1.03.2009

Your free 2009 workout - Phase 1

For those of you whose goal for 2009 is to lose weight and get fit, I salute you.

The sad truth is, however, that the vast majority of people who make that resolution fail to keep it. The reasons why are varied, but in my experience (both personal and hearing other peoples'), the biggest reason people stop with this goal is discouragement from not having a plan, not knowing what to do, or not seeing results soon enough.

So, along with my Absoulte Beginner's Guide to the Gym, I've created a workout plan for you to follow this year. This plan is meant to start your year right, and serves as the first of four phases for getting stronger, fitter and healthier. The phases are:

1) The charge-up
2) The launch
3) The burn
4) The shift

I will be posting workouts for these phases as it becomes time to do so. There is a reason why I don't share with you the later phases right now - because, like Daniel-san in The Karate Kid, most everyone wants to get the big splash without learning the fundamentals and building their base. If you choose to use my workout plans, it's IMPERATIVE that you do the things I tell you in the order I tell you to do them.

This workout (this phase of it anyway) is not meant to turn everyone into huge hulking power lifters. It is designed to begin working your body into shape and getting it used to movements, positions, and technique. It will also begin the process of burning fat - but not how you think it will.

Overall body fat will be reduced with this phase, but the major goal is to burn out the fat from within your muscles. Think about when you go to the market to buy a steak. usually, you're looking for marbeling - the layering of fat within the fibers of the meat. That's precisely what goes on in unused muscles. Fat doesn't just collect around the waist, neck, and legs. It also layers into the muscles. And in order to get your body ready to go, you'll need to get rid of it.

So, the focus of Phase 1 is to do a higher repetition count across a high number of exercises, with a weight that is around 40% to 50% of your maxium strength on each exercise. It is a combination of endurance and strength training, but with a greater emphasis on endurance.

A few notes:

1) Get a calendar. Mark each day you work out with an X (or a check, or a smiley face, or whatever). Build up chains of x's. DON'T BREAK THE CHAIN.

2) It sounds like a long time, but 90 minutes a day is actually very little time to work out each day when you think about it. You work 8-9 hours a day. You spend up to 5 hours a day watching television or driving. You owe it to yourself to put aside 90 minutes each day for you AND ONLY YOU.

3) This is about YOU. It doesn't matter how much you're lifting, or what the other people are lifting, or anything else. All that matters is that you show up and work on yourself. It's the best gift you can give yourself.

4) Please, please, PLEASE take a multivitamin. I recommend highly that you take the ones in indivdual packets for each day, with multiple pills (usually available from high-end nutrition stores). DO NOT use Centrum or some other cheapo brand. This is essentially your entire day's nutrition in a small packet. Spend a bit of money on it.

So, here it is, your workout:

Phase 1: The Charge (9 weeks)

Workout time:

Weeks 1 and 2: 90 minutes
Weeks 3 - 9: 60 - 75 minutes

Important notes:

After EVERY workout, every single day, 30 minutes on the elliptical machine or treadmill. If you are walking, walk at 3.5mph for 2 mins, then 4.0 for one minute, alternating. Keep your heart rate up.

After EVERY workout, ingest at least 5 grams of protein per 20 lbs of body weight (example: 200 lbs of body weight = 50 grams of protein). No more than 15 calories per 10 lbs of body weight (example - 200 lbs = 300 calories MAXIMUM). That means PURE casein / isolate whey protiens. NO Muscle Milk, NO EAS unless it's the extremely low fat / low carb varieties.

DRINK WATER. Lots and lots and lots of water. You need AT LEAST a quart during your workout and another quart after your workout. Just buy a half-gallon of milk, drink it (or pour it out), and use the bottle during your workout. Hydration isn't just a good theory, it's manditory for your health.

You will be eating 5 - 6 meals a day. None of this "big meal 3x a day, with snacks" and no "skipping breakfast and eating huge dinners." FIVE TO SIX MEALS A DAY, with NO LESS THAN 450 calories per meal and NO GREATER THAN 600 calories per meal (if you want to go higher in the mornings and cut lower in the evenings, fine, just stay below 500 calories on any meal within 4 hours of bedtime).

You need to stay below 3000 calories a day, preferably around 2500 calories a day. But you MUST eat AT LEAST 2000 calories a day. Do NOT screw around with this. It is far far far better during this phase to eat more than less. Your body WILL burn it. But if you starve yourself (any less than 2000 calories a day), you're going to stall. You will not build muscle. You will not burn fat. You WILL get cranky and irratable and hate everyone around you and want to quit and play xbox all day.

We don't want that.

We are going to assume you're starting on Monday and ending on Saturday. You can start any day of the week you want, what's important is that you go six straight days in a row, and rest for one.

If you miss a day, DO NOT skip the body part. Do it the next day, and shift your workout plan accordingly (move every grouping out a day). Count this as your rest day, and try to go 6 days straight after that.

Every two weeks, try to go up about five pounds per exercise (in the case of dumbbells, five pounds PER HAND).


Monday: Chest and Triceps

WARMUP: 15 repitions of bench press with very light weight (25% of your maximum weight), 15 repititions of tricep pushdown with very light weight, and 20 pushups.

Stretch - 5 minutes, focusing on pectorals and triceps.

Bench Press: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Tricep Pushdown: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Incline Bench Press: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Tricep Overhead Extension: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Decline Bench Press: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
One-Hand Tricep Curl (cable): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Pec Deck / Cable crossovers: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Dips: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

30 minutes on Eliptical / Treadmill at target heart rate. Walking is fine.



Tuesday: Back and Biceps


Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
One-Hand Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Row (machine, cable, bent-over): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
two-hand preacher curl: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Low Row (dumbbell, machine): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
One -Hand Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 15 reps EACH HAND, at 50% of maximum weight.

Reverse Fly (Rhomboid fly): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Chin-ups (with spotter, or place feet on bench / block below and self-spot)


Wednesday: Legs and Shoulders

Leg Press - three positions (inside, outside, calf press): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Military Press (machine or slide rack): 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Shoulder Raises - front: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

Leg Curls: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Shoudler Raises - sides: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.

No-weight squats: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.
Lateral Raises - machine OR front shoulder pull raises: 3 sets of 15 reps, at 50% of maximum weight.


Thursday: Chest and Biceps

CHEST: Same exercises as Monday, except with dumbbells (dumbbell bench, dumbbell incline, dumbbell decline) OR machines (machine bench, machine incline, machine decline), with a bit higher weight (60% of maximum weight) and lower reps (10 - 12 reps, as you feel necessary)

BICEPS: Same curl exercises as Tuesday, slightly higher weight, lower reps


Friday: Back and Triceps


BACK: Same back exercises as Tuesday, except use a different method (if you used cables, use a machine or free weights, vice versa), higher weight, lower reps

TRICEPS: Same tricep exercises as Monday, higher weight, lower reps


Saturday: Legs and Shoulders

Same workout as Wednesday, higher weight (60% of max weight on all exercises), lower reps (10-12, three sets)



Sunday: Rest


(NOTE: For weeks 1 and 2, do 40% of maximum weight for monday through wednesday, and 50% of maximum weight on thrusday - saturday).


Exercise descriptions and illustrations