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Weightlifting & Exercise/Weight loss and muscle gain


Hello. I have started to train to build muscle, and lose my gut. I've never really done any weight lifting, or targeted exercises before. In the past, I've mostly relied on just normal everyday physical activity to keep me fit. Now I'm in my 20's, and in college, I'm not as active as I was. I'm not really over-weight, or at least I don't think I am ( 5'10 160lbs). I am a somewhat small guy, as far as arms and legs and stuff, but I've developed a bit of a 'beer gut'. I've decided to try to get this off, and try to build some muscle instead. Do I need to do this in steps, or can they both be done at the same time?

I've been going to the gym and working my triceps, shoulders, forearms, and chest, followed by a 2 miles run, then the next day my back, biceps, and core, followed by a 2 mile run. In the days following, I go on a 3 mile run, and a I rest the day after that. I usually follow-up on my workouts with a whey protein shake. I've been doing this for about 3-4 weeks now. Does this seem like a good workout, or should I try to lose my gut first, then build muscle?

Also, when at the gym using the fly machine, or just doing fly's, I feel like I'm working more of my biceps than my chest. Is this normal, or a doing something wrong? Thanks in advance!

Darryl, I think you've worked up a great routine! I believe in doing it all at once. What you are choosing to do is raise the calories demand because muscle burns more calories. At the same time the fat will be reduced. Be sure you are eating right. Meats, fish, veggies and drink water.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Regarding the chest work: it's common to feel this exercise in the arms and shoulders. Be sure you,are not pulling your shoulders up around your ears when you do it. Also concentrate on actual voting the chest. I try to encourage my classes nets to use theirs upper arms to squeeze your body when you bring the hands together. It will help you flex the chest until its second nature. It's hard to describe. Let me know if you need more explanation.  

Keep up the good work.

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Karen Fili Sullivan


Get on the inside track with Karen and her daily advice. Or on FacebookLIKE us at ZWL - Zen of Whole Living I have more than 30 years experience and can help with lifting technique, muscle recovery, weight loss, body building and powerlifting. I've been certified by AFPA as a Personal Trainer and 12 years ago acquired a second certification from the same agency as a Post Rehabilitative Exercise Specialist. Any recommendations or advice rendered are based on fitness information as specified by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. Follow my Blog on


Almost 25 years coaching and training. Wow! I feel old. Before that I was a competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter (ask my Chiropractor -- he can tell you). I have trained kids ages 12 to 89. From sports specific training to stroke rehabilitation. I love helping people move more gracefully, powerfully and safely.

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Published in Spring of 2013 The Zen of Weight Loss: A Mindful, Livable Approach to Fitness Get your copy at Square Market.

English with a Journalism concentration was my college education. My training has been with my mentor, Jack Michaels, ACSM and professor at the College of William and Mary. My certifications are with the American Fitness Professionals and Associates. AFPA. I hold a certification as a Personal Trainer and a Post Rehabilitation Exercise Expert (Isn't that a mouthful?l). My continuing education requirements have been fulfilled at a number of organizations and are monitored by AFPA. I keep my Red Cross CPR and First Aid current.

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Clients include athletes training for marathons, mountain climbing and general weight loss. In addition I have clients troubled with COPD, Fibromyalgia, and Parkinsons as well as stroke rehab. She was the Strength and Conditioning coach for Williamsburg Aquatic Club, a USA Swim Team, in Williamsburg, Virginia for 3 years.   Karen is presently working at Main Street Gym in Historic St. Charles, Missouri where she teaches Pilates and continues her work with clients. Her training reaches across the country with her long distance Body Restoration eTraining. Her dedication to fitness reaches into the nutritional supplementation with Shaklee products. She only works with clients who add nutritional supplementation to their training. Read more of her story on

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