If you haven't yet read the introduction, hold off on reading this. The fundamentals you have to know before any of this applies, are in the introduction. Read it first...
Now that you have read the introduction, you no doubt understand the principles of consistency. So keep that in mind as you read through here. You obviously have the will to lose bodyfat. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading here. And you're putting out the effort of reading this, so you've obviously got some motivation, but remember the two different motivations. Thereís the motivation to achieve all your physical goals, gain muscle, lose bodyfat, all of that. The motivation to achieve all of that. Thatís one. And as you should recall, that's precisely the one that doesnít matter in the least bit. Every logical human on earth has got it and it's not helping them out any. So the only motivation that matters is the motivation to train to achieve all your physical goals. Frame all your goals around the behaviors, as opposed to the results they produce. The outcomes should not be your goals, but the rather the process itself. This is important. The big goals will never happen if the process isn't the focus.
Also remember that a single workout can not possibly do any good what so ever. A workout will do absolutely nothing for you. Only a continual and gradual overload of targeted muscles causes them to adapt and grow to accommodate the stress. Your body will never adapt to workouts. But thereís no way it cannot adapt to a new lifestyle.
Now, realize that your body responds exceptionally well to change. Thatís how it works. This doesn't mean that changes in your exercise program will give you freedom to slack on diet though. Regardless of how hard you train, diet is still key. Training harder wonít change that. Thereís nothing you can do to compensate for a poor diet. So once your diet is on, be consistent. Thatís the most important thing. Get in the gym all the time. And while youíre there, donít keep looking for some new way to do everything or some new innovative movement. The best ones are already known. Just about every effective movement is well known already. Theyíre called the fundamentals. They wouldnít be the fundamentals if they werenít the most effective. If something came along and proved to be more effective, it would become one of the Fundamentals. Until that point, go ahead and stick with whatís already known to be most effective.
While sticking with these fundamentals, know that thereís a fine line between undertraining and overtraining. Be in it. Donít be that poor jackass whoís in the gym for 4 hours every day. Thereís no way youíll get any development with that. Lift with more total sets in less total time. Also, lightening up the weight you're using and doing tons of reps isn't going to help you either. Ten to twelve reps is fine. Twelve is usually about the most you should do. Fifteen tops and that's only on certain movements. I see these people doing fifteen or twenty reps on movements because they want to look cut. Donít do that. It's not how much weight you're lifting, or how many reps that is going to make you look cut, it's bodyfat, which has very little to do with changes in your weights. You need to lift weights in order to lose bodyfat at a good pace, but your lifting isn't what's doing it directly. Doing bicep curls isn't burning bodyfat off your biceps. Working your external obliques with those stupid side bends isn't cutting up your waste. Actually, working your obliques at all is only making your waste bigger, as they're one of the fastest growing muscles in your body and they expand outwards. So lift on the muscles you want to grow, and work with your diet and cardio for the fat overtop of those muscles, keeping in mind that the more muscle you have, the quicker your body burns bodyfat.
As for abs goes, most people think that they should do endless crunches to cut bodyfat and make their abs show. So you can if you want to, but it's not going to help. Your body already contains the abdominal muscles. That's not a problem. If you can't see them, the problem is bodyfat, not your abs. Your abs are probably doing fine under there, so don't assume that cutting bodyfat has anything to do with excessive abdominal work. Lose the fat and your abs will be shredded, so cardio in that sense is going to give you a much better six pack than crunches. That's not to say don't do them. Working your abs is very important and you should hit them at least once per week. But all I'm saying is that the whole every day endless crunches bit is wasted energy.
All Iím trying to get across here is that you should lift for the sake of lifting, not for the sake of looking cut. Thatís diet and cardio. So do your weight training routine as heavy as you can without sacrificing form. And never miss workouts. I know I explained this already, but it doesn't matter how hard you train if you miss them. So Iím just trying to save you the energy. If youíre going to miss workouts, you might as well not put out the energy to lift in the first place. Maintenance isnít as hard as progress, but progress takes a lot of time and focus. And it will come quick depending only on this time and focus. So donít miss workouts, and never miss meals.
Back to weights. Donít do isolation exercises. They arenít going to hinder your progress, but doing forearm curls or concentration curls isnít going to give you the progress that youíre wanting. Lift hard on the fundamentals, but donít sacrifice form, and donít work through injuries. If you keep lifting through pain, you're going to develop chronic injuries that will interrupt your progress. So a few days off for rest and ice is going to be more beneficial than a few crappy unproductive workouts.
Make sure you're using good form every repetition of every set. Everyone thinks that their form is perfect. I don't know why, but everyone thinks this. Every person lifting thinks their form is perfectly fine, otherwise they would have already corrected it. But if you're not seeing the gains like you want, consider that maybe your form isn't quite as good as you think it is. Using good form, although maybe damaging to an ego, will build more muscle for your body, and therefore give your body the ability to cut more bodyfat and up your metabolic rate. An ego wonít. Nobody can see an ego. They can see your arms though. So be selective in which one you're building. And since everyone already believes they lift perfectly, just double check and see if it's your body that's being trained with the most attention.
And donít use momentum unless I tell you to. In most cases, momentum doesnít construct the body quite the same as contractions do, and the eccentric contraction is are going to be more beneficial than the concentric. This means that if youíre underneath a bench press, pushing it up doesnít do as much as letting it down. So donít let gravity and all the laws of physics take care of the lowering of the weight. Using momentum generally works the natural laws of the universe. That's not your muscle. It's kind of like working an ego. Pointless. So let the weight down slow and controlled, with more focus than you have on the concentric push.(more about concentric/eccentric contractions)
Your workouts should be in a slightly more set-after-set pace and donít waste your time with forced reps. Once you fail, youíre okay to stop. People seem to think they need to do like ten reps with a weight they can do four of. Overtraining. Thatís all youíre doing. You wonít get results this way. Donít make your spotter give you a thousand forced reps every time. A half of one forced is all. Either go till almost failure or once you fail, complete that rep, and call it a set. Donít worry about the weight youíre using either. And if you bump the weight because someone is watching you, you're focussing more on attention and weight, and less on progress. So donít be one of those people who does that.
Okay, hereís your rules on bodypartsÖ
On chest you should be doing barbell inclines, and incline, flat, or decline dumbell presses or flies, and cable crosses. Maybe one day do incline barbells, decline dumbell press, flat dumbell flies, and cable crosses. It doesnít matter what angles you feel like doing just work your chest hard. Once in a while pre-fatiguing your chest with some isolation thing isnít bad But keep up with your heavy dumbells and practice your cable crosses. Get the form down on those because it isolates the chest better than any other movement. It wouldn't hurt you to stand in the middle of that machine for as long as it takes to complete 8 or 10 sets. Just get your form down on those perfect, and keep up with the heavies.
For back, you're going to want your repetitions to be a little faster and a little momentum won't hurt you here. Your back works synergistically with your biceps and your biceps are used in everyday life all the time. Your back generally isn't. But it can handle heavier weights than your biceps and so don't neglect stacking weight on and swinging around a little. Your biceps are more of a precision muscle able to be focussed on and isolated real well. Your back has a lot of strength and is best at throwing heavy weight around. Don't neglect control. But take advantage of a little more speed and try not to let your arms dominate the pull. Pullups, heavy lat pulldowns, low cable rows, and dumbell pullovers are best. Barbell rows and Hammer Strength rows also work fairly well and should be included in some of the workouts. But the more heavy lat pulls and low rows youíre doing, the bigger your back will measure.
Your shoulders are going to respond best to a lot of heavy overhead presses, whether it be barbell, dumbell, or machine. Do a bunch of those, all three, whatever you want, but do it heavy and do it well. Follow up with some type of lateral extension movement, and shrugs wonít hurt if you want more trap development.
With biceps go slow and keep your rep numbers low in movements like standing barbell curls, preacher curls, seated dumbell curls, and hammer curls. If you want to hit your forearms a little more with your biceps, do some reverse grip barbell curls and some behind the back barbell forearm curls. On any dumbell movements, make sure you keep your thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers. This just makes sure that it's working where you want it to.
For triceps, your two best movements are french press and close arm dips. Strap yourself in and do dips on the machine so you can focus on keeping your elbows in and going heavier than you should. Slightly more isolation type movements like tricep pressdowns shouldnít be neglected either. These will get you great results and should be done just about every time, but just without quite as much emphasis as your heavy sets.
Legs aren't just going to make your leg's adapt... They won't just help your legs only. Itíll increase contractile proteins for more total body strength and power and release more hormones for growth and help you cut more bodyfat. So squats, leg press, smith machine squats, lunges, and hak squats. Not all in one day, but do a few sets of compound mass movements every time and thatís good enough. A couple sets of leg extensions helps with your quads a bit, and hamstring curls help with your hammies. So donít skip those all the time, but your main goal is to get through a few sets of the heavy compounds.
On chest, worry more about incline movements than any other angle. Upper chest is all you really need to hit. Incline bench, incline dumbell presses, incline flies. Then move into flat angle movements if you don't feel like you've worked hard enough.
For back, make sure you're working your back and not your arms. Don't focus too much on lat pulldowns or pullups. They're not going to hurt you, but you should put out most of your effort on different angled row machines. Keep your thumb on the same side as your fingers, and don't pull with your hands. Grip the bar, but pull so that the tension is going from your elbows back. This will put the stress into your back and not your biceps. Otherwise your arms do it all, and that's not the point of working your back. So just do various angles of rows, use the right thumb position, pull through from your elbows, and drive your chest up as you pull the weight in.
Your shoulders need to be hit from a bunch of angles. Dumbell overhead press, dumbell laterals, dumbell anterior raises, and bent over dumbell laterals will cover them perfectly. Use proper form and good control through these movements, because shoulders are very voulnerable to injuries and take about six months to heal. So work through those four angles with good controlled form.
With biceps take it nice and slow. No sense in working the laws of physics when you want arm development. Cable curls, seated dumbell curls, and concentration curls. On any dumbell movements, make sure you keep your thumb on the same side of the bar as your fingers. This just ensures that it's working where you want it to.
Triceps are great because you can just sit at the tricep pressdown machine all day. Use various hand grips, but stick primarily to whatever one you feel like using. More than anything it's an issue of being comfortable. Other movements that are going to be effective are machine dips and dumbell kickbacks. On all three of these movements keep your elbows tucked tightly up against your body and focus on your triceps.
Legs. Plenty of lunges and squats. Other good ones are leg presses, leg extensions, and leg curls. Leg extensions helps with your quads a bit, and hamstring curls are great for the hammies. So try not to skip those all the time, but make sure you get in those lunges and squats every time.
This is where your bodyfat drowns out. Now regular cardiovascular work burns really no bodyfat. So don't bother getting on an eliptical trainer or a bike, or a treadmill or anything and just start pedaling like a banshee. If you're sweating profusely and you can't talk semi-comfortably, it's pretty likely that you're doing nothing to your bodyfat.
What you have to do is... first thing in the morning, pack in some water, and if youíre into the whole stimulant thing thatís fine, coffee's always popular, but NO calories from carbohydrates what so ever. None. Get on a treadmill and just go at somewhere around 3.7 to 4.3 mph. or equivalent effort on another machine or outside or whatever. You have your choices as to what the cardio is, but donít stop and go. Just keep at a continual moderate pace for a lengthy time. Do it at least 3 mornings per week, every week for at least 40 minutes per session. Basically what this does is burn strictly bodyfat. All those calories you read off the display screen (if youíre on a machine) are bodyfat off your body. You haven't eaten in quite a number of hours, depending on when your last meal was the day before. So your body can't burn that. So youíre down to two options, fat or muscle tissue.
If you go fast or up the intensity too much, you're burning muscle. But if you go at a moderate and continual pace, you burn bodyfat. But if you eat any source of carbohydrates that morning before the cardio, you're burning muscle regardless because that little carb source will run out before you're too far into your cardio and your body will have released insulin which blocks the body's ability to burn any fat, so you're pretty well screwed. So just do it right, and you burn tons of fat off your body. It's pretty simple. Keep in mind it takes about 15 minutes for your body to become real efficient in burning bodyfatÖ This also means that stop and go cardio makes it so your body wonít really ever become consistent. That also means that less days per week with a greater duration will burn more than every day for a short duration. Lots of days with a long duration will obviously burn it the fastest, but be consistent. Stick with a minimum of 3. Donít go 7, 7, 6, 2, 1, 1, 0, then build up the desire to start again and jump back to 7. It wonít do anything. Be consistent. If you want to do cardio 6 days in one week, thatís fine. But just go at least 3 every week is all and never go under that. Stick with your 3 mornings as your plan, then if you feel motivated on an off day, go ahead and go- itíll speed up your results, but those are just extras, they arenít an excuse to do less days the following or previous week. Theyíd help out plenty, but they wouldnít compensate for inconsistency.