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Gym Rats
Posting Access:
All Members
You don't need a gym to be a gymrat - just move something, preferably something heavy.
Please thoroughly read the following FAQ and check the links listed below before you post here - your question may have been answered before - especially if your question is a very general one. In other words, asking "How do I get started?" is considered something of a faux pas here, as it is assumed that you're willing to do at least some basic reading and research on your own. If you're not, then don't join. You won't like it here.

And, actually reading a few posts in the community itself before posting may save you a great deal of embarrassment. This community is decidedly not a "safe space". This post gives a pretty good idea of what the atmosphere is like. If that's not clear enough, we have prepared an introductory video:


Notice to All Pro-Anorexics, Pro-Bulimics, and Thinspire Types:
You will probably not be happy here. You will be snarked mercilessly if your posts or comments indicate that you regularly practice methodical starvation and do not intend to change that. Complaining that we are meanieheads will not deter the members of this community; in fact, it will encourage some of them. However, those honestly attempting to recover from anorexia or bulimia will be welcomed.

This is a community for folks who want to chat, hobnob, discuss, yammer, powwow, palaver, and otherwise talk about any exercise-related topics, such as weightlifting or cardio training or martial arts or calisthenics or whatever. This explicitly includes home "gyms", even if that's your bedroom floor -- no intent to restrict it to patrons of commercial gyms. We'll also throw it open to discussions of diet and nutrition.

Community creator and original moderator is elthar; dukexmachismo is the current owner of this community. Special thanks to sjaustin and dirty_deeds for preparing the vast majority of the community info.

The currently active moderators are dukexmachismo and werz_waldeau. Moderation is generally very light. We don't have a lot of rules here, but there are a few things that annoy us. Depending on what you've done wrong and how many times you've done it, you may be warned or simply banned. The rules are listed below:

1. Do not delete your posts - this is the biggie. There is one (1) exception: if you've accidentally posted in the wrong community, and you delete the post immediately, before anyone has commented, that's fine. If you want to clarify or amend something you've posted, add it as an edit below the original post, even if it's something along the lines of "Sorry guys, that was a stupid question!"

2. Do not delete your comments, or other people's comments on your posts. Do not screen comments either. Again, there are a couple of exceptions. You may delete one instance of a double post, as long as no one has replied to it yet. If someone has posted your personal information without your permission (i.e. home address, phone number, SSN, credit card #), you may delete it immediately. Keep in mind that links to unlocked posts in your personal journal or to information or photos that you've posted publicly elsewhere do not count as personal information. If a comment just happens to disagree with you, or if you think it's mean, too bad. Deal with it. There may be other situations we haven't anticipated, so if you're in doubt, contact a moderator and ask. We'll be reasonable. Mostly.

3. Do not freeze replies to comments. No exceptions.

Members of this community are more than welcome to suggest changes to the moderators regarding the content and presentation of any aspect of this community.

Since so many people come here for advice regarding losing fat or gaining muscle, our community info page includes the information below:
Losing fat and gaining muscle - People who are new to resistance training or are coming back from a long layoff can often lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously (meaning same day or week), but only for a certain period of time. After that, it's generally most effective to focus on one goal at a time - either fat loss or muscle gain. We call these "bulking" and "cutting" cycles, and they are referred to frequently in this community.

People often refer to losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously as "toning", but some people think of that word as having a different meaning. It should be noted that the word "tone" doesn't have any relevance to reshaping your body. There are no exercises to "tone", there are no diets to "tone", you can only lose fat and/or gain muscle. And of course, you can gain fat and lose muscle.

Losing fat - Unless you are new to lifting weights, coming back from a long layoff, or are on drugs, you can only lose fat by consistently eating fewer calories than you burn. To lose fat and maintain muscle effectively you have to eat fewer calories than you burn and have a good weight training program. Partitioning can be improved greatly by the specifics of one's diet and training program. Muscle loss on a diet is more and more likely the lower your bodyfat percentage is. (There are other factors as well)

Gaining muscle - Unless if you are new to lifting weights, coming back from a long layoff, or are on drugs, you can only gain a significant amount of muscle mass by eating extra calories and weight lifting and/or cutting back from daily activity while still weight lifting. By doing this most people will gain some muscle and gain some fat. Again, partitioning can be improved greatly by the specifics of one's diet and training program.

Losing fat from specific areas = "spot reduction" - A frequently asked question is to how to target and remove fat from certain areas of your body via exercise. This is called "spot reducing" and is generally impossible. When you diet, fat leaves your body in genetically predetermined patterns. When you eat excess calories you will gain fat in genetically predetermined patterns. No amount of crunches will burn stomach fat, and no amount of leg lifts will burn leg fat - exercising the muscle has no direct effect on the specific fat covering that muscle. Sad but true!

How to schedule cardio and weight workouts - Many people ask which to do first, or if they should schedule them on different days, or what. The answer depends on your own personal schedule and what's doable for you, but there's one thing that's pretty definite - if you do a long and/or intense cardio session and then try to lift weights, you won't get the most out of your weight workout. You may even be more likely to injure yourself. Other than a warmup (5-15 minutes low-to-moderate intensity) doing cardio right before weights isn't a good plan. You can schedule weights and cardio on separate days, or do one in the morning and one in the afternoon or evening. Or if it's absolutely necessary you can do weights first and then your cardio. But please, don't do a major cardio session and then expect to lift well.

This advice is intended mainly for those who are training for strength sports or for general fitness, and your needs may vary depending on your goals and priorities. If your "cardio" is actually training for a sport such as running or cycling, and that's what's most important to you, then splitting workouts would be ideal. However, if you need to do both you might consider putting the sport-specific training first. If you have questions about how to arrange workouts for other sports or activities, please go ahead and post your specific questions, and/or consult a community that's geared specifically to that activity.

Nutrition - Nutrition is an important subject here, and we encourage nutrition discussions. However, it is not wise to make broad statements about which foods or supplements are good or bad. Here are a few things to consider:
  • Foods and supplements which are natural/herbal/organic are not the only ones which are beneficial. Sometimes, they are not even the best option.
  • Foods and supplements which are processed are not necessarily bad. Often, the processing is harmless. Sometimes, the processing is helpful in concentrating the most important nutrients. And sometimes, processing is important for removing or preventing dangerous toxins or microbes.
  • Simple sugars are not necessarily bad. Old-fashioned table sugar is half glucose, your body’s principal energy source. Excessive consumption of simple sugars is not healthy, but in some situations – particularly before and after exercise – a substantial portion of simple sugars may be very beneficial.
  • Fats are not necessarily bad. Fats have twice as many calories per gram as proteins or carbohydrates, so they can easily lead to excessive calorie consumption. However, reasonable amounts of fats, even saturated fats, can be beneficial, and some fats are even essential to a healthy diet.
And lastly to clear up a common misconception, fat cannot turn into muscle and muscle cannot turn into fat.

Additionally, here are some very relevant and very helpful links that might answer your questions better than we can. You may very well get a better answer to your question from looking at these sites rather than posting in this community-

The site is made for women but much of the advice is just as applicable to men (especially her wonderful descriptions of squat and deadlift form.)

The website of author and trainer Lyle McDonald, with information on fat loss, muscle gain, and nutrition.

A helpful site for exercise instruction and selection

for information on the composition of common foods.

http://www.fitday.com also has information on the composition of common foods. (Note - the estimations for caloric expenditure on this site are usually very wrong.)

"HST" - A weight lifting program for muscle gain or fat loss.

http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/index.htm archive of older articles on training for strength, power, and more.

http://community.livejournal.com/gymrats_eats/ - What gymrats eat.

The Soft Science of Dietary Fat