Critique my workout routine

I’ve been trying to lose my small but ever present gut and expose a lean six-pack for about four months now. Progress has been slow but steady, but recently I’ve come to think I’ve taken my current regiment as far is it’s going to go. Here’s what I’ve been doing daily:
[li]8 minute warm up on the Elliptical machine[/li][li]30 Hanging leg raises[/li][li]3 sets of 20 decline crunches[/li][li]lifts for arms, chest, shoulders, or back[/li][li]30 minute cardio on treadmill or bike[/ul][/li]
My daily diet usually consists of:
[li]Bagel with light cream cheese and coffee for breakfast[/li][li]Salad with chicken and light dressing for lunch with diet soda[/li][li]Low carb dinner of some kind[/ul][/li]
On the weekends I usually let go and eat what I want (within reason), my big splurge is a cheesesteak during the Eagles game. And I don’t get to the gym on most weekends.

How much more work is needed to reach my goal? What should I change?

Sounds good, except for the part about the medicine ball. I’d use a watermelon instead. More entertaining if you drop it.

Well, I’m no expert, but my first thought is “why are you doing low fat for breakfast and lunch and low carb for dinner?” Low carb doesn’t do zilch unless you do it all the way - that is, go low carb enough to put you into ketosis and all that.

Pick either low fat or low carb, and go with it all the way. If you want to “let go” on the weekends, I think low carb won’t really let you do that (I’m sure people who know more about it than I will confirm or deny that). On the other hand, low carb allows you to eat a LOT of high fat food and meat.

Actually, there are good physiological reasons to do low fat in the morning and low carb in the evening. Basically, the insulin sensitivity of skeletal muscles starts out high in the morning and drops off a lot in the evening. Insulin is responsible for shuttling food off to muscle and fat cells to make them grow. It’s good to eat some carbs cause they’re the only food your brain can use, so you should eat them in the morning, when they’re most likely to go into muscles as well. In the evening, your muscles do not take up carbs well, so it makes sense to drop them off.

Why eat low-fat in the morning? Mixing significant amounts of carbs and fat in one meal (more than 15g of each) causes a huge insulin spike that’s too much for your muscles to handle even under the best of circumstances, so some of that food (or most of it) will go to fat storage.

Actually, a meal that’s very high in carbs will have the same effect. A good rule is to keep your protein high in each meal, and choose an energy source (fat/carbs).

There’s slightly more to it, and I’m not explaining it incredibly well, but that’s the basic idea.

As for the OP, I don’t think your training program is very effective. You’re trying to lose your gut by working your abs. This is a very popular program, and explains why there are many people out there with good abs and a gut.

The cornerstone of any fat-loss program is a good diet. Yours could be better; I’ll post some links later today.

As far as training goes, don’t bother with isolation exercises that use one muscle at a time. Concentrate on big lifts that work a large part of your body and use a heavy weight. Here’s a list of good candidates:

Bench press, barbell/dumbbell/cable row, chinups (not pulldowns), military press, dips, squats, deadlifts, cleans, snatches

Many of these lifts have a lot of variations that’ll let you keep your program fresh (even the best training program is only good for 2-4 months; after that, your body has adapted to it and you need to find something different).

More info later.

Very much appreciate the input guys, thank you for your help. It’s times like these that make me not unwilling to pay for the SDMB…

The reason I choose to eat carbs in the mornings was because I assumed I would burn them off during the day, whereas at night when I’m just sitting on the couch or sleeping they would just be converted to fat. I didn’t know about the effect of insulin but its nice to learn I lucked out there.

As for my lifts, I do concentrate on certain things, and I have been rather set in my routine for the past four months… here’s my sched:

Day 1: warm-up, flat bench, leg raises, triceps pulldown, decline bench, decline crunches, reverse barbell curl, incline bench, cardio

Day 2: warm-up, preacher curl, leg raises, lat pull down, seated dumbbell curls, decline crunches, barbell curls, cardio

The arm lifts I do are low weight/ high rep because I think they are big enough already, and I don’t do any legs or shoulders really because I’m happy with them, but I know I should anyway. I’m really focusing on bulking up my chest, which is undersized for my frame, and trimming up my abs, particularly my lower abs. How would you recommend I change up my routine?

You’re not going to make significant progress in adding muscle and losing fat at the same time, so you’re gonna have to pick one. Which would you like to concentrate on?

i’d up that cardio to an hour if i was you.

I’m not so sure I buy that, ultrafilter. Please explain.

Buy what?

That’s interesting, because a friend told me last weekend that after 30 minutes a day, cardio is pretty much worthless.

I’ve never heard that one before, and I have a little trouble believing it. Maybe it’s not quite as good for fat loss, but if you want to train to run for an hour straight, keeping your cardio below 30 min/day isn’t going to do you much good.

i notice that i lose weight when i do cardio for an hour or more.
any less and my weight stays the same.