Hi there forums, how goes it?
Anyways, thought I'd start my posting here on the cosplay.com website by posting about something I'd like to think I know a lot about. Changing the way your body looks.
First things first, I absolutely HATE
the word "toning," as it is a nonsense buzzword that is used by fitness marketers to describe the process of losing bodyfat and gaining greater motor control over your muscles to have slightly greater mass and definition show through while being able to flex better. Basically, "toning," does not exist, remove that word from your vocabulary.
On to the good stuff though.
At home: The Pyramid
This is a pyramid that I used to do when I wrestled and is a pretty great workout in and of itself. It's only 3 exercises and can be done in something as small as a prison cell. As there is no jumping about or general noise-making in this, it is a great workout for those of you in apartments with thin floors/walls that aren't trying to disturb your neighbors. It's also pretty nice on the budget.
Hindu Squat, Push-ups, and Crunch.
Remember to squeeze your glutes when you do push-ups as it makes it easier by straightening out your back.
Start with 1 of each, then do 2,3,4, etc until you do 10, do 10 again, and work your way back down. The exercises are done in a cycle so you don't do 110 hindu squats in a row to start your workout off (110 is the total number of reps you will do of each exercise in a pyramid of 10)
To make it more challenging you can do Hindu Push-ups and Banana Crunches (or any other kind of push-up and abdominal movement you choose) in place of regular ones or increase the number in the pyramid from 10 to 12, 15, 20, or however high you think you can go. If you can do a pyramid of 20 using Hindu Squats, Hindu Push-ups, and Banana Crunches, without stopping, you're probably going to be looking pretty good at that point.
As the idea is to do the entire pyramid without stopping, it gives you a pretty good cardiovascular workout while providing enough resistance to stimulate some muscular growth. While it won't make you huge, it will allow you to drop fat and build some muscle while giving you that "athletic," type look that many anime and video game characters posses.
Charles Bronson's Solitarty Fitness
is a great book for those of you looking in to this type of program. I'm sure it can be found for free online or you could buy it if you want to. There are multiple other books/programs concerning calisthenics and "prison body-weight workouts," but Charles Bronson's is probably the best out there.
While there are multiple, MULTIPLE, other free or body weight programs that you can do, this one is simple and generally works for just about everyone trying to "tone." (I feel dirty just typing that word)
Hitting the gym.
So you've gotten yourself a fancy gym membership (hopefully not to Planet Fitness or anything involving Crossfit*) and are ready to lift some metal things, but have no idea on how to go about it. Well I'm going to make this really quick. STRENGTH TRAINING. No, I do not care if you want to "get shredded brah,"or be a bodybuilder, if you haven't done at least 3-6 months of strength training, you have no business doing anything else (regardless of what your trainer tells you).
This includes you ladies. No, you will not get "bulky," as you lack the testosterone to do so. Although you will have a fantastic posterior from all the squatting. As you are going to be getting more myofibrillar hypertrophy versus sarcoplasmic, you won't be packing on the size just yet (although you will get bigger).
I will say this though, taking the extra cash and getting a trainer to correctly show you the lifts will aid you greatly in your strength training as there is only so much you can glean from form videos and reading. Most gyms offer a single free session so make sure to take advantage of that if you can.
If you have a "Strongman," or "Olympic," gym near you and can afford it, I'd suggest going for it.
I can't really tell you which is the best program, but any good 5x5 program will do. Some good programs/books to look at are:
-The Strongest Shall Survive
by Bill Starr
-Reg Park's 5x5
by Mark Rippetoe
These programs are designed to make you bigger and stronger in only 3 workouts a week and will give you linear progression that transitions well in to sports or bodybuilding. I'm partially biased to strength training and believe 3 full body workouts a week is the best way to a great body as the split workouts really only emerged after the advent of anabolic steroids.
Once you progress past the point of regular linear progression and maybe want to get a bit bigger, you can start adding in assistance exercises, but try to stay away from the isolation machines as much as you can.
*If you have been trained in Olympic lifting, don't do kipping pullups/dips, and deadlift with a straight back, Crossfit can be highly beneficial to you. Otherwise, stay away from it. The injury rate is several multiples higher than the injury rate for powerlifting, strongman, bodybuilding, and Olympic lifting
if you must absolutely do bodybuilding and not listen to me
That right there is probably the most comprehensive plan you can be given as it least has you focus on the basic compound lifts for the first 3 months.
Keep in mind that proper nutrition is 75-90% of your results, so make sure to eat as cleanly as you can.