I am a few days behind, but none-the-less want to provide you with my workout routine for the New Year, New Program. I am a true believer in the fact that even as a trainer, you cannot train yourself. You know yourself well, but you get comfortable and it is easy to fall into a rut. You just can’t push yourself like someone else can, and on top of that we all have our favorite exercises. Without branching out, without challenging yourself, you can’t progress.
My top two tips for running a successful routine: 1- Follow someone else’s plan. Preferably a professional’s plan. 2- Track your weights. Everyone should take a notebook to the gym and track their weights and reps. This allows you to push hard and not waste time doing sets that are too easy. You will always know the proper weight to push for.
My routine comes from Steve Cook. Steve is a body builder and a an award winning fitness model. His program is can be found on bodybuilding.com and is called the Big Man on Campus. Steve’s program is a split program focusing on certain muscles once a week, with 3 rest/cardio days.
The reason I chose Steve’s plan is because in order for me to reach my goal weight and body fat percentage, I need to lose fat and build muscle. Base on my starting weight and percentage it is crucial for me to work on building larger and stronger muscles because I do not have the muscle mass required to have 8% body fat. Using Steve’s weight routine and my meal plan, I can build mass and lower my fat.
Steve’s plan focuses on weight training with minimal cardiovascular training. This is fine because as the title suggests, he is trying to gain size. For me I had to modify the plan slightly. I modified Steve’s plan four ways:
1- With each set Steve increases the weight. I use a single weight, and only increase the weight once I can complete all sets to the highest given rep count. For example If I am told to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps, I will perform the 3 sets with a weight that I can do 1 set of 12, and then push the other two sets as high as possible, maybe 10 or maybe 8. Only once I can hit 12 reps per set, do I increase my weight load. This allows me to work the muscle to failure at every workout. Once the muscle is strong enough to do three sets equally I need to increase the weight and repeat the process. This has helped to increase my strength, work on muscle stamina, and not bulk unnecessarily. In my first three weeks I have increased the weight more than once on all my exercises!
2- I modified the type of cardio training Steve suggests. Steve breaks the routine into 2 days of weights, one day cardio, two days weights, and two days cardio. For cardio Steve suggests 40 minutes of moderate activity. This keeps your cardiovascular health high, and allows your muscles to rest and recover. For my program I am more concerned with burning fat. I am also in the military and must improve my swimming and running. To accomplish this I swim for half of my cardio day and then do HIIT for the other half. My goal here is two fold; first improve my swimming, and second improve my run times by working fast, short intervals- also burning more fat than the steady run.
3- I modified my day to day routine. I have worked out long enough to know that my body uses cardio as a rest day and that because I am lifting for certain muscles only once a week, I can skip a full rest day. For me the program is a six day cycle I repeat. Steve’s original plan had seven days.
4- This is the final modification of the plan. I again know myself well enough to understand I need to change things more often. Steve’s plan is a 12 week schedule. For me I will change the current routine in 8 weeks. Here is why: With only four weeks of work the body will change slightly, allowing for the shock of working out to help you drop some weight. In 8 weeks, the body will plateau after the original shock, and then begin to adapt and adjust, allowing for greater muscular changes and weight loss. Also, because I cut a day out of Steve’s program, I can turn eight weeks of following the routine into over nine, six day cycles. This allows me to hit the muscles more often in less time. At the end of my eight weeks, I will perform a four week recovery routine, and then move into another eight week schedule.
Now for the actual lifts that I am doing:
Day 1- Incline Chest Press, Incline Chest Flye, Dumbbell Bench Press, Chest dips with Incline Push-up super set, Triceps Push-down, Overhead Triceps Extension. 5 sets of Pull-ups
Day 2- T-bar Row, Close Grip Front Lat Pull-down, One Arm Row, Straight Arm Pull-down, EZ Bar Strict Curls, EZ Bar Cheat Curls, Incline Dumbbell Curl, Spider Curls with Hammer Curl super set, Standing Calve Raises, Seated Calve Raises. 14 sets of Abs
Day 3- Cardio stuff, 5 sets of Push-ups
Day 4- Straight Legged Dealift, Standing Leg Curl, Seated Leg Curl, Front Squats, Leg Press, Leg Extensions with Jumping Lunges super set. 5 sets of Pull-ups
Day 5- Shoulder Press, Side Lateral Raises, Reverse Pec Deck Flyes, Front raise super set with Upright Row, Shrugs, Standing Calve Raises, Seated Calve Raises. 14 sets of Abs
Day 6- Cardio stuff, 5 sets of Push-ups
For the full program, eating tips, and sets with reps, check out Big Man on Campus