The Ultimate Guide To Achieve Insane Results From Your Efforts In The Gym
Exercise will buy you time.
More energy amplifies your life to achieve more and live happier
Simple as that
That’s why energy is worth more than money, your time is only worth what capacity you can apply it too, then combine that with more confidence and focus and you’ve got a recipe for success.
The truth is, the way your body looks today, is the result of your values and priorities over the past 12+ months.
Getting in shape isn’t easy.
But it’s a ton easier than living in a body and mind that is suffering from lacking energy, confidence and feeling older than you should. Imagine feeling 10 even 20 years younger again.
Your body is simply a reflection of your own self-worth.
If it’s not where you want it to be, it’s time to value yourself MORE.
Here I’ll be explaining how you can become the lean machine you were born to be.
Why getting into shape will enhance your life.
The fact is, the world RESPONDS to you BETTER when you’re in better shape.
Both men and women treat you better when you look masculine and in shape. Yes, to some this sounds shallow and superficial, and maybe it is, however, we cannot change the way humans work.
Losing fat to reveal the muscle underneath will completely transform your overall appearance. This gives a boosts not just to your confidence but also your level of happiness.
Without self-confidence, having that self-doubt will be toxic to your happiness levels.
The next great advantage is that your clothes will look better on a leaner body, your STYLE increases by default.
You look better in almost anything. In a shirt or suit, in a tracksuit, in casual jeans and a t-shirt.
All of a sudden, everything “suits you.”
Next, to this, another huge advantage of looking after your health and getting into a shape you love, is you begin to have MORE energy. This gives you more energy & discipline to focus on achieving your other goals. Mentally you’re in a better place.
Getting into better shape means others are more likely to give you help. People who like the look of you are going to help more, it’s the unfortunate way humans work. It may not be moral, but use this to your advantage.
You Get More Help, people who like the look of you are going to help you more.
This may not be moral, but it’s how humans work.
Use this to your advantage.
Here I want to tell you exactly how you can make the most efficient progress to this
So first: The Power Of Strength Training
The routines below are based for you to build strength on the exercises that will have the best results on transforming your body shape.
Simply getting stronger on key exercises will allow you to build muscle consistently.
Having the goal to build muscle with your training is essential, especially if your end goal is to burn fat.
Your diet will take care of losing fat, not your training, keep your workouts focused on ‘building muscle & strength, not burning fat.
Having the goal of building muscle when training will support the fat you burn a lot more effectively both short term and long term.
Here’s the most amazing part
Working out is so much than just looking and feeling good.
Of course, it will give you this, and that’s a big part of it, but what most overlook is what it will teach you.
Showing up at the gym every week and challenging your body will teach you more about life than any book ever can
Mind control is the result of self-discipline and habit. You have power of your mind, or it will control you. There is no half-way compromise.
It’s MORE important for you to train your mind, than your body.
The average person, like the ones you work with or the ones you pass walking down the street, have about as much control over themselves and their life as do over what the weather will be like tomorrow
Here I’m going to dive into the best type of training if your goal is to burn fat or build muscle, perhaps both.
First, would you like to burn fat while watching tv?
Well, there are so many types of training systems that may work, the one however which will serve you best, is strength training.
You see when you train to get stronger some amazing things happen, you tear more muscle fibres, these fibres need repairing after each workout which takes energy and uses calories from food and amino acids from protein to repair.
Instead of these calories contributing to fat on your waist, they help you recover and increase your metabolism. Don’t get too caught up on this, but depending on the programme you’re following this can take 24-72 hours after your workout; therefore the food you eat goes into repair rather than fat.
Now let’s dive deep into how you can get the most effective results from your time put in.
The best amount of reps?
The number of reps you do should vary when you train for best results.
Look, it’s possible to build muscle using all rep ranges.
It is also possible to train for pure strength (low reps 1-5) and fail to stimulate muscle gains.
It’s also possible to train only using the 6-12 rep ranges, but by doing this you will never amplify your max strength levels, and you’ll neglect strength endurance.
You could train only using 10-30 reps, but your strength levels won’t be near where they could be.
The point here is that you need to train with ALL rep ranges to gain best results from your training and stimulate all possible mechanisms for muscle growth.
Here’s a rough percentage of how much weight you should be aiming to lift for a number of reps.
100% (This is a weight that is your absolute max effort, a weight you can only do once)=
1 rep max.
95% is 2 rep max.
93% is 3 rep max
90% is 4 rep max
87% is a 5 rep max
85% is a 6 rep max
83% is a 7 rep max
80% is an 8 rep max
77% is a 9 rep max
75% is a 10 rep max
70% is a 12 rep max
65% is a 15 rep max
60% is a 20 rep max
The first aspect that is vital to realise is, that there is no such thing as “training for fat loss”, and if there is, its training to build muscle.
Your training aim needs to be focused to change your metabolism and improve your health, not to create a calorie deficit.
Permanent fat loss WILL require increased muscle mass, strength, power, and improved cardiovascular function which is why training for muscle mass is so effective and vital for fat loss.
Volume in exercise science refers to total working reps and sets. Working reps mean reps which required measurable effort and real effort. 3 sets of 10=30 total working reps
All lifting intensities build muscle equally if the volume is equal if you prefer lifting at 75% of your 1rep max for say 8-12 reps rather than 85% for 4-7 reps then stick to this for the majority of your training.Better to keep at what you ENJOY doing than train in a way you hate.
The most “optimal” way to train to build muscle is training with weights that are 60-85% of your 1 rep max, with the total volume in the 20-50 rep range per angle of movement.
Now I’,m going to dive into another essential aspect of gaining an incredible body and something which shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly as you become more advanced with your own training.
This is time under tension and mind muscle connection.
First, time under tension:
This is simply the duration of the muscle repeatedly contracting and lengthening during a set of an exercise.
This produces both eccentric (lowering the weight) damage and can trigger the adaptation for muscle gains. Merely focusing on controlling each exercise you do, will increase the eccentric damage. This will help muscle gain alongside training to failure (Or near failure)
It’s not just about the weight, it’s about how you move the weight.
Think about controlling the rep for 2-4 seconds on the way down will mean more time under tension.
You don’t want to go so slow that you’re stopping yourself from achieving more volume, but slow enough to keep tension on the muscle and feel it throughout. This is great if you’re at a crappy hotel gym and only have lighter weights to use.
Mind muscle connection:
As you do this, you should feel the exercise more in the muscle you’re working.
Look, a mind-muscle connection is a real thing. Your brain is what powers your muscles and sends to signal for them to contract. If you’re finding it hard to contract a muscle continuously, it will never grow to its full potential. As you do each exercise, focus on this, keep reps controlled, the more you repeat an exercise, the better and more natural this should become.
One of the best bits of training advice I can give to ‘leave your ego at the door.’
Honestly, your joints will thank you, and your results will be better by using a weight you can still control, don’t get me wrong you need to challenge yourself and aim to get strong but build up to this ensuring you’re still feeling the exercise in the muscle you’re working.
Here’s How To Lift The Right Weights To Begin Strength Training:
1. Your weight should make you work for those last few reps (without compromising your technique). Treat this as an experiment with your first few workouts. It may take a few sets to find the sweet spot of challenging enough to struggle to complete the last couple of reps but the feeling that you would have liked to have stopped a few reps before.
2. So, if you planned on 10 reps, you should want to stop around the eighth rep but be able to maintain good technique until your last rep. The weight is too much is you’re struggling to control the exercise with proper technique.
The weight you’re using is most likely too light if you’re not struggling the last few reps. Even if you feel a ‘burn’ in the muscle, it doesn’t mean the weight is challenging enough for you, continuously strive to lift slightly more once you’ve nailed technique.
Once you’re at a point where you feel the work from the very first rep, you know you’ve hit the jackpot. If you feel it’ll be reasonably easy to do the desired number of reps, stop mucking about and lift more, it’s too light.
You should feel the exercise work from the very first rep.
3. The exercise you’re doing will help determine what weight you use.
There are certain exercises where you will be strong, and others not so much. For example, if you’re doing a deadlift, you’ll be using big powerful muscles like your glutes and back, you can probably go pretty heavy.
However, if you’re working your biceps or triceps, keep the weight lighter, these are smaller muscles and need tension to build.
4. This will come down to listening to your body,
it’s a good idea not to increase the weight you use slowly but still give yourself a challenge. If you’re not feeling nervous about at least one set in a workout, you need to challenge yourself more and get out of your comfort zone.
If you’re feeling sore and tired one day, listen to your body. There is nothing wrong with going lighter and going through the motions. Treat each workout as a win, just don’t get caught in your comfort zone.
“And remember, ‘heavy’ or ‘light’ means heavy or light to you,” don’t compare yourself to anyone on social media or do what someone else at the gym is doing. Focus on yourself, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.
Strength is all relative too, a 20kg chest press may be ‘light’ for 5 reps, but for 50 reps, that will get tough I’m sure.
Here’s the great thing, if you’re a beginner who has never trained before, basically any form of resistance training will work as long as you’re providing progressive overload.
This is very important to realise so, as a beginner you don’t become bias towards a particular method or where you begin to think about the first programme you do is the best there is.
How do you know if you’re a beginner?
Well, you have no prior or minimal experience with lifting weights, or if you’re one of those guys casually lifting “on and off” over the years, you’re still a beginner.
If you haven’t seen any serious strength gains and haven’t gained at least your first 15-25 pounds of muscle, then you are still a beginner.
If your primary goal as a beginner is to lose fat here’s what you can expect:
First, you’ll probably want to see progress on the scale; however, it may not be the most accurate measure of progress at this stage. While the scale is important, as a beginner trying to lose weight, it’s likely you will also build muscle at the same which can result in the scale not changing.
This is because the stimulus of strength training is new, this shocks the body into building lean muscle tissue.
So for example, if you lost 3 pounds of fat but gained gain 3 pounds of lean muscle mass, then your weight will likely not change much, but you’ll be looking a lot leaner.
Here are a few better ways to record progress:
1. Are you getting stronger?
3. Measurements around your body (waist, chest, lats, arms etc.)
Tape measurements are a much more reliable way to measure progress at this point.
Here are the body parts I recommend taking weekly measurements of:
Note: make sure to use soft (not hard) measuring tape so you can easily wrap it around your body. It’s best to take in the same state as you would weigh yourself (after you wake up, after you take a piss, and before eating/drinking anything).
•Shoulder circumference (at the widest point)
•Chest circumference (right across nipples)
•Leg circumference (at widest point)
•Waist circumference (at belly button)
•Arms (taken with biceps flexed at widest point)
So what if you’re a complete beginner trying to build muscle
If you’re a beginner-focused on building muscle, obviously I’m going to assume that you’re a skinny guy.
You shouldn’t be overweight and be trying to build muscle. Focus on losing weight first (and hey, you’ll most likely build some muscle in progress)
But as a skinny dude focused on building muscle, you should expect to gain about 0.5 pounds of lean muscle mass per week if training and eating perfectly.
Of course, there are factors like genetics that determine the rate and overall amount of muscle you’ll be able to build eventually but approximately 0.5 pound per week is the general average.
Now you’re probably thinking, 0.5 pounds per week? That’s nothing.
Well, understand that most advanced lifters are considered lucky if they can put on 0.5 pounds of muscle in 3-6 months.
As a beginner, you’ll never gain strength and muscle faster than you will right now so enjoy it.
So for example, take a 150-pound male.
In his first 6 months of training, he will likely gain 12-15 pounds of muscle mass. And trust me, 12-15 pounds makes a HUGE difference in your physique.
And after a year, if you’ve kept consistent with your plan, eat the right amount of calories & protein you’ll have put on close to 30 pounds, that’s game-changing.
The aim is just to KEEP consistent, and this can happen. Without consistency, starting and stopping you’ll NEVER reach the body you can achieve
Chapter: Complete beginner who is skinny fat
Ah, skinny fat, this is a dilemma.
So what to do, if you’re not necessarily fat or overweight, but you’re not a skinny twig either.
Maybe you have a bit of a belly, maybe some man boob-like things on a skinny frame.
How do we solve this?
This was me, all not too long ago.
By eating more and lifting heavy.
When skinny fat guys focus on eating more calories, lifting heavy and getting stronger, they will lose fat and build muscle at the same time resulting in a body recomposition effect.
So just like the situation above where the beginner is trying to lose weight, the scale is not a very accurate way of measurement here since you’ll be losing body fat and building lean muscle mass at the same time.
If you’re a beginner, the best way routine will be FULL BODY if your goal is to lose fat or build muscle. This allows you to focus on strength gains on the exercises you pick, you should aim to train 2-4x a week. As a beginner, you can also put on 20-30Ibs of muscle mass providing you’re training and eating properly.
If you’ve been training for over a year, you’re more of an intermediate trainee.
Alright, so you’re no longer a beginner.
I classify an intermediate as someone who has gained at least 15 pounds of muscle.
And if you’re an intermediate trying to lose fat, then you already have a solid base of muscle.
This means you will not be building muscle and losing fat at the same as a beginner would.
Instead, you should focus exclusively on dropping body fat while maintaining your current levels of muscle mass. If for some reason you do gain some muscle, just consider it a bonus.
Someone focused exclusively on fat loss should expect to lose about 1 pound per week.
When you’re first starting out, you tend to lose weight faster (it’s not uncommon to lose up to 5 pounds in the first week).
The more weight you have to lose, the more weight you will lose in the first week. But this is mostly water weight.
After the initial week, expect weight loss to taper off to about 1 pound per week. And once you get down to your last 5-10 pounds, expect weight loss to slow down even more to around 0.5 pounds per week.
An intermediate lifter who is trying to build muscle:
As an intermediate, your ability to gain as much muscle decreases.
After a year, you should expect to gain about 1-1.5 pounds of muscle per month (0.25-0.375 pounds per week).
Again, this may not sound like a lot, but it quickly adds up.
I mean, seriously you can’t expect muscle growth not to slow down? If everyone kept on gaining 0.5 pounds per week, then dudes who have been training for 10+ years would have put on 200+ pounds of muscle which is just not possible, even with steroids.
Here an upper body/lower body split can be very effective as an intermediate. This allows you to focus on different exercises or muscles, here you need to be training 4 days a week. If training and eating well, you can aim to put on 10-15ibs of muscle in year 2.
If you’re in your 3rd year of training, congratulations, consider yourself an advanced trainee.
Here, muscle group splits like push, pull, legs, or even a random split prioritising a certain muscle like chest/back/arms, legs/shoulders will be most effective.
At this point, you should have a good sense of how to train and program for yourself training 3-6 days a week. Muscle gain in year 3 can be 5-7lbs and drops by 50% every year after.
So if you’re in your 4-5th year of training, you will be gaining 1-3ibs a muscle in any given year.
Now, if you’re a veteran trainee, aka you’ve been training for 5 or more years, then specialisation programmes can be used very effectively. This can be as simple as training a muscle 3-4x a week. Here you can train 3-7 days a week and know how to modify your training; however, muscle gain will be 1-2Ibs a year if you’re doing well.
To sum up here:
If you’re a beginner looking to lose fat, you’ll likely build muscle at the same time too, this is great, but the scale won’t be as reliable for measuring progress.
As a beginner, looking to gain muscle, you can aim to build 0.5pounds per week if doing everything right if keeping things consistent between 15-25pounds in your first year. Full body training splits 3-4 days a week work best for beginners.
If you’re an intermediate looking to lose fat, you can aim to drop 1 pound per week, as you get closer to your goal body fat, the last 5-10 pounds of weight loss will slow down to 0.5 pounds per week.
If you’re an Intermediate looking to gain muscle, you can expect to gain about 1-1.5 pounds per month (0.25-0.375 pounds per week) when doing everything right. Upper body/lower body training splits work best here.
Having a low body fat is the key to looking awesome and what many want to achieve.
At some point in your training, you should focus on maximising your strength. To do this, volume needs to be low.
Volume again is reps x weight x sets.
This means just 4-6 exercises per workout, 2-4 sets per movement and rest periods of 45 seconds to 3 minutes (depending on how long you want to spend in the gym)
Aiming between 50-80 reps per workout, depending on how you’re feeling and time allowing, with a frequency of 2-3x per week per muscle group for best results.
Do Not Over Complicate the Detail of rest periods, do what fits into the time you have to spend in the gym. Make the gym fit around your life and available time.
Appropriate rest in between sets is important but should not be over-thought. Also, timing the rest in between every single set can get tedious and overwhelming and although I may recommend it for some people, it’s not the most important thing to focus on.
Do not be afraid to listen to your internal clock. Your body will let you know when you are ready.
Lifting in a fatigued state will mean you won’t be lifting to your max potential, this is fine when time is an issue and want to get in and out.
Keep in mind these are just guidelines, a personalised programme can go a long way.
This is what an effective training programme should give you:
Of course, in a perfect world you’d look at booking a good personal trainer, then you’d begin a personalised programme that works for you as an individual. Be sure to look at the reviews of current clients and ask about their experience.
Here are the keys to do this alone so you can design your own programme:
Look at ensuring you emphasise strengthening your weaker muscle groups while maintaining your stronger muscles. An effective programme should use a mix of free weights, cables, bodyweight, and machines while focusing on making you stronger, more muscular and leaner.
A programme will not work forever, your fitness levels will change, and so must your programme.
Building an outstanding body is a matter of reaching and then maintaining a low body fat through proper nutrition and dieting. Your diet really is important for building an impressive body, but I will touch on this later.
With your training, you need to be aiming to hit hitting high levels of strength on key exercises in the 6-12 rep range for 2-4 working sets per exercise.
On a side note, there will be a few higher rep sets of 12-25 reps to pump blood around the muscle to finish a workout, this makes it easier for your body to recover and train again. It can also help produce muscle size on certain muscle groups. These higher reps and best performed with isolation exercises, not on your main lifts.
So, keep your primary focus when training on building strength, this will mean muscle size will be dense and compact. This will keep you looking great on days you don’t train. By always ‘pumping’ the muscle with high reps, you may look great while in the gym, but not so great when you’ve had a few days off.
Lifting is a form of cardio, lifting and getting stronger needs to be your primary focus when you’re looking to get a better body. It doesn’t matter if you’re lifting just 1-2x per week for an hour or 7 days per week for 30 minutes to break up your work and propel your focus.
Unfortunately, most ‘lifting routines’ do little to build the type of body that will give you the results you want or that women actually find sexually appealing.
Now as far as what to focus on in the gym, these are the exercises that I’d recommend that are better than anything else to build a balanced physique that looks great year round.
Incline Chest Presses
Working on your upper chest will give you that masculine plate of armour on the front of your body. This will also create the line down the centre of your chest that few guys have, let’s just say, this will be a staple when any famous actor is getting ready for an acting role that involves being topless.
Pull Ups / Weighted Pull-ups.
Want your waist to appear smaller and have an impressive shoulder to waist ratio? Pull-ups will be your man.
If you’re finding pull ups too hard to begin, do not worry, try the ‘Lat Pull Down’ and work your way up to bodyweight pull-ups. Once you’re at bodyweight, you can begin adding weight and become a real machine.
One of the key attributes you developing an awesome body will be having broad shoulders & a narrow waist. Unfortunately, the narrow waist will come from your diet; however, the shoulder width will come from developing good lats & upper back muscles. Pull-ups & rows will hit these hard.
Another advantage of pull-ups is that to become proficient at them, you have to be very lean. The heavier you are, the harder they will be.
So treat the goal to become good at pull-ups as killing two stones in one, first becoming lean to show off your muscle but also become good at pull-ups to build an impressive back.
Bulgarian Split Squats or Barbell Squats,
Bulgarian split squats or barbell squats will give your legs and butt looking great, they’re a mighty builder for a great looking lower body. No one wants chicken legs.
Performing these exercises are mentally tough. It’s a real test of strength, going down under control with a full range squat and pausing at the bottom to really engage your leg muscles on the way up.
The squat is a great exercise which will hit the quadriceps hard, builds great glutes which ladies love. This is a great exercise which will get the heart pumping too.
Pick either barbell squats or split squats, stick with it for a minimum of 12 weeks, with each workout you perform these, aim to either do one more rep, add more weight or add in an extra set each workout for progress in this area.
Pick either a barbell shoulder press or dumbbell seated press.
Having good shoulders will instantly separate you from almost every other guy. Unless you’re taking steroids, it’s rare to see developed shoulders on a natural lifter these days.
Aim to get stronger at this or perform more reps week by week, always focusing on ‘feeling’ the shoulders work throughout the exercise. Pressing will give your shoulders more bang for the buck per rep than an isolation exercise.
Barbel rows, cable rows or deadlifts
Here I want to give you an option of choosing between these 3,
The deadlift will certainly give you more bang for the buck for calories burnt, however, if already exhausted the other lifts or wanting to focus more on your upper back development, opting to focus on either barbel rows or cable rows would be a good shout.
Deadlifts are going to be tough. They’re probably the most intense exercises as they work all the big muscles. Your glutes are the most energy intensive (and biggest) muscle in the body. A strong pair of glutes and back give you better posture, make your more powerful, and are an all-around advantage. Deadlifts will also build mental toughness, and you will burn a ton of calories performing them due to working so many muscles in the body at one time.
But, depending on what you want to focus on, you may find the row exercise more beneficial, rows focus more on your upper back muscles, again creating a wider more appealing back.
Look, the deadlift, it’s a great lift. But it’s by no means essential. Seriously, no matter what you may have read on ‘T-Nation’ or ‘bodybuilding.com’ or heard elsewhere. Some guys just aren’t designed to deadlift, or even able to. There’s no reason you can’t be stronger, leaner & feeling amazing without deadlifting.
When chasing a well-rounded physique and performing the other exercises, you can look amazing without it.
If your goal is to get a bigger deadlift, then yes, you will need to deadlift. But, if you decide not to, it’s no biggy, so don’t let the words of a former powerlifter who probably isn’t in the best of shape sway you.
Deadlift if you want, for those serious about results, your goal is always to add weight, reps or sets each week to the exercises. The small plates are still added weight, so don’t be afraid to put them on to progress.
For those more interested on focusing on your upper back, you’re better off sticking with either a barbell row or cable row to compliment your pull-ups. Rows are the absolute prime exercise for building a thick and muscular back Dumbbells, Barbells, Cable. No back workout is complete without some form of rowing.
When performing these exercises, focus hard on squeezing your shoulders back together. You can always swap and change this every few months with deadlifts.
I personally love my back, hardly perform deadlifts, again, that’s not to say they are a bad exercise for your back, they’re a great exercise for them; however, I’d treat deadlifts more as a lower body based exercise, rather than a specific ‘back’ exercise as such. Make up your own mind with what you feel you can fit into your programme.
Again take your pick, barbell rows will be harder on your core than cable rows, both will hit your back muscles equally as hard when performed correctly, I’d recommend watching youtube video’s on how to perform these, or signing up for a programme from my site, here you will have your own programme to track exercises on & watch videos on how they are performed when in the gym to ensure progress & good technique.
Do these consistently, work on your technique every session and get stronger and your entire body will become significantly more tight, muscular, and you’ll have a well-rounded physique. Combine this with a good diet, and you’ll look leaner and better than ever before.
How to set up a plan that fits into your lifestyle:
It’s important to work each muscle group 2x per week. 3-4x if you really want to focus on a particular muscle.
Studies consistently show us that strength training stimulates protein synthesis for 24-48 hours, occasionally it can go as long as 72 hours, before returning back to baseline.
So let’s just say you work chest on Monday, protein synthesis would be elevated for about 2-3 days max before returning to normal.
So let’s say wait a full 7 days before hitting chest again, you’re just selling yourself short on the results you could be getting.
Your chest will be good to go again within 2-4 days.
Okay, lets just you followed an old-school bodybuilder split or whatever you want to call it, here you’d work each muscle group just once per week, this would mean you hit each muscle group roughly 52 times a year.
Now let’s say you hit your muscle groups twice per week, this would mean you’d double the number of times you are stimulating your muscles for growth & protein synthesis.
Alternatively, hitting your muscles twice per week would mean you’re literally doubling the number of times you are stimulating your muscles and protein synthesis.
Even if you split your chest session in half, mixed in back movements between sets, you’d still be doing more volume and more than likely be stronger by splitting the muscle groups up, instead of blasting one muscle group in a workout and getting significantly weaker as the workout goes on and the muscle tires.
More frequency will wield better and faster results.
Might be to time to readjust if you’re training each muscle group once per week
To sum up: 104 workouts is better than 52
I’m not the type of guy to shove an exercise down your throat and tell you that you MUST do it.
Of course, there are exercises and movements I highly recommend over others, but sometimes you simply can’t do the specified exercise because your gym doesn’t have the proper equipment, the exercise simply doesn’t feel natural to you, it doesn’t work since you have a pre-existing injury, etc.…Your best bet here is to hire a coach to write a plan that fits around the life you want or live.
Example workout full body split for 2 or 3x per week:
E1. Incline Chest Press
E2. Pull Ups
E3. Split Squats
E4. Shoulder Press
E5. Cable Row / Deadlifts
2-4 working sets per exercise for 6-12 reps.
Pick 1 to 3 of the exercises below to finish off the workouts with reps 12+ for 3 quick sets. You can superset these exercises to be more time efficient too. Pick the exercises which work on the muscle groups you want to focus more on.
Facepulls, Lat raises, rear delt raises (Shoulders)
Tricep push downs, cable overhead extension, Dips, Skull Crushers (Triceps)
One arm rows, Straight arm pulldowns, Lat pulldowns (Back)
Dumbbell bicep curls, cable bicep curls (Biceps)
Hamstring Curl, Barbell Squats, Leg Press, Lunges, Romanian deadlifts, Goblet squats (Legs)
Chest Press Machine’, Cable Flys, Pec Dec, Flat Dumbbell Press (Chest)
Example Workout Splits: if 4-6x training sessions per week suits your lifestyle:
Cable Chest Flys
Cable Bicep Curl
5-8 reps on each for 4 weeks
8-12 reps on each for the next 4 weeks
Tricep Overhead extension
Or if you’re looking to work on your leg muscles more bring that to the first exercise of each workout
Begin your workouts with the exercise which works the muscle group you want to see best results on first.
If you keep these 5 exercises as your main focus, pick and choose when you perform them, it doesn’t matter what split you have or if you perform full body, what matters is turning up, getting to the gym and gradually progressing.
Stop listening to the reasons why you can’t fit it in, start making time to go and you’ll realise how much time you actually have.
Tracking your lifts:
Okay so now you have your main 5 lifts to focus on in your workouts
Either you have an amazing memory and can do everything in your head, if not I’d recommend bringing a notepad to the gym, just to track these lifts.
Simple really. What you record will be improved upon.
Don’t overthink this. I simply keep a log by writing my workouts into my phone or having a training journal that are notebooks written in by pen.
As said you’ll be aiming for 5-12 reps on each lift.
You can adapt this in each workout to suit how you’re feeling on the day, the more you train, the greater you’ll become at listening to your body, on days you feel strong, aim for that personal best on weight, on days you don’t, pump out 8-10 and aim to achieve more overall volume.
You need to be achieving progressive overload in your primary movements and strengthening the ability to perform these exercises better and better. If you’re constantly “changing it up” or trying to “confuse” your muscles you’re wasting your time.
Progressive overload simply means overloading the working ability of the muscle. Simply adding more weight, reps or sets, however, this can also be accomplished well by improving technique with more coordinated reps or shortening rest times.
Think of a plateau in your training as a sign to manipulate your training slightly.
There are always ways to continue to make progress no matter how fit you get.
Being an avid strength trainer for over 8 years, and having trained countless others through plateau’s, I’ve found these three to be the most powerful methods to push through to keep making progress.
Here are my top 3 ways to push through a plateau in your training:
Technique #1 – Vary the reps
Generally speaking, strength gains are great for 8-16 weeks before progress stalls.
Then adding weight or reps becomes futile.
If you normally perform 5-8 reps on your first set of an exercise, consider reducing the weight and performing 8-12 reps on your first set.
Once you begin to feel you aren’t making progress in a particular rep range anymore, change it for a few weeks, so it’s either higher or lower reps.
A good way of doing this is, to begin with, 4 weeks aiming between 5-8 reps on each of the 6 lifts aiming to get stronger or do an extra rep with the same weight as the week before.
Then the next 4 weeks aiming for 8-12 reps.
If there’s a workout that you’re feeling particularly sluggish in, take the weight back a little, focus hard on your technique, slowing reps down and add in 2-3 extra sets, so overall volume is more.
You can also utilise some higher rep pump work here of 15-25 reps for the last set of a particular exercise.
Technique #2 – Exercise Rotation
I must first address the importance of fully mastering an exercise before changing it, there are certain exercises I’ve kept in my routine for the past 6 years, and will more than likely keep in there for life.
However, changing an exercise, you’ve completely stalled on can be an awesome way to continue progress.
“Changing it up” won’t be comfortable, at least not initially. But by only focusing on what you’re already good at, will stop you from achieving further results. My advice is to embrace the struggle of new movement patterns and enjoy seeing new adaption to the exercise.
Here are a few variations to your primary lifts that you could consider swapping when you feel you need to:
This will allow you to continue hitting personal bests in the gym year round.
1. Incline Dumbbell chest press – For A Flat Dumbbell Chest Press, Machine press or Cable Flys
2. Pull Ups for Weighted Pull-Ups, Negative Pull Ups, Lat Pull Downs
3. Shoulder Press – for Standing Barbell Press, Seated DB Press, Push Press
4. Barbel Rows – Seated Cable Rows, Bent Over Dumbbell Rows , Machine Rows
5. Bulgarian split squats – reverse lunges, walking lunges , barbell squats, leg press,
6. Deadlifts – Trap Bar, Romanian Deadlifts, Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift, sumo deadlifts, Good Mornings
Technique 3 –
Rest Pause & adding in an extra set for more volume
There are two ways to perform this.
First way: If you’re feeling weaker, simply perform an extra few sets on an exercise without hitting failure, so stopping a few reps short of what you can normally do.
Say you normally do 5-8 reps on 25kg dumbbell chest press – aim for 3-4 reps for 5-6 sets focusing hard on technique keeping reps slower.
Another technique here is best left for the last set of the particular exercise.
Here, perform your set until complete technical failure, rest for around 10-20seconds and aim to get another 2-3 reps out on the same weight. Do this 1-3 times until you feel your working muscle has been worked the best it possibly can.
Worrying about getting too big from training is about as asinine as worrying about making too much money from working. Neither are easy
HOW TO WARM UP PROPERLY AND EFFICIENTLY:
1. Go straight into the exercise you are starting the workout with.
Practise this exercise with a lightweight, really focus on the muscles you’re aiming to use during each rep.
A basic rep range of 8-10 would be ideal (without doing too many reps that it fatigues you for your working sets)
2. Begin adding weight until you are ready to manage the working set with good technique. When you begin to add weight, warm up, reps can go down to lower reps, to save energy for your working sets
Warm Up Example:
Warm up set 1: 15kg dumbbells 8-10 reps
Warm-up Set 2: 25kg dumbbells 6 reps
Warm-up Set 3: 35kg dumbbells 4 reps
Ready to begin working sets on the max weight you can, for the desired amount of reps: example: 3 sets of 45kgs for 4-8 reps
Note: Begin every exercise with an empty bar or light dumbbells so you can warm up the working muscle and practise technique on the exercise.
Think of warming up, as a way to prepare your body for your working sets, to practise technique to fully engage the muscles.
This gets them working harder during your working sets for better results, not to interfere with them by fatiguing.
I’d recommend between 2-4 warm up sets before going into your working sets for each of your main lifts. Do what feels right.
No need to warm up for your isolation exercises to finish your workouts due to the muscles already being warmed up.
Optimally you need to use all forms of resistance to build a body to be proud of, not just one. The human skeleton has a universal design, and although some of us may be more advantaged than others depending on the structure of our skeleton, we are all cable of exercise.
For best development, you need to perform both compound and isolation exercises. There is no ‘one’ best exercise that can adequately develop a well rounded athletic body. An ideal way of training is to blend all different types of resistance. Barbells, dumbbells, cables, bodyweight and even bands all have their place.
Look, your body is not everything, which is why I talk so much about mindset in this book. But EVERYTHING does start with your health, if your mind and body are not robust, the rest of your life will be sitting on a very fragile foundation. Time to get to work.
Now onto the subject of cardio in your training and life:
Cardio is the most misunderstood exercise in the world.
As said earlier, there is no such thing as “training for fat loss” you need to train for muscle mass to charge your metabolism and improve your health.
Having poor cardio endurance can lead to a low oxygen environment in your body, which can blunt muscle gains. A muscle needs oxygen to function. Better cardio can be achieved through higher rep training.
Having a zero cardio approach can mean we have to eat very low calories on days you aren’t strength training to still be in a calorie deficit for fat loss to occur. (fat loss happens when we burn more than we consume) and the leaner we are, the more our muscles will show and the more we will look like Superman with or without a t-shirt on.
Look, we burn calories at all hours of the day anyway.
Just .. If you’re in a situation where you don’t move much in your day.. you drive to work, sit on your butt all day, then you’ll be burning a lot less calories throughout the day compared to someone who is relatively active, but may not realise it.
Many of us are lucky to get a combined 30 minutes of walking per day. This results in very low energy expenditures. To even tap into a calorie deficit, we have to eat a small amount of food. Which really isn’t a great way of living. Later I’ll show you how to eat like a king while dieting…
(A calorie deficit for the most will be roughly 10-12x your bodyweight in pounds – so a 180Ib man would need roughly 2000 calories a day 7 days a week to be in a deficit to lose weight)
I would always advise increasing movement to give your body 45-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, where you can burn an extra few hundred calories. This, of course, gives you more room in your diet to eat more calories while still burning fat.
From years of coaching, I’ve also found daily exercise helps with diet adherence… plus, you will feel more positive, focused and motivated after exercise.
This is more likely to keep you on track with the food side. You’ll be much more satisfied as you’ll be able to consume more food and lose weight (win-win)
This amount of cardio shouldn’t have an impact on your appetite and hunger.
In fact, if you do have that urge to binge, be aware of this desire, take yourself for a walk and come back, see how you are feeling. You’ll be a lot less likely to have that ‘feeling’ to binge now.
Performing too much cardio can hurt your goals… let’s say you go on 1 hour 30 run.. you burn say 800 calories…
You come back in and begin to feel hungry. This is where it’s very easy to ‘undo’ a whole 1 hour 30 of your precious time & hard work.
This is the main reason why I preach to keep cardio to a minimum and focus on your strength training…
This is much more likely to happen from longer cardio workouts (1 hour or more!).
These long cardio sessions tend to increase appetite… as said above it’s very easy to undo an entire cardio session with one meal or dessert
For me, the main reason cardio gets such a bad rep is because it’s so easy to undo an entire cardio session if you’re not careful.
This is why cardio alone is a lousy strategy for fat loss or building an impressive body. For the most part, it’s a lot easier to not eat 400 calories than it is to burn it via cardio (and less soul destroying)
So to sum this up – pay close attention to your diet and to use cardio as a tool to burn more calories without it feeling like a ‘workout.’
To change your body shape, you should aim for 2-6 strength workouts per week (this depends entirely on your lifestyle, available time & what you feel you can keep up)
Achieving an impressive body can be done whatever your situation… I work with men who work 100 hour weeks yet still manage to increase their energy levels, sex lives, focus & promotions at work through the other benefits of putting themselves first.
As said earlier, the way your body looks today is the result of your values and priorities over the past 12+ months. Value yourself more and see how it benefits other areas of your life.
If you’re doing cardio to get lean, then it’s a simple matter of burning calories while NOT overtraining and increasing hunger.
Also critical to understand that it’s pretty impossible to know how many calories you burn from doing cardio, those treadmills and cross trainers usually are very far off with the amounts they give, I would advise against counting calories burnt!
Cardio doesn’t mean just ‘running’ too.
So now I’m going into my 4 of the best cardio protocols for FAT LOSS.
1. Just Walk
You’re probably thinking this is the worst form of cardio ever, but it works…. it works so well….
Simply finding opportunities to walk more is an amazing way to burn more calories without even thinking about it.
A 3-mile walk will burn roughly 5 calories per kg of body weight.
So if you’re 75kg (165 lbs), that’s 375 calories.
If you walk just an extra 40-50 minutes per day, that can add up very quickly in terms of calories burned.
The main plus of walking as that it doesn’t feel like exercise and won’t impact your recovery to perform in your strength sessions (where the true transformation happens)
Walking is particularly good if DON’T enjoy high-intensity cardio workouts like the cardio protocols below!
Better yet, get a dog (if you like dogs that is) since I got mine, I’m made to walk, my dog is my daily accountability to get up and go for one.
2. Play a sport with your friends
This is great, as you don’t think about it burning calories as you’re playing (and it’s fun)
Ever played 5 aside football with your friends? That is good cardio…. short sprints non stop for a good length of time. Boy that will burn a lot of calories.
Play badminton, tennis, squash? Awesome.. get your heart pumping and have FUN. This makes dropping fat easy.
3. Sprints for fat loss
Now sprinting is an amazing way to burn fat quickly and burn a lot of calories. This is very high intensity, so I recommend to start only with 1x per week and build your way up slowly to of 3x a week! These can be done anywhere …
Sprints are a powerhouse for fat loss, to put simply do these for a few months and you’ll be looking a lot leaner. Lean people are fast. Overweight people aren’t.
The great thing about sprinting is that it builds lower body muscle and improves health, athleticism and makes your body burn fat due to the higher intensity and release of adrenaline.
Once you’ve built up to doing these 1-3x a week for 15-20 minutes, you can begin sprinting up hills for an even greater workout. Your body will change within a few months of this.
4. Metabolic Strength Workouts
Metabolic workouts involve doing traditional exercises like squats, pull ups, rows but in a circuit fashion…
By doing this, you’re increasing your heart rate and working your cardiovascular system much more than simply lifting something heavy for 5-12 reps… This is very advanced, and I’d always advice to lift carefully to avoid injury if lifting fatigued.
This is also very beneficial for your muscles and the shape of your body (if lifting heavy enough with sound technique)
So start slow with this (1x per week) and work your way up to 3x a week max for fat loss. Don’t do these more as they can be more taxing on your body.
Aim to increase weight, reps or number of rounds every couple of weeks for progression.
You can also decrease rest periods or include more exercises to progress from this.
Here’s a few examples which can be used
For each workout, perform three rounds with as little rest as possible between exercises.
Rest for 3 minutes after each round.
Adjust the weight to what is appropriate for your current fitness level and know-how
E1: Pull Ups – 10 reps
E2: Dumbbell Deadlift – 10 reps
E3: Dumbbell Shoulder Press – 10 reps
E4: Dumbbell Bicep Curl – 10 reps
E5: Press Ups – 10 reps
All you will need here is a barbell.
E1: Barbell Standing Shoulder Press – 10 reps
E2: Barbell Bent Over Row – 10 reps
E3: Barbell Deadlifts – 20 reps
E4: Barbell Lunges – 10 reps (each leg)
E1: Jump Squats – 20 reps
E2: Press Ups – 20 reps
E3. Reverse Lunges – 20 reps
E4: Lying Leg Raises – 20 reps
E5: Mountain Climbers – 20 reps
So to sum up here:
Cardio shouldn’t be your main focus for losing fat and building an impressive body. Use cardio to “supplement” your strength workouts and use your diet to create the calorie deficit.
Walking is an incredibly easy way of burning more calories without increasing your appetite to eat more.
Sprints and metabolic circuits with weights (which are still heavy for the reps you’re lifting) are a very effective way to burn fat but due to their high-intensity level BUT should be used sparingly to avoid burnout. Start with doing them 1x per week and work your way up to 3x per week
Go play a sport and do something fun outside!
How good you look at the end of a fat loss diet is predicated MORE on how much muscle you have *and* retain than how much fat you lose.
Which is why strength training should ALWAYS be a part of your programming — whether you’re wanting to lose fat or build muscle.
Your recovery is also vital. Recovery will be your sleep quality and diet. If these two are out of whack, you’re making it incredibly hard for yourself.
Feeding your body what it needs to make adaptions will be critical.
This will bring me to my next guide, your diet
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