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Last Updated on December 16, 2020

The Best Weekly Workout Routine for Beginners

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 January 21, 2021

    How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

    How To Workout Without a Gym And Get a Killer Gym Body

    As a general rule, everyone wants to have a sexy and strong body, but no one wants to put in the work. We see a whole lot of excuses being thrown around every time fitness is mentioned, and it’s frightening that only about 3% of people in the US subscribe to the healthy living philosophy.[1]

    That being said, have you ever stopped to think about why all these people fail to get in shape? Sure, there are some who are lazy, some with legitimate medical issues, and the readily available cheap junk food doesn’t help, but I think there is something more to it.

    People are pressed for time, scared, and confused. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Most people either can’t make it to the gym, don’t have a lot of money to drop on long-term membership fees, don’t feel comfortable exercising around others, or they simply don’t even know what to do when they do get to the gym.[2]

    Well, with a few useful tricks, some good information, and a bit of determination, you can create all the right conditions for building an impressive physique without ever leaving the house. Here’s a few things to have in mind:

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    Fixing your posture and getting limber

    The biggest issue most beginners have when they start working out is the fact that their bodies are so used to sitting scrunched up in front of a screen that they have trouble moving around freely. The human body can be amazingly limber and assume all kinds of positions, but for most people, this is going to require extensive work.

    Start by gradually improving your posture over a few weeks, using small exercises, more ergonomic furniture, and just being mindful of how you stand, walk, and sit.[3] You can combine this with a short and sweet stretching routine, done about twice a day, to get your body ready to perform the basic exercises correctly.

    Learning the basic movements

    While there’s a lot of science behind both getting stronger and getting leaner, it can all be boiled down to a few core concepts and a number of the most effective exercises. Here are the best movements for overall development that you’ll need to master (you can find examples of how to perform all the exercises mentioned here on Bodybuilding.com):

    • Squats: the king of all exercises, the squat builds most of your leg muscles with an emphasis on quads and glutes, if you go nice and deep like you should. It can be a good core and thoracic extension exercise if you hold some weight in front of you, as in the Goblet and Zercher squat variations.
    • Lunges: a great exercise for the quads and glutes that also targets the hip extensors. It also teaches you to keep your balance.
    • Pushup variations:[4] the pushup is so versatile that some call it “the poor man’s gym”. The standard close grip pushup works the triceps, front shoulders, and chest, while wider variations put more emphasis on the chest. Raising your legs pushes the focus towards the shoulders and the upper chest, while the handstand pushup is predominantly a shoulder and triceps exercise.
    • Dips: another great exercise for the lower chest and triceps, this is an incredibly fun movement that can slap mass on you quickly when done correctly.
    • Pull-ups and chin-ups: grab a bar, hang from it with arms almost fully stretched out, and then pull yourself up until your chin raises above the bar. This is a fairly straightforward, yet difficult movement that builds a big back, biceps, and forearms. Position your hands facing the head for more bicep activation, and go a bit wider with palms facing away from you to target the lats better.
    • Rows/inverted row: a horizontal pulling motion that will add slabs of meat to your back and while improving that often lagging back head of the shoulder muscle. It even improves posture by strengthening the spinal erectors to an extent. You can bend over with the back straight and row a weight from the ground, with one or both hands, or you can grab the underside of a horizontal bar, feet on the ground, and pull yourself into it.
    • Glute bridges: a great way to really isolate and work the butt. It also gets the hamstrings, which are often neglected by people working out at home.
    • Floor hip extensions: a good addition that also focuses on the glutes and hamstrings, resulting in well-toned and balanced legs.
    • Calf raises: the calf is a small muscle but an important one, especially for the ladies who want to look great in heels. It’s also easy to just throw in at the end of the workout.
    • Planks, leg raises, and ab wheel rollout: of course, the abs need some attention too, but go for planks, hold for time, side planks, hanging or lying leg raises, and ab wheel rollout for the best results.
    • The Superman: the spinal erectors need to be strong if they are to keep your back healthy, balance out those abs, and keep you nice and tight during most of the other exercises on the list, so definitely give this one a go.

    Take a few weeks to just get the form down pat on all these movements and make sure that you are doing a full range of motion and slower, deliberate movements. Don’t just bounce all over the place. Establish and build momentum. You can use a good bodyweight strength training program to make sure you hit all the muscles, keep progressing, and get enough time to recover.[5]

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    How to progress on bodyweight exercises

    Now, if you want to have a great and lean physique — and this goes for ladies as well — you need to build some muscle to give your limbs that lovely shape you are after, before you can lose the excess flab, and expose that Greek statue of a body. Don’t try to combine endurance work with your strength exercises. Focus on building strength with the exercises above and dedicate some time every other day for things like swimming, jumping rope, or cycling to burn some calories and improve your cardio.

    Okay, so the main question is, how does one progress on bodyweight exercises, short of gaining more weight to make them more challenging? Well, there’s a few things you can do. The first thing to do to challenge yourself is to add more reps.

    The most important thing to remember, however, is that when you can easily perform 15-20 reps of an exercise and still have a few reps left in the tank, it’s time to make it more challenging by doing one of the following:

    • Add an additional set. If you started at 3 sets of 5-6 reps and you’re now comfortable with 3 sets of 15-17 reps, then you can simply throw in a fourth set into the mix.
    • Do it slower. Busting out 20 quick reps isn’t quite the same as doing 10 slow and controlled reps, where you can even add a short pause when your muscles are fully relaxed before contracting them for the next rep.
    • Shorten the rest period between sets. 60-90 seconds is the sweet spot for resting between longer sets of 10-20 reps, but when things get easy, you can shorten this rest period progressively by 10 seconds, until you are only resting about 30-40 seconds between sets, to make it more difficult before moving on to a more challenging variation or adding weight.
    • Move on to a more difficult variation. When you get comfortable, focus on a variation of the movement that provides a bit of a challenge, e.g. one arm on ball pushups and then single arm pushups, pistol squats, and so on.
    • Add some weight. While you might not have access to barbells, you can always get a fairly inexpensive dumbbell set, a few different sized bags filled with sand, a backpack with some rocks, and even big water bottles and milk jugs will do the trick, just as long as you keep adding weight.

    Work hard on your form, then try to go as hard as you can each session without overdoing it. I’d say stop a rep short of failure and rest until you feel you can go for another full set.

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    Determining the type of cardio you need to do

    Cardio is not that difficult to figure out and it basically boils down to a few simple rules, depending on your shape and goals:

    • If you’re skinny and want to get sexy and muscular: Do light and steady cardio, like a brisk walk for an hour, 5-6 minutes of jump rope here and there, or even just 10 minutes of shadow-boxing or dancing every day. Don’t let it cut into your calories too much.
    • If you’re a little overweight and want to lose 10 pounds or less and build muscle: It’s the same as the previous example, just add 2-4 more intense sessions of running, swimming, circuit training a week into the mix to cut the weight first. Revert to the previous example once you have lost the weight and recenter your focus on building muscle.
    • If you’re seriously overweight and your main concern is cutting 20+ pounds: Again, it’s the same as the previous example, only you can go with even more intense workouts, or daily moderate cardio sessions of about 20-30 minutes for a while. Once you’ve lost most of the weight, revert to the previous example, and then to the first example when you’ve shed all the extra pounds you’d like to get rid of.

    You can choose any activity that you like, from jump rope, cycling, and swimming to hiking and and other high-cardio sports.

    A look at diets and keeping them reasonable

    As far as the diet goes we’ll keep it extremely simple:

    • Try to eat diverse vegetables with every meal
    • Eat fruit, seeds, and nuts instead of sweets
    • Go for lean meats instead of processed meat and cooked food instead of fast and fried food
    • Start counting your macro nutrient intake[6]
    • Cheat if you must, but keep these meals small, few, and far between

    As long as you can stick with the program for about 80% of the time, you’ll be on your way to better health and an amazing body!

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    DIY home gym basics

    Some essentials that can help you get better results at home include:

    • A dumbbell set
    • Pull-Up bar
    • Ab wheel
    • Big ol’ sturdy bags filled with sand

    You can do tons of great exercises with these simple tools, but if you can’t shell out for them right now, good alternatives include five gallon milk jugs filled with water, a bunch of books stacked in a backpack, using a friend/partner to lay on you, push, or pull to provide extra resistance, or just lifting heavy furniture and moving it around the room.

    It pays to be creative. Look at how certain exercises are performed and on what type of equipment, and try to replicate it using household items. For example:

    • Two chairs = dip station
    • Anything that you can hang off = pull up bar
    • A stack of large blankets on the floor = bench
    • Stick and some rope = forearm exercise machine
    • A towel wrapped on a bar or dumbbell grip = thick grip for hand and forearm strength
    • Car = prowler device for pushing to build endurance and power in the legs

    It’s all fairly cheap and you can get as creative as you like, just remember to be consistent with your training in order to see the results you wish to see.

    All it takes is a little ingenuity and elbow grease, and you’ll set up a decent home “gym” and adopt some great habits along the way. It’s all about being consistent and trying to progress on each session, or at least each week, as you keep adding reps, using more complex movements, and adding weight, all while eating right for your current goals. Give it a shot and always remember, 90% of all this is your commitment and the intensity with which you attack these positive life changes.

    Featured photo credit: Minna Hamalainen via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Atlantic: Study: Less Than 3 Percent of Americans Live a ‘Healthy Lifestyle’
    [2] Men’s Fitness: 6 Not-So-Obvious Newbie Training Mistakes
    [3] Perfect Postur: Tips for Improving Posture and Ergonomics
    [4] Men’s Fitness: The Top 15 Pushup Variations
    [5] Men’s Fitness: 6 Bodyweight Workouts That Actually Build Momentum
    [6] On the Regimen: How To Count Your Macros – A Comprehensive Guide

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