This book is a complete beginners guide to weight training at home. It is designed for people who want to become stronge
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English Pages  Year 2016
This book is a complete beginners guide to weight training at home. It is designed for people who want to become stronge
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Home Workout For Beginners: Is accessible for ANYONE who wants to workout at home, in the office or even travels Uses
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Home Workout For Beginners: Is accessible for ANYONE who wants to workout at home, in the office or even travels Uses
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Home Workout For Beginners: Is accessible for ANYONE who wants to workout at home, in the office or even travels Uses
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A TRUE SECRET BEHIND YOUR PERFECT BODY… What do you think… What is the biggest reason that holds people back from gettin
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A TRUE SECRET BEHIND YOUR PERFECT BODY… What do you think… What is the biggest reason that holds people back from gettin
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A TRUE SECRET BEHIND YOUR PERFECT BODY… What do you think… What is the biggest reason that holds people back from gettin
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Strength training for beginners-a flexible 12-week program Ready to start making real gains? Filled with novice-friendly
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Are you looking for books that contain information for both the bodybuilding program and nutrition plan? If yes, let thi
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Table of contents :
AN UNDERSTANDING OF ONES GOALS
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT ME
DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS
WEIGHT TRAINING EQUIPMENT
VISUALISATION AND POSITIVE THOUGHT
MUSIC, SLEEP, AND PATIENCE
SUMMING UP AND TIPS
MIKE SMITH START MUSCLING
A BEGINNERS GUIDE TO BUILDING MUSCLE AND STRENGTH AT HOME
Copyright © Mike Smith 2020 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
ABOUT ME I’ve had a keen interest in weight training or bodybuilding for over 35 years and have experienced the pain, the failures, and the success in reaching my goals. I have learnt the hard way and made mistakes which set me back much further than I anticipated, but this taught me valuable lessons which improved my training and the associated diet. From countless experiments I discovered the easier and quicker way. It was more cost effective and productive, with my results being the proof. I soon realised that I was making my weight training more complicated than necessary, or should be, if only I knew then what I know now, things would have been far less frustrating, and cheaper. I have no degree in nutrition and I hold no certificates in weight training or bodybuilding, what knowledge I have is my own, and it’s a lot, over 35 years of training, experimenting with exercises and pushing my body to extremes to get the formula which I perfected to succeed in my goals. I discovered what works best with my diet and training combined, and it’s this knowledge I want to pass on to others to make things easier to make the muscle growth progression quick and successful. I’ve trained the natural way, at times it was tempting to go down the steroid route, but I knew this wasn’t for me, I was patient and understood the complications and dangers with steroids. I saw the downsides of steroids from friends that used them, it became obvious to me that training naturally was my better option. Huge muscular guys or pro bodybuilders are in a different league, it has never been any ambition of mine to be the next Mr Universe. I understood what I was trying to achieve which was to be stronger, fitter, healthier, and more muscular than what I originally was, I knew what my realistic goals were. Things have changed dramatically over the years especially in the supplement market and the advice can be confusing, daunting, and expensive, I have always used supplements but it’s getting it right first time, it can be costly if you get it wrong, it can also set you back months, so I’ll tell you the only supplements you’ll need and that actually work. Currently I train at a maintenance level which came after my years of training at the intermediate level. This book is dedicated to the beginners level, and for those that exercise at home.
I am happy and content with my body now, weight training means as much to me now as it did when I was 14. I cannot imagine life without my weights, I enjoy my weight training as much as ever, I look forward to my training today, I also can’t wait until my training tomorrow. ‘When people said, ‘We never want to look like you,’ Arnold replied, ‘Don’t worry, you never will.’
INTRODUCTION This book is intended for beginners at any age, men, and women, large or thin (fat or skinny if you prefer) and general keep fitters who are ‘stuck’ and want to improve their strength and muscle definition. This book is not for experienced trainers, or for anyone on the road to becoming the next Mr or Miss Universe. I appreciate that some people may be on a tight budget, have minimal time and minimal knowledge, but this is not a problem, in fact you could easily build strength by picking up rocks. As long as you have a keen desire to strengthen your body and enhance your muscles you can still be successful with your realistic dreams. Weight training will also improve your whole health and wellbeing. If you don’t like gyms, find it hard to get to one, or simply cannot afford them, then this book will help guide you in the way that I know best using basic equipment and a balanced affordable diet, all from your own home. You will learn how to strengthen and grow muscles efficiently and safely. I will explain in the easiest way I can so that you can start immediately on your quest to re-shape your body. I will show you how and when to train, what your diet should be and what supplements you need. You will discover all the benefits that weight training adds to your life, it will alter your mind as well as your body, you will see your life change for the better as you become healthier and stronger. Let’s face it, we would all want a fantastic body in just a few weeks, some people believe this is possible, but what is a realistic time for those on a budget, or for those who don’t have much time? If you have the dedication and willpower to succeed at a cost of hard work, dedication, and patience, only then do you reap the benefits. After 10 weeks of a strict training program, and keeping to the appropriate diet, results are easy visible. ‘Home trainer’ - a person who trains at home in the bedroom, the garage, spare room, or outbuilding, wherever you find your private space to train, this book will guide you. You will be a casual weight or strength trainer not a hardcore bodybuilder, but you’ll still have strength and muscles better than before, you will look and feel great, your posture will improve, and your mind will have a more confident, positive approach to everything, you will ultimately feel better in body and mind.
It has been proven that weight training leads to a healthy life, it strengthens muscles, bones, and joints, it improves mental health, it helps obesity and can calm stress. There are so many more advantages to weight training, it’s no wonder more and more people are now lifting weights to gain these benefits. It seems to be fashionable now for men and women to get a great body in a noticeably short time, cheaply and with little effort. The little effort method sometimes encourages the use of steroids, not knowing or taking into consideration the associated health risks now or later in life. I’ll show you that the natural method to building a great body is the only way, the best way, and the healthiest way. I’ll teach you the natural approach, no drugs or steroids, but a natural good diet, good workout routines with weights (resistance) rest and the use of natural supplements, all purely designed to build muscles (Dietary or nutritional supplements include any consumed products that supplement the diet and improve additional nutrients, vitamins and minerals). Access to videos online which will help in showing you the correct exercise movements is vital, this was valuable to me as it describes each exercise in complete proper form. Performing each exercise correctly is especially important and is called ‘proper form’. Lifting weights incorrectly can be disastrous, time wasting and produces zero muscle growth as well as a possible injury. Hard work really pays, so be prepared, with patience and a good understanding of weight training you will succeed in a short time. Your goal is to alter your body at a safe and sensible healthy level, I’ll make it as short and as easy as I possibly can and explain how to achieve your goals from your home with minimal equipment and minimal cost in the shortest time realistically possible. For just the price of this book, let me assist you in reaching your goals.
Thank you for buying and reading my book. Welcome to weight training, lets now Start Muscling. ‘I train my body, I sculpture my body, I eat well and lift heavy pieces of iron, my achievements are my rewards, and my rewards are very satisfying’
Contents AN UNDERSTANDING OF ONES GOALS A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT ME DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS WEIGHT TRAINING EQUIPMENT WORKOUTS/ROUTINES VISUALISATION AND POSITIVE THOUGHT MUSIC, SLEEP, AND PATIENCE SUMMING UP AND TIPS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
AN UNDERSTANDING OF ONES GOALS There are many bodybuilding magazines, and supplement web sites, that give advice, recommending endless products to gain muscle, and it can become confusing, expensive, and frustrating. The bottom line is that we just want a method of training and dieting in a way that perfectly suits us, on an affordable budget, and a way that also gives good results in the shortest possible time. The last thing you want is to get confused with what now seems like a science with the available supplements. It’s just too technical and too scientific which makes it all confusing. ‘A recent study suggested to eat this or that’ or ‘a survey carried out by so and so recommend to do this, or don’t do that’. This is all quite common now, and for me it’s annoying, these studies and surveys just keep changing each month, when all you want to do is workout, eat correctly, build muscles and gain strength. In other words, you want to get it all perfectly correct, no time wasting and no chucking money down the drain. Every single weight trainer has their own method of training and their own individual diet, the differences can be very extreme, there is not one specific method. I have asked many weight trainers/bodybuilders what do they eat? I get a different answer each time, isn’t it obvious that building muscles must be kept basic and less confusing. There is no miracle formula to naturally grow muscles quickly and easy, that ‘wonder pill’ does not exist, but there is a basic formula that does work, and with patience and effort, gains are achievable. Don’t waste time and effort constantly searching for something that is right in front of you, this takes away your concentration from the actual training, and encourages doubt. Stick to a common formula, and you can’t go wrong. In the 1970’s, what were natural bodybuilders eating? I can tell you from experience that it evolved around good food sources. With the myriad of supplements around today, I could still never get any stronger or bigger than if I were training with what was available to me in the 70’s. The supplements today just make things more convenient, they may enhance working out and help with muscle repair, but nothing out there can ‘blow up’ your muscles overnight, regardless of any manufacturers claims. I do still take supplements, and I have tried many, more in the ‘Diet And
Supplements’ chapter, but for a quickie note, my best supplements are whey protein, creatine and BCAAs. Plenty of sleep, a good protein diet and exercising each muscle correctly using proper form equals muscle growth, this is the simplest sentence that describes the way to reach your goals. Work on these three things to start the muscle building process, the sleep part is easy thus allowing you to focus more on diet and training. We are all individuals in our genetic build up, this is particularly important to understand, two people training and eating the same, will produce different body shapes. This is not to say one will fail and the other succeed, it purely is our body make up, our genes. The human body is categorised in to three body shapes, Ectomorph (Slim to me and you) Mesomorph (Medium) and Endomorph (Large). The fact that genetically we are all made up differently, built differently with different levels of energy, willpower, and motivation, makes the muscle building or weight loss task an individual one. An important fact to remember is that everyone can still make gains, be stronger, lose weight, have muscle definition and be healthier. Find what works for you, remember what works for one does not always work for others, where some have failed may just work for you. You have to adjust your own exercises and diet to suit you personally. Once you find your formula, stick with it, don’t be persuaded to try something different at the very early stages, especially if progress is extremely good, this may put all your hard work back to the beginning, you would have then just wasted time and money. Alter things only as you gain experience, or you see no progress. You need to tune yourself to find your winning formula, the information in this book will assist with this, and I will explain it exactly how I wished someone did for me when I first started. Throughout your training period you must have patience, be dedicated, and always give your workouts 100% effort, this state of mind can only give you good results, if you stick at it, then you will see good results in 10 weeks, less even. When an actor has to improve muscle definition for a certain film role, you will see that there is a dramatic change in their body, in quite a short time. They of course would have personal trainers training them day in day out, and of course guiding them with a good expensive diet. Whether or not
they may take performance enhancing drugs is questionable. Having our own personal trainer is something we would all want, but it comes at an expense. Personal trainers know their stuff and they are helpful, but come at a price, something I could not afford, which is why I write this book, to pass on my knowledge so that others can transform their body at home, on a decent budget. Although I have joined Gyms in the past, I have done most of my training in my bedroom, garage, and eventual purpose-built room at the end of my garden that contained all my training equipment. I like to call myself a ‘home trainer’. I prefer training at home for many reasons, the gym has the advantage of the number of different machines available to use, but it was difficult for me to get to a gym, especially three times a week. I do like to be alone when I train, this may be anti-social, but for me, the benefits are greater. My personal enjoyment with my training is using free-weights rather than machines, and training to my choice of music. Many people are likely to do their training all wrong through lack of knowledge, only to give up because of little or no muscle growth, this failure is likely to put most people off for life. This is a shame, the willpower was there at the beginning but diminished because progress never showed. You think you are doing everything right, but nothing is happening apart from aches and pains, patience wears thin and before you know it, ultimate failure is around the corner. This is the position you want to avoid at all costs. Be realistic and expect the changes over a given time, think about it, in all professions, skilled workers, bodybuilders and sports people, they too had to train hard and improve their skill, or build muscles, and over many months, if not years. Success did come, it didn’t happen overnight, it took time, patience, dedication and loads of hard work. There are no short cuts, but at least progress is revealed quickly when done correctly, which will give encouragement to train harder, encouraging even more muscle gains. Once you have learned to drive a car it becomes the simplest of things to do, but it can take an average of 15 one-hour lessons before you can think about taking a test, and even if you do pass first time, you are still a newbie to the roads, you are still learning over the next year or more. In comparison, 15 one-hour strength training lessons equates to 5 weeks of training at 1 hour - 3 times a week. Now take into consideration that you will probably have 2 weeks of practicing or experimenting with your routine and lifts before your serious training really starts, that now adds up to a total of 7 weeks, and you
have only just started. I tell you this now, so you can understand the importance of time and patience, don’t rush things or over train, which can cause injury or failure, be realistic in your goals and don’t expect early miracles because they come with time, and the good news is, that time moves quickly. A friend once told me that he thought that all my weight training was a waste of time, apparently, he knew someone who went to the gym for three years and nothing really happened, there was no visible muscle growth, or weight loss. Obviously, I disagreed, and I guarantee that the reason that nothing happened to this other person was due to one, or maybe two combined, following reasons – He didn’t train hard enough and used incorrect form. He trained infrequently. His diet was completely wrong. He had the wrong approach, no dedication, knowledge, or willpower etc. Before we go any further, lets to do a simple reality check. To put into check and understand your proposed weight training task ahead, ask yourself – Do I want to be stronger, healthier, maybe lose weight, and increase my muscle size, not to a pro bodybuilder state, but to that of a fit/athletic looking woman or man, someone who looks like they work-out? Can I dedicate 3 hours a week of hard work, physical hard work that comes with pain, but not agony or injury? Can I change my diet to suit my new lifestyle? Can I adapt my life to lifting weights, change my normal daily routine to a completely new one? Can I get approximately 8 hours (minimum 7 hours) of sleep every day? Can I afford the additional supplements and training equipment? Do I have somewhere to exercise peacefully and safely? If you answer no to at least one of these questions I see no point in reading any further because only by answering yes to all the questions will have you firmly on your way to success. By answering yes to all, will make your results more productive and easier. Keep a strong mind and focus always, dedicate, dedicate, and dedicate. Weight trainer, strength trainer, bodybuilder and even gym enthusiast, these all mean the same thing. The categories of experience are - beginner, intermediate, and serious hard core, or professional.
So, for you to start your quest in becoming fitter, stronger, and healthier, we are presented with important challenges and conditions, you must be prepared to train hard and eat well, sound easy? You must be disciplined and have realistic goals. Set yourself a goal which could be anything from losing weight and gaining strength, or maybe it is to gain muscle and strength, but I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to be realistic with yourself. A 310lb (140kg) person is not going to achieve the exact same body shape as Arnold Schwarzenegger in 6 weeks, it is unrealistic, so be honest with yourself and with your goals, this way you will be in a position to be happy and content to achieve them in a realistic time. Be positive in your approach and have patience, but do enjoy it, weight training is still fun, the rewards bring happiness and confidence. Let us look at the other chapters in this book and see what is involved in weight training – A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT ME – It is probably worth letting you in on my background to see how, and why it all started. DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS – A good look at what you should eat and drink to aid your training, and I’ll tell you what I eat and drink on training days, and off training days. WEIGHT TRAINING EQUIPMENT – What equipment you should have on a tight budget to get you started, and what equipment I have. WORKOUTS/ROUTINES – I’ll explain the basics you need to know in challenging your body to build muscles and strength. I’ll set out routines to get you started for 10 weeks. VISUALISATION AND POSITIVE THOUGHT – The mind plays a big part in weight training, I’ll show you what attitude you should have. MUSIC, SLEEP, AND PATIENCE – These three important subjects will play a big part in your training, so they need mentioning, and understanding. SUMMING UP AND TIPS – The final part to get you started, and useful tips to present yourself at your finest. I assure you that all these chapters are as important as each other, if they are not read, understood, respected, and performed, then your results will be poorer. All this knowledge together will set you on your way to successful weight training. Most bodybuilders train and eat differently, they each have their own opinions on their training and diet anyway, everyone’s diet and training is
vastly different. If you were to read ten magazines for advice and tips or ask ten bodybuilders the same question you would be told ten different things, it’s confusing and everything just goes around in a circle. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked ‘What do you eat to get so huge? ‘Milk’ he said, and that says it all. There is no secret, the rules are few and very flexible, this was my first realisation, through much experimenting. It will boil down to finding what works for you and what you can afford. I know friends who have taken steroids, (no weight training book is really complete without mentioning steroids), and yes, they did increase size quickly, but at what cost or risk. If an individual has done his or her homework and decides to take that route, then it’s their individual choice. You must know what you are doing, you must also understand the health risks that are put on your bodily organs. I personally have never been persuaded or felt the need to take steroids, legal or illegal steroids. I have seen the dangers, sadly I saw friends struggle in older life. I chose the natural path which is probably what most people hopefully choose also. I believe that steroid users lose their muscle shape quicker than a natural bodybuilder when they retire. ‘I will make best of my body in an acceptable way, and one that I shall be happy and proud of, I shall improve my strength, my health and my posture’ This is how you should think, don’t hate your body, accept human differences, if every male and female had the identical bodybuilders body shape then life would present no challenge, and challenge is part of our make-up. Try not to concern yourself with weight measurements, it makes no difference, it’s how you want to look not what you want to weigh, body weight increases with muscle growth anyhow. I seriously do not know what I weigh, I don’t even have weighing scales in my home. I look at my appearance with and without clothes and I’m happy, I’m content, and that’s all that matters to me because I understand, and respect my achievements and goals, I know my body limits. A mirror can be a good friend, or it can be your worst enemy if you really don’t like looking at yourself, but for me, the mirror always tells me the truth, it presents to me how others see me. A word of caution, don’t keep looking in the mirror for too long every single day, because as your body starts to change, you will not notice it, and this can be a setback. If you planted a
small tree and looked at it every day you would never see any growth, in fact you would be disappointed in its growth, but plant a tree and don’t look at it until a few months have passed, you will then see it has grown. Don’t over study your body in the mirror, the mirror is a tool and your personal guide, it will show you if you are doing your exercises wrong, it will improve your lifting technique. It is far better to take a before and after picture to see your body change, just don’t spend hours looking at yourself in the mirror everywhere you go. Be realistic and positive with your goals and you will see a change in as little as ten weeks, whatever shape, or size you are, you will see a change. Be happy and grateful for this change, look forward to more changes, start to think that all your hard work is paying off, it has all been worthwhile. With the Internet it is now possible to get all the information you need, it’s all free, if you are struggling with a certain move, you will be sure to find a video of someone showing the move correctly. If you want to research food or supplements, again the Internet has all the answers but again keep it all short and simple, don’t research on something for days on end, as this will only cause confusion, and lose you valuable time. To build muscle you must lift or perform each exercise correctly, focusing on the required muscle, avoiding injury and with the correct weight, all done in the correct amount of time. If this book makes just one person get involved in weight training, or one person get terrific gains, then I will be happy, but realistically I am looking at a 100% result, I want every single person who takes on weight training after reading this book to make great changes, and gains. Weight training is also fun, and so it should be, but avoid getting too obsessed, obsession can be a distraction and cause neglect on other things in your life. Find the right balance, there is a fine line between taking your new bodybuilding lifestyle seriously and becoming obsessed. Avoiding injury is another big part of your training, trust me I know, injuring a muscle is not only painful but frustrating and annoying, so your training concentration must always be 100%, every single exercise and every single routine. Treat your body, your weights and equipment with respect. Lifting heavy weights may seem a simple task, but when you are pushing limits you need to know what you are doing, and doing it right, especially when you are on your own. Get a good understanding of each exercise and how each muscle is used to lift or pull.
Never lift more than is necessary, never lift the impossible. Follow my program or routine for ten weeks, preferably 3 times a week if possible, dedicate 10 weeks to a strict diet and hard training, gather all the advice in this book and you will see the change in your body and mind. Yes, it is hard work, there is no denying this, but I’m confident you will succeed and be satisfied with your results. As the hard work pays off, it will set you on your path to continue, and keep yourself in a great, healthy shape, a new life will begin, so enjoy. So how do I grow big muscles, how do I become strong? A good diet and plenty of rest, exercise each muscle in proper form with the correct amount of resistance over a balanced regular time. ‘Before you think about weight training it is very important to consider your current medical health and lifestyle, you are about to take on a lot of hard strenuous work on a regular basis, you are about to change your diet also, so if you have any medical or health problems or taking any medications that may affect this, you are unsure, or feel you should get professional advice, then I recommend consulting a Doctor. Let the Doctor know that you are about to start weight training and take their advice. It’s my opinion that if you are under the age of 18 you should not take any supplements other than multivitamins’
‘Some people want it to happen, some people wish it would happen, others make it happen’
A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT ME As I write this book, I am at the age of 57, and most part of my life I have been weight training and exercising, with the goal of feeling and looking fitter, being stronger, and having a muscular body shape. I was brought up in the East End of London in a poor council estate. In my youth, Tarzan, in black and white, would be on TV, along with the original Superman series, and in every Sunday newspaper there would be a picture advertisement promoting Charles Atlas, which had an impressive bodybuilder in an impressive pose, it was these things that inspired me, I also wanted to have a strong muscular body. In the later years of school when I was just 14 and a half, a classmate invited me to join a gym, or rather it was a temporary gym set out in a school hall. They were evening classes to which you chose a subject and paid a small fee to join, other classes were run at the same time in different classrooms. Language, Art, Sewing and Home DIY was to name a few of the other classes, they were all 50 pence per lesson. I was eager and excited to go along to find out more about bodybuilding, at that time, I had zero knowledge of it. There I was, a young skinny lad weighing probably 7 stone in weight, or less. I wore my school PE kit which was a pair of baggy shorts and a white vest, probably ‘hand me downs’ from my older brother. My school friend was a lot larger than me, in fact he was often picked on because of his size. We waited in anticipation outside a door that had a cheap bit of paper stuck on the window with the word ‘Gym’ written on it. It seemed we were the only ones who had turned up. A few minutes later than the 6 o’clock start time, the instructor turned up, he was huge, bigger than anyone I had seen before, to me he was the size of a car, “You guys here for the Gym” he said, “Eh, yeah” I said nervously. I looked again at what my friend and I were wearing, sarcasm wanted me to reply “Nah, we’re here for the sewing class” but I thought better of it, a wise decision. Once inside the classroom I saw a bench, barbells, and dumbbells, along with a load of iron weights on the floor. We spent some time discussing how our bodies work, and how muscles grow before we hit the weights under his guidance. We done barbell curls (no weights just the bar but that was enough), shoulder press and a little bench pressing, I loved it all, the first time
feeling of my muscles getting pumped, I’ll never forget it. “Next week we’ll hit your back and legs” said the instructor. Me and my now pale sweaty friend were both left thinking that we had grown in size a little from our 45-min workout. Walking home we compared arm sizes, for the first time I felt strong, I felt good and I wanted more. On waking the next morning something was different, I was aching, I could hardly move, ‘What’s all this about?’ I thought, I wasn’t warned of any aches and pains. My muscles were aching so much that I struggled to get dressed and eat my breakfast, but somehow, I did manage to get to school. In the classroom for morning attendance I immediately noticed my new training partner was absent, in fact he eventually had three days off school recovering. On his eventual return, he told me that the ‘after pain’ was enough to put him off with his quest to become a bodybuilder, or Superman. Oh no, I couldn’t find anyone else who was up for some weight training, the thought of me turning up on my own for the next evening class session was just too scary. For the moment, I had to be content with my first and last 50p lesson, but the weightlifting bug had already set in, I knew one day I would start again, I looked forward to it. A few years passed, and I was eager and ready to do some research on weight training, I would read books from the local library, and with what money I had, I bought my first barbell and some weights, and started working out in my bedroom to the best of my ability and knowledge. Over the weeks the aches came and went, probably 70% of my workout was arms. I foolishly done arms every day thinking this was correct, this was all wrong, but I still got a kick out of it and my arms had grown a little, I now had a bicep muscle on display, and it made me proud. I continued my incorrect routines in my bedroom until at the age of 18 I was fortunate enough to meet a bodybuilder through a friend. He invited me to a professional gym he frequented, here he would train me and educate me regarding everything he knew about weight training, he taught me so much and I loved every session. My new best friend always had time for me and was very patient with me, there were mirrors everywhere and I could see that it looked odd standing next to him, me all skinny, him all muscular. I carried on training at the gym and made good progress but eventually my job took over my life. I had to go to college for 3 years, studying became my new unfortunate hobby. After college came a new home, marriage and 2 children. I was missing working out, and I had little money if any to join a
gym, so I turned my garage into a mini gym, buying equipment at a low cost. Frustratingly my diet was poor due to lack of money, but I carried on in my garage doing what I enjoyed most for a further 3 years. Eventually I was able to join a local low-cost gym, to my surprise things had changed dramatically since my first steps in my old friend’s gym, I had moved house a long distance away from him so no longer kept in contact, mobile phones were a long way off at this time. There were now all these machines which I hadn’t a clue how to use, cables everywhere, long gone were the true weight trainers or bodybuilders that would frequent my mate’s old gym. There was now a new generation of ‘keep fitters’, it was becoming a trend. “Where are all the free weights?” I asked the resident gym instructor, he pointed to a small area in a corner where sat a few weights and a few bars, it was obvious they hadn’t been used for years. I gave the machines a shot with the guidance of the instructor who seemed more keen at looking at the girls on the treadmills, but for me it didn’t seem right, even though everyone seemed to love the machines. I know that the machines do have an advantage in training, but I loved my weights. I decided I was never going to be able to find the time to frequent the gym at the right time, due to work commitments. The money I would spend on membership fees could buy my own equipment. I made a decision to go back to my home gym idea and improve things. By now I had moved again, to a larger house, although it had no garage, it had a big garden which I used to my advantage. With the help of a builder friend, we built a brick room on a tight budget, solely for the purpose of it becoming my own gym. Once the build was complete, I slowly upgraded my equipment. I bought a better work bench (no more wabbling), a Multi-Gym, a Treadmill, more weights, and bars etc. It was perfect, I had no one to disturb me, and I could work out at the right time and with my own personal music playing. It was at this period I started to research my diet, I needed to take it more seriously. I now had the cash to buy whey powder, I tried and tested all sorts of foods, eventually finding a formula that worked and suited me, which I still use today. In my late 20’s I took up long distance cycling with a friend for a few years and would be out most summer weekends covering 50 miles or more, I entered all the big UK cycle events and thoroughly enjoyed it. I jogged and played Tennis every Sunday with my brother-in-law for a year, weather
permitting. I occasionally played soccer, but weight training gave me the biggest buzz, and I always found myself picking up the weights again, it’s what I love doing and it is so natural to me. I eventually moved to a new house again, and so I lost my gym, but I still continue to weight train in my own little room where I remain happy and content. I am just as content with my body now as much as I was in my late 20s and 30s, I am happy with my results and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as me. Strong muscles and bones make you healthy in every way, it lifts you, and you feel so much better about yourself, now that can’t be a bad thing, can it? I have no claim to any certification or professional involvement in bodybuilding, nutrition, keep fit or any sport/exercise, my experience is my own personal research where I feel I have trained efficiently, and effectively, gaining results whilst at the same time enjoying it. I’ve read and discussed with many people regarding weight training, and the associated diet, in fact it’s been 43 years since my first 50 pence weight training lesson, so I have good valid experience. It’s been tough learning, and I’ve wasted money and time doing things wrong from lack of knowledge or poor advice, advice that when I think back now, I can’t believe how stupid I was to have listened. I had to learn what really works by myself, I started to get a feel of what works best on a low budget, minimal time, and all done from home, as time progressed, things became more obvious. This is not to say that if you still prefer frequenting your local gym that advice here does not meet any technical requirements, you may be in a position where you feel you have no choice to join a gym, or you simply prefer your local gym, either way the aim is the same, to gain great goals and meet your desires. What do I do now? I train hard 2/3 times a week in my new bedroom, I walk my dog, and I walk 60/90mins three times a week. My diet is now the perfect diet, I enjoy the food I eat, which is an achievement for me because I always consider myself a ‘Fussy eater’, it’s healthy and assists in my weight training (see my Diet chapter). I feel as great and as strong as ever, even at my age. I am very happy with my results, everything fits into place and feels right. I now know what my body wants and needs, I’m tuned into my body perfectly, which all makes me content. I would not change anything, I have enjoyed every single minute training, I have enjoyed the sweat and the aches, and I hope this continues for many years to come.
‘Making my body stronger made my mind stronger’
DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS The same amount of dedication and knowledge is needed with your diet, just as with your training, it’s very important to get it right from the beginning so here we’ll look at what diet is best and what I eat. Food will change your appearance just as much as lifting weights and exercising. Losing body fat quickly, and gaining muscles is a combined effort of exercise and diet together, the result is a good balance of fat loss, muscle growth and strength, not forgetting gaining a healthy body. When I was younger, I was told ridiculous diet rules which I was to discover done nothing for my muscles. I was told to ‘eat as much as I could’ or ‘only eat fruit’ or ‘just eat chicken’ all of this advice was wrong. Common sense told me that there had to be a specific diet to aid muscle growth, so I had to find out what I needed to eat sensibly and correctly. I acquired more knowledge from a guy at a supplement store, he really knew his stuff. Some people will regularly check their calorie intake and keep checking their weight on the scales, but this becomes an obsession, and it draws them away from what they are really trying to achieve. It’s not necessary to constantly keep track of your calories or weight, especially as a beginner. This may come later as you advance to the intermediate level. As I mentioned earlier, a good guide is your mirror, or an occasional before and after photo, weeks apart. I did try calorie counting, but for me counting calories became too much work, and work I needn’t be doing at that time. By all means you can check and compare your calories at the beginning, just to get an idea of what generally your intake of foods should be depending on your goals, after which there is no real concern to keep on checking. Type ‘Calorie Counter’ into Google and you’ll get the info you need. Eventually you’ll know what, and how much you should be eating. All the nutritional content and calories are found on all food packaging. You’ll soon start to see what will be working, and you’ll know how to fine tune everything to suit you, it only takes a small amount of time to realise this, and you will then be able to make adjustments accordingly. Basically, if you are happy with your body shape then that’s fine, just retune your food to a correct macro balance (more about macro’s in this chapter). If you want to lose weight or fat, then reduce excessive calories or
fatty rubbish foods and sugar. You will have to include more cardio into your schedule also, and likewise the balance of macro’s is important. If you want to gain weight, then increase the calories of good foods concentrating on the macro balance for thin people, and don’t hit cardio so much. Again, all common sense and unless you are entering a bodybuilding contest, keep the serious stuff for the next level. A lot of people drink alcohol, maybe in moderation or maybe extreme. I need to mention alcohol because regardless to what dieticians say, it still is a big part of many people’s diet and social lifestyle. I have had periods of heavy drinking, because of one thing or another, and I have had a period where I never had a single drop for 3 years. Certainly, my body shape was best without the alcohol, there is no denying it, I put on a lot of weight with alcohol, easy to put on but hard to get rid of. Whilst off the alcohol, I did miss it and it was a mind battle, a battle I didn’t really want, and at times this made me miserable, I missed a nice glass of wine and my social life was suffering. I decided that I had become too obsessed with my diet, and eventually gave in, and broke form, which was to eventually work in my favour, in body and in mind. I allowed myself a treat at the weekends only, as I don’t normally train on weekends, where I would have 2 or 3 glasses of wine, this was reduced to 1 or 2 glasses as I progressed. I still do this today with no regrets. For me, this had no negative effect on my training, and has removed the frustration of not drinking, my advice to you would be the same, if you don’t drink now or can easily give it up completely, then do so, brilliant. If you drink in moderation, and let’s be honest with ourselves, what quantity IS moderation, then I see no harm in continuing, as long as it does not interfere with your diet and training. If you drink in excess at the weekend or throughout the week then I strongly suggest you reduce because too much alcohol with your new training diet is never going to work, you’ll be wasting time and money. For some it’s not easy to give up, but decide what you want to do, if you want a healthier body then you must address your alcohol, start by reducing your weekly quantity by half, you’ll soon adjust, your mind is a lot stronger than the bottle. Get to a point where you do as I, treat yourself to that deserved glass of wine, or beer at the weekend and enjoy it, it’s your little reward and it will keep you sane. The same applies to food, I treat myself to naughty stuff at the weekends, cakes, chocolate etc. Again, in moderation, I know my limitations and I don’t
see the point in missing out, why should I, it’s not as though I was entering any bodybuilding contest, and I could see no suffering in workouts and body shape, if I did, I would reduce the amount. Looking forward to the naughty stuff basically keeps it all fun, we only live once and I’m not missing out on my favourite cake or wine for anything or anyone. I know the boundaries, I understand what will ruin my workouts, I know the bad foods and what I shouldn’t have loads and loads of, so I keep it under a good controlled sensible balance. I’m happy with my body, health, and strength and happy with my whole diet, I couldn’t ask for more. Smoking is another ‘bad habit’, it goes without saying the health problems smoking causes, it’s difficult for me to give advice here because I have never smoked, so if you do smoke, it may be a good idea to seek advice from doctors etc as regards to giving up. Hopefully, your training will assist you in thinking differently about smoking, I guess the money saved on cigarettes can be used for your supplements. I might add that of all the weight trainers or bodybuilders that I have met, not one of them smoked, at least that’s what they told me. Macronutrients, what the hell are these? They are nutrients that provide calories for energy and the main three we need to be concerned with are – Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Protein, the most important macronutrient in building muscle. Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle. Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, and amino acids being the building blocks of protein which is the building block of muscle mass. (you might want to read this paragraph again) Your protein intake is something you should be aware of, strength trainers or bodybuilders need an increased protein diet and should be getting approx. 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day (For a normal healthy person its 0.8 grams) I would personally aim for 1.5 as it’s an easier figure, and of course cheaper, it’s the perfect amount for my needs. An example - someone who weighs 86kg will have to consume approximately 129 grams of protein per day (86 x 1.5 = 129) a little less or more doesn’t matter in fact the less intense your workouts then this figure can be reduced to 1.2g – 1.4g. For me it’s difficult to get this amount spot on, every day, so aim to get as near as possible. Don’t worry too much if you miss lower amounts or even have a lot more, it’s not going to affect anything especially when you look at it spread over a whole year. You’ll find on some
days it’s just impossible to reach your protein target due to social commitments, but don’t stress over it, there’s always tomorrow. It’s worth noting that you cannot simply take your daily protein amount in one hit, our bodies can only digest 25-30 grams per sitting, so you should spread it over the day. Getting your protein from food sources is the ideal way, but can be a difficult task, this is where you need to supplement with a good whey protein powder to make up for losses. Depending on what whey manufacturer you choose, you will normally get approx. 22-25 grams of protein per serving. If there is just one supplement you can afford, then make it whey. Protein is normally found in animal products but can also be found in other foods like nuts for example. My best protein food is chicken, turkey, beef steak (don’t eat the fat), eggs, cottage cheese, low fat Greek yogurt (excellent slow releasing protein), tuna, salmon, swordfish, and nuts. There are more but these are what I eat most of and enjoy. Is a high protein diet bad for me? No, a sensible increased protein diet is what your muscles need for building and recovering, an over excessive protein diet on the other hand is not healthy. It is frustrating when you read a news article explaining how good a certain diet is, only to be told a week or so later that ‘they’ (whoever these people are) now think it’s a bad diet. I read in a big newspaper recently that it is now a bad idea to jog, running is not good for you, a week later in the same newspaper they stated that running, or jogging, IS good for you and will add years to your life, you make your own mind up, but I simply don’t listen. The way I see it, it’s good healthy food I am eating, and I’m certain that my diet is not injuring or damaging my health. ‘I know a guy who is 86 years old, and has never done a day’s work in his life, he drinks, and he smokes, and he eats whatever he wants, he is happy and has never set foot in a Hospital’, I’m sure you know someone like this, this guy would certainly not look or feel healthy, maybe it was just not his time, maybe he won the lottery ticket of life, which may not always be a good thing. I had to have a full routine medical check-up last year, conditions of my health provider, and the Doctor said I had the body workings of an athlete, in fact he took my heart rate and blood pressure three times as the readings were so good, he thought his machines were faulty. He was impressed how healthy I was for my age, I put that down to my weight training and diet.
I recommend that the food you eat should be checked for its protein content along with the fat and carbohydrates, this will give you an idea of your daily food consumption, and in no time you’ll get the balance right, your stomach or body will tell you if you are getting it right or wrong. Friends are good observers, they will comment on whether you look thin, look fat, or look fit, if you’ve got it right then their good comments will be complimentary to your hard work. Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, make sure you spread your meals evenly over the day, the full contents of your daily amount should be spread over 5 or 6 settings rather than 3. Don’t constantly pick on small snacks, and don’t be tempted to grab that bar of chocolate to feed any hunger, feed your hunger with a few nuts, seeds or anything healthy. If you have to snack, then always think healthy, I sometimes have a couple of spoonful’s of Greek Yogurt or eat a rice cake if I’m really hungry and can’t wait ‘til my next meal. If you are trying to lose the weight, or fat, then progress slowly over a few weeks, slowly reducing the rubbish fatty foods each day until you are satisfied with your diet. The same with increasing weight with calories, progress slowly. Eventually your body will adapt, and your bad cravings will disappear, we are not talking years here, just a couple of weeks, or less if you have strong willpower. There are many different diet programs on the Internet if you feel you would benefit more from a written program, but make sure it is dedicated to your weight training program. In all circumstances, eating more, or eating less, try to avoid extremities. I’ve seen people become ill over this, so I repeat again, it’s all about a balanced diet and lifestyle. If you are just starting out for the first time, your training and diet should be introduced slowly over the first 2 weeks, think about it, an unfit person couldn’t wake up one morning and run a marathon, if he or she could, then there is a great possibility that they would end up in hospital. Be patient and use common sense. Build it all up a step at a time, day to day. Your body takes time to adapt to any new diet, which is why the biggest benefits start to happen after approximately 4 weeks. Carbohydrates are the fuel we need for energy and exercise and is often neglected, but they play just an important role in your diet as protein. Your daily carbohydrate intake should be a good healthy balance. A google search on ‘calculate your recommended carbohydrate intake bodybuilding’ will help you find out your needs.
Carbohydrates are good through the day and need attention for post workout (after workout). This is something I had gotten wrong in the beginning. I have a shake after workout consisting of whey, creatine, and dextrose which is a simple carbohydrate that raises your blood sugar levels quickly. Sometimes I replace dextrose with a cup of corn flakes as they are high in the glycemic index (GI). You need this after a hard workout as it replaces lost energy and creates an insulin spike, which will also deliver the protein and creatine to the muscles quickly which is essential for muscle growth. You may take dextrose before a workout to give you the energy to train, but a rush and crash is possible, I prefer bananas as they are slower at releasing carbs and cheaper. I eat 2 medium bananas about 45 minutes before training which will last through my 60-minute session. Everyone has their own choice that works for them, so find a plan that suits you and stick to it. Search for what gives you the best results on your budget. Good examples of carb sources are – rolled oats, brown rice, wholegrain bread, sweet potatoes, fruit, and vegetables. Fats, it can be a horrible word, but it is important to understand that we do need fats, and we also need to understand what good fats we can have with our training diet. A whole chapter could be dedicated to fats, but I’ll keep it basic. The 3 fats we need to concern ourselves with are polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and saturated fats, the latter being the fat to avoid. Hormones are made from fats, so to remove fats from your diet will impact your Hormonal production, this will eventually influence muscle building due to testosterone levels slowed, this is why we need fat, to keep our metabolism healthy and efficient. Your total daily fats need to be kept less than your carbohydrate and protein intake. An example of Saturated Fats to be avoided or kept to a minimum are – cream, butter, cheese, fatty meats like sausages and bacon, and the obvious foods are cakes, crisps, and biscuits. A cake at the weekend is my treat, but this is now, a few years ago I had none because my diet was so strict. I recommend you do the same if you are trying to lose weight. If you love your naughty treat, keep it to just one weekend treat. I have a naturally fast metabolism, so it’s easier for me to get away with it. Polyunsaturated Fats are found in fish, soybeans, flaxseed, and fish oil, all which are good.
Monounsaturated Fats are found in nuts, olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, and grapeseed oil, again, all which are good. Fruit and veg, both important for your diet and have many benefits. I have a lot of fruit allergies that only allow me to eat pears and bananas, so I have to gain vitamins and minerals from other sources, supplements. Avocados are the fruit at the moment as they have many nutrients, good carbohydrate, and healthy fats. With my vegetables, I eat Spinach, Broccoli, and cabbage, in fact most veg, my Nan always told me to eat veg, so I do. Try and get a good daily balance of your chosen fruit and veg, don’t overdo the fruit which I have seen some do, one guy I know ended up in hospital because he ate too much fruit, max 5 a day is fine. Nuts are going to be another part of your diet, almonds, peanuts, and walnuts, these are nutritional and healthy in moderation. Seeds are just as important, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds, all nutritional. Seeds have essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein, they are easy to eat and buy. A good example of quantity at the beginners level would be a small handful of nuts and the same quantity of seeds each day. Sugar, now I really have a sweet tooth, my first job was loading a cake van after school and the owner always gave me a free box of cakes, along with my 50 pence earnings. The cakes were intended for my family but sometimes the resistance not to eat them got the better of me, and I ate the lot. Decreasing my sugar intake took time because it was extreme, I would tell myself over and over ‘sugar equals fat’. Eventually I got it down to a good healthy, better level. For those of you who have a love of sugar, rather than cut it out completely, reduce it by half immediately. Two sugars in your hot drink? Start having 1. A big dessert spoon of sugar on your cereals? use a smaller spoon. Eat 6 cakes a week? eat 3 instead and so on, how far you go is up to you and your willpower, but it’s surprising how quick your body will adjust to less sugar and this will help in your goals, even if you are not solely just trying to lose weight. My beginners diet – We know that we are all different in body shape, and we are all different in our needs for foods, our metabolism is also different (The process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy). It took me a while, and a lot of experimenting to find out what and how much food suited me. I realised that it was all about balancing my protein, carbohydrates, and
good fats. Water also plays a big part, most of the body is made up of water, so it’s only wise to drink plenty, and water has many benefits too. Below is roughly what I would eat as a beginner, on a workout day, this can change slightly from month to month depending on how I feel, or what I may get bored with, but this will give you a good idea. This is what my personal needs would be to maintain, I would not be looking at gaining or losing weight due to my body shape. I would start my first meal with a fruit, veg, nuts and seeds, smoothie, I then take a multivitamin, a probiotic supplement, and an Omega 3/6/9 oil tablet. Then I have a few Weetabix (because I like Weetabix) followed by half a cup of oats, then a spoonful of Honey on top of small cup of Greek yogurt. I finish with a whey protein shake with water. (Sometimes I alter the smoothie and whey, I’ll have a whey shake first thing and a smoothie after my Weetabix) An hour or so later I will eat 2/3 boiled eggs (prepared the night before) out of which only one of the eggs I shall eat the yolk, a handful of sunflower seeds and 500 ml of water. Lunch is a tuna sandwich, rice cakes, a small handful of nuts and a small cup of coffee, and then more water. Later, if I’m hungry, I’ll have more rice cakes with cottage cheese, and more water. An hour or 45 mins before training I’ll have 2 Bananas and more water. I’ll add a note here – your pre-workout and your post-workout shakes/food is very important, so pay particular attention to these two window slots. Regarding pre-workout energy drinks sold in cans, I don’t agree with them, they are full of sugar and chemicals, stick to natural foods for energy, bananas, and oats etc. 10 mins before and continuing into my training, I have a shake made up of a little scoop of whey and water, sometimes I may also add a little dextrose powder if my energy levels feel low, but this is rare. I add more water to this shake than normal because I spread it over the 60-min workout. Sometimes I will just have water on its own. (before training you could have some BCAAs capsules and 2.5g of creatine) Immediately after workout, within 30 mins, I’ll have another shake consisting of whey, Dextrose and Creatine (another 2.5g) all mixed together. Creatine can be taken before, after, or both, as long as you take a maximum 5g in total around the training period.
For my main meal, it’s important I get a good balance of protein, carbs and fats from solid food which could be salmon, chicken, or red meat, with sweet potatoes or rice. I always add a spoonful of olive oil. My last meal is either cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, water, or a Casein shake with water for my slow releasing protein whilst I sleep. On non-training days, it’s almost the same but I cut out the bananas before a workout, the whey and dextrose shake before workout and the whey, dextrose, and creatine shake after workout. I replace all of this with just one whey and 5g creatine shake midday. At weekends, I throw in a naughty cake and some wine to keep my sanity, but again this is me now and I find it does me no harm. If you can keep to a strict diet and avoid treats, and still be happy, then things will work slightly quicker, but remember not to get obsessed, remember obsession can be a distraction. Don’t take the fun out of your new routine. This diet plan is an example, and remember it’s still about enjoying your food, choose what suits you the best, as long as you remember the importance of timing, quantity, common sense, and macro balance, which are all dependant on your goals. Try and get a good macro ratio right from the beginning, a good daily ratio is approx. 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. This can be tweaked to how I want, a few years ago it would have been 50% protein, 35% carbs and 15% fats. Thin people may want to have a ratio of something like 30% protein, 50% carbs and 20% fat and large people could try 40% protein, 35% carbs and 25% fat, all designed for muscle gain. As you progress, and your body changes then you can change to my ratio and so on, altering your diet for your needs is important. Within these ratios you must also include your supplements, particularly whey, as well as the solid foods, and remember these are approximate figures. Whatever your target, aim to get as near as you can, it’s not too crucial at the beginners level, because you are at an educational period. Things become more serious as you progress. What are the associated supplements? With so many supplements on the market it would take a whole book to explain them all, but I’ll stick to what you should have, or at least should know about, the important ones. If you get your supplements wrong, it’s going to cost you a lot of money, so I would recommend that if you are unsure, seek advice. The guys at the supplement stores, high street or online, are very knowledgeable and helpful,
don’t be intimidated, they have always been helpful to me and never once tried to sell me something I don’t need, or shouldn’t have. What are BCAAs? or Branch Chain Amino Acids are essential amino acids, essential because our bodies do not produce them, and the 3 important ones are Valine, Leucine, and Isoleucine, they are the building blocks of protein and they help muscle repair amongst other benefits which in turn helps muscle growth. You can get BCAAs in pill or powder form and add to your shakes. You could add some powder to your water whilst working out, pills before workout, always read the manufactures directions in all cases. The whey powder I buy has added BCAAs mixed in as well as Glutamine, so it’s easy, if you get the same then I see no point in buying BCAAs separately at the beginners level. What is Creatine? Creatine Monohydrate comes in powder or pills, taken correctly can increase strength which in turn will increase muscle mass, it basically gives you that extra lift, or rep. Some say it does nothing, these are non-responders, others say it helps, I personally found that it does give me that extra lift when I take it, which incidentally is 5 grams, every day, either immediately after workout with your whey and dextrose, or split in half with 2.5 grams before workout and the other 2.5 grams after workout. There is a lot of debate regarding the timing of consuming creatine, try both and see what works best for you. Creatine is also taken on non-workout days. Although safe to consume long term, my personal recommendation is to take creatine for no longer than 3 months continuous (or your planned training program, 10 weeks to 12 weeks), the reason being that you run a risk of your body no longer responding. After this, take a minimum of 4 weeks off (this is a creatine cycle). Taking it throughout your 10/12-week training period is most beneficial. There is still much debate regarding its abilities, but it is safe, especially as we already have small amounts of creatine in our body anyway, tests have yet to show any side effects in healthy people. In my opinion if you are under the age of 30 you don’t really need it, I didn’t. Be patient with creatine, it doesn’t work overnight, in fact you’ll probably feel the effects after 3 weeks. There are two ways to take creatine, one is for the first 5 days (loading phase) mix 5g creatine with water and consume 4 times a day, after day 5, consume one serving, 5g, every day (maintenance phase). Each manufacturer has their own loading and maintenance suggested phases which is described on the label. The idea behind loading, is that you
boost your creatine levels quickly. The second method, and my recommendation, is to just take 5g every day, throughout your training period of 10 or 12 weeks. Either way, creatine does not really have any effect for 3 weeks, maybe more, which is why you have to give it time. There is another form of creatine called Creatine Ethyl Ester (CEE), its relatively new compared to monohydrate and research continues. CEE is absorbed more efficiently by your intestines and used easily by your muscles. I cannot comment on CEE as I have never taken it. The benefits are not that great, if any, compared to monohydrate, and monohydrate is cheaper. I stick to what works. Always read the manufactures directions. What is whey? Whey comes in powder form and there are many different manufacturers to choose from. Whey is the liquid remains of milk that has been curdled and strained. It’s an excellent source of protein and mixes well with water or milk. The manufacturers have produced so many different flavours, which help make it a delicious drink. It’s cheaper to buy the big tubs normally 2.2kg (5lb) in size and will probably give you around 75 servings, each having approximately 24 grams of protein. Whey is handy to keep your protein intake topped up, because to get your protein requirements through foods alone is a massive task. Each manufacturer have their own additional ingredients, BCAAs and Glutamine etc. so choose wisely. I take my whey with water but when I needed to gain weight, I took it with semi-skinned milk. Keep taking your whey on nontraining days because you want to keep your protein levels high. On training days, I have 2, sometimes 3, whey shakes through the day, and non-training I have 2, this works for me and my goals. With this all said, try not to solely rely on whey as all your protein intake, because food is always better, whey is just a supplement to help you reach your daily protein intake quantity. There are 3 different types of whey, whey concentrate (the one you should probably go for, its inexpensive and a good start for beginners, and still is a great source of protein), whey isolate (quick absorbing and expensive) and whey hydrolysate (the most expensive and highest quality, I have never bought it). Personally, I couldn’t train without whey, and when it comes to buying it, you do get what you pay for. What is glutamine? glutamine is an amino acid found in your muscles, quite a lot in fact, glutamine helps deliver nitrogen to your muscle cells and so is depleted after a workout. Glutamine supplements can reduce the muscle breakdown after an intense workout. Some whey protein supplements add
glutamine, so check before you buy. If your whey powder has none, and you decide to buy glutamine powder by itself, you can add it to your whey shake after workout. Always read the manufactures directions. What is Dextrose? dextrose, sometimes known as glucose, comes in powder form, it raises the blood sugar levels and is perfect for a quick increase in energy. I sometimes add it to whey before training if I have no bananas, but always add it in my post-workout shake. Post workout dextrose is ideal for getting the whey and creatine quickly to the muscles, which is necessary after a hard workout. I don’t take dextrose on non-workout days. What is Casein? Casein is a slow releasing protein unlike whey, which is fast. Casein slows the breakdown rate of protein, which is ideal to have before bedtime, so as you sleep you can still get a supply of protein which is important, especially on training days. Casein comes in powder form, if you want to budget your Casein then only take on training days, if you can afford it then take it every day before bed. Casein powder is probably one of the supplements which is bought if you don’t mind the outlay, a bit extravagant, a cheaper way, and just as beneficial, is to eat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt before bedtime as these have plenty of slow releasing protein. Either way don’t worry too much at the early stages of your training with slow releasing protein if you can’t afford it, you can think about this as you get more experienced and train harder. Should I have a weight gainer? This depends on your goals, if you are very slim then they are an easy way to increase the calories. Look for a gainer with good quantity and quality macros, avoid high saturated fat contents. Normally one weight gaining drink or shake per day is enough. All of the above supplements all help with your training and you’ll find that there 100’s more when you start to research but remember to stick to these basic supplements, they are safe and, in my opinion, assist in my strength and body structure. I would not take or use anything that I feel has not had enough research, is too expensive, or is a health hazard for now, or in later life. I also don’t keep taking these supplements month after month year after year, it’s good to have time out from them, but still stick to a solid healthy food diet. I don’t think I have ever taken any supplement for anything longer than a 4-month continuous period. Are there any other supplements? Yes, there are, but none of them really concerns a beginner. No matter what you may read regarding other supplements, the benefits are very small, and would only suit someone on a
professional level. Beta Alanine is a good example, it’s widespread known for its benefits in weight training by increasing physical performance. Although it has a proven success rate, it has been noted to have an impact of approximately 2%, so spending money here is not worth the 2% gain in my opinion, unless you are a professional athlete. In order of importance – 1-Whey. 2-Creatine. 3-BCAAs and Glutamine. 4-Dextrose. 5-Casein. Additional important supplements to your diet are a good multivitamin, fish oil capsules and a probiotic if your budget allows. Not having one or two of the supplements above is not going to have a massive effect on your early training months, even more so if you are under the age of 30, but whey should be on top of your shopping list over the age of 18 upwards, the benefits are valuable to your training. When I first started taking supplements my budget was small, because of my needs, I chose Casein and a weight gainer, this eventually changed to whey, creatine and Casein or cottage cheese. If medically you are unsure as to whether you should not be taking any of the above supplements seek the advice of a medical professional. Always read the label for dosage directions, storage and sell by date. If you feel unwell or uncomfortable taking any of these supplements, allergies etc. then stop taking them and seek medical advice. Some people say they pee more when on supplements, this is normal plus the fact your water intake is probably higher than before. The colour of your pee may also change, especially with some multivitamins. There will always be criticism of any diet, everyone thinks and reacts differently, some may say ‘he/she have their protein wrong’ or ‘his/her calories are out’ but the important thing is to get it to work effectively, for you only. It’s what suits your body and wallet. It may take you time to find what works for you, don’t concern yourself with too much fine detail, basically it’s about being realistic with your current body shape and realistic with your goals. Simply put, eating healthy, adding more protein, drinking plenty of water and adding additional supplements, all help towards reaching your goals. Eat good healthy food that you enjoy, not dislike, stop eating the food that you know is bad for you, food that will prevent muscle growth. Balance your diet and understand what it is you need to eat, keeping a regular check on your diet progress should be done just as you should keep a check on your training progress.
‘Your body weight is all but a number, it’s how you feel about yourself that matters’
WEIGHT TRAINING EQUIPMENT The equipment you need to achieve your training comfortably, and safely is very important. This is where you initially need to splash out and buy your equipment, it’ll only be once so that’s good news, your equipment should last for years to come. This is what I recommend you have – A weight training bench with a barbell rack included, of good quality build that can handle both flat and Incline positions, it may also have a decline position but don’t worry if it hasn’t. The more you spend the better the quality, which is what you are after. Cheap benches are not worth it and can be dangerous. Benches normally state the maximum capacity or load, and you need to consider your body weight. A bench states its total load is 200kg, this is the complete weight of you and your weights, if you weigh 80kg and you train with a maximum of 80kg, total 160kg, then this bench is ideal, the same person buying a bench which has a total load of 120kg, is obviously unsuitable. The more load a bench can take the more stable and better quality. My bench has a load of 220kg and its plenty for me, its sturdy and reliable, no bench should wobble. You can also get purpose folding benches if space is limited. Some bench sets have ‘leg extensions’, this is fine as it will give you more options for leg exercises but bear in mind that this will make the bench longer in size, so make sure it will fit in your space. A good bench (if the uprights are combined) should also have safety bars should you get stuck replacing the bar whilst bench pressing, hopefully you won’t. Before you buy your bench make sure it will fit in your space and have plenty of room around it, the larger the space around the bench, the better. If you buy your bench online make sure you research well, check dimensions, and read reviews. If you buy from a High Street store then try it out, make sure it’s comfortable, ask the sales guys the weight load, and make sure it will fit in your room. Almost all benches have to be assembled, so read instructions and make sure all nuts and bolts are tightened fully. Before any workout it’s a good idea to visibly check that your bench is stable and that all nuts and bolts look secure, any creaking or loosening of parts should be immediately examined and tightened. It's possible to buy a bench and the uprights separate, this can be an advantage to using dumbbells as you can pull the bench away from the
uprights giving you more room, this is my preference. ‘But I have the space and money to buy a multigym’, If so then that’s fine, I see no problem with that, I had one for 10 years and enjoyed it, but it took up a lot of room, they should be sited on a solid concrete floor if possible, and you have to assemble it, mine took 2 full days. I had to sell mine due to moving to a new house where I had less room, I still got a good return on it. You can still safely perform all the exercises and more, if you prefer a multigym then that’s fine, but you can still build the same amount of muscle on a single bench, so it will basically boil down to money, space, and preference. A multigym is by far safer than free weights but pay attention to the weight load. You should look for at least 65kg plate load, anything less and you’ll wish you had more weight resistance as you progress. A multigym concentrates on the individual muscle being exercised, whereas free weights involve using more muscles, to lift and to balance. The chest press on a multigym does not use the triceps muscles as much as a bench press with free weights. As much as I loved my multigym, I gained more success with free weights. A lat-machine is a great piece of equipment, they are smaller and cheaper than multi-gyms and allow a great range of additional exercises for the back and triceps. Now you’ll need some dumbbells, bars, and weights or plates, the more the better. If you can afford 2 sets of dumbbells then life will be easier, 3 sets easier still, and so on. Dumbbells either have spinlock ends (A threaded nut you spin on to secure the weight) or they have spring collars (A method of squeezing a spring which slides over the bar and release to secure the weight) this method is quick but needs strength, I prefer spinlock on all dumbbells and springs on barbells. The more expensive dumbbells are the solid rubber type, or chrome type, these are not interchangeable, so you could end up buying lots of this type to get a good range of weights. The other solid Dumbbells are the vinyl/neoprene type which seem to come in a range of colours depending on weight, these are fine for light training, general keep fit but they have their weight limits and would not be of use building up strength. The next item is a straight bar or ‘Barbell’, these iron bars are used for the bench press, bicep curls, rows, shoulder press and squats etc. They come in different lengths, the most common and my favourite is 165cm, you could get
a 150cm bar if space is small. Barbells are cheap and will last forever, as will your dumbbells. Again, the ends will come in spinlock or spring type. Another bar that’s recommended is the EZ-curl bar, a sort of ‘W’ shape bar, it’s useful for bicep and triceps variations. If your budget allows, then do get an EZ bar as they are comfortable and fun. The least important bar is the triceps bar, only necessary if you can afford it, but I wouldn’t concern myself not having one just yet. Now for the weights themselves, and the more the better. Weights are normally made of iron, rubber, or plastic. The iron weights are the cheapest and the rubber weights the most expensive, but this is going to be your preference, and of course your money. Basically, the rubber weights are softer and warmer to feel, if you have a tiled floor like me at present, then these are better suited, for this reason I have recently bought extra rubber weights. Most of my original weights are iron which are easy 30 years old. There are 2 sizes of weights and bars- Olympic (2 inch diameter) and standard (1 inch diameter). The Olympic weights and bars are for the professionals as the bar can hold a lot more weight, they can hold up to 750kg as opposed to 120kg with the standard bar. Stick to the standard size, I have never used the Olympic size bars and weights, unless you think you are going to lift more than 120kg. Weights can be bought cheaply from online auction sites if available to you. Avoid the sand, water or cement filled weights as these have a short life term, many reviewers online state that they leak and break. Weights will come in the following common weight sizes – 1.25kg. 2.5kg. 5kg. 10kg. 20kg. There are other weight sizes, I have seen a 7kg weight, but the ones listed above are the most useful and mathematically are a good combination. The ideal minimum starting scenario is to have 4 each of 1.25kg, 2.5kg and 5kg weights and 2 of the 10kg weights, adding extra as you progress and gain strength. All of these weights will be used for your barbell and dumbbells. You have your bench, bars, and weights, anything else? In my opinion a mirror is vital, I cannot train without one. It will show you that you are performing the exercise correctly, it’ll be your training partner. The bigger the mirror the better because you’ll need to see all of you. I remember in my early years, I would remove the wall mirror in my lounge and place it in my bedroom, leaning it on my cupboard. I eventually acquired my own mirror which had holes in each corner for screwing to the wall, this allowed me to
take it to every house I moved to. The mirror will show you correct posture, the correct movement, and it will help show you that you have everything right, feet apart at correct distance, head straight etc. All vital information fed from your mirror. What about resistance bands? I personally have never used ‘bands’, they seem more for the general keep fit use, they may keep things toned, but you simply cannot beat heavy weight resistance for building muscle. I have known people to take them on holiday to carry out light exercising, but I’m a believer that a holiday is a holiday from everything, weight training included. Do I need a weightlifting belt? A weightlifting belt is useful for back exercises, I did wear one when I was lifting heavy to protect my back, but I don’t wear one now because I don’t exert myself the same way I did when I was young. If you feel you have a weak back, then a belt is going to help. If you are going to lift heavy, and you eventually will, then you should wear one, either way they are not expensive and again will last a long time. Don’t think that wearing a belt is to help you through back pain or an injury, if you have either, you shouldn’t be exercising your back with heavy weights. Other general accessories that need considering is your clothing, it goes without saying that you should wear what makes you feel comfortable, loose, and cool, don’t wear anything too tight or heavy. Trainers for feet, not flipflops, yes, I have seen it. Weightlifting gloves, everyone has their own preference with gloves, but I can’t train without them even though I have tried, they make things more comfortable. In the wintertime the bars are cold and uncomfortable to hold bare hand, In the summer, I nearly had an accident performing heavy bench press, my hands were sweating which made the bar slippery, I was close to nearly dropping the bar. I would suggest try them, they are very cheap. Lastly a good towel to wipe away the sweat and to lay on your bench when you train, after doing bench press with no t-shirt, or girls wearing a vest, you don’t want to keep sticking to your bench, a towel laid over it will stop this, it also makes the bench warmer in winter, and generally more comfortable to lay on. A rubber mat is convenient if your budget allows, it softens everything around you making your training more cosy. The final accessory is a decent clock with a second hand, or a timer, you can use your phone also, this is important to keep track of your resting periods between Sets, and to keep track of the time it is taking to do the whole workout. That’s it for the equipment, choose your equipment wisely, do plenty of
research, keep things within your budget, but avoid the cheapest which although tempting can eventually be costly as you’ll buy again, you get what you pay for. If you get it right first time, you’ll never have to buy again, you want your equipment to last decades. ‘You must do what others don’t, to achieve what others won’t’
A triceps bar
WORKOUTS/ROUTINES There are so many different workouts, lifts, and routines, and as with the diet, everyone has their own preference. I found that where one person says, ‘You should do this and that’, another will say ‘No, that’s all wrong, you should be doing this and that instead’. At the beginning, I found it all confusing. Which should I do? I just wanted to strengthen and grow my muscles, that’s all. I didn’t have the time to keep researching finding the best way, so I eventually had to practice and try for myself to see what works, I ignored the hundreds of recommendations. I eventually found that by training any muscle using proper form, no matter what method, still produced growth. Let’s take a look for example at the bicep, there are easily over 10 different movements you can choose from with the equipment you have, but which one do you do, what is the most efficient method? Do what is most comfortable and most enjoyable, you should not do a movement that you do not like or is uncomfortable, because I guarantee you will not perform the exercise 100%. Pick out your favourites for all of your muscle, pick out 3 or 4 methods for each muscle and alter between these every so often as I’ll explain later. Don’t get too keen and overtrain any muscle group, always perform the exercise correctly and with the correct weight resistance that gives you the correct amount of reps. What are Reps (Repetitions) and Sets? Let’s take an example – The bench press Exercise, 3 Sets of 10 reps, this means carry out the bench press movement continuously 10 times, this is one full Set, rest for 60 seconds and do 10 reps again which is your second Set, rest then do a final Set. 3 X 10. It is vital to know how to do each movement correctly because if you do them wrong, you risk injury and minimise muscle growth. ‘Proper form’, this is what is required for good muscle growth, and proper form is the correct movement of a lift or exercise carried out in good timing, with good resistance, and correct angle of the movement, in other words ‘no cheating’. A good tip if you are having problems is to watch online videos of each movement, it’s the best way to see them done correctly, pictures don’t help nearly enough as videos. Practice each exercise with the Barbell without the weights to get a feel of things, some exercises are not as easy as you may think, so research and practice, and practice makes perfect.
A useful and informative web site that details many different exercises in written and video form is – www.bodybuilding.com/exercises I have no connection whatsoever with this site, I purely discovered it through an Internet search. It’s a fact that training with weights (resistance) produces strength, and encourages muscle growth, but at what rate depends on your age, your genetic build, your diet, and your goals. The two common goals in weight training is to either gain muscle mass and strength, this is more the bodybuilder type, and secondly, to gain strength, stamina and lean muscle which is the athletic type. The difference in the training is low reps using heavier weights with intense workouts, equals the bodybuilder, and higher reps using less weight equals the athlete. This also accounts for the two different diets, the bodybuilder diet of ‘Bulking’ or ‘Cutting’ (not continuous) and an athletes diet of keeping lean. Look at marathon runners, they train hard and gain muscle and stamina for endurance but are very lean. Now look at a sprinter, these men and women are more muscular, and bigger, they need the big muscles for short bursts of strength, both subjects will spend the same amount of time training, but they train and eat differently according to their needs. What I was looking for was a sort of in-between, my routines and diet, and way of life, probably reflect this. Let’s see what muscles we aim to hit, which is the whole body, its only correct to train the body completely as all the body muscles work off of each other, plus the fact that missing one of the muscles listed below will put your body and strength out of symmetry. CALVES – The lower back part of your leg below the knee. THIGHS (QUADS) – Large muscle of the upper front leg. HAMSTRINGS – Large muscle rear of upper leg, behind the thigh. GLUTES – Your Buttocks. ABS – Stomach. LATS – Back. PECS – Chest. BICEP – Upper front arm. FOREARM – Lower arm. TRICEPS – Rear of Bicep. DELTS – Shoulders. TRAPS – Neck.
Although I have listed forearms, they are not so important at the beginners level, the forearm gets worked in many exercises and in your routine, it’s not necessary for now, but consider it later. As a complete beginner, then I recommend that the first 2 weeks of your training should be for practising and experimenting the exercises and figuring out your weight training equipment. Whatever your level of experience you should always write down your program and your results for each workout, this way you’ll know what weights to use, and what exercise to do next time, plus you can see your progress on paper as your strength builds. Aim for training 3 times a week with a day’s rest in between, if 2 days is all you can manage then you need to use my 2-day workout, there’s no denying that 3 days is perfect. Each session should be approximately 1 hour long including stretching and warm-ups. 75 minutes is the absolute end period. Give yourself 60 seconds’ rest between every Set. Put good effort in, in my program you’ll be doing 10 reps, or as close to 10 as possible, after the 8th rep you should feel a burn in the muscle, and your lift becomes more difficult. If you can do 10 reps easy, then you need to add more weight but add a little at a time. If you can only do 5 or 6 reps, then you have too much weight on the bar, this is why you’ll need a few weeks’ practice, and this is why you need to write down what weight you use for each exercise, so you don’t have to keep guessing and fumbling around each week, your mind needs to be focused on building your muscles not working out the maths of the exercise. If you have worked hard in your whole workout you will be sweating, or feel worn out, or both, this is a good workout, the harder you exercise and the more effort you put into the whole workout, the better the end result, absolutely no slacking. You will ache at the very beginning for a few days, but this is normal and if anything, it means you hit the muscle correctly. Albeit uncomfortable, the ache eventually goes away after 2 to 3 weeks and you will just get the burn or ‘Pump’ in each session which can last a few hours. The ache is known as DOMS, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Put as much effort as you can in every workout, there is a fine line between aching muscles and muscle injury, use common sense and be patient. Pushing way past your limits may even have a reverse effect, remember it’s about exercising the muscle effectively, not damaging the muscle to the point you may tear the muscle beyond repair. Don’t over-train and don’t put too much weight on the bar causing you to shake and strain,
you simply cannot speed up the process of gaining muscle mass any faster than what is laid out in this book. Throwing weights around is a delicate operation that needs full concentration and understanding. Warming up and Stretching is of upmost importance before you lift heavy weights to avoid injury. Stretch all the muscles before warming up, you can get examples online, after the stretching you now need to warm up, you need to increase your heart rate slightly, jog on the spot for a couple of minutes, any light cardio exercise will do. You will also need to warm up before each exercise. Let’s say you are about to do bench press, perform a couple of light weight sets before you start, which is normally half the amount of exercise weight. This will warm all the muscles that you will use for this exercise, do this on the start of each muscle group you exercise. Always work in a warm environment, working in a cold room will not be good for your muscles, keep the room comfortable, not boiling hot and have some fresh air entering the room. What if I injure myself? You’ll know when you have injured yourself and sometimes it happens, regardless of how you train. Although very frustrating, it is better to take time out and rest your injury, seek medical advice if it is severe and painful. It really is not worth training with heavy weight’s through an injury as it can make things a lot worse. When you feel able to train again, start slowly, especially the injured part of your body, again it’s not worth risking another injury by continuing where you left off with the same weight. After completely resting an injury for one week, it’s wise to start stretching exercises only, just to keep everything moving and to build up the muscle action, again your medical advisor will tell you what stretching exercises to perform. I once stupidly trained through an elbow injury. It happened 2 weeks into a 12-week planned routine, and it made things worse, it caused a chest injury. If I had rested properly, I would have had 2 maybe 3 weeks out tops, but because I trained with the injury, and relied on Ibuprofen, my injury worsened. I eventually had 8 weeks off training, I can’t tell you how annoying that was, so be careful and listen to your body, when it says stop, then stop. OK let’s have an example of a typical exercise using proper form, the flat bench press. Make sure your equipment is stable, place the barbell with some light weights, or just the bar without weights, on the upright stands or rack. Lay flat on the bench and get comfortable, don’t arch your back, and keep your feet on the ground. Concentrate on your body, it’s your arms and chest
which you need to use not your back. This is your warm up, grasp the barbell with both hands evenly on the bar a little wider than shoulder width or wherever you feel most comfortable, get a good balance, and lift the bar off the rack and lock your arms out. Inhale (breath in) as you slowly lower the bar to touch your chest, now take in a good amount of oxygen ready for exertion. With your elbows lowered below your body you then exhale (breath out) as you push the bar back to the starting position, again slowly, don’t rush. All of this should be done in a nice clean slow action, no juddering and not too fast, concentrate on your breathing, never hold your breath at any point. Concentrate on the muscles themselves, think of the chest muscles doing the work. Do 2 Sets of 10 reps all in a smooth motion and remember the proper form. With all the exercises, you exhale on exertion, remember this as this is important. After your warm up increase the weight on the bar and now do the 3 Sets in the same manner, you should find the last lift very hard but don’t worry if you can only do 8 or 9 Reps instead of 10, or if you can go to 11, that’s fine. 12 and you need to add more weight, 7 and you need to reduce the weight. Sometimes you will find as you get exhausted you can reach 10 on your first Set, 9 on your second Set and 8 on your third, this is normal and if anything, you have the weight right. You should feel your chest ache, a kind of bruised feeling, this means you have done it right, if you feel nothing you have either lifted incorrectly, or not added the correct amount of weight, if you are on the floor in agony anticipating going to the Hospital, then you have over done it and I hold no responsibility. As mentioned before, rather than bore you with a detailed description of every exercise, its far better to watch videos online, it’s a method I also found useful, and it improved my training immensely. Don’t show off, it’s not about how many kilograms you can lift, it’s not a competition. Don’t be too concerned when you read about guys benching 150kg when you might be benching with 40kg, none of this matters, what does matter is that you have exercised your muscles correctly, and this will cause muscle growth, which increases strength. For some, you can train with just the bar on its own, nothing wrong here because a bar alone is not light. When friends ask how much do I lift? I just answer, ‘I don’t know’. I don’t concern myself with how much I can lift, and it has nothing to do with them, I concern myself with building strength and
muscles. It’s not about how much weight you can physically lift, it’s about the body you have built with the exercises you perform weekly. When training on your own you should never push past the limits, you may get stuck and that’s going to be painful and embarrassing, so be sensible, there really is no need to push to that point. Be aware of the dangers of being alone. Write down your routine and write down how much weight you use for each exercise, this will make it easier for each workout rather than wasting time trying to remember each individual weight, load for each exercise, plus it will be impressive to view your progress after 10 weeks. Example – MONDAY (Week 1) CHEST/FLAT – 2 WARM UPS – 3 X 10 – 20KG DUMBBELL FLYS – 1 WARM UP – EACH DUMBBELL – 5KG And so on for each exercise. As you progress over the weeks, and build up strength, you will add weight and so erase the old weight, then write the new weight, so it may now look like this MONDAY (Week 2) CHEST/FLAT – 2 WARM UPS – 3 X 10 – 20KG – 25KG DUMBBELL FLYS – 1 WARM UP – EACH DUMBBELL – 5KG – 7.5KG Write out each day and remember to write the date you started. You could write a goal date too, I do this all the time when I change a routine, I give myself a target date, 8, 10 or 12 weeks, this gives you something to aim for, and determination to complete the task. You may find that on some days you can’t seem to lift as much as the previous week. You done 3 Sets of 10 chest easy last Monday, the following Monday you find you can only do 10 reps on the first Set, 8 on the second and 7 on the third, this is normal even though you feel good, it happens and don’t worry about it, it’s in keeping with reality. Your workouts will change via many dependencies so try not to be too regimental, don’t beat yourself up over it, enjoy your workout and move on, you have still exercised your muscles. The opposite does happen too, sometimes you feel you can easily do 3 Sets of 12 instead of 10 one week, if you feel this, then add a small amount of weight to the bar, it’ll all help. Each and every workout is never the same. If you have to miss a day’s training for some reason or another, don’t beat
yourself up, you’ll have not lost much, and it’s not worth trying to make up for it, or catch up just because you feel you have to, or you simply don’t have time the following day. Just continue with the next session and carry on, but hey, not too many days off in my class, or you’ll lose some stars. ‘I don’t feel like it today’ is not really good enough, especially if it’s quite often. If you can squeeze a missed day onto the next day because you really want to, you love your training, have the time, and miss it, then this is fine, if not a better attitude. Ideally training 3 times a week is better than 2 times a week, 3 is more paced out and better balanced whereas 2 is more intense. This obviously depends on your life commitments. In my early years I trained 3 times a week, but occasionally had to be content with 2 times a week due to work or family commitments. I’ll set out a good starting routine, after which feel free to adjust as time progresses, there are so many different routines that I simply couldn’t list them all, but after 10 weeks you will have more experience and will be able to write your own routine that suits you, you may even want to start training 4 days a week. It’s healthy to alternate routines and exercises periodically, you simply cannot do the same routine with the same exercises for a whole year, the body and the muscles will get use to each exercise, and this does not promote muscle growth. By changing an exercise for each muscle every so often will surprise the muscle into working differently. I would say that 3 months doing the same routine is maximum, thereafter a complete change of routine is required for good muscle growth. Either make your own routine or you can find more online, but try and get a routine that you enjoy, design it so it works for you, and makes you feel good. You should never do an exercise you dislike doing. Don’t make your training too regimental, variation is the key. Don’t over train which can cause fatigue, possible injuries and little if any muscle growth. Don’t train when you are ill, or simply don’t feel like training, 100% effort and concentration is required in all workouts. Keep up the inspiration and motivation, look ahead with excitement. Always lift weights in correct form, don’t rush a movement or rush the resting in-between time. You should never dread a workout, you should look forward to it, you should love it. It is a good idea to have a week or two rest from your training, say every 10 weeks, this too is healthy, and gives the body time to relax. Two weeks off
is probably the longest period you can stay away from training, any longer and it’s all going to hurt again, 3 or 4 weeks off and you are back to the beginning. ‘Don’t do arms on chest day’ or ‘don’t do back and chest together’, in all honestly this doesn’t matter at all, you are a beginner, do what you are happy with, you will still gain muscle, lose weight, and gain strength. Only when you have gained some experience will rules come in to action – triceps with chest and bicep with back etc. I always perform 3 Sets of 15 Press Ups after stretching and at the beginning of every workout, it sort of gives my heart and body a kick in preparation for my hard work-out. Each workout should be approx. 1-hour long. Give yourself approx. 45/60 seconds’ rest between each Set, and the same between each different exercise. Don’t forget the warm up Set before the start of each new muscle group using about half the amount of your actual training weight. Always use proper form, keep the motions smooth and clean, and don’t strain, jerk, wobble, or struggle. So many people perform the exercise incorrectly, proper form is the golden rule to success. At the end of each instruction in bold, is the number of warm-up sets for each exercise, normally half the amount of weight of the exercise work load. 3 DAY WORKOUT – First do 5 minutes of stretching, make sure all muscles are stretched. Perform some push-ups after if you prefer. A – MONDAY FLAT BENCH PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 (3 SETS OF 10 REPS, remember?) – 2 FLAT BENCH FLYS (DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 SEATED SHOULDER PRESS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 2 SIDE SHOULDER RAISE (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 – 1 TRICEPS KICKBACK (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 – 1 TRICEPS DIPS (USING YOUR BENCH OR A CHAIR) 2 X 10 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 SHRUGS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) TO FAILURE – 0 COOL DOWN AFTER EACH COMPLETE WORKOUT AND STRETCH (To failure means to do as many reps as you can until you cannot do any
more) B – WEDNESDAY BENT OVER ROW (BARBELL) 2 X 10 – 2 ONE ARM DUMBBELL ROW 3 X 10 (3 SETS ON EACH ARM) – 1 ALTERNATE BICEP CURL (DUMBBELL) 2 X 10 – 1 SEATED CONCENTRATION CURL (DUMBBELL) 2 X 10 (2 SETS ON EACH ARM) – 1 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (BARBELL) 3 X 10 (THIS MOVE MUST BE DONE CORRECTLY AND WILL TAKE PRACTICE, YOUR BACK IS AT RISK HERE SO WATCH SOME GOOD VIDEOS, ITS FOR THE HAMSTRINGS, IF YOU HAVE A LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH THEN DO LYING FACE DOWN ON THE BENCH LEG CURLS) – 1 SQUATS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 CALF RAISE (DUMBBELL) 1 X 12 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 ABS (CRUNCHES) TO FAILURE – 0 C – FRIDAY INCLINE BENCH PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 2 INCLINE BENCH FLYS (DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 STANDING SHOULDER PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 2 FRONT SHOULDER RAISE (BARBELL) 2 X 10 – 1 STANDING TRICEPS EXTENSION (DUMBBELL) 2 X 10 – 1 SKULL CRUSHERS (EZ-BAR) OR LAYING TRICEPS EXTENSION (BARBELL) 2 X 10 – 1 SHRUGS (BARBELL OR DUMBELLS) TO FAILURE – 0 D – MONDAY BENT OVER ROW PALMS IN (BARBELL) 2 X 10 – 2 ONE ARM DUMBBELL ROW 3 X 10 (3 SETS ON EACH ARM) 2 X 10 – 1 BICEP CURL (BARBELL OR EZ-BAR) 2 X 10 – 1 HAMMER CURLS (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 – 1 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (SAME AS IN WORKOUT B) SQUAT (BARBELL OR DUMBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 OR SEATED LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH IF YOU HAVE IT 3 X 10 – 1 CALF RAISE (DUMBBELL) 1 X 12 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 ABS (CRUNCHES) TO FAILURE – 0
Thereafter Wednesday carry out workout ‘A’, Friday ‘B’, Monday ‘C’ and so on. This way each muscle gets trained twice a week, every other week. I have tried to vary the workouts to make good use of muscle growth and to give self-knowledge of the many different exercises there are.
Another 3-day routine is as follows – MONDAY (FULL BODY WORKOUT) PERFORM ONLY 1 WARM-UP SET FOR EACH MUSCLE GROUP – FLAT BENCH PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT 2 X 10 SHOULDER PRESS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 SQUATS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 TRICEPS KICKBACK (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 ONE ARM DUMBBELL ROW 2 X 10 BICEP CURLS (BARBELL) 2 X 10 CALF RAISE (TO FAILURE) 1 SET
WEDNESDAY OR THURSDAY NUMBERS IN BOLD ARE WARM-UPS INCLINE BENCH PRESS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 - 2 FLAT BENCH FLYS 3 X 10 - 1 SEATED SHOULDER PRESS (DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 - 1 SIDE SHOULDER RAISE 2 X 10 - 1 SHRUGS TO FAILURE - 0 ALTERNATING BICEP CURLS (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 - 1 CONCENTRATION CURLS (DUMBBELLS) 2 X 10 - 1
FRIDAY OR SATURDAY NUMBERS IN BOLD ARE WARM-UPS – SQUATS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 - 2 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT 3 X 10 - 1
ONE ARM DUMBBELL ROW 2 X 10 - 1 BENT OVER ROW 2 X 10 - 1 TRICEPS KICKBACK 2 X 10 - 1 TRICEPS DIPS TO FAILURE 2 X 10 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE - 0 CALF RAISE (DUMBBELL) 1 X 12 THEN ONE SET TO FAILURE – 0 Abs can be added at any time you feel necessary, normally on short workout days.
2 DAY WORKOUT – This requires slightly harder work than the 3-day workout, each muscle is hit twice a week. Choose any 2 days you want but keep them at least 3 days apart. Don’t forget your stretching and warm ups, aim for a 60-minute workout with 45/60 seconds rest between Sets.
MONDAY – FLAT BENCH PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 2 STANDING SHOULDER PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 1 BENT OVER ROW (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 1 TRICEPS KICKBACK (DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 SEATED CONCENTRATION CURL (DUMBBELL) 3 X 10 (3 SETS ON EACH ARM) – 1 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (BARBELL) 3 X 10 (THIS MOVE MUST BE DONE CORRECTLY AND WILL TAKE PRACTICE, YOUR BACK IS AT RISK HERE SO WATCH SOME GOOD VIDEOS, ITS FOR THE HAMSTRINGS, IF YOU HAVE A LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH THEN DO LYING FACE DOWN ON THE BENCH LEG CURLS) – 1 SQUAT (BARBELL OR DUMBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 OR SEATED LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH IF YOU HAVE IT 3 X 10 – 1 CALF RAISE (DUMBBELL) 1 X 12 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 SHRUGS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) TO FAILURE – 0 ABS (CRUNCHES) TO FAILURE – 0 THURSDAY – INCLINE BENCH PRESS (BARBELL) 3 X 10 – 2
SEATED SHOULDER PRESS (DUMBBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 ONE ARM DUMBBELL ROW 3 X 10 (3 SETS ON EACH ARM) 2 X 10 – 1 TRICEPS DIPS (USING YOUR BENCH OR A CHAIR) 2 X 10 OR 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 BICEP CURL (BARBELL OR EZ-BAR) 2 X 10 – 1 ROMANIAN DEADLIFT (BARBELL) 3 X 10 (THIS MOVE MUST BE DONE CORRECTLY AND WILL TAKE PRACTICE, YOUR BACK IS AT RISK HERE SO WATCH SOME GOOD VIDEOS, ITS FOR THE HAMSTRINGS, IF YOU HAVE A LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH THEN DO LYING FACE DOWN ON THE BENCH LEG CURLS) – 1 SQUAT (BARBELL OR DUMBELLS) 3 X 10 – 1 OR SEATED LEG EXTENSION ON YOUR BENCH IF YOU HAVE IT 3 X 10 – 1 CALF RAISE (DUMBBELL) 1 X 12 THEN 1 SET TO FAILURE – 0 SHRUGS (BARBELL OR DUMBBELLS) TO FAILURE – 0 ABS (CRUNCHES) TO FAILURE – 0
There are so many different exercises, in time you will be able to alter your program, because changing exercises and routines also promotes muscle growth. These routines are for beginners and are not as technical as for intermediates, they are useful to get a good understanding of weight training and will prepare you to advance. What about Pull-Ups, Chin-Ups, and Dips? These exercises require great upper body strength and would be better trained when you have more strength and experience, for now you’ll do fine without them, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them if you find them easy and have the equipment. What about cardio? Although I am most focusing on lifting weights and growing muscle in this book, cardio plays a big part in rebuilding your body due to the health and fat burning benefits. Running, swimming, cycling, soccer, tennis and even fast paced walking are all cardio work. I’ve done them all, but now I walk. I’ll walk for miles at a good pace and I enjoy it. Cardio really starts to burn calories, so it is ideal for losing weight and keeping healthy. I recommend you find some cardio that suits you and your lifestyle. Twice a week is good but if you only have one day at the weekend its better than nothing. Again, everyone will have their own opinion of how and when to do cardio, but I don’t do any cardio on my training days, for me
it doesn’t work. The golden rule is - the more weight you want to lose, the more hours of cardio you do per week. If you are thin then keep cardio minimal as you’ll be eating at your muscles, and all your hard work training will be wasted. Cardio first thing in the morning is very beneficial, preferably before breakfast, but this is the extreme of wanting to lose weight. I once had a period of twice a week for 6 months getting out of bed, warming up and then hitting the treadmill for 45 minutes before eating anything. it was difficult, but I had unwanted fat I needed to shed, and eventually I lost the fat. Whatever cardio you choose, enjoy it, work it in slowly, especially if you don’t currently do any cardio at present. Don’t jump in the deep end and try to run 10 km, cardio is the same as weightlifting, you have to slowly build yourself up a bit at a time, so be realistic and sensible. Over doing cardio will cause injury just the same as weightlifting. Don’t make it too difficult to the point you dread doing it because it should still be fun, it’s about keeping fit, not about training for a marathon, and remember, it is all valuable exercise to assist in growing your muscles in a healthy way. So, that’s our training routine, you now know what you need to do, and as hard as it all sounds, it’s easy once you get into it. Have fun with it, and keep getting inspirations, don’t forget proper form, do not falsely using your whole body to lift the weights, swinging back and forth performing bicep curls is wrong. Let your biceps do the work, this way you’ll grow muscle a lot quicker. Don’t give up thinking nothing is happening when it is, listen to your body, it will tell you if you are doing it correctly, it’s the muscle pump you want to feel. Always train and think big on big muscles chest, quads, back and hamstrings, over training small muscles biceps, triceps, shoulders, and calves can cause injury or even muscle shrinkage. Exercise the large muscle before the small muscles in each workout, chest and then triceps etc. Keep your body balanced don’t miss out on legs in favour of arms etc. it doesn’t work like that, every single muscle group has to be exercised throughout the whole 10-week routine. Next are some pictures to give you an idea of most of the movements for quick reference, videos will show the exercise movement in more detail. Remember the importance of inhaling and exhaling, practice each exercise until they become natural, warm up and don’t rush. Concentrate on keeping the motion smooth and clean. You are only doing each exercise correctly if
you feel the ‘burn’ in the muscle being trained, for example you want to feel your pec’s ache when you perform bench press, and you want to feel your triceps ache when you perform triceps kickback. Don’t over strain and risk injury.
Flat Bench Press (Chest) Lay on a Flat Bench and hold the bar shoulder width apart, lower the bar across your chest, lift the bar slowly until arms are extended. Exhale on raising the bar and concentrate using your chest to lift, try not to put too much emphasis on your shoulders to lift, no jerking and keep your back straight. Inhale and lower the bar slowly.
Flat or Incline Bench Flys (Chest) Lay on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand at body height, elbows slightly arched. Lift the dumbbells in a smooth ‘arc’ action, exhale, until they are side by side above you then slowly lower them back to the starting position. Don’t go too far down, tighten your chest as you raise the dumbbells. A lighter weight is preferred so that pressure is not targeting the shoulders.
Incline Bench Press (Chest) Same as the flat bench, but with the bench at an incline, ideal for targeting the upper chest.
Barbell or Dumbbell Front Raise (Shoulders) Take the bar or dumbbells and stand with them lowered with palms facing rear, exhale as you slowly raise the bar or dumbbells without bending your elbows or swinging your body until your arms are parallel to the ground then slowly lower your arms to the starting position. A light weight is preferred so that the shoulders work protecting the elbows.
Shoulder Press, Palms Facing Each Other Or Forward. Seated Or Standing. (Shoulders) Hold a bar or dumbbells at shoulder level, push the weight up, exhaling,
until your elbows almost lock, slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. This is a good shoulder exercise, choose a method that is most comfortable.
Side Dumbbell Raise (Shoulders) Hold a dumbbell in each hand at the side of your body, palms facing each other. Exhale as you slowly raise the dumbbells sideways until your arms are parallel with the floor, slowly lower the dumbbells back to your side. Don’t bounce the dumbbells.
Shoulder Shrug (Traps) Hold a dumbbell in each hand at your side with palms facing each other, exhale as you slowly raise your shoulders only, hold for one second and lower your shoulders back to the starting position. You could use a bar instead of dumbbells, palms facing behind you and raising the bar in front of your groin area. Your traps should really feel the burn here.
One Arm Dumbbell Row (Back) Bend over a bench and hold a dumbbell in one hand and arm extended down. Exhale as you slowly lift the dumbbell moving only your arm, until your upper arm is parallel with your body, slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Change hands after one Set.
Barbell Row (Back) Take a bar and bend your knees and hips to an almost squatting position, stay in this position as you exhale and slowly raise the bar to your chest, slowly lower back to the starting position. This movement will take some practice with light weights before using heavy weights.
Triceps Kickback (Triceps) Place one knee and one hand on a bench and hold a dumbbell in the other hand, upper arm parallel to your body. Exhale as you slowly push the dumbbell back until your arm is extended, then slowly lower your arm to the starting position. Try and keep your elbow locked throughout. Change hands after one set.
Triceps Extension (Triceps) Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, elbows facing the
ceiling, exhale as you slowly raise your arms until they are nearly locked then slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. This exercise can be done seated also. An EZ-bar is another method, lowering the bar behind your head, but laying down on a flat bench.
Triceps Dips (Triceps) Using a bench lower yourself and place your hands behind you on the side of the bench, put your feet up on a chair opposite you with your legs extended or you can put your feet on the floor with your knees bent, almost like a sitting position but without a seat. Inhale as you slowly lower your body, bending your elbows, until your bottom is near to the floor then slowly exhale as you push with your arms back to the starting position.
Seated Concentration Curl (Biceps) Sit on the end of a bench, take a dumbbell in one hand, and rest your arm on your thigh between your legs. Exhale and slowly raise the dumbbell until it reaches your shoulder. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Change hands after one set.
Alternating Curl (Biceps) Take a dumbbell in each hand and start with both hands at your side with palms facing each other, slowly lift one arm twisting your hand until it reaches your shoulder and palm facing rear, start to lower your hand to the starting position, at the same time raising the other hand to the shoulder.
Continue this alternating arm movement throughout the set, exhaling as you lift an arm, don’t swing your body, and really flex the bicep as each arm gets close to your shoulder.
Barbell Curl (Bicep) The classic exercise hold a bar with arms approximately shoulder width and resting on your thighs, exhale, and slowly raise the bar to your chest but don’t touch the chest, hold for one second and then inhale as you lower the Bar back to the starting position. This exercise can also be done with an EZbar.
Barbell Calf Raise (Calves) Hold a bar on the back of your neck or hold dumbbells in each hand lowered at your sides with palms facing each other. Place your toes on a board, or some weights, and with the back part of the soles of your feet on the floor. Exhale as you slowly raise your whole body on tip toes, stretch your whole body and then lower yourself back to the starting position.
Squats (Quads) Hold a bar on the back of your neck or hold dumbbells in each hand at your sides with palms facing each other. Inhale as you lower your body down to a squatting position bending your knees, your thighs should be parallel to the floor, exhale as you slowly raise yourself back to the starting position.
Some people find that putting a board at the back of the soles of the feet with toes on the floor, more comfortable.
Romanian Deadlift, Dumbbells or Barbell Which has Alternate Hand Position (Hamstrings) This move is very much like the ‘Deadlift’ which works more of the back, and has the knees bent, but with the Romanian Deadlift the stretch is felt more on the Hamstrings. Hold a bar with an alternate hand grip, one hand facing front and the other rear or hold a dumbbell in each hand both palms facing rear. Stand upright and concentrate on slowly bending at your hips keeping your legs as straight as you possibly can with the bar or dumbbells almost touching the floor. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Caution, a lot of practice and warm ups is necessary with this move, but you’ll know if you are doing it correctly, because you should feel the Hamstrings really working.
‘It’s when it starts to hurt, the Set starts’
VISUALISATION AND POSITIVE THOUGHT This has so much to do with training that its worth writing about, I was going to leave this chapter out, but I feel it adds a lot to training, so I have added it. Your mind has to be as strong as your body, your strength comes from your mind just as much as your muscles. Your effort and results must be positive, it must come with confidence, and you must be proud of your achievement’s. You simply cannot expect results with a negative attitude, a positive weight trainer will obviously have greater results. See yourself as having the body you want, think it every day, feel the strength in your mind, see and feel your muscles growing as you train, and as you sleep. Not for a moment are you going to fail, you weight train hard, you diet hard, so your growth will be big. Get inspiration from bodybuilding pictures, and see yourself with muscles, see any unwanted fat falling off. Visualise yourself how you want to be and keep your expectations positive. Always walk tall, keep a good positive posture, don’t slouch, chest out and walk like a soldier, this will also start to change your shape, and it will also bring more confidence and lift your spirits. Shake the other man’s hand hard, it shows strength. Visualise, visualise, visualise, the more you see yourself lifting heavy weights and growing stronger, the better and faster results, see only success. Ask any bodybuilder, before, during and after training they will tell you that visualising is part of the process of bodybuilding, because that’s what aids to their success. They eat and train thinking big muscles, they sleep thinking big muscles. If someone said to me that they ate well and trained hard, but they are not growing or progressing, then I would look at their thought, is his or her thought pattern all wrong? Do they have no faith in their body and its capabilities? Do they not take the training serious enough, and concentrate more on other daily duties in their life? Bodybuilding posters in my gym gave me inspiration, if they can do it, so can I. Every single workout I was motivated, almost hypnotised with my training, 100%. There was never any doubt that I would succeed, I always felt the strength after a workout, which is very rewarding. Keep your workouts positive, look forward to them don’t dread them, don’t think of them as something you have just got to do, it’s much more than
that. Relaxation through the day, as well as meditation, is beneficial especially if you are in a ‘not so good’ job, or just happen to have a bad day. Distance yourself from any bad feeling, calm your thoughts, and lift yourself, replace your negative thoughts with positive thoughts, and concentrate on your training. If it makes you feel better, breathe deeply for 5 mins before training, prepare your mind for your training, you need to feel good and ready for what’s ahead. When I have my 45/60 seconds rest between exercise, I breathe deep and visualise, I visualise my next lift, and think of how big my muscles will grow, I assure you, it works. If you really know in advance that you cannot give your workout 100%, maybe you’ve had a bad or upsetting day, then this will have a negative effect on your training. I would suggest missing your workout and start refreshed another time, don’t try to catch up. Working out when you really don’t want to will never be a great workout, producing great results. Having a good positive approach will not only help your training but help your whole life, as you gain confidence with your body, things around you will change, other people especially. It is such a good feeling when someone comments how good you look, you’ll know that its due to your hard work and effort training and dieting, it just makes it all worthwhile. When I first started way back, I thought everything about being strong was about big biceps, a friend told me this was false, I could increase the size of my arm, and have a better appearance, if I also concentrate slightly more on my triceps, he was right. Bodybuilding pictures revealed that these guys with big arms had big triceps, which I had not noticed before. I altered my routine (this is the beauty of training, you can alter things to suit your needs) I focused more on my triceps, I would visualise them bigger, when I trained my arms I would push harder on my triceps until they felt like they were on fire, it wasn’t long before they grew to a good size, at last my arm looked in perfect balance. As you train each muscle think about that muscle and the work it is doing, think about the blood rushing to the muscle, think of your protein aiding the muscle and see in your mind the muscle growing. Think this at times of rest, as you lay your head down for the night’s sleep, think about how resting your muscles is allowing them to grow. Think of how all of your body organs are becoming healthier, it’s not just about muscles it’s about all of you, your whole body, and your mind.
Start to visualise yourself differently, muscular, thinner, fitter, and healthier, whatever you desire. You’ll become someone that everyone talks about and get more attention. People will want to know how you did it, and when you answer, you’ll feel good, proud, and happy. Unfortunately, stress can play a part of our lives at some point, and stress can have an unwelcome impact on your training. The three enemies of any training program are an illness, injury, and stress. If you do have stress in your life, then it needs to be removed, you’ve come this far, and you’ve decided to discipline yourself to train hard and eat well, that’s a good start. Carefully look at what may be causing you stress and see if there is any way to remove it without causing any pain to you, or others. You know the problem, so prevent or remove the problem, but don’t fight the problem, because you will never win. Meditation is an excellent way to help stress, it calms everything and starts to put things in the right place, regularly put yourself in a calm place and think positive and happy thoughts. If you don’t know how to meditate and feel it will help, then you’ll be able to find local Medication classes you can attend, or you can get more information of how to meditate online. Speaking to someone will also help matters a lot, as humans we sometimes hold things back, we keep all our little problems locked in our head. Others can sometimes see what we ourselves cannot, so it doesn’t hurt to talk. Willpower, determination, discipline, you’ll need loads of it, all bodybuilders, or athletes, once had a different body to what they eventually achieved. They would have built up mind strength first in order to start on the road to building a new body, everything starts with the mind. I knew an old friend was coming to visit me, and I wanted him to see me in better shape than when we last met, especially as he would call me ‘Tin Ribs’. I had 3 months before his arrival, for me that meant 3 months to train and diet hard. I gave myself a deadline, and knew I had to stick with it. I was determined and more focused than normal, and I worked bloody hard. When he and his wife arrived at my home, I was more than ready, I was in great shape. Both he and his wife commented on my new physique, all the hard work was worth it, it was a great success and I felt proud. Don’t ever give up, by all means have time out if you really must, but don’t give up entirely. Hopefully, you will be like me, once you start weight training it never leaves you, it becomes part of you in such a nice rewarding
way. Its only when you have a long break, and you start to feel weak and crappy, that you realise how strong and healthy you were whilst you were training. Give more time and thought to yourself, feel free and don’t let boring mundane things take control of your life, life seems to have a way of being in a controlled state when in reality, it’s the enjoyment of the things that you choose that matters. By being a stronger person in body and mind allows you to help others, it allows you to progress to better relationships, jobs, and general society. Get focused on what you want to be, feel with emotion what you want to do or be, the more focused the quicker the results. You should be looking forward to your workouts, enjoy the workouts, have the determination, and feel the excitement in every single workout, never should you dislike lifting weights. I feel absolutely satisfied after every workout, I know my body enjoys it, I know it keeps me fit, strong and healthy but above all, it keeps me happy.
‘You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction’
MUSIC, SLEEP, AND PATIENCE Three important subjects that play a major role in your training and worth a little mention. Music plays a big part in all of us, no matter what we may do in life, it lifts us, inspires us, and it motivates us. Music is with me at all my workouts, I cannot train without music, training in silence would seem odd to me. Whether you play your music through speakers, or use headphones connected to a portable player, play it, music will improve your training. Music never has a negative effect on my focus and concentration, it aids it considerably. This is another reason I look forward to my workouts, I can play my choice of music loud, and without interruption. The choice of music style is easily available today with so many music Apps. Search ‘gym music’ via any music App and there are loads of playlists available, or maybe you prefer your own genre. Give your workouts a boost with music if you are not already doing so. Sleep, sleep, sleep, how wonderful that your resting time is also the time muscles recover and grow. I mentioned before about the importance of rest and sleep, are you getting enough? Eight hours is a good figure to work around. Through sleeping you relax your mind and body, if you find it difficult to sleep then reading a book, listening to music, and having the correct diet before bedtime will help, no heavy foods, no coffee etc. You don’t want your body digesting anything too heavy as you sleep, as this will disturb your sleep. Water and some Greek yogurt is what I am having at present, about half an hour before bed, this varies, sometimes it may be a Casein shake or sometimes cottage cheese. Think of sleep as a healthy time. I enjoy my sleep, I look forward to it. You should avoid watching, or reading anything depressing, or upsetting before sleep, the last thing you want is to set off to sleep with any bad thoughts or feelings. Never go to sleep angry, annoyed, or upset, clear you mind of previous events that you are unhappy with, think about tomorrow not today, or yesterday. Today and yesterday have passed and you can’t change anything, tomorrow is a new day, tomorrow you can change. Sleep equals muscle growth, and muscle growth is what we want, sleeping with positive thoughts sends positive thoughts to the subconscious mind, your muscles and organs, the perfect formula for anything in life. Patience, it always amazes me how little people have of it, and yet it’s
such a good thing to have, in any situation in life. Much of this is probably due to the fast lifestyle we now have, I mean extremely fast, and this is a shame. Life is short, we all know that, so why do we feel the need to rush everything, we want things now, not tomorrow or the next day. Years ago, any parcel coming through the post would take days if not weeks, it wasn’t a problem, today it comes the next day, and now it seems that’s not good enough, we want it now, within the hour. I recently spent some years living on a Greek Island, when you order something online, it can take anything from 2 weeks to 2 months to arrive, strangely I found this more exciting when my parcel arrived. My last parcel from the UK took 3 weeks, but I’m not complaining, living in Greece is a slow and wonderful pace, I wish the whole world had the same attitude where the meaning of stress is unheard of. I guess you make of your life what you want, and no matter where you live, it’s not that hard to relax more, once you realise that you control what happens around you. The relaxed way of life is so healthy, nothing is rushed, at first, it’s annoying coming from a big city like London, but eventually things settle down, your patience improves, and life slows down, which isn’t that the whole idea of life, to slow it down? So where am I going with this? Muscle growth, it takes time and it’s something you don’t want to rush, yes it will take weeks, but as a friend once said to me ‘The longer it takes you to build your body, the longer it takes to lose it’ and this so right. When you start another routine after some time out, the muscles come back much quicker, it’s what is known as ‘muscle memory’. Training with weights/resistance properly, does force muscle growth, slowly but surely, for some though this just isn’t fast enough, and it can be discouraging but I urge you to be patient and stick with it, don’t give up. Muscles grow with time, it’s through your training you need to have patience, because although you may think nothing is happening, I assure you from your very first workout something IS happening. The lack of visual growth at the early stages will have some people give up, or worse turn to steroids to speed things up to get that huge hulking muscular body immediately, this comes at a price, that I’m sure you are all aware of. Don’t rush things as it will only jeopardise your previous workouts, you are slowly building muscle at a safe rate, avoiding injury. 10 weeks may seem a long time, but it will pass if you have patience. Your eventual results will come, and it’s exciting when they do. By exercising correctly, your
muscles will grow correctly, get it wrong and you will keep training for years, only to have little if any muscle growth, what a waste of time and money. Never repeat an exercise of any muscle group the very next day. If you have exercised your chest on Wednesday, do not be tempted to perform a few more chest exercises on Thursday, your preferable rest day. This will not encourage any more growth to the chest. Your chest is in a resting/recovery and rebuilding state, and this is where the muscle is growing, this period must not be interrupted, keep to your planned routine. The knowledgeable, calm, and patient person who puts in 100% hard work in re-building their body, who loves training and is dedicated, can only succeed.
‘What takes time to grow takes time to lose’
SUMMING UP AND TIPS Look at your results in the mirror after 7 or 8 weeks, you should see a difference compared to when you first started, but what if are you losing weight and not gaining muscle? What if you are only getting fatter, or possibly nothing has changed at all? Here’s the reason, or reasons why – You don’t train hard enough or use proper form. You train hard and your diet is good, but your form is wrong. Your diet is way out to what it should be. You do too much or too little cardio. You are not focusing enough, not dedicated and concentrating, or you are stressed with something in your life at this present time causing a distraction. If you think it is one of the reasons above then it’s easy to correct, a little adjustment may be required. If it’s a combination of any two of the above, then you probably need to take a little time out to re-adjust things. If its three then I suggest you really commit yourself, take a few weeks off, study more on the subject and start afresh, with a different approach. If its four or five reasons, then maybe now is not the time for your strength training quest, leave it until you feel it’s right, you will only be wasting time, effort, and money. We all have lows in anything we do, its human nature, especially when it’s regimental or physical, so don’t worry. I have had months off where I wasn’t at the right place. I always have to be 100% focused within my routines, else my results will be poor. Always keep your expectations realistic, you are not going to have a pro bodybuilders body in 7 weeks doing things naturally, but you will see a noticeable change. You’ll notice you are stronger, and you’ll be lifting heavier weights than when you first started. If at 7 weeks you can’t see any muscles, you’ll still be able to feel them, they are growing so keep going. Remember, for those of you that carry excess weight, the muscles are hidden until much of this weight is lost. After my first 10 weeks of ‘proper’ training, I had good muscle to show, 6 months after, and people were commenting on my physic. It was at this point I knew that all my hard work training in my little gym, my new diet and mindset, had paid off. If you are happy with progress after 7 weeks, congratulations, you have worked hard, and it’s worth it, continue this way
and things will only improve, the hard bit of starting is out of the way at least. Hopefully, you should now be ready to start weight training, so here, I’ll just go over all the important stuff and give you some general tips. Formula - regular exercise with resistance (weights) using proper form + eating a good protein diet + drinking plenty of water + plenty of sleep + dedication and patience = Muscle growth and a healthy body. Have the right equipment that fits in your training area, buy good quality not cheap. Train 3 days a week at 1 hour per session, 2 days if you just cannot do 3. Take notes of your progress, always write things down, your workouts especially. Take a before photo of yourself. Give yourself 45/60 second rest between each Set. Always Stretch before a workout, and do light warming up before each muscle group. Cool down or stretch after a workout. Always use Proper Form when exercising, never rush an exercise, prevent injury. Concentrate on each muscle as you work them, literally feel, and visualise the muscle working and growing. Don’t train with a bad injury. Rest, and repair. Learn the correct movement from online videos and practice until you get it right. Feet always about 30cm (1ft) apart when doing standing exercises. Keep your head looking forward, don’t look down at your arms whilst you are performing bicep curls etc. Look forward. Don’t swing your body, isolation to the muscle being exercised is what is required. Remember to exhale on exertion. Never hold your breath until you are blue in the face. Slowly increase the weight over the weeks, to keep good resistance. Train all muscles 100%. Alter your whole routine after 10 weeks, never stick to the same exercises for years. Stun the muscles by working different exercises. Be realistic with your body and your goals. Remember it’s not about numbers and figures with what you are lifting, it’s purely about the correct resistance over each Set of 10 reps.
Add more cardio for weight loss. Don’t get too obsessed, remember you have another life outside of your training, when you train you need to have full concentration. Periodically take a week or two off, it helps the body and mind to take a ‘Holiday’ from 10 or 12 weeks of training. Get inspiration from pictures and videos. Turn the music up whilst training. Sleep, approximately 8 hours a day. Water, loads. Avoid unnecessary supplements, take only the essential supplements, and get as much good Macronutrients from food. Protein. Carbohydrate. Fat. Gain knowledge from the foods you ea,t and choose what you enjoy most. Get the right macronutrient balance that suits you and consume at the right time of day. Don’t miss out on naughty treats now and then, the odd burger or cake is not going to harm, and it’ll keep you sane, but be sensible. Enjoy your workouts, be positive, be patient and avoid injury. Train your mind as well as your body, visualise, think growth, think success. Meditate if necessary. As time progresses look at your body to determine, if any, whether you need to work more on certain muscle groups, balance is the key, sculpturing is the method. Some tips now on how to keep your body looking good, and how to look even bigger, or leaner – There is nothing worse than wearing a vest, and as you give a bicep pose to a friend, you reveal a forest load of armpit hair, guys, shave it, it’ll be tidier and less smelly. A short head hair style will make your shoulders look bigger, most bodybuilders have short cropped hair if any at all. Girls can tie their hair back. Guys, I’ve always had a beard and sometimes long, but keep it short to stubble, to make your chest and shoulders stand out. Guys again, chest hair, a good shaped muscular chest shouldn’t be covered up with hair, but it’s your choice, and will depend on your circumstances. Get some vitamin D if you are pure white, muscles are more defined on a tanned body, you will look more muscular and healthy with colour.
Walk big, don’t exaggerate the ‘sticking out arms’ as though you are carrying a roll of carpet under each arm, but walk big with grace, head up not down. Wear tighter clothing if you want to reveal muscle shape, wear lighter coloured clothing also, you’ll look bigger in light blue rather than black for example. Moisturise your body after a shower or bath, keep your skin smooth and shiny, it looks healthy and improves your skin. And that’s it, we’ve come to the end, now you can ‘Start Muscling’. Thank you again for reading this book, and I hope you enjoyed it. It was always my intention to make this book easy to understand, and as short as possible, I hope I have achieved this. Good luck and I wish you all the success with your training. Have respect, enjoy it, be good and be happy, be fit and be strong. If you have enjoyed this book, please consider leaving a review to help others discover it, your review is very much appreciated. I read all comments and reviews, I acknowledge them, and learn from them. Also available is my follow up book ‘Keep Muscling’. This advances to the intermediate training level and has more detailed, and advanced information to help you progress further with your weight training.
‘I have achieved something special, others admire, it’s something we can all do, it’s something we can all enjoy. Adding it all up, I have probably lifted well over 18,000,000kg in weight since I started weight training, the equivalent of a large ship, I will continue to train and lift another ship, because I love it, it’s my life’
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Start Muscling I have tried to make your training as simple as possible and, on a budget that hopefully you can afford, there now should be no excuses not to train. Throughout your training, I hope also that you enjoy it and have fun. I do wish you all the success with your training and reshaping your body, I hope you continue once you have the basic knowledge, never give it up, let it always be part of your life, for as you age, your body will stay strong and healthy, happiness comes with strength and good health, rewards come with happiness. I would like to thank the one person closest to me who has given me advice, given me confidence and encouragement, to write. They have been patient and understanding with my late nights staying up, typing for 9 months. Many hours have gone into writing this book, many hours have gone in to thinking about this book, lying in bed wide awake thinking what to write. Jumping up in the middle of the night taking notes before I forget. It’s been a big achievement for me, I have never written a book before, and I had no idea how it was done, so I also had to do hours and hours of research, and improve my computer skills, which are basic to say the least. This was a real test of patience, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I recommend to anyone who has a story to tell, or advice to give, write about it and share it. Respect to all the Authors out there, past, and present. Thank you, Amazon, and Microsoft, for the advice, help and the opportunity. And lastly thank you again readers for reading this book………. It is now time to start training and rebuilding your body and your life, what are you waiting for, it starts today. Please feel free to email me for any questions or comments. Mike Smith [email protected]