The plan

This plan is somewhat outdated, and will be updated once I have a solid routine going - 13/02/22.

I am treating this page as my holy bible when it comes to fitness. Most (if not all) of what I need to know comes from here.

Fitness consists of two things: diet and exercise. I'll be explaining what I plan to do in those two aspects below.

Diet

Diet is just calories in, calories out. Everything else is just fine tuning. To maintain your weight, you must eat the same amount of calories you expend. To lose weight, you must eat less, and to gain weight, you must eat more. I would like to gain some muscle, so I will be having to eat more. Roughly 16-18 times my body weight in lbs, to be exact (although since I am female, the actual number will be less). I am about 58kg, give or take. That's about 127lbs. So I'll need to eat a bit less than 2032 calories a day.

But what exactly do I need to eat? Well, because I want more muscle, I'll need to eat more protein. A good baseline for your daily protein intake is your bodyweight. So since I am 127lbs, I would need to eat 127g of protein. Actually, I'd need to eat more than that to gain muscle.

Like I said, the rest is mostly fine tuning. I need to cut out processed foods a lot. Eat less carbs - Western cultures eat way too much of these. No more soda - only water, tea, and lattes from now on. (If you're worried about how lattes are healthy, they actually contain very few calories. Starbucks frappuccinos, on the other hand, are calorie monsters.) Since I am female, I'll also need to up my iron intake, since iron deficiency is more common in women than men.

The complicated bit, though, is actually counting everything. I do not make my own food at home - it's my mother. To count calories would mean to weigh every single ingredient, know the amount of calories and protein each ingredient has, and then weighing up your serving to get the most accurate representation of what you're eating.

That is too much work. My mother would think I'm fucking mad.

Estimation, though, is a dangerous path to tread. We all underestimate the amount of calories we eat, and that leads to us gaining unnecessary weight. So I'm still working out a pathway.

What I do plan to do in the meantime is this:

The main thing here is to get in lots of protein, and eat as healthy as I can. That's the aim here.

Exercise

Okay, so I'm eating to gain muscle. But do I want that muscle to look soft, flabby and gross? Or do I want it to look defined and "toned"? Exercise will determine that outcome.

There are two types of exercises: cardio and weights. Cardio is when your heart rate is elevated for an extended period of time. This can be through running, swimming, cycling, aerobics, etc. I don't plan to do much in the cardio aspect of things. I am planning to take a martial arts class during university, so I think that would cover it.

Weights is what it says - you push and pull around heavy weights. We don't nearly do this enough, and yet, it's the best thing we can do for our bodies. The link I put above goes further into detail about this, and clears up misconceptions about weightlifting, such as its perceived danger.

The routine I'm going to be using is Stronglifts 5x5. Problem is, I don't have access to a gym yet. As of writing (26 January 2022), it's a whole month away before I start university and have access to their gym facilities. Home gym is not an option due to the high upfront cost.

What I do have, though, is dumbbells. Stronglifts advocates against using dumbbells, but I have no choice if I want to start getting healthy now. I've waited too long. So I looked up a routine that uses dumbbells with compound movements, and came across this video. It contains the exact same exercises as described in Stronglifts 5x5, only using dumbbells instead of barbells.

So I made the decision to combine the two routines together. I would use the Stronglifts 5x5 routine, and use the dumbbell exercises instead of the barbell exercises. The person who made that routine is probably gonna be mad that I am changing things up. But once I have access to my uni's gym, I'm following Stronglifts 5x5 to a T.

Some other things. My squat form is abysmal. I'm unable to break parallel (bring my hips down lower than my knees). So I need to work on that before hitting the gym, which is why I need to start now. I'll need to buy weightlifting shoes, since regular sneakers do not support natural form. I may need to buy some microplates, both for my dumbbells and barbells. I don't think I have enough plates to go very far with my dumbbells. I don't know yet which days I'm working out on - it might be the standard Monday, Wednesday, Friday, since that would be the most appropriate way once I head to my first trimester. And I'll be recording what I did after every workout session in my fitness journal, which I'll upload to this site periodically.

So that's the plan. All unsure-ities will be updated once they're resolved. In the meantime, read the logs!