It takes four weeks for you to notice your body change, eight weeks for your friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world. Consistency is the number one factor to losing weight, building muscle and improving overall health. You will not have an Arnold workout every single day, nor will you be beaming Skittles and rainbows of excitement.
Such is life.
Exercise does improve your body aesthetically, but more importantly, it relieves stress, builds serotonin (happy hormone) and releases endorphins.
Think about it, have you ever regretted a workout once it was finished?
In the wise words of Nike, Just do it!
The ultimate reward will outweigh the temporary pain.
1. Pick the three-day or five-day workout routine, whichever one will work best in your schedule, and do it for at least four weeks. For each muscle group listed, choose two to three exercises from the options I listed.
2. Change one or more of the three components in this routine after four weeks in order to shock the muscles and continue to earn results.
- Frequency: Increase how often you are doing the routine.
- Intensity: Change the volume (repetitions times weight) of exercise. This could be increasing the weight, repetition range or number of sets of each exercise.
- Duration: Increase the length of time of the routine.
3. Figure out your personal repetition range. To find out how: do the weighted exercise for 20-30 seconds at a consistent speed without compromising your form. If it’s too easy, increase the weight. If you start to significantly slow down during the 30-second lift or compromise a good form, then decrease the weight. Find what works for you. Start light and go up from there.
4. How many sets should you do? As a general rule, men should do three to five sets of each exercise, and women should stick with three to four sets. More sets and repetitions for men are suitable due to their structure; they have more cartilage in their joints and ligaments to support weight-bearing exercise.
Weekly Workout Routine
Option 1: 3-day Workout Routine
(Day 1) Monday: chest, back, cardio
(Day 2) Wednesday: quadriceps, hamstrings, abs
(Day 3) Friday: biceps, triceps, full-body circuit (pick one option)
Option 2: 5-day Workout Routine
Day 1: chest, triceps, HIIT cardio
Day 2: quadriceps, calves, abs
Day 3: back, biceps, cardio
Day 4: glutes (booty), hamstrings, abs
Day 5: shoulders, full-body circuit (pick one option)
Both of these are five-exercise circuits, which means to complete each exercise for 30 seconds each: No.1 followed by No. 2, and so on, without a rest in between. After completing all five exercises, take a 30-45 second rest and repeat three to five times. This will be sure to get your heart rate up for cardiovascular benefits while targeting the upper and lower body muscle groups. This can be added on your days off.
Option 1: Full-body circuit
(This one is fun to do outdoors at your local high school or college football stadium)
1. Alternating box or bench step-ups
2. Bleacher push-ups
3. 2-foot plyometric (jumping) stair jumps
4. Bleacher dips
5. High bicycles (Balance on your bum, touch left elbow to right knee and repeat on opposite side)
6. Take a 30-45 second rest. Repeat 3-5 times (week 1: 3 times, week 2: 4 times, week 3: 5 times)
Option 2: Full-body circuit
1. 30-second wall sit
2. 30-second mountain climbers
3. 30-second pushups
4. 30-second walking lunges
5. 30-second 6-inch killers (lie on back, abs tight and balance with feet 6 inches from ground)
6. Take a 30-45 second rest. Repeat 3-5 times (Week 1: 3 times, week 2: 4 times, week 3: 5 times)
Option 1: High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
This should take about 30 minutes to complete.
1. 30-second squat hold, 10-second sprint, 20-second jog, 10-second sprint, 1 minute walking (repeat three times without rest)
2. 20 walking lunges, 20-second jog, 20-second walk, 20-second jog (repeat three times)
3. 30 squat bounces, 15-second walk, 15-second sprint (repeat four times)
4. 1-minute jog, 15-second sprint, 30-second walk (repeat four times)
Option 2: Stairmaster
Increase speed every five to 10 minutes. To vary the workout, walk three minutes front, three minutes left, three minutes backward (make sure to hold on to a handrail, but don’t grab like you’re holding on for dear life), and three minutes right. Repeat until you reach 30 minutes.
Option 3: Treadmill 3-9 Sprint Routine
Walk on an 9-percent incline for one minute at a speed of three. Then, switch to an 3-percent incline at a speed of nine for 30-60 seconds. Repeat until you reach 20-30 minutes.
Pick two to three exercises for each muscle group. For example, if you are doing the three-day workout routine, pick two to three chest exercises. Complete those exercises with your personal weight, repetition range and number of sets. Then, pick your two to three back exercises and complete each exercise before going on to the next one. Finally, finish the workout with 30 minutes of one of the three cardio options.
Lying bench press
Incline bench dumbbell fly
“Pec Dec” machine fly
Wide-grip lateral pull down
Close-grip seated cable rows
One-arm dumbbell rows on bench
Cable pushdown with rope
Single-arm dumbbell kickbacks on bench
Overhead dumbbell tricep extension
Skull crushers with barbell
Hammer curls with dumbbells
Alternating dumbbell curl
Dumbbell lateral raise
Seated shoulder press
Reverse “Pec Dec” machine
Dumbbell front raise
Seated dumbbell rear-deltoid fly
Kickbacks with cable attached to ankle
Smith Machine donkey kick
Hack Squat wide-stance squat
Bridge-ups with feet on bench or box and back on floor
Lying hamstring curl
Standing single-leg hamstring curl
Seated hamstring curl
Single-leg “Leg Press” machine
Adductor (outer hip)
Standing calf raise
Seated calf raise
Single-leg calf raise
Low-plank hold for 1 minute
Weighted-ball Russian Twists