5 Beginner Workout Tips

By following these simple beginner workout tips you will improve the effectiveness of your weight training routine.

1. Find A Training Partner

I believe the most important thing you should do when starting a new workout routine is to find a good training partner. You are going to see faster results if somebody is there to help motivate you, correct your form and break you of any bad habits you don’t notice you had (and you for them).

2. Limit Your Workouts

You should keep your workout times to about 30 to 45 minutes a day, and your total sets at 15 to 20. What, that’s not long enough? After 30 to 45 minutes your energy and mental levels begin to drop, so going beyond that could be a waste of time and effort.

3. Track Your Progress

You should continually track your progress with a training journal. If you are truly trying to gain muscle strength than I strongly suggest you keep a workout journal in conjunction with your Progressive overload weight training. Tracking your progress will also give you more motivation.

4. Mix It Up A Little Bit

You should change your workout program every 3 to 4 weeks to avoid burn out. If your body is to be at a consent muscle building state, rotating your program is key. For example, If this is a 10 exercise program then in month one use 1 up to 10, month two use 10 down to 1, month three use 5-4-6-3-7-2-8-1-9, then start over.

5. Sleep

Sleeping is the easiest (and my favorite)way for muscle building. Yes I said sleep. when you sleep you recover and when you recover you grow. You need to reserve at least 8 hours a day (I prefer 10) for sleep. Don’t be afraid to take a nap if you find the time. Please don’t waste your efforts and potential by a simple lack of sleep.

Fitness Myths – Separating Fact From Fiction

Whether you are looking to drop 10-15 pounds of fat or add 10-15 pounds of lean muscle mass, it’s important to first come to grips with some of the biggest lies/myths in the fitness industry. Otherwise you may end up wasting your valuable time and could even damage your long-term health.

For starters, the myth/belief that muscle turns to fat is totally erroneous.

Myth 1:

Muscle never turns to fat.

They are two totally, separate types of tissue. Just as your heart is different from your liver and you wouldn’t worry that it could become your liver, your muscle cannot turn into fat. It would be like watching an apple convert to an orange right before your eyes. Not going to happen.

So, what does happen to someone who was once very muscular and fit but stops working out? If muscle does not turn to fat as many believe, then why does their once fit and trim body now appear fat, flabby and unhealthy?

The reality is much worse than turning to fat. Muscle is not being converted to fat, it is being lost. It is literally, wasting away.

Because the body uses a lot of energy maintaining lean muscle mass (which is why having more muscle is great for preventing fat gain), when the body believes it no longer needs to maintain muscle mass, it eliminates it. Whatever muscle mass is not being stressed (used), starts catabolizing (breaking down).

Muscles shrink from non-use and fat pockets grow bigger. Soon, what was once an attractive, trim, fit body now appears flabby and fat. It is really that simple.

Because muscle burns more calories than fat, whenever workout habits change or slow down, changes in diet must follow. If diets are not adjusted to align with a less active lifestyle, if food intake remains the same but total calorie expenditure decreases, guess what? The excess surplus of calories (that are no longer being burned through activity) gets converted into body fat.

It’s pretty simple science – when you exercise less, you burn fewer calories and therefore, you must eat less.

The good news is, it only takes about 60 minutes of strength training weekly at the gym (or your preferred strength training workout) to maintain muscle once it’s built. It takes far less effort to maintain muscle once it’s built than it did to build it in the first place.

Myth 2:

Exercising daily is optimal. Wrong.

Many people believe that if they fail to see the progress they are after, it’s because they are not training hard (or long) enough so they immediately start pushing their body harder which is the exact opposite of what should be happening.

Every time you train your muscles hard (at the gym or elsewhere), you are creating micro damage to the muscle tissue and time is needed for this to be rebuilt to withstand the same level of force once again. If the time and energy needed to do this is not provided, muscles won’t get stronger and in fact can cause loss of valuable muscle mass.

Reality – when actively working out, the body requires and needs rest days in a well-planned protocol to have the time needed to get stronger than it was before. Ideally, one day off a week should be allowed, if not two. But, even that is not hard science. Some people require more. In fact, three to four days rest for beginner trainees or those who do intense training is not at all uncommon.

Remember, as the intensity of your workouts go up, your total rest required to recover from that workout will also increase.

It’s very important to recognize when it’s time to work harder and when it’s time to rest. Understanding the difference and giving your body exactly what it needs is what gets you to that end goal.

Honor your workout, but balance it with rest.

Myth 3:

Cardio is a great way to get thinner – False.

Cardio – (referencing steady state cardio sessions) – the workouts that people dread yet do daily after hitting the gym. Jumping on a piece of cardio equipment and going at one pace for 20-60 minutes.

These workouts do very little for anyone. What these extended cardio workouts achieve is to increase the appetite, causing us to eat more. In fact, many people, who are classic “cardio bunnies,” report ravenous appetites that just won’t go away.

Cardio training can even cause loss of lean muscle mass. When the body knows it must go for long periods of time at a moderate intensity pace, it does what it can to be more efficient. Since muscle tissue is energy-intensive to maintain, it is better for your body if you have less of it.

Couple this with the fact that many are on a lower calorie diet while doing cardio and now you have a body ready and willing to drop lean muscle. So, fat is not really being lost in the process, but rather, lean muscle.

The body may appear smaller after months of cardio workouts because of lost weight, but, unfortunately, it is due to an unhealthy, change in body composition. The body now contains more fat mass in proportion to lean muscle mass and the result is not pretty. The look is soft, jiggly, and anything but fit.

If you’re looking to create a fit, lean, firm body, cardio training is not the way to get there. Strength training is the only thing empowered to reverse unhealthy, muscle loss.

Exercises and Workouts – Exercise Modifications To Make Past The Age Of 40

If you are in your 40’s, 50’s or beyond, you may be wondering what this means for your workout program. Can you still do the workouts you have always done? Or will you need to make adjustments?

As you get older, there is no question specific changes take place in your body. If you want to continue to stay active into these years, you will need to modify things a little. The good news is if you keep up with your fitness, you will not need to adjust as much, as your body will maintain itself quite well.

Let us look at a few of the modifications you will want to consider making…

1. Reduced Total Volume. First, consider cutting back slightly how much volume you are doing. While before you may have been able to do four sets per exercise for instance, now you may want to limit it to just three. As long as you push yourself on those three, you should still see excellent results.

As you get older, your recovery ability is not what it used to be so a high volume program may be a little too much for you to take on.

2. Exercise Selection. Next, consider your exercise selection. You want to do everything you can to safeguard your joints so choose joint friendly movements. For example, leg extensions tend to be quite hard on your knee joint so you may prefer something like the leg press instead.

Or, rather than going for a run for cardio exercise, try using a stationary machine instead. These small adjustments can pay off regarding keeping you pain-free in the months ahead.

3. Functional Movements. As you get older, your goals will also likely change. While previously you may have been very focused on the aesthetics of things, now you may be more interested in just ensuring you can keep up with your favorite activities as the years pass by. As such, you want to look at functional fitness more closely: this means choosing exercises to perform in your routine that is going to mimic best the movement patterns you use in everyday life activities. If you do that, you should be able to keep up with all you love doing.

If you keep these three slight adjustments in mind as you go about your program and focus on learning to read your body and all it’s telling you, you should have no problem staying active for many years to come.

Should I Do Full Body Workouts Or Body Part Splits?

This is a question that many people in a fitness program ask themselves and it is a very valid question. If you Google this topic, you will likely see a variety of answers for both sides as to which is better. Truth is, the real answer is… IT DEPENDS!!! Both are very valid strategies and both have their pros and cons. I have also gotten results with clients using both strategies but how to decide which to do can be a tough proposition. Here is a breakdown that can help guide you to your decision:

You should do a full body workout if:

You are brand new to working out

For those who are new to working out or are starting back after a very long break, full body is best. Your muscular endurance is low and needs to be built back up. Most people will see plenty of results in the first 2-4 weeks with just 1-2 exercises per muscle group.

You are inconsistent in following workout plans

The last you want to do when doing any sort of fitness program is to create muscle imbalances due to inconsistent training. If you start out with body part splits (Chest/Triceps one day, Legs next, etc… ) and you start missing workouts, you put yourself at risk of developing muscular imbalances since not all of your muscle groups are being trained the same. For example, if you train your chest every week but forget to train your back, you are likely to develop postural issues which can lead to stagnation in progress and even injury.

Looking for a simple, quick way to work your full body each time you workout

Most people like the feeling of being efficient with their time when in the gym as they have busy lives and workout times are at a premium. There are many ways to do full body workouts and provides plenty of variety for most people.

Only have 2-3 days per week to commit to resistance training

Similar to above if you only have 2 to 3 days per week to commit to resistance training then full body is best. While it is possible to do body part splits in 3 days, it is more beneficial to work your whole body 3 times over the course of a week instead of just once per week.

You should do body part splits if:

You want to resistance train 3-5 times per week

If you are like me, you enjoy lifting weight and like to do so most days of the week. Body part splits are a great way to break up muscle groups over the course of 3-5 days and really focus on 1 or 2 muscle groups at a time.

You want to focus on only a few muscle groups each workout

Once you have been working out for a while, you may decide that your muscle groups need more attention that just 1 exercise per workout. In body part split workouts, you will do 2-6 exercises per muscle group depending on what muscle group or groups you are working.

You have been working out consistently and have stuck to a plan for longer than 3 months

If you have been consistent enough for 3 months (consistent meaning working out at least 4-5 days/week every week) then you most likely have the discipline to start doing body part split workouts. It is extremely important that you possess this discipline because if you don’t, then you are at greater risk of developing muscular imbalances from missed workouts.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong with these styles, it’s a matter of which fits you best. Some people jump back and forth between full body workouts and body part splits, which can be a great way to really switch up your fitness program and jumpstart your results.

Weightlifting And Ego In Your Teens And Twenties

You’re young, you’re full of energy and you want to hit the gym to workout and start lifting weights. So how do you make the most of your gym time, get stronger and build bigger muscles in the shortest period of time?

If you’re in your teens or twenties, to truly maximize your results you need to control your ego first. It’s not easy – especially since the number one reason young people start lifting weights is insecurity. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to be the biggest bodybuilding star in history – but he began because his brother was always beating him up and his Dad referred to him as his ‘daughter’. Nimrod was a common name in Africa, but when Nimrod King moved to Canada the kids teased him mercilessly – and he went on to be the Canadian bodybuilding champion. There are plenty of other examples, but suffice it to say that there can be a lot of emotion, and ego, wrapped up in your decision to hit the gym.

Many others start lifting weights because they want to improve in sports – at school, after school or on the weekends. While that’s an admirable and appropriate decision, ego often enters the picture once they get into the gym and see others there, or have teammates or competitors working out there too. It’s easy to get caught up in it all, especially if your local gym has a number of immature, insecure older lifters working out there – the kind that egg you on or tease less experienced or less strong athletes like yourself.

Here’s the scoop – you will never be able to build strength, build muscles or burn off bodyfat as easily as you can in your teens and twenties. You are in the ‘sweet spot’ for hormones right now, especially testosterone. Bodybuilding for teens is like a snowball rolling downhill – every year you get bigger and stronger, and every year your efforts get you further as your testosterone increases. Bodybuilding for people in their twenties is like cruising at high speed – your testosterone levels continue to rise til about the age of 24 and then levels off, with not nearly as much downgrade as you’ll experience in your thirties and beyond. With adrenaline, testosterone, growth hormone and the like creating a ‘growth cocktail’ in your bloodstream, your teens and twenties are definitely the best time to lay the groundwork for a fantastic body for life…

This is GREAT news for boys in their teens and men in their twenties – it means you can put on more muscle and build strength faster, so off to the gym you go regularly. It’s also great news for girls in their teens and women in their twenties… You won’t need to worry about building huge muscles, as your levels of testosterone are much, much lower. But you’ll still get strong quickly, and your muscles will be noticeable by their shape and density as opposed to their size. And teens and twenties of both sexes will love the way their bodyfat levels drop as they burn of their remaining ‘babyfat’.

But this is where ego usually takes over… Gyms are full of guys working their chests and arms like crazy, with only a bit of work for their backs and legs. You see the results on beaches everywhere – young men with a stunning upper body and chicken legs (maybe that’s why board shorts have replaced Speedo-style bathing suits). For the ladies, they’ll spend hours on a treadmill, running at a steady pace the whole time, and maybe – just maybe – do a bit of light work with the smaller dumbbells. He’s chasing bigger arms, she’s chasing lower fat levels and a fit-looking body.

Not only are both on the wrong course, but both are wasting the best anabolic window of their lives!

Since your body chemistry is making this the best time of your life physically, this is the time to use the most powerful lifts to multiply your results. Forget doing a lot of isolation exercises for your chest and arms, men – in fact, at your age training arms directly is unnecessary. They’ll get more than enough growth and strength gains from the big compound moves you use to build your biggest muscles. And ladies – nothing will burn more fat and make you stronger than doing the exact same exercises as the men.

What you need to focus on is squats, deadlifts, bent rows, pullups (eventually weighted pullups), bench press and upright rows. Period. Those 6 exercises, done correctly with the right amount of weight, will build you all over – your biceps, triceps and forearms will get stronger and bigger just from being the assistants during your big lifts. For the boys and men, decide whether your main goal is size or strength – while the two go hand-in-hand to a large degree, different workouts favour one over the other. For strength, keep your reps low – keep to just 5 reps per set, using the heaviest weight you can move while keeping perfect form and completing 5 to 10 sets of each exercise. To shift the focus to size, lift weights that just allow you to get in 8 – 12 reps, taking about 4 to 6 seconds per rep, for 4 or five sets.

Most girls and women, on the other hand, aren’t training for muscle size but for strength and speed for other sports or simply to be stronger, plus reducing and maintaining lower bodyfat levels. For this, use the same sets and reps scheme as above for building strength. Start off with whatever weights you can properly handle at the start, no matter how light, and add more weight as your body strengthens. Don’t let anyone in the gym give you a hard time or tell you what you should be lifting – go by the strength you currently have and raise the amount of weight you lift as your body allows. Forget all the little ‘toning’ and ‘shaping’ exercises you hear about or read about – nothing will burn more calories than the big compound lifts like squats and deadlifts.

Sticking to those ‘Big-6’ exercises for at least your first couple of years in the gym will put you well on the path to the best physique your genetics will allow. Mixing in a lot of cardio or isolation exercises will just rob you of energy you could be putting into your compound lifts, and slow down the time your body takes to recover from each workout – obviously the greater your energy output, the longer the recovery time. If you still feel like you have a lot of energy after your workout, next time add one more set to each exercise or simply slow down each rep – either will move you further ahead.

On the subject of steroids and other injectables, it’s simple: you don’t need them and you don’t want them, no matter what your coach, buddies or local gym rats tell you. Male or female, if you work out consistently lifting heavy weights it’s still going to take you YEARS to even get close to your genetic potential, so why waste your money on enhancements now while your body’s got that powerful NATURAL mix going on to help you in your quest?

One other benefit you derive from your hormonal cocktail is faster recovery between workouts, assuming you make sure you get your 8 hours of sleep a night or more – remember your body only repairs and rebuilds while you’re asleep. For most people in their teens and twenties the best results in the gym will come from a full-body workout done on three non-consecutive days per week – Monday, Wednesday Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, for example. Be sure to learn about and follow healthy nutrition guidelines and stay hydrated, get enough sleep and you’ll be shooting towards your best body at a rapid pace – just try your best not to let your ego become a series of speedbumps along the way or, worse yet, lead you down a dead-end street. If you’re going to be lifting weights and expending all that energy in the gym it would be foolish to settle for anything less than the best possible results!