Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer -
Phase 1: Building Muscle
Watch The Video - 15:45
Daily Programs For Phase 1
Here's an introduction to the Phase 1 workouts you'll be following. Each day has a printable guide complete with that day's workout, meal plan or both:
Build Healthy Habits in Phase 1
During this first phase of my 12-week trainer, you'll make a habit of working out and eating healthy, perhaps for the first time in your life.
You're going to start with weight training, which is like the fountain of youth, an anti-gravity miracle that helps tighten and tone your body from head to toe. When you add more lean muscle to your frame, your metabolism increases even more. That means you'll burn more body fat, even while at rest.
What you won't be doing, believe it or not, is cardiovascular exercise. That's right -- NO CARDIO! Free pass. This'll ensure your body is adding the muscle you want, and not using up too many calories for immediate fuel rather than muscle building.
What you won't be doing, believe it or not, is cardiovascular exercise.
Speaking of fuel, you should be having a small, nutrition-packed meal every 2 to 3 hours. Eating this way will supply your body with a steady flow of nutrients, boosting your metabolism too. Your body will begin to release its stored body fat as fuel. The net result will be sustainable weight loss!
You'll learn about the best supplements to use for increased energy, accelerated fat loss, and optimal results. These are the same types of products I use myself!
The Crucial First Two Weeks
This is the muscle-endurance phase, and it's based on a traditional training split. The goal is to prepare your muscles for a strength-training program that will also promote muscle growth. Not bodybuilder-quantity muscle, but leaned, toned muscle that'll give your body the "lines" you've always wanted.
During these first two weeks, I want you to do 3 sets of 12 repetitions (3 X 12) per exercise, resting 60 seconds (give or take) in between each set.
The intensity level (i.e. the amount of weight you should aim to lift) should be 60% of what you think would be your maximum effort. For example, if you think most weight you can handle for one perfectly executed dumbbell curl is 30 pounds—but that you could do no more than that—choose either 17½ or 20-pound dumbbells. (The equation: 30 X .60 = 18 pounds, so round up or down to the nearest weight.)
This calculation can and should be tweaked as your actual sets unfold. Your last repetition of the 10 should be difficult but possible to complete with tight rather than sloppy form. If it's too easy, increase the weight. Too hard? Decrease it.
You're probably champing at the bit to shape up, which is great, but don't go overboard by doing too much (volume, intensity, etc.) too soon. This can lead to excessive muscle soreness and possibly overtraining. Stick with the program. It works!
Stick with the program. It works!
Designate four days to complete each week's training split. Choose any day that works best within your broader schedule, as well as any time of day, although it's best to separate weight training days with non-training days. Depending on gym traffic, your training pace and other factors, each workout should take you an hour or so to complete.
Building On Your Momentum
The third week marks the start of the muscle-building phase. This will continue for the next 6 weeks and include a variety of exercises and training variables at each stage.
Though your sets will stay at 3 in this phase, your reps will fall to 10 (3 X 10). That's because I want you to go a little heavier, like 80% of your maximum effort. Bear in mind that your max may have increased after 2 weeks of training. Now, you might be able to curl a 35-pound dumbbell for one clean rep. So 80% of that would be 28 pounds. Last time I checked gyms don't carry 28s, so round up to 30 or 25, respectively.
Again, the true guide comes from actually doing the set. Your last repetition of the 10 should be difficult but not impossible to complete. Remember, too easy, increase the weight; too hard, decrease it.
As we progress through the program, we'll be applying techniques to increase strength and promote hypertrophy (muscle building). With heavier weight, you may now need to extend your rest period from 60 seconds to 120, or something in between.
The workout for Weeks 1 and 2 required 4 days of training. During Weeks 3 and 4, the split increases to 5 days. Though some muscle combinations (back with biceps; chest with triceps) will stay the same, think about what area of your body is the weakest or troubles you the most aesthetically.
Remember, too easy, increase the weight; too hard, decrease it.
Organize this 5-day split to allow 2 days for training that lagging body part. Start with the lagging body part as your first training day and then place it on your schedule again three days later. This will allow for enough recovery time between training days.
Each of these routines should take about 1 hour to 1 ½ hours to complete, depending on your pace and the traffic at your gym.