Topic: What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?

Beginners are looking for a quality workout routine to transform their bodies.

What is the best beginner transformation workout? Be specific.

What kind of a transformation can a beginner make?

How can a beginner get motivated to transform their body?

Bonus Question: Beginning can be a scary experience for many people looking to make a lifestyle change. What ideas/tips can they use to break through the fear?

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The Winners:

1. HarleyG_123 View Profile

2. mawt View Profile

3. dizi24 View Profile

4. jdog60 View Profile


1st Place - HarleyG_123 

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What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?

Beginners do not need very advanced training programs and they definitely should not copy the routine of a pro bodybuilder. Beginners need to teach their muscles to contract and stretch in the necessary ways. This is called developing neurological pathways.

This is done by using free weights (barbells, dumbbells, bodyweight) that require you to balance and control the weight whilst stretching and contracting the muscles. However in the beginning this should not be done with heavy weights. If you've ever seen a beginner do dumbbell bench presses you'll know that the dumbbells seem to have a mind of their own. It takes time to be able to balance the weights.

The program I am about to describe is a 12-week program that increases in difficulty as your body adapts. It is divided up into 3 sections, each with different exercises and training splits. It will work for those who want to lose fat and for those who wish to build muscle. It is your nutrition that will dictate what your body composition does.

Following this program will almost guarantee results.

Weeks 1-4

  • Day 1: Whole body
  • Day 2: Cardio
  • Day 3: Rest
  • Day 4: Whole body
  • Day 5: Cardio
  • Day 6: Whole body, cardio
  • Day 7: Rest

Weeks 5-8

  • Day 1: Upper body
  • Day 2: Lower body
  • Day 3: Cardio
  • Day 4: Upper body, cardio
  • Day 5: Lower body 
  • Day 6: Rest
  • Day 7: Cardio

Weeks 9-12

  • Day 1: Back, biceps
  • Day 2: Cardio
  • Day 3: Legs
  • Day 4: Cardio
  • Day 5: Chest, shoulders, triceps
  • Day 6: Rest
  • Day 7: Repeat Cycle (i.e. Back, Biceps)

Weeks 1-4

Whole Body Weights Workout

  • Bench Press: 3 x 8-10
  • Parallel Bar Dips: 2 x as many reps as possible
  • Wide Grip Chins: 3 x as many reps as possible
  • Upright Rows: 3 x 8-10
  • Squats: 3 x 8-10
  • Deadlifts: 3 x 8-10

In the first couple of weeks use very light weights to get used to the movements. After that you should be ready to go a little heavier. But for the first four weeks there is no need to go to failure. The only exercises you will be training close to failure will be the bodyweight exercises like chin-ups and dips.


For beginners I would recommend utilizing low intensity cardio. While high intensity cardio has many benefits it is just too much for a total beginner. For your cardio, you need to train within the required heart rate which is around 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. To figure out your max heart rate you take 220 minus your age. Then find about 70% of that number.

For a 30 year old, the equation would look like this:

  • 220-30=190bpm (beats per minute) 190 x 70% = 130bpm

So for a 30 year old the target heart rate would be approx 130bpm.

The number of cardio sessions performed in a week is done depending on how fast your metabolism is. Those with very fast metabolisms looking to gain weight would be best to do only one session of cardio. Those who accumulate fat very easy or those who are doing this program to shed fat should do 4-5 sessions/week. But for those with average metabolisms the 3 sessions of cardio/week prescribed in the program should suffice.

For the first 4 weeks do 20 minutes of cardio/session, then decide if you are lean enough. If you think your fat levels are adequate and you are just looking to maintain, continue with the 20 minute sessions. However if you wish to continue to shed fat, bump the sessions up to 30 minutes and if necessary 40 minutes.

Perform the cardio separately to your weight sessions. Use whatever form of cardio you like.

Weeks 5-8

For this part of the program, the body is split into upper and lower body workouts.

Upper Body:

  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 8-10
  • Close Grip Bench Press: 3 x 12
  • Barbell Rows: 3 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell Rows: 3 x 8-10
  • Upright Rows: 2 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 2 x 8-10
  • Bent Laterals: 2 x 12

Lower Body:

  • Squats: 3 x 8-10
  • Leg Extensions: 3 x 8-10
  • Leg Curls: 3 x 12
  • Standing Calf Raises: 3 x 10

Weeks 9-12

Now the program splits up even further so that you get to concentrate on each muscle group. You need to begin to learn how to train with more intensity as well as being able to feel the muscles working. This will speed up your results and ensure you stay injury free.

Back, Biceps:

  • Close Grip Chins: 3 x as many as possible
  • T-Bar Rows: 3 x 8-10
  • Dumbbell Rows: 2 x 10
  • Good Mornings: 2 x 15
  • Barbell Curls: 4 x 10


  • Squats (all the way down): 4 x 8-10
  • Lunges: 3 x 10 each leg
  • Stiff Legged Deadlifts: 3 x 15
  • Leg Curls: 2 x 12
  • Standing Calf Raises: 4 x 8-10

Chest, Shoulders, Triceps:

  • Bench Press: 3 x 10
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 8-10
  • Military Press: 2 x 15 (higher reps to protect joints)
  • Side Laterals: 2 x 10
  • Bent Over Laterals: 2 x 10
  • Pushdowns: 3 x 10
  • Skull crushers: 3 x 12

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?

Each workout aim to slightly increase weight or reps on each exercise. As a beginner this should be possible practically every workout. If at anytime the workout is too tough, tone down the intensity.

Throughout the program do your best to learn as much as possible about nutrition.

Do not miss workouts.

Each workout should take about 45 minutes to complete utilizing 1-2 minutes rest between sets. Make sure you control the eccentric (negative or lowering) and power through the concentric (raising) portion of the rep. Use weights that challenge you but still enable you to use perfect form.

What Kind Of Transformation Can A Beginner Make?

Beginners respond extremely well to proper training because the body is unfamiliar with the stimulus weight training provides. This means that in the first few months of training, provided you follow this program to the tee and eat well, you can expect some fantastic results!

However, all too often beginners start their programs with the thought of looking like Arnold at the end of a couple of months of training.

I have seen so many people train for only a few months only to quit because their results didn't live up to their expectations. Shoot for a realistic goal.

In my opinion, if you follow the program provided for the full 12 weeks (approx. 3 months) and you're eating correctly you can expect up to 10 lbs of muscle gain. While everyone gains at different rates, I know from experience that 10lbs is a reasonable goal for a beginner.

One tip I have for those just starting out is to avoid playing the scale game. Don't put on weight just to say, "Look how much weight I've gained!" If you rush the majority will be fat. Use the mirror as your progress gauge.

How Can A Beginner Get Motivated To Transform Their Body?

Motivation is an extremely important tool. It's like a fuel that gives you the energy to get things done. With enough motivation anything can be achieved.

Motivation can be divided up into two categories. Internal and external. Some people are more inspired by external sources and others by internal. Find what motivates you to train hard.

Examples of each are as followed:


  • Mental image of your goal
  • Think about how happy you will be when you achieve your goal
  • Set yourself mini goals
  • Decide to enter a fitness/figure/bodybuilding competition
  • Give yourself a deadline to reach your ultimate goal


  • Hire a trainer
  • Bring inspiring music to the gym
  • Train with a training partner(s)
  • Read Bodybuilding magazines and websites
  • Look at photos of your 'ideal' body

Beginning Can Be A Scary Experience For Many People Looking To Make A Lifestyle Change. What Ideas/Tips Can They Use To Break Through The Fear?

Beginners to bodybuilding or just people who are new to training of any kind often have fears that have the potential to hold them back from achieving their goals.

Intimidation is a factor. When walking into a gym beginners often feel intimidated. Like they are the skinniest or fattest person their or that they are too weak. To those people I say this: "Remember that everyone started somewhere."

The big guy in your gym didn't bench press 400 lbs the day he walked in. He had to work for that. He may have even started out just like you, feeling intimidated by other gym members.

I know that many people think that others in the gym look at them and think, "You're too fat," but you shouldn't be worried about what other people think. If you are then you are in it for the wrong reason. You should be training for yourself, to make yourself happy. And if you stick to it, eventually you'll be the one who beginners are intimidated by!

Another fear that people have is that the work they do will be a waste. The best way to combat this fear is with knowledge. Research as much as you can. This will back up your belief that what your doing will work.

Because humans are habitual creatures changing a habit can be very difficult and often scary and uncomfortable. However as I have written before, scientists believe that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. So for the first 21 days of your new lifestyle just stick to it, even if it's a struggle because eventually it will become second nature.

Seeing as how beginners are often teenagers, I thought it would be important to talk about the belief that lifting weights stunts growth (in terms of height and bone length).

For many teenagers this is a real fear (as it was for me upon starting). However there are no scientific studies proving that bodybuilding stunts growth. In my opinion it is a myth. I can tell you from my own experiences that when I started I was 14 and 5'7"-5'9". Now I am six foot. Steroids close over the ends of bones, lifting weights does not. So enjoy bodybuilding without fear.

Harley G. Username: HarleyG 

2nd Place: mawt

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

The start of a workout regimen is the best time to set goals or targets and even the best time to set a good foundation which would help in getting rid of the fear of change in lifestyle that is destined to come.

When starting there isn't much to fear, the diet and workouts don't have to be too strict or tough to notice change, and the body reacts to even the smallest and simplest changes to diet and activity.

Even a simple workout program can do wonders for a beginner if the diet intake is good enough and the body is given enough rest to grow. It is not necessary that every body reacts in the same way as everyone has different genetics, a different lifestyle and metabolism to start with, and a different environment in which to live.

Even before starting the workout program a few things should be understood. Firstly working out isn't just the way out, as I will later mention, body transformation requires a whole lifestyle change and what is even more important than the workout itself is the diet. The third most important component after the diet and the workout is the diet we take in. It is not how much we eat, but what we eat that is important.

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout? 

Even though you still remain a beginner after a few years of working out in comparison to the more dedicated athletes around us, I guess it means someone who has just begun or wishes to begin working out. There are mainly two reasons for which a workout program is started; the first being to get bigger and the other more appreciated form of losing body fat.


These are some things that more advanced bodybuilders don't care much about even though fine tuning them makes a lot of difference. There are a few workout habits that one should avoid in the beginning. It is important to fix these things in the beginning because when they become set in it is very hard to get rid of them.

Correct form for each exercise is the most important part. Using incorrect form would not only aid an injury but would also keep an exercise from benefitting the beginner... many of whom would not know if their body was reacting to a particular exercise or not.


Next comes the repetitions which should be kept a little high in the beginning. What should be taken care of here is to target the slow twitch muscles which are hit by using up to 15 reps. Anything a little higher than that would bring all the stress on the fast twitch muscles.

To keep things simple—if you are good at handling the weight you surely should bring down the reps. It is necessary to work the muscle to failure to get anywhere in bodybuilding, so when trying to work to failure a heavier weight is used.

When the weight gets heavier it gets harder and harder for a beginner to handle it and the form in which the exercise is performed suffers. So I recommend performing up to 15 reps in the beginning so that the muscle gets stimulated.

Range Of Motion

Lastly beginners should use a full range of motion for all exercises while using a slow negative movement to avoid injuries.

The First Week At The Gym:

This is the real beginning. But wait, we haven't started yet. The body needs some time to really come into the flow of working out so it is necessary to take it slow. I certainly do not want you to stop working out within the first week because of all the soreness that it causes.

There are two types of beginners: the first being the skinny type and the other being the guys with some body fat that would hardly take anytime to remove with some hard work (I'm motivating).

The skinnier guys will not need any cardio as they do not have any fat and the people interested in removing body fat would have to incorporate cardio with their workouts.

The first week would be a mix of all muscles, everyday, in order to open them up and beat down the real soreness slowly by not applying too much pressure.

If you are a skinny guy and really dial in the diet even while working the whole body everyday for a week you will see a few muscles popping out while the fatter guys might see something on the scale.


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Military press
  • 2 sets 15 reps each Incline bench military press


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Military press


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Lat pulldowns


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Barbell curl


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Cable extensions


  • 2 sets 15 reps each Leg press

The people interested in losing fat should do a 30 minute cardio session after this workout or build up their stamina at least by doing as much cardio as the can at the moment.

From the second week onwards the workouts will get tougher as only one group of muscles will be done in a day.

An example of the routine will be:

  • Monday: Chest
  • Tuesday: Back
  • Wednesday: Rest
  • Thursday: Shoulders and traps
  • Friday: Arms and forearms
  • Saturday: Legs and calves
  • Sunday: Rest

With cardio; if required at the end of each workout

Note: do not do cardio before the workout.

Cardio will be done after the workout as all the glycogen is burned during the workout so when the cardio session starts the body only burns fat.

Beginners should stick to the basics as "starting" to grow muscle is not rocket science and using an advanced technique would not lead to a shortcut. Basic exercises, form and simple training to failure are the keys.

Once you can handle the weights with correct form you should bring down the reps and increase the poundage's on the bar according to your current strength. Leave your ego at home; lift only as much as your muscles can.

Cardio is a must if you wish to lose fat. Do it right after the workout and/or on an empty stomach in the mornings.

Monday: Chest

  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Bench Press
  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Incline bench press
  • 3 sets 10-12 reps Dumbbell flyes
  • 3 sets 10-12 reps Incline dumbbell flyes

Tuesday: Back

  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Lat pulldowns
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Deadlifts
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Reverse grip lat pulldowns
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Bent over barbell rows or the same with a reverse grip

Wednesday: Shoulders & Traps

  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Barbell shoulder press
  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Behind the neck barbell press
  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Lateral raises
  • 3 sets 8-12 reps Bent over Lateral Raises
  • 3 sets 12 reps each Dumbbell shrugs


  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Barbell curls
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Alternating dumbbell curls
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Preacher curls


  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Close grip bench press
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Tricep cable pulldowns
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Skull crushers


  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Barbell wrist curls

Saturday: Legs and Calves

  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Squats or front squats
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Leg press
  • 3 sets (12, 10, 8) Leg curls
  • 3 sets 12-15 reps Barbell seated calf raises

These exercises cover the basic movements that are required to build muscle all over. But the body requires shocking after every few days as muscles stop growing when they get use to a particular routine. So keep changing the exercises a bit.

What Kind Of A Transformation Can A Beginner Make?

A beginner's body reacts to almost anything and everything; even a slight change in activity brings a change in the physique so this is the time which should be availed. To the question of what can be achieved, there is no specific answer. Everyone has different genetics and a different potential for hard work. Constant effort is the key. You can naturally gain from nothing to about 8 pounds of muscle within the first two months.

What should be made sure of is that not too much fat is and the target remains in mind. About 2 pounds of muscle can be gained each week. It is all about being consistent, avoiding injuries and not even overtraining.

You can get ripped in about 12 weeks if you don't have too much body fat and are able to gain some muscle at the same time. But for a beginner you should wait for about 3 months, after which you will have some noticeable effects to your physique. Just remember, your body is still trying to understand what is actually going on.

Not giving up is the whole moral over here. Even Ronnie Coleman had a first day at the gym and he was not super natural. All that is required is hard work and some smartness to reach your goals.

-David Robson

How Can A Beginner Get Motivated To Transform Their Body?

Motivation is a factor that only stops people with a weakness within them. This is a shell that should be broken by the person themselves. Once your own body motivates you, nothing and no one can stop you from reaching your goals. This is a voice that comes from the inside and I guess no one else can do it for you.

Keeping a personal trainer just to motivate you isn't enough. You need to remain focused on your goal and your ideal physique. Treat yourself on every small achievement and use every failure as an aggressive driving force to charge the motivating battery in the brain.

A reminder everyday is the key. But with all the everyday tensions some would say this is not possible. Make the gym your place of meditation and concentration where you forget all your worries and come to workout.

Use all your failures and your anger to further motivate you and bring the flare in your workout.

Use short term goals that are a little hard to achieve and see how close you can get to them.

Motivate yourself with who you're working out for or what will you get after your transformation. Motivate yourself knowing that everyone has to take the first step to reach a destination.

Beginning can be a scary experience for many people looking to make a lifestyle change. What ideas/tips can they use to break through the fear?

It's the same motivation part. Keeping in mind the goal can break all the barriers that come in the way. This lifestyle change is a healthy change and a change towards good. You just have to eat a little healthier and stop smoking and drinking. It might be hard in the beginning but remember that all bad habits can be overwritten with new helpful habits.

Staying away from junk would even have financial benefits - You might use that same money for buying something healthy to eat.

You can occasionally have your favorite cheat food to treat yourself after reaching a short term goal and the waiting for that day will keep you motivated.

3rd Place - dizi24

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

Embarking on a new journey, especially one that can be as demanding and strenuous as bodybuilding can be a very difficult one. And with so much information floating around, putting it all together can be just as stressful as actually getting to the gym and applying your knowledge. You've probably read routines in muscle-building magazines, but for the most part, these are way too advanced for a young trainee.

Being a beginner can be very difficult. Unless you're an advanced athlete with great genetics, you're general coordination and muscle function is going to be very poor. Trying to do too much weight early in your training can lead to bad form, or even worse injury. So your routine needs to slowly change in order to reflect your goals.

The basic template of your routine will remain the same over time:

  • Monday: Upper Body Strength
  • Tuesday: Lower Body Mass Workout
  • Wednesday: Cardio
  • Thursday: Upper Body Mass Workout
  • Friday: Lower Body Strength
  • Saturday: Cardio
  • Sunday: Rest

Each Day Explained

Strength Days

Strength days will be done on Monday and Friday, once for the lower body and once for the upper body. Even if you're goal is to get real big and you're goals aren't strength oriented, these days are extremely important for you because they teach "muscle fiber recruitment." What does this mean?

Well, when you're lifting a weight, your body is using a certain amount of muscle fibers. By learning to lift heavier weights, you teach your muscles to use increased muscle fibers, which will also lead to increased size gains. This day is mostly focused around big compound movements (lifts that use multiple muscles) and lower reps.

Mass Workout Days

Mass workouts will be performed on Tuesday and Thursday, once for your lower body and once for your upper body. And just like I mentioned during strength days, even if your goals are just strength and not size, these workouts are still important for you because an increase in muscle size will also mean an increase in muscle strength. These days will focused around higher reps and more isolation exercises (exercises using only one muscle).


Doing cardio doesn't necessarily mean training to become a marathon runner or to be in amazing cardiovascular shape. However, cardio will be performed twice a week, on Wednesday and Saturday. Cardio will be performed in order to at least maintain, and for some increase, general physical preparedness (GPP). Doing this cardio will help increase the conditioning level of the trainee and to allow for great stamina in the gym.

Phase 1

The first phase of training is meant to slowly allow your body to adjust to the increased training stimulus that you will be putting your body through in the weight room.

The key to this phase is to learn the form associated with all of the major lifts in a safe manner. Now, imagine going into the weight room and trying to bench press the most amount of weight that you can for one rep.

As a beginner, this would likely result in bad form, increased injury possibilities, and way too much stress for the body. Thus this phase will stay away from very low reps and will be focused around compound movements in order to teach the body better form.

Upper Body Strength:

  • Bench Press: 3x8
  • Military Press: 3x8
  • Barbell Rows: 3x8
  • Pullups: 3x8

Lower Body Mass Day:

  • Rear Lunges: 2x15
  • Leg Extensions: 2x12
  • Hamstring Curls: 2x12
  • Weighted Sit-Ups: 3x12

Upper Body Mass Day:

  • Dips: 2x15
  • Seated Cable Rows: 2x15
  • Dumbbell Bicep Curls: 2x12
  • Lying Tricep Extensions: 2x12
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise: 2x12

Lower Body Strength Day:

  • Barbell Squat: 3x8
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x8
  • Calf Raises: 3x8

Cardio Days:

Cardio during this phase will be something very simple. Depending on your fitness level, this could be walking, running, or swimming for about 30 minutes. Try to find an exercise and intensity level that will keep your heart rate at an increased level for the entire time.

Phase 2

After a 4-8 weeks of training, it will be time to move to a slightly more advanced routine. However, the shift isn't going to be anything earth shattering.

We are still going to focus on the same goals: increased strength, increasing muscle mass, injury avoidance, and increased conditioning levels through cardio. However, after your muscles become acclimated to the first phase of training, your gains will slow down just a little bit and it's going to take different workouts to keep your body guessing.

Upper Body Strength:

  • Barbell Bench Press: 3x5
  • Military Press: 2x8
  • Barbell Rows: 3x5
  • Pullups: 2 sets of as many reps as you can do (if you can do more than 12-15, begin doing weighted pull-ups).

Lower Body Mass:

  • Conventional Deadlifts: 3x8
  • Hack Squats: 2x10
  • Hamstring Curls: 2x10-15
  • Leg Extensions: 2x10-15

Upper Body Mass:

  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3x8
  • Dips: 2x10
  • Barbell Rows: 3x12
  • Bicep Curls: 2x8-12
  • Tricep Overhead Extensions: 2x8-12

Lower Body Strength:

  • Barbell Squats: 3x5
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 2x8
  • Calf Raises: 2x8


Cardio can be done two ways. If you still feel like the cardio during phase one is helping, there is no need to fix it. Otherwise, you can find more advanced ways of doing cardio. For instance, instead of running at the same pace for 30 minutes, change it to three cycles of 5 minutes of sprints and then 5 minutes of jogging. Or try circuit training with jumping jacks, sprints, squat jumps, etc.

What Kind Of A Transformation Can A Beginner Make?

Beginners can make very quick and very impressive progress with a good diet and a training program like the one above. A reasonable goal over a 3-4 month period would be to put on 10-15 pounds of muscle, significant progress on your strength days (should be decided by you depending on your beginning weights), and increased cardiovascular shape.

Most importantly, your goal should be increased self-confidence about yourself and your body. You should be able to look into the mirror or look at before or after pictures and notice a big difference in your training. Doing so can be fuel for years of motivation and progress.

Instead of setting a goal to look like your favorite bodybuilder, wrestler, or athlete, instead focus on making progress for your starting point.

How Can A Beginner Get Motivated To Transform Their Body?

Much of the motivation that you will need will come from yourself. You should focus on making progress for yourself, and not necessarily for others. However, getting motivation from others, whether it is friends or parents can be extremely helpful as well. Motivation to workout can get tough when gains start slowing down (just ask all those people who break their fitness related New Year's Resolutions each year).

Here are some great tips in order to increase your motivation in the gym:

  • Create clear goals, and post them in a place where you will see them every day (above your bed, on the back of your door, in your locker at school, etc)
  • Get friends involved in lifting with you
  • Try to find ways to track your progress
  • Mix up what you do in the gym every couple months, doing the same routine can get boring
  • Get proper rest to avoid skipping a workout because you're "too tired"

Beginning Can Be A Scary Experience For Many People Looking To Make A Lifestyle Change. What Ideas/Tips Can They Use To Break Through The Fear?

Going to the gym for the first time can be extremely difficult. People who are out of shape can often feel out of place in a gym and self-conscious, even though most members in the gym are glad to see new motivated people in the gym.

The advanced lifters in the gym are all going to remember how stressful it can be to come into a gym and to be lifting smaller weights than everyone else. Therefore, my first tip is to get to know a person or two at the gym.

Knowing that there is going to be a trainer or a friend at the gym can take a lot of stress off going to the gym. Furthermore, going to the gym with a friend who is at a similar level as you can help take a lot of stress out of going to the gym, and finding a friend to motivate you can make going to the gym a lot more enjoyable as well.

3rd Place - jdog60

View This Author's BodySpace Here.

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout? 

Instead of making a resolution to give up chocolate or "eat better," why not set a more specific goal, such as "gain 10 pounds of muscle by May," or "drop 5 pounds of fat and gain five pounds of muscle by June."

In achieving such a goal, you will not only look better and be healthier, but also feel better about yourself. While individual goals may vary, one component that is common to most every transformation is the desire to gain lean muscle mass.

If an individual has a high body fat percentage, this goal may be accompanied by an equally important desire to lose weight. In order to lose weight, an overweight person might want to do more (and higher intensity) aerobic exercise and consume fewer calories than a skinny individual.

Yet, the workout of an overweight beginner should not differ from the workout of a skinny beginner, since both individuals are beginners with the common goal of gaining muscle.

There are several important principles that ought to govern any beginner transformation workout.

1. Compound Exercises

Firstly, the workout should focus on compound exercises.

Compound exercises are exercises that involve multiple muscle groups and joints. Isolation exercises, on the other hand, are exercises that work only one muscle group and involve only one joint.

Isolation movements are often used to shape and separate muscles that have already grown to be a good size, whereas compound exercises are superior for increasing overall muscle mass and building a solid foundation of muscle. Additionally, compound movements put the body under more stress than isolation movements, and thus promote testosterone and growth hormone levels, which spike when the body is under physical stress. These two hormones play an important role in muscle growth, and increasing both of them will help the beginner to achieve his or her goal of building muscle.

2. Avoid Overtraining

A second important component of a beginner transformation workout is to not overtrain. Because beginners are not used to performing heavy compound exercises, their bodies need time to adapt, which means plenty of rest in addition to proper nutrition.

Initially, the beginner should take at least one day off after each workout in order to ensure that his or her body has time to grow and recover before putting it under tremendous stress again.

3. Proper Form

Proper form is another key element of all beginner transformation workouts. It is important to develop good lifting technique early, so that one does not develop poor habits that are hard to break later on.

This is especially true for compound exercises, which typically involve heavy weights and often require tremendous concentration to execute properly. They also present the greatest risk for injury when performed improperly. Thus, since an effective beginner transformation workout ought to focus on compound movements, learning and consistently practicing good form is essential to the success of the program.

Additionally, using proper form with free weights in general will ensure that smaller stabilizer muscles are strengthened along with the primary muscles being targeted. Since machines often fail to include stabilizer muscles in the exercise, relying to heavily on machines can lead to injury when using heavy free weights (which the weak stabilizer muscles will not be able to cope with).

4. Strength Training

A fourth (and optional) principle that a beginner should consider when planning a transformation workout is the incorporation of strength training days. Training to increase strength as infrequently as once per week can still pay tremendous dividends for a beginning bodybuilder.

Improving one's strength allows one to lifter heavier weights, and lifting progressively heavier weights is the surest way to make muscles grow.

Arnold Schwarzenegger confirms that, "Including some power sets in your program also helps make you stronger for the rest of your training. You will move up to using heavier weights more quickly, so your muscles will grow that much faster" (The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, p. 144).

The strength training day should be the same as a regular workout, but focus on lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions. Instead of aiming for 8-12 reps, go for 3-6 reps on strength training day.

Beginner Transformation Workout

Perform three sets (plus one warm-up set) for each exercise. For each set, use the highest weight possible with which you can perform 12 reps on the first set, 10 reps on the second set, and 8 reps on the third set while still maintaining proper form.

Day 1:

  • Barbell Full Squat
  • Barbell Lunge
  • Leg Press
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
  • One-Arm Side Laterals

Day 2: Rest

Day 3:

  • Barbell Deadlift
  • Bent-over Barbell Row
  • Pullup (Wide grip and weighted)
  • Barbell Curl
  • Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl

Day 4: Rest

Day 5:

  • Barbell Bench Press (Medium Grip)
  • Dips (Chest Version and weighted)
  • Dumbbell Pullover
  • Close-Grip Barbell Bench Press
  • Bench Dips (weight in lap)

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Rest

Note: If you begin to feel fully recovered after Day 6 (which is improbable for beginners), then repeat the cycle on Day 7 (starting with Day 1) instead of resting.

What Kind Of A Transformation Can A Beginner Make?

Each beginner will see different results after different periods of time. A person's genetic potential plays an important role in determining his or her results. Yet, the best way to ensure that one is maximizing one's gains is to never miss workouts, meals, or sleep.

Additionally, intensity in the gym will ensure that you are working each muscle to its max and thus result in better gains. Establishing a mind-muscle connection is extremely important and will allow one to achieve maximal contraction on each repetition.

Despite individual differences, it is important to note that often a bodybuilder will experience the best results of his or her life during the first several months of training.

When I first started lifting in the spring of my senior year of high school, I weighed 135 lbs. Without knowing anything about diet or nutrition, or the importance of sleep, I gained 8 lbs by the time I arrived at college in the fall of that same year. I am now a junior in college and weigh 163 lbs, and have only gained one percent body fat since entering college (I am now ten percent body fat).

Some will progress quicker than this, while others will take longer to achieve their goals. I have found that the more you want something, the quicker you will reach it.

How Can A Beginner Get Motivated To Transform Their Body?

Motivation is the key to a successful beginner transformation. Everybody wants to gain muscle and lose fat, but only those who are motivated and form good habits will succeed. There is a quote on one of the walls at my gym that reads,

"Motivation Gets You Started, But Habit Keeps You Going."

Perhaps the toughest part of any transformation is the first several weeks. While getting started can be difficult, seeing someone you know, or someone featured under the "Transformation of the Week" section on transform his or her body will make you believe that you too can change your physique.

Looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, "Is this what I want to look like?" or "Am I truly happy with my body?" will often lead you to realize that it is time for a change. Also, thinking about how much happier you will be when you achieve your goals can help get you started.

Once you begin to make progress, the habits you form by going to the gym, eating right, and getting adequate sleep will become second nature. Also, as you see your body change and receive compliments on the changes you have made, you will want to keep improving and stay hungry.

Beginning Can Be A Scary Experience For Many People Looking To Make A Lifestyle Change. What Ideas/Tips Can They Use To Break Through The Fear?

Attempting to transform one's body can be a daunting task. I would suggest that you consult's Transformation of the Week section to get ideas from those who have faced the same fears when starting out, but still managed to succeed. Additionally, setting small and attainable goals is an easy way to stay on track and not get overwhelmed if you are looking to make a big change.

For example, instead of just saying that you want to lose 25 pounds of fat and gain 15 pounds of muscle in six months, set smaller goals, such as losing 4 pounds of fat this month and gaining 2 pounds of muscle. Also, working out with a partner who is also a beginner and who is focused on achieving his or her goals can help keep you motivated.

Another important principle is to not pay attention to other people at the gym. The gym is a place for self-improvement, not for concerning yourself with others. Therefore, do not worry whether or not people are looking at you or are judging you. Just stay focused on the task at hand, do what you need to do, and get out of there.

In the words of NPC competitor Jerome "Hollywood" Fergusson, "When it's time to train, it's time to train." While making a lifestyle change can be scary, remember that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So, like Jerome always says, "Get in there and love yourself" (The Fit Show, Episode 22).

3rd Place - EAGLES56

Beginners of all shapes and sizes are looking for a quality workout routine to transform their bodies.

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout? 

As a beginner, starting a transformation should be taken slowly. Diving into an advanced program will be too challenging. Do not try to copy the workouts of professionals because, as a beginner, one lacks the necessary experience to perform at the professional level.

Before beginning any physical activity, consult a doctor to make sure that one does not have any complications which may lead to or further exacerbate an existing injury.

Beginners should begin with the basics, prioritizing proper form with all exercises. Included below are two workouts which emphasize compound, multi-joint exercises as the workout foundation.

Always begin with 10-20 minutes of low-intensity cardiovascular activity and dynamic stretching to increase blood circulation. Blood circulation is crucial for muscle function and injury prevention. Warm up with a light set or two before diving into heavy compound lifts (squats, deadlifts, presses, rows...).

The following workout can be performed with either straight sets (3-4 x 10 at the same weight) or accumulation sets (increasing the weight each set 3-4 x 12,10,8,6)

Full Body: 3x/wk

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?

These days were picked due to the general population working out on Monday / Wednesday / Friday to avoid distractions and equipment unavailability. This workout can be implemented on alternate days, provided workouts are non-consecutive (Have at least one full day in between full body training sessions).

  • A- Pullups 4 x Failure OR Wide Grip Lat. Pulldown 4 x 8-12
  • A- Flat Bench Press / Decline Dumbbell Press / Incline Dumbbell Press
  • A- Bent Row / T-Bar Row / Seated Row
  • B- Push Press / Seated Barbell Military Press / Arnold Dumbbell Press
  • B- Rear Deltoid Flyes
  • B- Dumbbell / Barbell Shrugs
  • C- Squat / Deadlift
  • D- Dips / Close Grip Bench Press
  • D- Hammer Curl / Standing Curl
  • E- Standing / Seated Calf Raises


Superset exercises according to letter. Rest 0-30 seconds between exercises and 30-60 seconds between sets.

Ex. Superset A

  • Pullups 1 x Failure OR Wide Grip Lat. Pulldown 1 x 8-12
  • 0-30 seconds rest
  • Flat Bench Press / Decline Dumbbell Press / Incline Dumbbell Press
  • 0-30 seconds rest
  • Bent Row / T-Bar Row / Seated Row
  • 30-60 seconds rest
  • Repeat 2-3 more times

Cardio is recommended post-workout or on off days 3x/week.

What Kind Of A Transformation Can A Beginner Make?

A beginner who is completely new to training can expect to add approximately 5-15 lbs in the first month of training alone and add 10 lbs or more to the majority of their lifts. Why?

The shock of training causes the body to over-react to this new resistance placed upon it. The body responds with a tremendous amount of growth to cope with the new environmental pressure. Beginning individuals can expect to see a visible increase in muscle in very little time at all.

As always, nutrition and recovery will dictate the magnitude of progress and results. To amplify one's progression, focus on eating healthy and eliminating poor food choices such as fast food, pizza, junk food, soda, white bread, refined sugar, and coffee.

When starting out, it isn't necessary to count calories and concern oneself with further complications. Stick to eating clean, healthy, natural and unprocessed foods spread over 5-7 meals throughout the day.

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?


  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Lean Beef
  • Steak
  • Tuna
  • Fish
  • Turkey
  • Roast
  • (Non-fat) Milk
  • Tofu


  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Nuts (Almonds, Peanuts, Walnuts, Cashews...)
  • Olive Oil
  • Flax seed
  • Fish
  • Cheese

Complex Carbohydrates:

  • Oats (Steel Cut or Rolled)
  • Multigrain Bread
  • Brown Rice
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Farina
  • Multi-grain Cereal


  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Spinach
  • Brussel Sprouts


  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Berries
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Peppers

What Is The Best Beginner Transformation Workout?

  • Stay hydrated. Drink 1-2 gallons of water per day.
  • Aim for 1g/lb of protein daily to repair and build new tissue.
  • Consume at least 25g of fiber daily. Fiber is necessary for digestive system health and function.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables daily. Fruits and vegetables contain micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) necessary for growth, have a high water concentration, and are fibrous to aid with digestion.

Beginner Supplements

Supplements should not replace whole food and should be used very little by beginners. Beginners should start off slow with a multivitamin/mineral, whey protein, and Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's) for general well-being. After a few months when progress slows, consider adding creatine into ones supplementation regimen and expand from there after reaching another plateau (progress stagnation).

My Recommendations

  • Multivitamin: Controlled Labs' Orange Triad is a multivitamin/mineral, digestive aid, and joint product.
  • Protein: EAS 100% Whey Protein
  • EFA's: NOW Omega 3-6-9 includes essential fatty acids from a variety of sources.
  • Creatine

Rest and Recovery

Strive for at least 8 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. Remember that the body repairs faster while at rest. A full night's sleep yields increased energy throughout the following day. Napping is also beneficial. A 20 minute long nap is the equivalent of a couple hours of sleep and can be quite energizing and refreshing.

How Can A Beginner Get Motivated To Transform Their Body?

Motivation can be found be found in numerous ways and from numerous sources including:

  • Visualizing what you want to look like. Find pictures of what you want to look like and keep them nearby too.
  • Hire a personal trainer to motivate you.
  • Having a workout partner. I find that I'm constantly trying to be the best and my competitive nature paired with a workout partner who won't give up either keeps me on track.
  • Entering a competition.
  • Setting goals and following a plan of attack.
  • Reading inspirational stories.

Keep a log recording sets, repetitions, weight used, mood, sleep quality/duration, diet, and take pictures every once in a while. Use the mirror more than the scale to monitor physique changes. Reflect upon past progress as motivation.

A great place to find motivation and people to encourage one along their journey is on the forum. Start a workout journal where others can post inspirational messages and share their knowledge.

Beginning Can Be A Scary Experience For Many People Looking To Make A Lifestyle Change. What Ideas/Tips Can They Use To Break Through The Fear?

Common Fears


When starting out, one often feels uncomfortable in the gym. The gym is a foreign environment which one is not familiar. It will take time to get used to the gym, but to make it easier, work out with friends or those who will be motivational.

Surrounding oneself with a positive influence will limit intimidation and even make working out a comfortable experience. Don't be intimidated by others, stick to your workout and concentrate on achieving your goals.


A beginner won't be as great of shape as others and failing to lift as heavy, run as fast, or keep performing as long may be embarrassing. Bear in mind that the other people in the gym had to start somewhere too. Progress will come with time, quitting accomplishes nothing.

Stunted Growth

A common misconception is the belief that weightlifting will fuse growth plates shut and prevent further growth. This has not been proven. In fact, the body actually grows more in response to training.

Getting "Too" Muscular

By far one of the most common fears (usually amongst women) is the thought that lifting more than pink dumbbells will develop manly features on a feminine physique.

Using dumbbells so light that they do not pose a challenge accomplishes nothing. Lift a weight that is challenging otherwise one might as well revert back to sitting on the couch because this fails to achieve anything. Developing a large amount of muscle mass takes time and does not spring up over night. Don't fret.


In the back of a beginner's mind, or even that of an advanced trainee, the thought of injury can be haunting. Ensure the use of proper technique. To prevent this fear, take safety precautions. Use a rack, have a spotter, use wraps, and don't go too heavy. Injuries are preventable.

To break through the fear, try to make the lifestyle change comfortable. Find a workout partner and surround oneself with others who are encouraging. Make starting out a positive experience because any negativity is destined to prevent commitment.


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Workout Of The Week

Workout Of The Week

Workout of the Week is where forum members are asked to answer questions about what they think the best workouts are.

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