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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

The Best Weekly Workout Routine for Beginners

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The Best Weekly Workout Routine for Beginners

Whether you’re looking to either lose weight, build strength, or develop muscle, I will be detailing the approach for each objective in the proceeding article.

Before we get into it, let me preface by saying that you will be asked to perform cardio if wanting to lose weight, and for each objective, I HIGHLY suggest adopting Intermittent Fasting for at least 2 days of the week, if not all days, if you want amazing results for either weight loss, muscle development, strength gains, mental clarity, and overall health.

I have written many previous articles on Intermittent Fasting, and if you are unfamiliar, I encourage you to pause for a moment to have a read.

Identifying Your Goals and Objectives

I often get a tad philosophical in these articles, and you can expect the same here. One of the best ways you can get started into exercising is by identifying your goals, objectives, and intentions.

Simply put, what do you want to achieve and why? Do you want to lose weight, get stronger, or build muscle?

You may be thinking ‘well those all sound great!’, but the best approach is to identify a single primary objective. The reason being is because different styles of training will affect your body differently. For example, when I was losing weight to shed body fat, my approach heavily focused on that and utilized caloric restriction, macro nutrient calculations, and intermittent fasting.

One of the main reasons I suggest identifying goals for yourself is because now, you can start to support those goals with visualization, and then begin to develop a plan of action or strategy to reach your goal.

Your goals will always be changing, and using myself as an example, after I lost the weight and reached my initial goal of 8% body fat, my new goal became to develop more muscle with a focus on getting stronger. My training shifted from high repetition body building with lots of cardio, to low repetition strength training (on strict programming) and practically no cardio. I also increased my carbohydrate intake to support the muscle building and strength gains.

Muscle Mass vs Strength

Many get these two mixed up or convoluted; thinking that with one comes the other, which is not always true.

I’ve personally witnessed a small/skinny 155lbs adult male squat twice as much weight than a muscular 200lb+ male. How? Because the smaller person had trained their strength, which heavily revolves around the central nervous system (“CNS”) and the method of training.

The style of training is vastly different if one wants to focus on muscle building vs strength. If one is interested in building muscle, the training modality would be of a higher repetition range and more volume. More volume means doing more sets and reps overall. There is a simple way to calculate total weekly volume, and that is to take the total sets and reps for all exercises of that week, and multiply it by the weight lifted during that same week. The equation looks like this:

Training Volume (V) = Sets (S) x Reps (R) x Weight (W)

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or simplified: V = S x R x W

For example, if I worked out 3 days of the week and performed 5 sets of 5 squats with 315lbs then my total weekly volume is 3 x 5 (S) x 5 (R) x 315lbs (W) = 23,625lbs of total volume.

Powerlifters and strength athletes are generally more focused on volume as it develops the working capacity for how much one can lift and how strong one can be. There is periodization involved with this process for a powerlifter as strength tends to come in waves – we can’t be lifting heavy all the time, it simply won’t work.

Bodybuilders are generally more concerned with lots of sets and reps, but keeping the weight much lower. The objective of a bodybuilder is to establish a ‘pump’, which in essence means “damaging” the muscles of the body during exercise and in the process driving blood to the muscles to encourage regeneration, repair, and growth.

Bodybuilders tend to tear down the muscle, in order to build it back up stronger. This of course needs to be supported by a protein and carbohydrate rich diet. Likewise, powerlifters also need high protein/cab intake to support training.

The difference between the two is that bodybuilders are more likely to count the macro nutrients and calories when compared with strength athletes. This is because bodybuilders have set an objective of reduced body fat and more muscle, whereas powerlifters are simply looking to get stronger.

Creating a Plan or Strategy

So now that you’ve identified your goal, let’s dive into the recommended strategy for each. I will keep this organized under the heading of each objective so it’s easy to follow along.

Exercising to Lose Weight

If you’re new to exercising, I honestly suggest you workout every single day, or 6 days with 1 off, and the reason is simply that you get such amazing results in the early stages – capitalise on it!

When you’re looking to lose weight, be prepared to do some cardio. If you don’t like cardio, too bad, suck it up and do it anyways. You can start with 3-4 walks a day of 15min (up to 60min total walking time), or you can reduce this to only doing cardio for your workouts.

If you opt to only perform cardio during your workouts, that works fine, and I’ve covered it in the below approach:

Simple Breakdown

Perform these movements in a pyramid where you start with light weight and work your way up to heavier.

Example: 2 x 15 light weight, 2 x 12 moderate weight, 1 x 10 slightly heavier weight but not where you’re struggling to perform the last rep – you should be able to theoretically perform up to 2 more reps but stop at 10

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  • Warmup cardio 15min (moderate pace first 10min, faster pace last 5min)
  • Superset Bicep Curls with Tricep Extensions, this can be done with dumbbell or cable machine
  • Superset Bench Press with Bent Over Rows, or Pushups with Pullups, this again can be performed with a barbell or dumbbell
  • Superset Front Squats with Still Leg Deadlifts or Standard Deadlift, and keep these light
  • Overhead Press with Dumbbells or Barbell

You may also opt for standard Barbell Squats on some days of the week, and the difference between the two is that you are training anterior chain a bit more so in the front squats.

Overall, however, the High or Low Bar back squat could be argued as a superior movement, but I won’t get into that. The above exercises give you a very basic template to build off.

Now let’s get into the more detailed explanation below.

Detailed Explanation

Warm up each workout with 15min cardio at a moderate pace (jogging, or a very fast pace walk). The goal here is to increase your heart rate beats per minute (“BPM”).

Now that you’ve warmed up, you can get into your workout. The great thing about being a beginner to working-out is that you can get massive results very quickly! You can perform your workouts targeting the total body, whereas a seasoned athlete often needs to split workouts by various muscle groups, also known as a “workout split”.

An example of a workout split would be Monday – Chest, Tuesday – Back, Wed – Legs, Thurs – Arms..etc.

Another example of a split would be training the anterior chain on one day, and posterior chain on the next. Anterior chain would cover chest, abs, arms.. whereas posterior would be hamstrings, glutes, back..etc.

I highly suggest as a beginner, you ignore this stuff and focus on performing full body workouts for at least the first few months into training. Full body workouts could include, for example, a bench press workout, and immediately after the set going over to a machine or equipment for back-training.

By going from one exercise to the next, you are ensuring an elevated heart rate, which is great for burning fat and losing weight. This is also known as a ‘superset’, and I have made several videos on Superset Training. Here’s one of them:

When you’re done with weight lifting for the workout, it’s time for cool-down cardio — 10min at a less than moderate pace (quick walk) – this promotes circulation.

Generally speaking, your workout can be kept to 1-hour if you follow the above approach, and it would look something like this:

15min Warm-up Cardio, 30-40min training, and 10min cool-down cardio

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Because you are utilizing supersets during the 40min training, your heart rate is kept elevated and you are burning maximum fat for the workout.

Now you can top it off by training in a fasted state to really shed the weight.

Exercising to Build Muscle

Building muscle will not require as much cardio as weight loss training, however, it will require more weight lifting with higher volume. Your warm up can be limited to under 10min, and cool-down to 5min, leaving more time for weight lifting in between.

As a new lifter, you can still perform full body workouts and achieve amazing results; simply rotate through the muscle groups during your training each day.

After a few months of full body training, you may need to switch over to a training split, which I covered earlier in this article.

If you are interested in a detailed breakdown of a bodybuilding training split, hit me up on social media (comment, or DM) and let me know! I’ll be happy to accommodate if the interest in bodybuilding training is there.

Exercising to Get Stronger

Training to get stronger doesn’t totally require cardio, however, for general health purposes, I still recommend cardio to the extent of that mentioned above for ‘exercising to build muscle’.

Cardio aside, the training approach for getting stronger should be supported by proven programs. Some great examples of strength programs, and I encourage you to research each one specifically to determine which is best for you!

I personally have ‘run’ a few different programs, including Conjugate training, and the Texas Method Powerlifting program, which I created a YouTube video series/log detailing.

It looks like this…

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1

Each training cycle lasts four weeks and the rep schemes for each week (and each exercise) look like:

  • Week 1: 3 x 5
  • Week 2: 3 x 3
  • Week 3: 3 x 5, 3, 1 (get it?)
  • Week 4: deloading

This is how the percentages for each set are broken down:

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    Reg Park’s 5×5

    Phase One

    • 45-degree back extension 3×10
    • Back squat 5×5
    • Bench press 5×5
    • Deadlift 5×5
    • Rest 3-5 minutes between the last 3 sets of each exercise.

    Train three days per week for three months.

    The first two sets of 5 are meant to be heavier warm-up sets before moving into 3 sets at the same weight. Once you can do the last three sets of five reps, you move all weights up approx 5-10 lbs.

    Louie Simmons’ Westside Barbell Conjugate

    The basic breakdown of the week:

    • Monday – Max Effort Squat/Deadlift
    • Wednesday – Max Effort Bench
    • Friday – Dynamic Effort Squat/Deadlift
    • Saturday – Dynamic Effort Bench

    Executing

    Don’t just read this article.. DO!

    Get up and do, make it happen, take action, what ever goal you have identified. Especially in the early stages of exercising, you need to begin to allow that rolling snowball to turn into an avalanche of success.

    Look deep within yourself and ask what it is you want to achieve, now execute!

    Tracking Results

    I always speak about keeping yourself accountable and supporting your own journey in the process byway of tracking results! There are so many great mobile apps, wearable devices and fitness trackers including heart rate monitors, and more.

    Personally I’ve had great experience with MyFitnessPal for tracking calories and macro nutrients while losing weight, and StrongLifts for tracking training. There are again many more apps you can explore and the take away, here is that you should be keeping track of your results because that in itself is motivation to keep crushing it.

    Get at it fitfam!

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    Featured photo credit: Jonathan Borba via unsplash.com

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    Adam Evans

    BioHacker, competitive athlete, researcher in many fields including health and fitness, science, philosophy, metaphysics, religion.

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    Last Updated on October 4, 2021

    5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

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    5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss at Home

    With the lines of work and home becoming increasingly blurry, it’s no wonder why we struggle to find the time to prioritize our health. Particularly with weight loss, it’s often difficult to manage the ever-present constraints around work, children, time to exercise, and the feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day.

    Taking the effects of stress and the rise of remote work and work-from-home situations, we need to be far more tactical in our weight loss pursuits. Quite often, these exercises for weight loss at home aren’t even fitness-related.

    Firstly, let’s look at a standard day in the life of a busy professional or parent to really understand the battlefield in which we need to operate.

    We all have 24 hours in a day to work with. Knowing how we spend that 24 hours is crucial when learning where time will be best spent for our weight loss journey. Setting unrealistic expectations can be a quick way to end up back at square one.

    • Sleep: 8 hours (parents, if you’re lucky)
    • Work: 8 hours (sometimes more)
    • Children: 2 to 4 hours (includes pickups, drop-offs, and play)
    • Meal Preparation: 1 hour (at a minimum)
    • Household Activities: 1 to 2 hours (because someone’s got to do it, right?)
    • Total: 20 to 22 hours

    Taking into account that switching between tasks takes time and cognitive space, we can start to understand why people just want to sit and scroll through social media at the end of a day. We also haven’t factored in the work commute if you have to report to the office.

    Just realized you now have minimal time to yourself? This might start to explain why you struggle to gain momentum in your weight loss journey. Let’s work out how to take back the initiative:

    • Automate – Are there any tasks you can automate? If you’re fortunate enough to be gainfully employed, maybe it’s time to hire a cleaner or have ready-made meals delivered to your door. It doesn’t have to happen every night, but removing the decision of “what’s for dinner?” can be a great way to reduce stress and free up brain space and time.
    • Optimize – If you’re time-poor with kids, it’s time to optimize your activities. Turn screen time into playtime outdoors, and get them to join in on your activities. If your children are old enough, it might be time to start offering pocket money for chores and meal preparation. This strategy helped me stay fit as a single parent. By getting out and active with my son, I doubled my return on investment by staying fit and enhancing my relationship.
    • Eliminate – We’re only human. Sometimes, we simply have too much on our plate due to our high expectations. Take a look through your daily tasks and work out what can be removed.

    Now, go through this exercise yourself. What potential spare time do you have to work with? If the answer is none, you might want to keep reading.

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    Exercise Selection: It’s Not All About the Burn

    No equipment? No problem.

    So, we’re finally tracking the elements that matter. It’s time to start leveraging exercise to accelerate our weight loss journey. Alongside focusing on individual exercises that help with weight loss at home or caloric expenditure, we’re going to focus on another method to help keep you consistent and accountable for the long term: interest.

    Interest has been linked as one of the key motivating factors to maintain consistency towards a goal. By choosing a form of exercise that your body and mind can enjoy, your chances of weight loss success are far greater.

    Here’re the 5 best exercises for weight loss at home:

    1. Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

    Maybe the body isn’t what it used to be, and intense forms of training simply just aren’t safe anymore. Also considering the body’s response to stress, it might be in our very best interest to choose low-intensity activities that we can repeat daily.

    Mobility and movement flows have risen in popularity in recent years. This form of exercise focuses on restoring range of motion (ROM), improving stability, and returning people to activity. Some exercise options include:

    • Quadruped Rocks
    • Frog Stretch
    • Hip Prying
    • Scapula Push-ups
    • Hindu push-ups

    Below is a 10minute warm-up flow that shows you how to put all of this together:

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    2. Yoga

    Yoga is another perfect example of LIIT methodology that can be advanced as your ability improves. Focusing on mobility, stability, and range of movement using only your body weight, it’s a perfect entry-level activity for those that may have lost their way on their weight loss journey.

    3. Calisthenics

    Strength training at home can be difficult when you lack equipment or experience. An obvious path to building strength at home is calisthenics. Starting with just the following basic bodyweight movements:

    You can begin your journey with no equipment and build to quite an advanced level. Here are five movements you can look to master over time are:

    Depending on your ability, choose movements that allow you to progress safely over time. There is also gymnastics-based training you can move towards if your body is ready for a more demanding form of training.

    4. Aerobic Exercise

    Another underrepresented form of exercise, aerobic exercise is often overlooked for its sexier counterparts like strength and HIIT. With the prevalence of obesity nearly tripling between 1975 and 2016 and the major cause in adults being cardiovascular disease, it makes sense to focus on activities that improve cardiovascular or heart health.

    Another benefit is that it can be as simple as getting your steps in, going for a swim, or going for an easy ride or run. Phil Maffetone pioneered the Maximum Aerobic Function (MAF) Method that almost anyone can adopt regardless of fitness level and experience.[1]

    Here’s a 30-minute session of aerobic exercises you can try:

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    5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

    High-intensity interval training is a great way to elevate the heart rate and get the endorphins flowing. It can also be super time-effective, giving you a great bang for your buck. Try sequencing some of the movements and exercises above together with minimal rest to keep your heart rate elevated. Be sure to select movements that suit your current level of fitness and ability.

    Here’s a HIIT workout that takes little time and is suited for any level:

    Chipper 60

    Complete all reps of every exercise for time. Exercises can be done in any order and repetitions to complete the workout.

    If you can’t do jump squats, regress to normal squats, and don’t be afraid to change the leg raises to a 60-second plank if you need to. Finish up with some light stretching or foam rolling.

    What Also Matters: Sleep, Stress, and Stimulants

    Sleep, stress, and stimulants, also known as the hamster wheel of death. Tracking these elements gives us the power to finally stop relying on our ever-depleted stores of discipline and motivation to get the job done. It will also highlight the self-destructive habits that sabotage your weight loss journey.

    Simply put, stress affects stimulants, sleep affects stress, and the vicious cycle continues.

    Sleep

    Are you getting enough sleep? It’s well documented that sleep is an important factor in weight loss and recovery.

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    “Restricted sleep and poor sleep quality may lead to metabolic disorders, weight gain, and an increased risk of obesity and other chronic health conditions.”[2]

    Start this journey by tracking how much sleep you’re getting. Certain wearables can also track the amount of movement and time you spend awake or in lighter sleep cycles. Getting enough time in REM or deep sleep is critical for weight loss.

    Stress

    We don’t need to be fancy. A simple daily measurement out of ten indicates how much stress we think we are under. Using this number, we can observe the effects that sleep, stimulants, and exercise have on our stress levels, allowing us to deploy the right strategy for our weight loss goals.

    Stimulants

    Stimulants can be classified as anything we put in our mouths. Tracking calories, alcohol, and caffeine is a great way to observe, predict, and avoid trends or at-risk periods of overeating and destructive behaviors. Tracking this is aligned with how well we sleep, and our stress response gives us enough information to start forming better weight loss habits.

    Work to identify the trigger, observe the response, and then look to adjust.

    Final Thoughts

    Whether you’re fighting fit or returning to activity, the best exercises for weight loss at home are the ones that you can do day in day out that you enjoy. Think of exercise for weight loss as we do for compound interest. Consistently and regularly making deposits may not show immediately, but with time, they give you the momentum you need to reach your goals.

    Featured photo credit: Olivia Bauso via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] PhilMaffetone: Maximum Aerobic Function
    [2] SleepFoundation.org: Why is sleep so important to weight loss?

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