Hey, so I recently picked up a copy of Gold Medal Bodies' "Rings 1" and "Rings 2" gymnastics courses, and I am looking to start very soon. I was working through a barbell strength training program, WS4SB 3, but the whole point of my doing this was to try to gain weight and muscle, and I recently found my Testosterone levels are not in the area that would allow me to build considerable muscle in the first place.(I also have been struggling with low T for the past 4 months, 2 of which I didn't realize I even had low T)
I want/need some advice, but first, some info: I've actually liked how I've felt for the past 4 weeks of doing WS4SB 3, simply meaning that actually getting under a heavy bar (doing what some would consider REAL training), focusing on the "feels" in the muscle(mind-muscle connection), improving my form, etc, it's given me a boost of confidence which feels friggin' awesome.
However, I TOTALLY didn't eat enough for these past 4 weeks. NOT AT ALL. In fact, many of my days were actually lower than I used to eat when I was simply doing home workout fitness programs (p90x, p90x2, insanity, etc)
This is because I used to eat 5x a day, plus post workout, and I've been trying to eat only when hungry... but I've thus been eating 3 times a day, and I don't know how large I should portion my meals if I'm only eating 3, I'm so used to the "eat every 2-3 hrs" lifestyle, that knowing whether I'm eating too little, too much, or when I'm actually hungry, is often very difficult.
My basis for the diagnosis that I haven't been eating enough is that I can see what I'm eating is less, and simply that my body composition has gotten even worse than it was previously. (fat accumulation around the abdomen increasing, visible lean-ness decreasing despite changing my workouts to less-cortisol inducing and more strength oriented)
as a result I feel I have made NO progress with WS4SB 3, and I will soon be having to go to school early, and my schedule will be far more hectic. This means getting to the gym to lift will not be easy, and so I feel like stopping the program. However, I don't like the feeling of starting something, and switching to something else before I really have time to see if it works, which I imagine is what it looks like I'm doing.
So what I need advice on is this: #1. What am I doing wrong nutritionally, if it is eating too little, than how can I make modifications to make sure I eat enough without having to track my food and eat every 2 hrs, AND-
#2. **Should I start these rings programs or try to keep doing WS4SB 3, even though I have made NO progress and am really frustrated and confused about what I'm doing wrong?** IE: Can the extreme TUT of real gymnastics strength work provide similar hormonal benefits to doing heavy strength training and hypertrophy work?
AND, what should I do in regards to lower body work, as the program is designed to be done on the rings, and so is almost entirely upper body.
IMPORTANT: I'm 17, male, 5'7", 114 lbs. I can provide daily eating plan (what I eat) if anyone could help me more seeing that
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You really need to eat more. There's no way to get bigger and stronger without eating more. You clearly aren't eating enough. I recommend increasing your daily caloric intake to around 3000kcal/day. My 120lb 5'1 girlfriend eats 3000kcal/day for maintenance. There's no "trick" to eating more, just put more food in your mouth, chew it and swallow it.
Autoregulatory eating is the way to go, but like you said, you lack the sensations that indicate your body needs food. You need to suck it up and eat more. You'll get used to eating more, but you'll have to eat to the point of uncomfortable fullness until you get there. Don't kill yourself, just eat more. Do whatever you need to do to eat more. You're not going to get bigger and stronger unless you eat more calories.
I am currently doing GMB F1.
What am I doing wrong nutritionally, if it is eating too little, than how can I make modifications to make sure I eat enough without having to track my food and eat every 2 hrs.
A military endurance study showed that calorie expenditure topped out around 40kcal per lbs of bodyweight. So if you were to be doing 22 hours of "The crucible" you would be burning around 5000kcals. Since you are doing around a couple of hours a day of mixed training, I would say eat for maintenance plus 15% to 20% more. (16 x lbs bodyweight, then calculate 15% to 20% of that and add it on.)
Should I start these rings programs or try to keep doing WS4SB 3, even though I have made NO progress and am really frustrated and confused about what I'm doing wrong? IE: Can the extreme TUT of real gymnastics strength work provide similar hormonal benefits to doing heavy strength training and hypertrophy work?
I am no expert but my guess is that your lack of progress is NOT related to your hormone levels, ESPECIALLY since you are 17. I would put money on the reason you are not progressing is probably because you are not sticking to the program. If in terms of progress you mean muscle mass, then you HAVE TO progressively do more work. That is if you can do 5 sets of 10 reps twice this week, then next week you need to either do 6 sets, or 5 sets of 11 reps, of do the whole workout three times a week rather than two. The point being you need to consistently DO MORE WORK however that looks.
You do not need to gorge yourself on food, you need to workout smarter. I would simply aim to get around 2500kcals in a day eating good nutritional meals (I prefer the Perfect Health Diet), and sit down and look at GMBs schedule and plot out the work progression. And as other people have answered add in some leg work keeping to the same progressively increasing workload goal.
Gymnastics training is not only superb fun, but does a bigger stronger body make if you program right. Here's me from the other night: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3523981/gmbf1-0813.jpg
Answer to number 1 - Eat more food. If you're stressing out about eating frequently, just pile on the food into 3 big meals. Plus, don't forget about fruit and carbs. Sure, most people cut out fruit, but you need to put on weight.
Example - Breakfast: Omelet (consisting of 5 eggs, 2 or 3 diced-up pieces of bacon, onions and/or garlic), raw carrot(s), and a tall glass of home-squeezed orange juice. Make it a pint.
Lunch - Big ass salad. Use any and all kinds of meat and cheese (if you're not dairy intolerant). Bacon and bleu cheese. Chicken and mozzarella. Pork and muenster. Sausage and cheddar. Use some leaves of lettuce and spinach for the actual salad. Add in a little olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Maybe have some boiled and fried (in butter) potatoes or sweet potatoes as a side.
Dinner - Steak. 10oz or larger. Go for a fattier cut of steak (rib-eye is my favorite). Have whatever veggies you want. I usually fry and caramelize onions in the left-over grease. Wash it down with more homemade freshly squeeze juice, or have some fruit or starch.
If you're having trouble eating decent amounts of food because you get too full, maybe invest in a small bottle of digestive enzymes, so that you'll feel less full after eating.
EDIT: Liquids may help you here with your lack of appetite. Freshly squeezed fruit juice, such as OJ, or milk, coconut milk, almond milk, raw eggs, etc., plus protein powders are something you can gulp quickly without having combat fullness for 15 minutes as if your eating something solid.
Answer to number 2 - If you want to stick to bodyweight training, you can learn how to do pistol squats and cossak lunges. If not, you can try the barbell back squat. Learn either the low-bar or high-bar variation. Train the squat at least twice a week. Do the appropriate mobility and warm-up work, and try 3 sets of 10. Have someone teach you it. Not some pansy Bally's personal trainer, but a REAL weight-lifting coach.
For barbell training, look up the book "Starting Strength". Or, you can check out a strength coach on Youtube named Elliott Hulse. His channel name is "Strength Camp". He's got around 1000 videos.
Hey everyone, so I just tried taking all of your advice, and after my workout on the rings this morning, had this for breakfast-
1 cup fresh strawberries/raspberries, 6 oz ground white meat turkey with spices, 250 grams sweet potato cooked in coconut oil and spices(hash) 1 pastured egg fried in the sweet potato residue, wilted spinach, a bit of home-made ketchup, and sauerkraut.
This was after having a small shake containing beef protein, canned pumpkin, and coconut water within 15 mins of finishing the workout- Breakfast came 1.5 hrs later.
I was afraid I would see symptoms of carb-intolerance, especially with my minor gut bacteria problem, but I didn't at all! - no headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nothing. Also, I was feeling really flat for the past 3 days of eating low carb(around 80 grams a day) and now I don't at all....
What I'm saying is that my fear of not being able to tolerate carbs seems to have been wrong, and now what I want to know is ---- whether it's appropriate to start having a carb refeed like this 3x a week, or whether I should do 3 days lower carb, and one day higher like this. Also, if I were to eat what I usually eat, and go back to focusing on fats/greens/misc veggies, my total daily carbs come out to around 160 grams, is this adequate for a "re-feed?
The reason I'm asking is because if I am going to start eating more carbs like this, doesn't it make the most sense to on the days I eat carbs, prioritize them, keep fats lower(sort of similar to the leangains approach, especially IF I do this 3x a week) and shoot for a higher number, say 250 g or so total just to hit my daily calorie needs? I guess what I REALLY am saying is that to eat the amount people are suggesting, even to hit around 2500 kcals, I have to keep my fats still relatively high even if my carbs are higher. Also, I've never really eaten over 200 g of carbs per day, and given my small size, isn't it probably accurate to assume I don't need to go over 200g of carbs on a given re-feed day, especially if I'm getting them mostly from dense sources like sweet potato?
If I DON'T need to go over 200 g a day for a re-feed day, is it still okay to have fairly high levels of fat in my diet, just for the sake of calories? Any thoughts on this would be great!
Jdoane, I am going to lay this out in three phases:
Rings vs Weights
Weights will definitely be more efficient. But ring workouts are fun. Your best bet will be to do 2 of one type and 1 of the other each week.
Testosterone - Diet
You need to eat more. Eating is key to gaining muscle and maintaining testosterone levels. at 5'7" 114 lbs you are very lean. Adding 10 lbs of bulk (combination of fat and muscle) will be critical to get your hormones on track.
Make sure you are getting sufficient nutrients, especially zinc and magnesium. Eat lots of eggs (2-3 per day) and sufficient fat.
Also eat foods that will help damping estrogen levels. That means eliminating sugar, beer and soy. And adding sulfurous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage).
Testosterone - Exercise
Exercise can increase your testosterone levels. Primarily HIIT and Resistance Training. Keep it high intensity (big weights, low reps -- i.e. 5x5 or 3x8) and focus on full body exercises. The more muscles you fire the better your testosterone levels will be. HIIT (best is done outside on a track/flat surface) once per week. Sprinting is the ultimate full body exercise. If you are doing it right, at the end of the workout your lactate acid should make you feel like cutting your legs off, your abs should be burning, and your shoulders and triceps will squeal when you try to pick up your water bottle.
Finally, make sure you rest and recoup. Recovery and keeping cortisol levels low is also important to maintaining testosterone levels.