If you're starting on your journey towards a healthier you, do this morning routine — Monday through Friday — and you'll able to hit any starting goal you have.
Be it losing fat, gaining muscle, becoming stronger – it all will be possible.
Here’s how to unleash the results.
How To Do It
For starters, this is a low-impact routine. A full-intensity full-body routine would be too much to do every day - and for starters, your focus should be on building a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Afterward, once you feel more comfortable, you can expand into wilder and more daring routines and goals.
In consequence, we’re going to use simple bodyweight exercises to get your body moving.
Here’s the routine that you’ll do from Monday to Friday:
➤ Hang from a pull-up bar for 10-20 seconds x 3 [30 seconds rest each set]
➤ Do 5-10 push-ups (traditional or on your knees) x 3 [1-minute rest each set]
➤ Do 5-10 chair dips x 3 [1-minute rest each set]
➤ Do 5-10 squats (traditional or assisted with a chair) x 3 [1-minute rest each set]
➤ Do 15-25 calf raises x 3 [1-minute rest each set]
➤ Do 10-15 jumping jacks x 3 [30 seconds rest each set]
➤ Stretch afterward. It will only take you anywhere from 30 to 35 minutes on average.
Feel free to increase the intensity as you get stronger and fitter. You can either increase the difficulty of the exercise, add in more rests or shorten the rest periods between each set. Your choice.
Why Does It Work?
It works because it stimulates the major muscle groups of your body, and hence, it will allow your muscles to develop in a uniform way that you will notice.
Furthermore, it will prepare your body for more demanding workouts afterward, because you’re not meant to stay with this routine forever. Of course not. It’s just a starting point that will mark the beginning of a fitter, leaner and stronger you - go for it!
How Much Volume Should I Be Doing?
Starting off at 3 sets per exercise is a safe and maintainable way when dipping your hand back into working out. Eventually, you can move up to 4-5 sets per exercise in order to “intensify” the stress put on your muscles in order to encourage growth in strength and hypertrophy (meaning to build muscle).
What is the ideal lifting intensity?
Ideally, you want to use RPE (rate of perceived exhaustion). This tool can be used in order to make sure you are making your body work (and therefore adapt). The RPE is used on a scale from 1-10, 1 being easy and 10 being your 1RM (one rep max).
During your workouts, you want to perform at a 6 at the lowest. It’s recommended to work at an RPE of 7, meaning you have at least 3 reps left in the tank.
How many times per week should I be training each muscle group?
It is recommended to hit each muscle group at least 2x a week. This encourages muscle growth with the frequency of hitting that muscle group.
What are the best exercises?
Focusing on movements is more important. For example, a hip hinge, knee dominant, and bridge/thrust movements are important for the lower body.
- Knee dominant movements- squats (barbell squat, goblet squat), lunges, split squats
- Hip hinge movements- RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts), back extensions, Single leg deadlifts, good mornings (used to hit the hamstrings).
- Abduction movements- glute bridge, hip thrust.
For the upper body, emphasis on the back (posterior chain) and shoulders are important to impact total body strength. Some example exercises per upper body muscle group:
- Upper Back- Pull-ups (different grips), rows (single-arm, bent over, etc), lat pulldown
- Shoulders- lateral raises (different grips), presses (ranging from an overhead press to military and Arnold presses)
- Biceps- curls (different positions and equipment)
- Triceps- overhead tricep extension (dumbbell, EZ bar), tricep pushdowns (cable)
All of these exercises can be performed with a variety of equipment! Such as:
- cable machine
- resistance bands
How many rest days should I have?
Rest days are essential for recovery after workouts and how we give our body a chance to repair. It is recommended to have 2-3 rest days a week.
How do I progress as a beginner?
As a beginner creating a consistent and maintainable routine is the best way to get results. Be realistic, but still strive to reach goals. Don’t get down when you fail, because you will. Learn from your mistakes, and plan for them so you’re ready the next time it happens. Use RPE to rate how hard you’re working during your sessions and continue to push yourself during your workouts. In the kitchen, make sure you’re eating in a manner that caters to your goals.
This means high protein (to aid in the recovery of wear and tear on muscles due to exercise), whole foods that are high in nutritional value, and eating to your caloric goals. If your goal is to lose fat, then you’ll want to be in a caloric deficit (fewer calories than your boy needs). If your goal is to gain muscle, then you’re going to be a caloric surplus (more calories than your body needs). Both require high protein to maintain muscle mass and aid in recovery.
Hiring a personal trainer can be a great way to get started and learn your way around the gym! They can help you discern the difference between a barbell bench press and barbell rows, when to keep your feet hip-width and when to keep your back straight. They can create customized programming to cater to your goals whether that range from weight loss to bodybuilding. Personal trainers are essential in helping beginners exercise with proper form during your workout programs.
Split Workouts Vs Full-Body
The difference between the two is based on how often you work out.
If you’re only exercising 2-3 times a week, then I’d recommend doing all full-body workouts in order to hit muscle groups of the entire body often.
If you’re exercising 4-5 times a week (or more), then I recommend split workouts in order to optimize recovery after workouts before you workout again. This would mean a lower body session on day 1, an upper body session on day 2, then a lower body session again, then an upper body session, etc.
Alternating Cardio and Full Body Workouts
Cardio isn’t essential but it can help by creating greater caloric expenditure. Unlike H.I.I.T. workouts or weight training, cardio (aerobic-based) burns calories during the session and not after (maybe some, but not much anyway). Muscle burns more calories than fat (which is another reason why weight training is so essential). High-intensity interval training is just that--intense. You will burn more calories after your workout, also called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). This is caused by the effort your body has to expend to return to its natural state.
In the case of just wanting to burn more calories, it is recommended to do cardio AFTER weight training sessions to burn fat, encourage muscle gains, and get better results. Cardio before weight training turns those sessions into more of an endurance training with less of an impact as performing cardio AFTER weight training workouts.