)


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I'm 28 years old and I work a long work day and often after-work activities. I've been working out about 2 months now, lifting weights 3 days a week + a modest ab workout + 30 minutes on the cross training after I lift. I end up being at the gym over 2 hours when I'm there and that's about the most time I can dedicate to the gym given my other obligations.


I am about 5'8" and 171 lbs. My body is not toned, but I'm not really flabby either. I would have said kinda flabby in the midsection 2 months ago before I started working out regularly again.

My goals are (in order of priorities):

1) Get toned everywhere

2) Gain muscle mass

3) Lose fat

4) Gain strength

5) Get "in-shape"


I recently joined this forum and read up on the RFFL routine. Yesterday I did workout "A" with 5x5 reps/sets. That killed me and I'm really feeling it today. I expect tomorrow to be even worse. I can't imagine being able to do the 4x10 or even worse 3x15... I'm not optimistic.


For my normal lifting routine, it goes something like this:

I usually fit in 3 days of lifting/abs/cardio over Monday-Thursday. I almost never go on Fridays and Sat-Sun I never go.

For lifting I do 3 main routines: 1) Arms/Shoulders 2) Back/Chest 3) Legs. I push myself on all exercises and almost always are done to a failure state on the last set if not 2nd & last, but rarely on the first set. I tend to take a break long enough where my muscles don't feel over fatigued and I feel confident I can do the next exercise without failing too early. I also tend to mix up the particular exercises I do for each muscle group from week to week to avoid "plateaus" and to keep my muscles guessing. I still get lactic acid soreness after 2 months so I feel like that's working.

1) Arms/Shoulders - I do 3 sets of all exercises, 8-10 reps per set, I workout 3 main groups and do 3 different exercises per group (so 9 sets per muscle group): Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders. I rotate doing a bicep exercise (3 sets), then tricep (3 sets), then shoulder (3 sets). Then rotate again. The order is not important, but just that I move to a new muscle group so I don't get one muscle group too fatigued too quickly and need to take too long of a break before being able to do the next exercise with good form for 8-10 reps of good weight.

2) Back/Chest - I do 3 sets of all excercises, 8-10 reps per set, 4 different exercises for chest, 4 different for back (so 12 sets per chest and 12 sets per back). Like arms/shoulders, I go back and forth from a chest exercise (3 sets) to a back exercise (3 sets) to keep the recovery time and over fatigue between exercises to a minimum.

3) Legs - I do 3 sets of all excercises, 8-10 reps per set, 5 different exercises (15 sets). Usually something like: squats, calve raises, leg extensions, hamstring curls, + something else like leg press or lunges, etc.


I plan on doing Real Fast Fat Loss instead of my 30 minutes of cardio on the cross trainer from now on, but my problem is I really must say I won't be able to take a day off in between each workout since I tend to fit 3 days of workouts into 4 days. And for as fatigued as my muscles feel today from yesterday's workout, this is a serious concern for me.


For abs I tend to switch between 2 different routines over the 3 days. The first routine is on the ab crunch rocker bench type mechanism. I do about 100 crunches, then lay on each side and do about another 75 on each side for the obliques. The second routine I get on 2 different machines. One is a weight/crunch machine where you lift your legs up into your chest and i do about 3 sets of 25 reps (essentially to failure), the other is a weighted machine that rotates the core for an oblique workout and I do 2 sets on each side about 25 reps each set (again, essentially to failure). Both exercises with manageable weight selected.


I live a 20 minute walk from work but tend to bus it because it saves me valuable time each day which adds up, but I could change that back to walking each direction to add in 2x20 minutes of walking 5 days per week if it would be that beneficial.


My breakfast: A bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats w/ skim milk, and a home-made fruit smoothie that typically has about 1/2 banana, 2 strawberries, 3 raspberries, small handful of blueberries, small handful of grapes, up to 1/2 peach or 1/2 pear and fruit juice (orange, apple, or cranberry) to add consistency. When all blended up I guess its about 16 oz total. Occassionally (read 2x per week max) I have 2 whole, large eggs with my meal.

Lunch: I have 2 sandwiches over my workday each made of 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 slices of cheese, 2 slices of turkey, 2 slices of ham (and some spicy mustard)

Dinner: about 3 days a week I have a large salad made of baby spinach, green pepper, onion, tomato, a little shredded cheese, sprinkle of bacon bits, low/no fat dressing, and about a 1/2 pound or more of grilled, sliced chicken breast. I usually over do it on the chicken breast and can't even put all of it on my salad so I eat it on the side, too (this is for the protein for muscle). If I don't have that I will make stuffed peppers with ground turkey, or homemade tacos with ground turkey, lettuce, tomato, or turkey sausage w/ peppers. I VERY rarely have a pasta based meal and if I do it most certainly has a protein source (meat) added to it.

Supplements: I have 1-2 protein shakes before/after I work out of Optimum Nutrition 100% gold whey protein. If I have 2 shakes I sometimes cut back and have 1 sandwich at work instead of 2. Occasionally I'll have 1 shake on the days I don't work out - NEVER on the weekends... weekends I cheat... I also take a daily multi-vitamin, a vitamin B complex, and milk thistle (for my liver... see next)

Weekends: I drink a ton of (usually) LIGHT beer. Breakfast sticks to what's listed above. The other meals are usually less healthy but I don't overdo my meals - the beer makes up for it by far. 20+ beers in a weekend is not unusual at all.

A point of note: I tend to not get home from the gym until after 9PM, and don't get to eat until after 10:30PM. I am asleep by 1AM, sometimes 12AM. I'm up by 7AM. I know eating late can be an issue but there's little I can do with my schedule and I hope its mitigated by the fact I was working out late, too.


My results so far: I have lost 2 pounds max on the scale, however my midsection looks much less flabby and my arms/chest/etc look more toned and slightly bigger. With just a little flexing a 6 pack is easily visible and the obliques show up cutting into the lower abs/pelvis, but without flexing there's no sight of this. When I bend over, there's considerable flab shown, but again this is definitely down from 2 months ago. 2 months ago I had a little of that really nasty looking cottage cheese type flab in my mid-section but that look is basically completely gone. Overall I feel my trunk area just looks too thick (best seen by standing at a 3/4 view looking in the mirror) and there's definitely some love-handles type fat going on around the lower back/sides region. When I was younger I used to have a great stomach and I'm very, very subconscious about fat in this area and really want to eliminate this.

Because I have noticed a visible improvement in my physique, I'm encouraged by the results, however, the weight is simply not dropping. I'd be satisfied with my current weight if I saw more muscle mass and less fat - but that's just not the case right now.

So, this leads to my concerns:

How should I approach my overall routine to achieve my goals of burning off that fat that makes my midsection look too thick and to reveal a more toned stomach while putting on lean muscle mass? When I wear a sleeveless shirt my arms do not look toned and muscled but not flabby - attaining this look is a very high priority for me. I want to "look strong".

What sort of timetable am I looking at to achieve my goals?

What do you think of my current routine? Am I doing anything that's wasting my time/inefficient/not helping/must change?

Am I working out enough to accomplish my goals?

Are my cheating weekends hurting me that badly? I really love them because the work week is just hellish + I spend my time with my girlfriend who is gifted with incredible genes thanks to her olympic gold medalist wrestler father and can eat whatever she wants without working out and still maintain a fantastic body.

Also, I was reading that RFFL is only good for 6-8 weeks. What do I do after that? Any longer-term routine suggestions along with daily suggestions?

I'm trying to add muscle mass which usually entails massive protein and calorie consumption, but I'm also trying to burn fat which requires calorie deficit. How do I accomplish this? Should I focus on burning off the fat first with calorie counting and then starting to load up for muscle growth? Wouldn't that just bring the fat right back?

One last and possibly important piece of information: I was in graduate school until this past January. During this time I drank a very, very large amount of alcohol and I ate ONE meal per day besides the beer. My days for over a year were spent very sedentary doing research during the day. I'd have a decent sized meal at night, and then head out after that to drink. I wouldn't do any exercise and the meal was often unhealthy. I just wanted to bring this up because I'm assuming this badly hurt my metabolism and I'm not sure what the timeline is for correcting something like this nor do I know how badly I could have screwed up my metabolism. I spent about 2 months doing a light workout 2 days a week after that but still not eating well, and then started my job where I ate well but did not work out for another 2-3 months.

 

I apologize for the long post, but I figured if I got in all the information I could think of and pose all the questions/concerns I have right off the bat I could save any of you helpful responders time asking follow up questions! Thank you in advance for any help you can provide!

16 Replies (last)
Original Post by buschman98:

I've been working out about 2 months now, lifting weights 3 days a week + a modest ab workout + 30 minutes on the cross training after I lift. I end up being at the gym over 2 hours when I'm there and that's about the most time I can dedicate to the gym given my other obligations.

...


For my normal lifting routine, it goes something like this:

I usually fit in 3 days of lifting/abs/cardio over Monday-Thursday. I almost never go on Fridays and Sat-Sun I never go.

For lifting I do 3 main routines: 1) Arms/Shoulders 2) Back/Chest 3) Legs.

Those are your problems right there, too much time at the gym and a body-part split routine (which is very common for beginners).  It's been said that 80% of your results come from the first set, so why do a body-part split routine that limits you to 1 first set for each 'body part' per week when you could do a full body routine and hit every 'body-part' 3 times a week?

The other problem with body-part split routines is that they arbitrarily group muscles based on the location in the body instead of their function (that and they tend to include tons of 'isolation' exercises).

If you can't take a rest day between workouts (you said you have to fit 3 workouts into 4 days) I'd either do RFFL twice a week (on days 1 and 4) and do some HIIT on the other day (either day 2 or 3).  Another option is to try Home Grown Muscle which starts off as a 2 day a week full body routine and then after a couple months switches to 3-day a week upper-lower body splits (which should fit into you're schedule just fine).  You should also check out some of the other professionally designed routines in the stickies at the top of this thread, if you find a good split routine (either upper-body/lower-body or push/pull but definitely not a body-part split) you can make it work without having to take a full rest day between all your workouts.

 

Original Post by floggingsully:

If you can't take a rest day between workouts (you said you have to fit 3 workouts into 4 days) I'd either do RFFL twice a week (on days 1 and 4) and do some HIIT on the other day (either day 2 or 3). Another option is to try Home Grown Muscle which starts off as a 2 day a week full body routine and then after a couple months switches to 3-day a week upper-lower body splits (which should fit into you're schedule just fine). You should also check out some of the other professionally designed routines in the stickies at the top of this thread, if you find a good split routine (either upper-body/lower-body or push/pull but definitely not a body-part split) you can make it work without having to take a full rest day between all your workouts.

Isn't RFFL an HIIT workout anyway?  And I was planning on doing RFFL/HIIT for fat loss in addition to a strength traing/weight lifting routine.

Also, when looking at these "full body workout" routines, they involve very little rest between many machines.  This is next to impossible to accomplish at a gym because they machines will be occupied.  How do you get around this while retaining the effectiveness of the routine?

Lastly, looking at the Home Grown Muscle plan, it seems "HIIT"-ish in that you do stuff with little breaks (in this case longer than RFFL, tho).  Is this just more of a strength training/fat loss hybrid or are routines like this strictly geared towards muscle building/strength training?

Original Post by buschman98:

Also, when looking at these "full body workout" routines, they involve very little rest between many machines.  This is next to impossible to accomplish at a gym because they machines will be occupied.  How do you get around this while retaining the effectiveness of the routine?

 Step away from the machines - always a good solution to life's problems.

Original Post by buschman98:

Isn't RFFL an HIIT workout anyway? That's a really good point, I guess technically it is a HIIT workout.  When I recommended HIIT on non-RFFL days I was thinking more along the lines of HIIT on a eliptical/dreadmill or in the pool.  And I was planning on doing RFFL/HIIT for fat loss in addition to a strength traing/weight lifting routine. RFFL is a really intense workout, I'm not sure combining it with a strength training routine is going to give you enough recovery between workouts.  Your probably better off picking one goal at a time (fat loss or muscle gain) if you chase 2 rabbits at once you probably won't catch either.

Also, when looking at these "full body workout" routines, they involve very little rest between many machines. Stay away from any workout that uses machines  This is next to impossible to accomplish at a gym because they machines will be occupied.  How do you get around this while retaining the effectiveness of the routine? Try to set up as many exercises as possible at one 'station' (either a bench or squat rack).  When I did HGM phase 1 had a set of bench-press, pullovers, and deadlifts with no rest in between, I took the bar off of a bench and set it up for deadlifts at the foot of the bench, then I did dumbbell benchpress, used the same dumbells for pullovers and then just stood up and the deadlift bar was right there.

Lastly, looking at the Home Grown Muscle plan, it seems "HIIT"-ish in that you do stuff with little breaks (in this case longer than RFFL, tho).  Is this just more of a strength training/fat loss hybrid or are routines like this strictly geared towards muscle building/strength training? The first phase is more of a fat loss routine, phase 2 is more of a muscle growth phase (though it would probably work great for fat loss if you were on a calorie deficit), phase 3 is pure strength, phases 4 and 5 are back to muscle growth, phase 6 is more fat loss, phase 7 is... I haven't gotten to phase 7 yet.

 

I should correct myself when I say "machines". That was inaccurate. What I meant to say was these programs use a variety of "equipment" ie. stations, dumb bells vs. bar vs. squat station vs. bench vs. swiss ball, etc. I just see myself having an incredibly difficult time doing circuits of different exercises while maintaining a strict rest interval period. At the very least occupying several pieces of equipment at once will be frowned upon by others there also trying to use the equipment.


I guess a new concern that this idea of ONLY doing something like RFFL raises is that I can't imagine I'll burn more calories/fat working out for a half hour (about what it takes to do RFFL) vs. ~25 sets of lifting + half hour of cardio. The main difference is that I suppose I rest more while lifting currently than RFFL or something like Waterbury's Total Body Training.

http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/s ports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/ totalbody_training


Also, I would expect to see a lack of strength training benefits from RFFL vs. Waterbury's. For instance, Workout A from RFFL really only hits the chest for 5x5 pushups on the swiss ball. 25 total push-ups certainly doesn't seem sufficient for generating any kind of strength and this particular component of the program along with the prone jack knife was more of a breather for me than anything for part 2C) the dynamic lunge + shoulder press - which really was so much harder than 2A) or 2B). Even a very out of shape individual can do 5 push ups in a row with little gain. Am I missing something here?


If combining RFFL with another training program seems to be too much - and remember I'm only about 2+ months into working out - I'm a bit more inclined to go with Waterbury's for what appears to be a better strength training work out. However, will this cause me to take a major fat-loss hit?


If it really comes down to where I should just target stripping off the extra fat then trying to build up strength and muscle, then I'll just suck it up and allow myself to lose the muscle I've gained for now. Also, if it's recommended I only do RFFL which means about 30 minutes at the gym 3 times per week, I can definitely adjust my schedule so I'm at the gym 3 days per week with at least one day per week off between workouts. I just can't spend the time I'm currently spending at the gym on any days Friday-Sunday without considerable hassle. But 30 minutes wouldn't be a problem.

Lastly, I'd like to make sure I have a good ab workout involved. What would you recommend to ensure I train my midsection well?

 RFFL is brutal, and not for beginners - if you do it right you will lose about 1% body fat a week on it, but if you can get through RFFL in 30 minutes you're doing it wrong and skipping parts of it.

 There's the initial strength component and the post-workout finisher as well, you know - the circuit training portion is there to burn a hellacious amount of calories in short order through metabolically expensive combination lifts which is why they're mostly explosive, high-tempo lifting. The key to making the program work is to keep rest periods down so check your ego at the door when you select your weights - for the 3x15 day where you do 15 lunges per leg you do 30 shoulder presses in the lunge+shoulder press combination lift. To get through that I had to use 4-5lbs weights which felt vaguely ridiculous since my normal training weight is 110lbs for the military press. But trust me, if you don't check your ego at the door when selecting weights for the metabolic part of the workout, you're going to suffer, and more importantly the quality of your workouts are going to suffer.

 Also, when you're doing RFFL right, you will not have the energy or the recuperative ability to do any other workout programs concurrently - you can half-ass it and go easy on yourself, but your results will be noticeably poorer.

 On the off days from RFFL you will or should only possess the energy to do light recovery/mobility work, if you can even mentally face the thought of going into the gym for another session on your off day you need to increase intensity of your exercises on your official workouts.

 RFFL is set up so that you can keep all equipment in one place and do all workouts at one station - you need a barbell, a pair of dumbbells, and one other piece of equipment (swiss ball or chinning bar) and you can perform all the exercises in one spot. If someone comes along and tries to take your gear while you're obviously right there using it, you need to find a better class of gym with denizens who are more clued-in about gym etiquette.  And if you're using a significant fraction of the gym's equipment so much so that other people have to work in with you - get a new gym, yours hasn't got enough equipment to justify the cost. I did RFFL in my home gym, and if a commercial gym can't outdo my very basic home gym (okay, I do have a squat rack in the living room, but I digress) - then you're paying them too much.

 The 6-8 weeks is a general figure for all workouts, you should radically change your program after that period of time as you've reaped most of the benefit from it and doing more will only lead to stagnation. I altered the basic exercises and kept the format to extend the life of the program some, but you may find that you're down to a reasonable level of leanness after dropping 6-8% body fat and it's time to do a basic mass phase using a strength training-focused program.

 Do the fat loss first though - your skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity and consequently results from bulking are significantly enhanced when you are below 12% body fat, preferably in the 7-9% range before you start your 12-week bulk phase.

Ok, you're right about 30 minutes.  I did it in about 45 minutes.  I really did stick to the prescribed program, though.

Workout A

Exercise 1: DB Romanian Deadlift to Split Snatch (plus lunge) - 60 sec rest

Takes about 45 sec to do 10 reps (5 per leg) so 1.75 min x 5 =  8.75 minutes

Exercise 2a: Push-up - Feet on swiss ball with prone jack-knife combo - 30 sec rest

Takes 30 seconds to do 5 reps so 1 min x 5 = 5 minutes

Exercise 2b: Bent over Row - Back extension hybrid - 30 sec rest

Takes 30 seconds to do 5 reps so 1 min x 5 = 5 minutes

Exercise 2c: Dynamic Lunge + Shoulder press - 30 sec rest

Takes 45 sec to do 10 reps (5 per left) so 1.75 min x 5 = 8.75 minutes

Exercise 3: 2x 20s squat + jump, 20s squat, 20s squat and hold - 45 sec rest

Takes 3.5 minutes

Exercise 4: Tabata bike sprints 4min + 5 easy pedal + 4min

Takes 13 minutes

Total: 44 minute

Am I missing any components of Workout A?  Is there an initial strength component or finisher that I'm missing?  I understand that there's a big difference between 30 minutes and 44 minutes - I wasn't keeping track of the cumulative time when I was doing it, just watching to make sure I didn't exceed my rest intervals by more than like 3 seconds on my timer.

My form suffered on exercise 1 and 2C - lunges are something I need to work on.  I'm afraid I'm missing benefits from these and will really need to improve on these.

I've yet to try the Workout B - which is slated for tomorrow - but I hear its even worse than A, and considering its the 4x10 rep variety, I expect I'll want to die after.  For a beginning do you have a weight recommendation for the kettlebell swings?  My gym doesn't have them as far as I know so I'll have to use a DB but I assume that's fine.  I read comments from readings of the RFFL article that said the video guy does it all wrong... what should I be aiming for form-wise?

Do you think just walking to/from work everyday and a solid pace which adds 2x20 minutes 5 days a week to be enough "low tempo" work to really keep my workout effective?  Can you point me in the direction of a recommendation for the next phase for the bulk phase?  What do you think of Waterbury's total body workout?


Thank you all for your help.  It's greatly appreciated.  I really want to maintain a strong dedication to my physical fitness, health, and overall appearance and with my restricted amount of free time any tips to make my workout more efficient is incredibly useful.

No, that's about right - keeping workouts down to about 45-60 minutes maximizes hormonal response from each workout session. After about 45-60 minutes your cortisol increases drastically while your serum free testosterone and hGH crash, so stopping the workout before that happens is generally a good idea. With proper pre/post-workout nutrition this can be extended to about 90 minutes but when you can get all your training needs met in 45min there's no reason to go for 90, is there :)

 Strength has a significant neurological component as well, and you can train that to a significant degree with explosive movements like the split snatch- the faster you can get your muscles to develop peak power, the stronger you will be at peak muscular contraction - and explosive moves like the snatch are exellent for this. I nearly doubled the training weight I used from the initial to the last session during this program, and while my muscle mass didn't increase my explosivity definitely did.

 A good starting weight for swings is 12kg for women, 16 for men - about 1 pood in kettlebell-speak or 25lbs and 35lbs respectively for those of us who don't speak Kettlebell Russian. (Pavel is a cool guy and all, but he plays the Spetznaz schitck a little much :)

 Yeah, that sounds about right for extracurricular cardio - it's more than I did, and I dropped 17lbs of fat in 11 weeks on this program by just doing it as written and keeping a calorie deficit.

 Waterbury's a decent program for bulking for a beginner - there are times when a split program is right, but in general you need to have trained long enough to have developed genuine weak points and muscle imbalances before it pays to do any isolation work to correct them. For most people this requires multiple years of training before you can be more specific than "your entire body is weak" when indentifying specific muscle weaknesses ;)

 Something like the starting Strength 5x5 is about right for a beginner who's down to a significant level of leanness, but the Waterbury program and Home-grown muscle are both roughly on par with it and which one you choose is more a function of temperament and what your specific goals are than anything.

Thanks so much for all of your help!  It's 4 x 10 of workout B after work today!  Wish me luck!  I have a feeling I'm really going to need it!

So I did the 4 x 10 of workout B yesterday... well sort of. 

I couldn't get through all of the circuit portion (exercises 2a) through 2c)).  I just simply couldn't move my body weight around after a while I was so exhausted to do the chin-ups and overall so exhausted I was losing my grip on the bar.  Also, I had to progressively lower the weight on the squat -> push press as well as the goodmorning -> reverse lunge.  I just simply couldn't get the bar up for the push press after a while and couldn't get up from the lunges.

The abdominal portion (prone plank-> reverse crunch-> swiss ball crunch) was fairly easy and provided a much needed breather before kettlebell swings.

Lastly, I was concerned about my breaks during the kettlebell swings.  Only twice was I able to successfully get 30+ swings consecutively and when I didn't if I pushed a couple more out I think my breaks would have been entirely too long to render the workout less effective.  How long of a break would be typical during the 10 minute kettlebell swing exercise and how frequent of a break?  I was absolutely soaked and huffing and puffing ridiculously so I was definitely pushing myself - should I consider that to be "enough" indication that I'm working enough for the exercise to be as effective as intended?  And as always, I will continue to push to improve on all exercises.

When thinking about the overall RFFL workout (A & B), I did have one big concern:

Where's the chest workout?  The only time I can see anything that works the chest is the swiss ball push-ups in workout A, and let's be honest, 5, 10, or 15 pushups in a row is a rather modest chest workout.  Did you feel the same or are any of the other exercises working the chest without me realizing it?  I feel sore all over, but not in my chest so I tend to believe I'm at least partially correct that this workout is weak in hitting the chest.

Thanks again for all your feedback!!

I got a pair of pushup handles to increase the range of motion on the workout, but yes, there isn't much emphasis on the chest. This is because this is a fat loss workout, and the pecs are like the biceps, tiny muscles that don't burn a whole lot of fat even when maximally stimulated.

 If you really feel the lack I suppose you could toss in some cable crossovers, flyes or other chest isolation work, but I didn't and I didn't notice any particular loss of bench press strength or chest mass while doing this workout.

 It takes a bit of fiddling to find a level of resistance where you can actuall do the sets across with sufficient intensity and keep the rest down to the specified amount - I spent the first two weeks more or less calibrating until I found a weight that was low enough that I could actually perform the program as written; which is why I warned you about ego training, I made that mistake at first. If you can't do the workout as specified with the weights you chose, you're using too much weight.

 During the KB swings I started with 3-4 sets of swings, and increased the weight when I got in 5-6 sets of 30 in the same 10 minutes - which happened reasonably fast all things considered. You seem to be on the right track there, so keep the same weight and try to get in more sets of 30 next time. When increasing weight I often dropped own to 1 set of 30 and then 3-4 more sets of 20 for the first workout, with subsequent workouts being sets of 30 and then try to get in 5-6 in the alloted time. Maybe not perfect, but it worked for me - see how your body reacts to it and you can probably work out your own system for increasing weights.

Melkor, I'm very new to this site, but from everything I've seen posted by you, you're an absolutely awesome moderator and contributor.  Your advice has been incredibly helpful.  Thank you so much.

Also, I am so happy to read you had similar experiences with this challenging workout regimen.  This really helped to brighten my spirits because my performance yesterday was discouraging considering the even more ominous 3x15 workout waiting for me tomorrow.

Thanks so much for all of your helpful advice and detailed responses!

As an aside, I never see/have seen people at the gym doing this sort of full body workout.  I was way off in left field the last 2 months doing nearly all isolation exercises, I was always of the impression that you train the muscle better when you isolate it.  My workouts fell in-line with what everyone else around the gym was doing so I figured it was the right way to go.  I've gotten quite a few bewildered looks from the other guys in the weight room watching me perform these complicated routines!

I never really had any exposure to the scientific background on the actual biological, chemical, and nervous interactions that take place to generate a stronger self.  A man of science myself, I love reading the studies that back up this kind of program and I'm so grateful for the guidance!

SWIM vigorously and you will actually not want to stop moving because of how refreshing the moving water will be around you! It burns over 1000 calories/ hour. And I dedicate 20 minutes of every day (30 including the shower) to it. It tones and uses all parts of your body. Try it, or ask a friend to race you to 100 laps or something. Its a lot of fun!

So, I've done 1 full week of RFFL with 5x5 Workout A, 4x10 Workout B, 3x15 Workout A.  I've also done Workout B 5x5 so far this week.... but I have one major concern:


My lower back is extremely tight and always after these workouts, but most especially after workout B.  I find it hard not to be considering the good mornings and kettlebell swings.  Should this be expected or is this a sign of severely bad form?  I feel like my good mornings are fine, but after a while during kettlebells (who am I kidding, pretty much after my first set of 30 swings) I feel like my form may start to suffer because I'm just overall so fatigued from the entire routine that my lower back starts to compensate for my extremely spent legs.


Any advice?

A lighter kettelbell and less weight for the good mornings.

I haven't done cardio in ages.  I am currently working "The Female Body Breakthrough" and have had some of the best inches lost for a long time.  No cardio allowed - any cardio done is strictly metabolic circuits - killer workout in 30 minutes or less.  using only body weight too for the most part.

I'd recommend - depending if your male or female 

Stronglifts.com

New Rules of Lifting  and NROL for women - I've done NROL4W twice and did a few workouts in NROL and had great results and workouts - I also like how the programs change up every 6- 8 weeks so you are always doing something different 

Starting Strength is good too from what I've heard on this forum

Another good workout is the Spartacus one on Men's Health website.  

I haven't tried the RFFL cause I am too lazy to do the HIIT portion, however the Fat Loss III workout in NROL was a killer

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