It’s a well known fact that writing your goals out and making a plan increases your ability to achieve them. This same outline can be applied to your physical fitness and exercise goals. Whether you are training for a physique contest, building strength for powerlifting, or just trying to get back into your favorite clothes. Planning your workouts out and sticking with your plan can really maximize your results. Seeing these results first hand is added fuel to your fire to keep you pushing forward and keep you chasing after your goals!
While there are countless workout routines, plans and programs out there, you need to find the right combination for you. Everyone’s body is different and all of our goals are different. With this in mind, we can look at various strategies that are applied to achieve maximum results in different areas of physical fitness and then apply them to your own unique, individualized routine.
Before we get into the various workouts and training regimens that can be used, we must first look at when to use them. If you have been following this blog then you know we are big fans of fasting and intermittent fasting. These are easy practices can actually boost your muscle growth, strength gain, fat loss, recovery and more!
One of those benefits your body receives from being in a fasted state is a process called Autophagy. This is a process that aids cell production. It causes these cells to be produced stronger and denser, as well as playing a role in removing mis-folded or aggregated proteins, clearing damaged organelles, and eliminating intracellular pathogens.
Another benefit of this fasted state is an increase in the body's production of growth hormone. This hormone is essential for muscle recovery, increased muscle strength, enhanced weight loss, stronger bones, improvement in mood and cognitive function, as well as a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Autophagy also promotes cellular senescence and cell surface antigen presentation, protects against genome instability and prevents necrosis. This gives it a key role in preventing diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, liver disease, autoimmune diseases and infections.
So, by going off of this information you should try to set up a daily intermittent fast, typically a 16:8 ratio. This is where you will not consume calories for 16 hours and then eat your daily caloric intake without the 8 hour window. Most of this fasted state can take place during your sleep time. You will then want to make sure you are getting your hardest strength training in during that fasted state with increased growth hormone production. By working out in this period of increased growth hormone production, along with the stronger cell production from autophagy, you will maximize your results in the gym.
Now that we have the "when" figured out, we need to know "what" workouts, plans and routines to utilize for the most optimal results possible. This will depend on your own goals. Whether you want to gain strength and muscle mass, or lose body fat and tone up, there is a workout routine out there for you.
I'll start off with the lose fat and tone up option because this is the probably one of the more popular goals for people out there. This workout plan is courtesy of MuscleandStrength.com is designed for people who have finished bulking or just have some extra fat to lose. It combines heavy weight training with 3 days of cardio and 1 day of rest. The cardio exercises vary so the choice is yours. Running and biking are great options that also get you outside to enjoy nature.
One option is to use low intensity early morning cardio or high intensity interval training (HIIT) in the evenings. Just like with any workout you do, you will only get out what you put into it. So, get up, get out and get after it! If you are really looking to lose weight, your diet may be even more important than the workouts. Make sure you are around 500 calories per day deficient to help ensure fat loss and boost the cutting process.
The weekly workouts for this plan include "Chest & Triceps" on Monday which features the dumbbell bench press, incline bench press and cable crossovers for the chest workouts. Along with close grip bench press, lying tricep extensions and rope pulldowns. "Abs & Cardio" on Tuesday, featuring 20 minutes of core strength exercises, followed by 1 hour of low intensity cardio or 45 minutes of HIIT. "Back & Biceps" on Wednesday that includes wide grip pull ups, close grip pull downs, cable rows for back. Barbell curls, incline bench dumbbell curls and dumbbell preacher curls.
Then it goes back to the same "Abs & Cardio" workouts you do on Tuesday for Thursday. Followed up by "Legs & Shoulders" on Friday with squats, stiff legged deadlifts, leg curls, leg extensions, and standing calf raises for legs. Along with military presses, dumbbell lateral raises and bent over fly's for shoulders. Then just one more day of the same "Abs & Cardio" workouts on Saturday, followed by no workouts and rest on Sunday. For more info like the number of sets and reps used, please visit the original article by MuscleandStrength.com available here.
Now on to building muscle and strength! The six day body part split is common among professional bodybuilders. Break down your body into six individual parts which you can work in each training session. For example: chest, back, quadriceps, shoulders, hamstrings and calves, arms. While each body part is hit infrequently, you can perform a lot of volume in each training session.
Here is a weight training split routine from Scott at Building Muscle 101. This is an intermediate routine designed to build strength and muscle mass. This is a typically 6 day on, 1 day off, split routine that features "Chest, Shoulders, Triceps & Abs" on Monday and Thursday. These workouts include bench press, flat bench fly's, cable fly's and the incline dumbbell bench press for chest. Military presses, front dumbbell raises and lateral raises on incline bench for shoulders. Cable pushdowns, seated dumbbell extensions and dips for triceps. All followed up with swill ball crunches and twisting rope crunches for abs.
"Back & Biceps" are on Tuesdays and Fridays and include wide grip chin-ups, bent over barbell rows, deadlifts, one arm rows and seated rows for back. Along with standing barbell curls, incline dumbbell curls, cable curls and incline hammer curls for biceps. Now it all ends with "Quads, Hamstrings & Calves" on Wednesdays and Saturdays. These exercises include squats, leg extensions, leg presses and front squats for quads. Seated leg curls, lying leg curls, and stiff leg deadlifts for hamstrings. Seated calf raises and standing calf raises for calves. All followed up with leg raises and hip thrusts that also work your abs. For more info like the number of sets and reps used, please visit the original article by Scott at Building Muscle 101 available here.
Hopefully the tip of fasting combined with the knowledge from these workout plans can guide you to your goals. These were just a few of the many fitness plans out there designed for some of the most popular fitness goals. By taking what works for others and what has been proven to be beneficial, you can then piece together your own plan to follow for optimal results!