- Weight training: (10 machines) 3 times per week.
- Cardio: 5 times a week, 30-60 minutes.
I have to be honest and tell you that I have not been watching what I eat very carefully. I generally eat healthy foods but I’m not super strict with my diet and I do enjoy my favorite cheat foods from time to time. When should I start seeing results from my current program?
You mentioned that your diet is not exactly perfect and you tend to fall victim to cheat foods from time to time. This is a crucial component and I need to explain how critical nutrition plays in your overall results to build quality muscle mass while decreasing unwanted body fat. Your little cheat meals are important since the overall size of these cheats can make or break you. If you are having a small slice of cheesecake twice per week, this will not impact your results very much. However, if you have an entire cheesecake twice per week, then this can have a serious impact on your fat loss results.
When it comes to enjoying cheat meals when you’re trying to follow a clean eating plan, I highly recommend following a “better bad” approach. What this means is to choose better options when you decide to have a little fun. For example, choose fat-free frozen yogurt over regular ice cream or have fat-free popcorn over movie theater butter popcorn. By making these small changes in your favorite cheat foods, you can literally save hundreds of calories at each feast.
Since you are on the smaller side and only weigh 158 pounds, you probably want to increase your overall calories by including healthy fat options into your diet. Add a couple of handfuls of raw nuts like almonds, walnuts and cashews at each meal or add 1-2 tablespoons of all natural peanut butter to your protein shakes during the day. This will give you an additional 800-1,000 calories coming from healthy fats with omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that will help to stimulate growth.
Your current weight training and cardio program looks pretty solid. I would mix in some free weights along with the machines you are currently doing. There is nothing better for building lean muscle mass then doing multi-joint exercises like squats, bench press and deadlifts. These will help stimulate your entire body to produce more muscle building hormones like testosterone and growth hormone along with burning more overall calories than machines can provide.