Archive for the tag - newbie

Fitness Advice for a Newbie.

Hey Davey,

So finally I made up my mind to go to the gym and get bulked. I’m here asking you for help in making a full body gym routine for me. I have a few questions:

  1. I’ve been thinking about hitting the gym 5 times a week minimum. Is this a good amount?
  2. How much weight should I add on when weightlifting per week?
  3. As I want to lower my body fat percentage, should I go low on carbs and high on protein?
  4. And since I want to add bulk, should I not focus on cardio exercise?

Best regards,
Josimir

Hey Josimir,

Congratulations on your commitment to a healthier and stronger you!

You have four basic questions about frequency of exercise, progression, diet and ratio of cardio to strength training. I’ll do my best to answer these questions in a general way, but you’ll need to customize my advice for your individual goals, circumstances and situation.

Frequency of exercise is huge. Your commitment to 5x per week is noble, but it’s something I’d advise against. Yes, going to the gym more frequently does help accelerate results – but it also increases burnout rates for new exercisers. I advise newbies to hit the gym 3x per week for 30 – 45 minutes. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s really about making your gym commitment sustainable. Once this minimal workout schedule feels doable, add in another day – or extend your workout times by 15 minutes. Gradually build up to a schedule that is more in line with the results you want.

Since you’re looking to increase muscle mass, progressing to heavier levels of resistance is a must. You ask about adding resistance per week, but it doesn’t really work like that. Progression is different for each person and each body, but I generally recommend following the “2 for 2 Rule.” When you can do 2 extra repetitions on your last set of a given exercise for workouts in a row, it’s time to add more weight. If you are new to working out, you may be able to increase resistance by 5% – 10%. If you are more advanced, 2% – 5% may be more appropriate. This usually amounts to 2.5 – 5 pounds for smaller muscle groups and 5 – 10 pounds for larger muscle groups. If you have questions about the number of repetitions that you should be performing, read more about it here.

Regarding diet, a low-carb and high-protein diet is in line with your fitness goal of increasing muscle size and definition. Just remember that your body does need both protein and carbs after you complete a workout. It’s important not to eliminate carbs entirely.

Lastly, you do need to perform both cardio and strength training. Cardio provides a number of great benefits that will help improve your lifting – and life. For people looking to add muscle, I recommend 30% cardio to 70% strength training. In other words, if you exercise for 45 minutes, you’d spend just under 15 minutes doing some type of cardio – preferably interval training. The rest of your time would go to strength training. For people looking to release weight, I recommend a cardio/strength training ratio of 50/50. For definition or general health, a cardio/strength training ratio of 40/60.

I hope all that helps! And again, congratulations on your commitment!

Love,
Davey

P.S. For detailed step-by-step help building a routine that is customized to your goals, I can’t help but plug my Ultimate Guide to Working Out. It essentially hires me as your personal trainer – together, we create a complete and comprehensive program that works for you.