“Yo! Egis, what exercises should I do for my workout?”
I get bazillion and one email like this every week and… freakin-fantastic news! I’m going to teach you how to make your own workout plan, step-by-step.
Not one of those run-till-you-puke exercise protocols. I mean, a legit workout plan that you could enjoy, stick to, and accomplish your goals with.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty about exercise selection, training frequency, volume, let’s get an introductory grip on the 5 principles that are going to be your bread and butter.
If you don’t have these in your training, nothing else matters! These principles trump everything.
P.S. The article is based on Mario Tomic’s information:
If you plan to train 5-6 times a week and if you can’t stick to it, you are not going to move much forward.
I see this happening with generations and generations of trainees.
They aim to train 5-6 days a week without having any prior experience in training and then they feel like a failure because they couldn’t stick to such a demanding schedule.
You have to be flexible. Find something that you can adhere to long-term.
If it’s three days a week, it’s perfectly fine. Heaps of folks have built stunning looking bodies training three times a week. Most of my clients train 3 days a week.
If you aren’t going to compete in fitness shows, there is no need to bust your ass in the gym more than three times a week.
Unless you have time for it and you love pumping iron. In that case, adding a little bit more won’t hurt.
The vast sea of average Joes, those who have succeeded and look great, started small. I started small. Most gym rats started small and built up from there.
So make sure to focus on consistency rather than perfection.
Let’s say you do a perfect week of six days of working out but just once a month. You will not get as nearly good results as someone who is going to the gym twice a week but they are doing it for months.
Don’t violate the sustainability principle. It’s the most important of all that I am going to mention in this article.
Read my recent article on how to stay motivated to exercise.
2. Avoid “Fuckarounditis” At All Cost
What the heck is this, you ask?
You have probably seen a guy who walks in the gym, sees another bro and asks:
“Yo, dude, what are you training today?”
” It’s Monday – national chest day. So I’m training chest.”
“Alright! I’m gonna hit chest too.”
That’s textbook “fuckarounditis”.
If you don’t have a clear plan of what you are going to do in the gym (a.k.a. workout plan), you are violating a principle of specificity.
Random workouts lead to random results. I see this happen ALL THE TIME.
Guys are going to the gym just to go to the gym. Without any specific plan. If you don’t have a plan, how do you know what you are aiming for? What’s your goal?
Make sure to have a specific goal. If you want to get stronger, look at your program and ask yourself if this plan is going to get you there.
Like I wrote in “How to Lose Weight in 40 Pages” book, random stuff is not going to cut it.
If you want to just burn calories and sweat enough to fill a lake, go on a treadmill or, even better, have a walk outside.
Next time you are in the gym, have a clear plan in mind and just execute it. Don’t fuck around. Don’t be that guy who forgets to train legs three weeks in the row.
Get a plan and stick to it.
Don’t change exercises every week also. All that “muscle confusion” is overhyped. If you keep changing exercises all the time, your body doesn’t even have a chance to learn and benefit from them.
If I tell you:
“Hey, learn to ride a bike this week!“
You would start learning it and get a grip on it and then the next week I would tell you to learn rollerblades. Afterwards – skateboarding. Every single week you would switch it up.
You confuse your muscles and what happens then? – They don’t grow! Because they don’t know how to lift the weights.
You are the only one confused in the end…
This is why coaching is so powerful. A coach lays out the exact plan for you and you simply have to execute it.
Justin Fauci has a cool article on muscle confusion myth just here.
3. Principle Of Overload
If your body doesn’t have a reason to grow, it will not grow.
Circling back to “fuckarounditis”, if you fuck around in the gym, if you don’t learn how to lift weights, you will not be able to load the muscle to the extent so it has to adapt by increasing size.
Your muscle will only grow if it’s put in the situation where it can’t move any more weight with the current size that it has.
So if there is not enough overload, not enough resistance applied to the muscles, there is no progress.
Image Credit: revivestronger
Everything in your body is designed to adapt. Give it a reason to adapt.
If you are bench pressing 100 pounds this week, do 102 pounds next week for the same amount of reps. If you can’t do the same amount of reps, do it every week until you can and increase the weight again.
Constantly try to add a little bit more weight. Add MORE WEIGHT.
There is only one right way to train and that is training for progressive overload. Without it, everything falls apart.
You can do all the fancy-schmancy techniques that Arnold recommends – rest pauses, drop sets, supersets… None of it will help unless the weight is going up in the main compound lifts.
You don’t want to look like heaps of trainees who have trained for two years and ended up looking exactly the same.
Complete waste of time.
I can teach you how to make a workout plan but if you don’t apply progressive overload to it, your training quickly turns into a one-way ticket to plateau city.
Make sure to read the article on progressive overload by Bret “The Glute Guy” Contreras himself.
4. Embrace Learning
You need to invest in learning to lift weights THE RIGHT WAY.
Weight lifting is a learning process. It’s a skill set. Same as any other skill set.
If you wish to master any skill, you have to invest time in it and practice it over and over.
You have to admit that you don’t know shit about weight lifting. You don’t get born knowing how to lift those suckers.
Some people do learn faster. But these are the people who invest time to practice. There’s exactly zero chance that you will get this knowledge randomly.
By putting in the work and learning what you are doing in the gym you actually discover that “WHY“.
Like I said in my book, once you discover the “why“, once you discover the purpose of lifting weights, you will be able to stick to it for the long run.
You will not do the stuff long-term if you don’t know how or why you do it.
And I see guys spending not even a single minute investing in learning how to lift weights. It boggles my mind considering that there are heaps of videos out there to learn from…
Give up something less important, like surfing Facebook or feeding your children (just kidding, Facebook is far too important) and educate yourself.
If you don’t want to, hire a personal trainer or an online coach.
Invest in the skill set because it will pay off in the long run.
If you learn the skill set, it will fuel your performance for decades!
5. You Can’t Out-train The Fork!
Yep, the good old rule of you can’t out-train a bad diet. It still stands tall.
I’m not saying you have to track your calories to the tee. You don’t have to be an expert in nutrition. You don’t have to read 50 books on nutrition.
But there are three things you need to do:
- Figure out how many calories you need for your goal (weight loss, maintenance, gain).
Figure that out, folks. It’s almost 2020…There are around a bazillion and one different calculator. Don’t be a dick to yourself.
Read my article on how to find a calorie intake to lose weight here.
- Find your protein intake.
Go read my article on how many grams you need and eat that every day. You don’t have to hit it precisely. Just make sure to have a goal that you would wallow around everyday.
- Minimize the amount of junk you eat.
It’s no brainer. Everyone knows this but somehow ends up eating junk anyways.
As I said in can you eat junk food and lose weight article, just because you can lose weight by eating junk it doesn’t mean you should.
Get about 80% of calories from whole foods and then 20% can come from “fun” foods. This will fuel you for the workouts.
The bottom line is that guys think they can train simply trough force.
Then you see people who train only 60-70% of the effort in the gym but put the same amount of the effort in nutrition and get way better results.
Nutrition and training compliment each other. It goes hand in hand – this is the fuel, this is the stimulus.
Take responsibility for your nutrition. If you don’t put the time and the effort in nutrition, your training will be a waste of time.
Do yourself a favor and handle your nutrition.
Physiqonomics has in-depth article on this topic. You might want to read it.
Those are the basics and if you don’t handle those, everything else is just a waste of time and don’t even bother reading future articles on “how to make a workout plan.”
Focus on these five principles because this is your action plan. Your bread and butter, as I said.
If you are overwhelmed with all this progressive overload bippity-boppity-boo magic and you want to transform your body the quickest way possible, jump on board for my online coaching.
I will teach & show you everything you need to lose fat, build lean muscle, and maintain your success for the rest of your life!