Fitness expert and model Jamie Eason is here to help you build muscle for a lean and sexy physique!
Maybe you've experimented with lifting weights before, but now it's time to get you on a program that will tone, shape, and redefine your figure. You don't need to lift extremely heavy weights to build lean muscle, but you do need to lift progressively heavier weights with each workout.
In order to change your body, you must push yourself beyond your comfort zone. With the perfect balance of weight training, cardio and recovery time you'll be able to challenge yourself every day and the results will be well worth it.
Day 1: Legs
- Warmup: Freehand Jump Squat: 2 sets of 15 reps
- Dumbbell Squat: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Leg Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- One-Legged Cable Kickback: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Lying Leg Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Calf Press: 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Up to 2 min rest between sets
Day 2: Cardio
- Stairmaster: 20 min Interval
Day 3: Push
- Warmup: Pushups: 2 sets of 15 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Upright Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Decline Reverse Crunch: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Toe Touchers: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Up to 2 min rest between sets
Day 4: Cardio
- Elliptical Trainer: 20 min Interval
Day 5: Pull
- Warmup: Butt Lift (Bridge): 2 sets of 15 reps
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Seated Cable Row: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Straight Arm Pulldown: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
- Cable Curl: 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Up to 2 min rest between sets
Day 6: Cardio
- Bicycling, Stationary: 20 min Interval
Day 7: Rest
Geared For Success
Before you start training, it's important to be prepared. When starting any exercise program, safety is of the utmost importance. Lifting straps, gloves, and lifting belts are some very useful pieces of equipment to have when you are seriously training. Equipment is great for supporting correct form and preventing injury. Put your guard up, and lift smart.
Having the right apparel is also good for working out. You don't want any uncomfortable chaffing from not having fitness-friendly clothing. The body should only be concerned with exercising, not worrying about an uncomfortable pair of shorts. Wear clothing that you can move in and sweat in comfortably.
Having a gym bag, lock and water bottle is also useful - keep your gear secure, and have something to drink so you can stay hydrated! It's very easy for personal items to "get up and walk away" at gyms, so it's nice to always have a gym lock and bag to prevent any sticky fingers from nabbing your stuff.
Get A Partner
Lift with a partner whenever possible - someone that can help you with big lifts like bench press or squats, or someone to do your cardio with. A good partner will ensure you're using proper form, keep you accountable to your training, help you push yourself during your last few reps, and provide instant motivation when you need it most.
If you don't have a consistent partner, don't be afraid to ask for a helping hand. The extra reassurance of a spotter will help you surpass personal bests.
Workout partners are everywhere - they could be someone from school, a buddy at the gym, or anyone you know with a similar fitness goal.
If you can, grab a partner that's stronger than you and can push you to your limits. This will help you break your boundaries and make progress.
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A Good Partner Will Assist You With Form, Keep
You Accountable, And Keep You Motivated.
Focus And Form
Mental preparation is important for the success of any training program. When you enter the gym, you need to leave all your distractions outside - work, stress, money, chores, and fear.
Everyone is in the gym to get better, so don't worry about people looking at you - most people look at others in the gym to stay motivated. Focus on yourself, your workout, and your body.
Also, working out requires that you push yourself harder than you normally do. You might be surprised to hear that if you don't tell yourself you can do it, you probably won't. During each set and every rep, you should mentally or even verbally congratulate and motivate yourself.
Every completion and failure during training is progress, so keep your head in the game and you will see results.
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If You Want Your Training Program To Be Successful,
You Should Take Some Time To Prepare Mentally.
We've put together a comprehensive encyclopedia of exercises to show you how to train right, avoid injury, and lift with controlled intensity. With a detailed description and video showing proper execution, you'll know exactly how to hit the right muscles for each exercise.
If you have any questions or need an example of proper form, every exercise in the workout below is linked up with our Exercise Database videos. We'll show you how lift right for excellent, injury-free results.
In the gym, remember to use a mirror to assess each set and rep to make sure your form is perfect. By focusing on strict form and establishing a strong mind-muscle connection, you can ensure your target muscles receive the force they need for growth.
Sets, Reps, And Weight
Sets And Reps
You will hear the terms "rep" and "set" used frequently. A "rep" is the shortened form of repetition - performing an exercise or lifting a weight one time.
A set is the number of reps you perform in a row. For example, if you lift a weight 12 times, take a break, and repeat the lift another 12 times, you will have completed 2 sets of 12 repetitions.
During your working sets, make sure to push yourself. If you can easily complete more than the rep range indicated for your exercise, you aren't lifting heavy enough. For example, if the exercise calls for 12 repetitions and you can easily hit 15, increase the weight/resistance.
You should always start to struggle on your last 2-3 reps. You have to fight to complete them, but the last 2-3 reps are where most of your results will come from.
Alternatively, if the rep range is 12 reps and you can only complete 9, lighten the weight. Keep your pride and ego out of the gym, you aren't there to show everyone how strong you are - you're there to get better. Push hard with intensity, drive, and focus.
You want to reach near-failure on every set - this means that if you were asked to do another rep after completing a set, you wouldn't be able to do it. Don't be afraid to fail on the last rep either, because it means you are pushing yourself!
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If You're Not Struggling On Your Last Few
Reps Then You Aren't Using Enough Weight.
Warming up is important, but many people forget to do it. It helps your body transition into an optimal state for burning fat and building muscle, so you can be certain you'll be rewarded for your work. Also, warming is important for preventing many easy-to-avoid injuries, such as cramps, pulls, and tears. Plus, warming up is a good period to get prepared mentally - go into your workout with a positive mindset and a revved up body!
Make sure you take ten minutes to do a quick cardio warm-up. Choose your favorite piece of cardio equipment, and work at a fairly relaxed pace. Remember, you aren't doing an Olympic sprint, just trying to get your blood flowing - the last thing you want to do is get fatigued before your workout. A good warm-up will prep your body for lifting weight and burning fat, and get you mentally focused.
You'll be doing 2 warm-up sets of 15 reps in an exercise that works the area of the body you are focusing on for the day. For example, if you're training chest and triceps, you might warm up with some chest medicine ball throws.
Grab a light weight (roughly 50% of what you'd lift for a working set), and knock out 2 sets of 15 reps with a little rest between sets. This will help you practice your form, ignite your muscle receptors, and stretch your muscles out. Your cardio got your blood moving, and now it's time to get that blood to your working muscles. Going into your working sets without doing a warm-up set can put you at risk for tears or pulls.
Note: During your weight training, do 1 set of 15 reps with light weight to warm up your muscles for each specific exercise you are about to do for best results.
Rest Between Sets
Most people don't think about how much time they take to rest when working out. Too little or too much rest can result in inefficient training and can inhibit your results. Our program has specified the proper amount of rest time needed for each training day.
Too little rest can leave you burnt out before you've finished your workout, and can put you at risk for cramps, pulls, and strains. Too much rest can cause your muscles to become cold between sets, affecting your performance in the gym. You want to let your muscles get enough rest to get ready for the next set, but also make sure the muscles are still warm and responsive so they can perform.
We understand that listening to your body is also important for determining how much rest you need. Depending on your fitness level, you may be able to adjust your rest time based on how you feel. However, the rest recommendations we have provided are fine-tuned to support anyone looking for results, so use them as a guideline when you train.
Rest is also a perfect time to give yourself some mental motivation or hydrate, which are both easy to forget when training - rest properly for success!
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Between Sets You Want To Rest Enough To Be Ready For
The Next Set, But Not Enough For Your Muscles To Get Cold.
We all know hydration is important. Water keeps us alive, but it also helps our body operate efficiently. Whether you are trying to burn that fat or pack on muscle, a dehydrated body will result in reduced results. Water is also important for your endurance during training.
Typically, a gallon of water per day should be consumed. This does not mean you have to have a gallon jug of water on you at all times. We get water from the beverages we drink as well as the foods we eat, so your daily water requirement will be partially filled by other sources than just drinking water by itself.
To summarize, just remember to drink water throughout the day, during your training, and at night before you go to bed. Water is important for muscle recovery, so staying hydrated all day is important. A hydrated body is the key to efficient training and recovery.
Types Of Cardio
Cardiovascular training will transform a solid lifting routine into one that gets you absolutely shredded. Your best bet is to find a cardio form that you enjoy. If you're not fan of the treadmill, you can always ride a stationary bike, grab a jump rope, swim, or hop on the elliptical machine.
There are 2 main styles of cardio you can use during your training - Moderate Cardio and Interval Cardio. You can apply these styles of cardio to different forms of cardio such as running, biking, or the elliptical machine. Remember, you can always consult the exercise database to find out about cardio exercises and how to perform them properly.
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If You're Not A Fan Of The Treadmill There
Are Many Other Forms Of Cardio You Can Do.
This method focuses on burning calories with continuous moderate intensity. Your intensity does not change, allowing for a consistent calorie burn. In order for this method to be effective, you need to know what moderate intensity is. To find out if your cardio intensity is moderate, you will have to calculate your optimal heart rate and your current heart rate - then match them as close as possible.
You can quickly calculate your optimal heart rate by subtracting your age from 180. For example, if you are 25 then your optimal heart rate is 180 minus 25, (or 80% of your maximum heart rate) which equals 155 - this is the number of heart beats per minute you want to have.
Once you have found your optimal heart rate, you can quickly check your current heart rate by placing your index finger on your carotid artery for 15 seconds and counting the number of heart beats within that 15-second period. For example, let's say the number of beats you counted during the 15 seconds was 40. Once you have this number, simply multiply it by 4 to have your heart rate converted to beats per minute. In our case 4 x 40 = 160, this means you are very close to your optimal heart rate of 155!
If that is too much work, a simple way to gauge your intensity is by talking to yourself. You should be able to keep up a fairly comfortable conversation while doing cardio. If you're gasping for air, slow down a bit - moderation is key. If you're not even sweating or breathing heavier than normal, turn up the intensity.
This type of cardio involves alternating between low (L), moderate (M), and high (H) intensity continuously in a cardio session. The illustration below is an example of a 45 minute cardio session, with each interval lasting 5 minutes. You would start with 5 minutes of low intensity, then transition into moderate intensity for another 5 minutes, continue at high intensity for 5 minutes, and then drop back down to medium intensity, and so on...
You may also adjust the time of intervals to fit shorter or longer cardio sessions, just remember that the basic structure is separated into 9 intervals. Interval cardio is one of the best ways to lose fat. By alternating between different intensities, your body does not get used to doing the same type of physical activity. By making your metabolism react to different intensities, you will consistently and efficiently burn those calories.
Interval cardio is also incredibly useful for building cardiovascular strength and helping you work on your performance during periods of jogging, running, and sprinting.
Tracking Your Progress
To help track your progress, use the Bodybuilding.com Workout Tracker on BodySpace. Write down what you've done each workout - the reps, weight lifted, sets, exercises, personal bests, and problem areas.
This helps you make adjustments that are always progressive, and gives you a great tool for review and changes. Writing down your training information is crucial for gauging how fast you are moving towards your goals, what your strengths and weaknesses are, and how hard you are pushing yourself.
Use your statistics to make minor adjustments and keep your body challenged. Add weight to your lifts, add an extra set, swap an exercise, or try a new technique that you've read about in the Workouts section.
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Keeping Records Of Your Progress Makes Adjusting
Your Workouts Easier And More Efficient.
It's extremely important to constantly challenge yourself. If your workout isn't a challenge, then it won't create a change. Tracking your progress will make it easier to do this. The minute your workout becomes easy is the minute you say goodbye to awesome results.
There's no need to completely change your workouts every day. Stick with the same overall routine for 6-8 weeks (with minor changes as you progress), then take a week off and begin a new routine.
Remember To Recover
When it comes to training, "more is better" doesn't wholly apply. If you're constantly breaking your body down in the gym without subsequent time for your body to repair, recover, and rebuild outside the gym, you're not going to get the results you're looking for.
Remember, 8 hours of sleep each night is important when you are training. When we sleep, our bodies are in the best position to build, recover, and repair all those muscles we've been working in the day. This is the prime window for proper repair, so don't fall short on it! This program is organized to allow you plenty of time for rest, so you should never have an excuse for overtraining!
Rest Outside The Gym
Rest outside the gym is just as important as work inside the gym! To see the best results from your program, your body needs time to rest and recover. Proper recovery will keep your progress consistent and help prevent overtraining. Don't skip your rest days and get plenty of sleep - at least 8 hours. That way, your body will be in prime condition to repair and build muscle. Help your body help you by giving it some R & R.
This doesn't mean you can take a break from your program. Here are some things you can do on your rest days:
- Stretch or do Yoga
- Cook and prepare meals for the week
- Track your progress - update your workout journal
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If You're Looking For Something To Do Take Some
Time On Your Rest Days To Stretch Or Do Yoga.
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