A lot of people ask me what my workout program looks like, and I could tell them, but is it the best program for them? That, as the 6-packed Shakespeare once said, is the question.
A good workout program depends on multiple factors. It must be congruent with your goals, time and general lifestyle, or it simply won't work, even if it already worked for someone else.
Many of us have gone to the gym without knowing what to do, and it's frustrating. It's so easy to watch what others do, but usually you end up becoming a gym creepster, stalking some good-looking person around the gym and mimicking their workout.
And unless you're looking for a restraining order, chances are that person's program isn't for you. So if you need a little guidance before heading out and getting your exercise on, check out one of the 3 workouts I've designed.
Whether you're crunched for time, an aspiring athlete or a budding bodybuilder, you can use one of these programs to get started on the road to success.
1. The Watch-Watcher's Workout: Circuit Training
This might be my favorite lifting style. It's efficient, metabolic, and combines a balanced amount of strength and muscle development. This means it's great for anyone looking to increase strength and endurance but maintain a lean physique.
Whether you're doing simple exercises or complex advanced lifts, the key to proper circuit training is rotating through 4 to 8 multijoint, dynamic exercises without resting between sets. Go with exercises that combine both lower- and upper-body muscles.
An effective circuit-training program can require as few as 3 workouts a week at 45 to 60 minutes, and I recommend using free weights to encourage quick and convenient transition between weights and exercises.
We all know about the long lines for machines at the gym during peak hours, but circuit training requires little rest so there's no time for that.
Aim to do 3 to 4 circuits for any given workout, with a rep range of 10 to 20 for each exercise.
Your weekly training schedule should look like this:
- Day 1: Circuit training
- Day 2: Cardio
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Circuit training
- Day 5: Cardio
- Day 6: Circuit training
- Day 7: Rest
And here's one of my personal circuits that uses a loaded barbell:
Or, if you're more comfortable with dumbbells:
Remember, you can also create your own customized circuit workout to fit your goal, so be creative!
2. CrossFit Is Calling All Athletes
You can't NOT mention CrossFit, as it's become immensely popular over the last few years, and has even evolved into its own sport. Crossfit is a balls-out sweat fest, and utilizes many advanced Olympic style lifts for a full-on workout grinder.
It's time effective—some workouts take as little as 15 minutes to complete, but after those 15 minutes, you'll feel like you were hit with a truck, dragged through the mud, mugged, then hung out to dry.
CrossFit exercises include plyometric, running, and explosive-type movements, making it perfect for athletes wanting to build explosive fitness. It's also great for anyone with a job that requires a high level of physical fitness.
One unique aspect of CrossFit is that most workouts don't have set ranges—you do as many sets as possible within a certain amount of time. CrossFit is a specialized workout style and will challenge you mentally, so I don't recommend trying it own your own.
You could risk lifting incorrectly, inefficiently and hurting yourself. Lift with a partner or attend a CrossFit class to make sure your workout is as safe as it is intense.
CrossFit can go along with normal weight training, so here is a weeklong schedule to follow:
- Day 1: Workout 1
- Day 2: Cardio/Weight lifting
- Day 3: Rest/cardio
- Day 4: Workout 2
- Day 5: Cardio/Weight lifting
- Day 6: Workout 3
- Day 7: Rest
And here are your 3 crossfit workouts (good luck)!
3. The Big Bad Bodybuilder Program
As one of the most popular workout styles out there, the bodybuilder workout is what you commonly see in fitness magazines and the like, and is perfect for anyone looking to compete in bodybuilding, put on some lean muscle or even shred up their physique.
Though it's best suited for those who already have a couple years worth of lifting experience under their belt, it's effective and lets you focus on shaping and building each muscle group. You should plan on spending 60 to 90 minutes in the gym each session, 4 to 5 days a week.
For cardio, doing it separate from or immediately after your weight training is the best strategy. Your sets and reps will depend on what phase of bodybuilding you are in.
For cutting or leaning up do:
- 3-5 sets of 15-20 reps for each exercise with 30-45 seconds of rest between sets.
For strength and lean muscle gains:
- 4-6 sets of 3-8 reps for each exercise with 60-240 seconds of rest between sets.
For Hypertrophy and increased size:
- 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise with 45-120 seconds of rest between sets.
Day 3: Rest
Day 6 and 7: Cardio
Remember there are many different types and styles of training available, and you'll find that they are all good if they match your goals, so find your match and hit it hard!
It's also nice to switch up your program every 4 to 5 weeks to keep your body on its toes and prevent it from getting used to the same routine.
Also, don't forget to do your cardio, and more importantly don't forget proper diet and supplementation!