Foundations for Weight Lifting
1. DON'T BE HALF-HEARTED
Give this thing everything you've got. Be consistent. Be diligent. Exert yourself. Don't leave any doubt in your mind that you tried as hard as you could. Most importantly: Trust the system. Seriously, you can do this. I'm telling you — paired with the right diet, this program works. The only people who are in great shape who don't use this program are genetic freaks who can just look at a kettle bell and instantly be in good shape. Do every single exercise listed here, and hit every single rep. Look at this program as a debt that you must pay every single day. And, when you finish the workout, your conscience is clean.
The worst thing you can do is try one workout program for a week, get lazy, and say, "I'm gonna try the Rest Six Days a Week Program. It's apparently all the rage." No. Work hard. Hit every day.
2. WHAT THE WORDS MEAN
Barbell: One long bar, on which you add weight to each end. Requires two hands to pick up.
Dumbbell: A short bar with pre-attached weights. Requires only one hand to pick up.
Exercise: A specific movement with a specific piece of equipment. For example, "Barbell Bench Press" is a different exercise than "Machine Bench Press." Also, "Machine Shoulder Press" is different than "Machine Chest Press."
Rep: One single "repetition" of an exercise. If I lift up a barbell on the bench, bring it down to my chest, and push it back up, that is one single "Rep."
Set: A single series of "Reps." If I pick up the barbell, do 10 "Reps," and put it back on the bench, that was "A set of 10." So below, when the program instructs you to perform "3 sets of 10," that means you pick up the bar, perform 10 full repetitions, and put it back down. Take a 30-second break. Repeat another 10 reps. Take a 30-second break. Perform another 10 reps. That's "3 sets of 10."
3. IT'S OKAY TO SUBSTITUTE EXERCISES
If a certain piece of equipment isn't available (either the gym doesn't have it, or it's crowded) that's okay. Substitute an approximate exercise. Tons of people show up at the gym, can't get the equipment they need, and then just abandon their workouts. Don't do it. If you can't get on the barbell bench press, just grab some dumbbells and do that instead. Or if you have to, jump on a bench press machine. If you can't get the piece of equipment you need, try to look for another weight or machine that can mimic the same movement and work the same muscle, and substitute it. It's better than getting frustrated waiting, losing momentum, and leaving the gym.
Don’t forget nutrition
While working out in the gym provides the stimulus for muscle and strength gains, nutrition plays a major role in recovery and exercise optimization.
Thus, it’s important to ensure that your food intake is adequate to meet the demands of your training.
This can be done by ensuring sufficient calorie, protein, carb, and fat intake based on your training intensity and physique goals. You can use a calorie counter to calculate your needs.
In order to gain muscle, it’s best to be in a calorie surplus, or eat more than your body needs to sustain itself. A surplus of 10–20% over your baseline calorie needs should be sufficient to promote muscle gains.
If you’re trying to lose body fat instead, maintaining your baseline or adopting a slight calorie deficit is generally recommended.
Nutrient timing, which involves eating at specific times to yield results, may also be vital to maximize muscle gains. For example, many experts recommend eating a well-balanced meal or snack within 2 hours of a workout, ideally both before and after.
If you want to ensure proper dietary intake or create an individualized plan to help you meet your goals, consider consulting a registered dietitian.