What’s the best workout to get in shape?

This is a question many people frequently ask in some form or another. Many people asking this question I believe are looking for an exact workout regime that will be the best. But the truth of the matter is that fitness is largely dependent on your current level of fitness and the goals you wish to accomplish. Here’s a couple examples to help you understand what I mean.

Fitness level: Beginner, Goals: tone body and gain muscle 

So maybe this is your goals and level of fitness. Well given that you’re a beginner I would recommend starting with a touch lower workload. Your overall workload when working out equals the sets*reps*weight you do in a day. You should experiment with the number of reps,sets and weights you can handle in a day but your workload should be less than someone who is an intermediate. Given you want to tone your body and gain muscle I would recommend staying in the rep range of 5-15. Rep ranges closer to 5 being to gain more muscle and some strength, rep ranges closer to 15 being to tone and shape your muscle. Also since you want to tone your body and gain muscle I would recommend doing less compound exercises and more exercises that target specific muscle groups. These exercises include things like lateral raises, pectoral fly, leg curls, leg extensions, bicep curls, tricep extensions, barbell or dumb bell shrugs, ext.. Along with doing these exercises I would mix in approximately 20-30 minutes of cardio.

Fitness level:intermediate, Goals: gain strength and muscle

You want to gain strength and muscle at the same time and your fitness level is intermediate. For this level of fitness I would recommend a higher workload than a beginner with the same goals, but not as much as someone who has been exercising for a very long period of time. To gain strength and muscle I would recommend staying in the rep range of 1-8 reps. In addition since your goals are both strength and muscle oriented going with more compound exercises that target more muscle groups simultaneously like the bench, rack pulls, barbell floor press, overhead press, squat, and dead lift. With some of the specific muscle targeting exercises that are mentioned in the prior example would be appropriate. Being that your goal isn’t to get super toned I would mix in cardio that last anywhere from 10-20 minutes.

Fitness level: Expert, Goals: gain strength

An expert lifter will have a higher workload than an intermediate with the same goals. This last part is very important someone pursuing strength as a goal will most likely have a lower overall workload than someone who is working out just to look good. This is because working out with weights that are closer to you’re one rep max is more taxing on the body’s nervous system and takes most lifters more time to recover. If you are looking to gain strength then I would recommend staying within the rep ranges of 1-5. With an even greater focus on the compound exercises than someone who wishes to gain strength and muscle. I feel it is necessary to mention though it may not be your goal to gain muscle to increase your strength you will gain muscle as well. Though the muscle you gain will be more efficient at lifting heavier weight. Since you will be more efficient at using your muscles together and gaining more fast twitch muscle fibers.

If you would like to learn more about the intricacies of training have put more information related to this topic in my Exercise Tips and Advice page.

How many sets and reps should I do?

This like the previous question depends a lot on how long you’ve been working out and the goals you wish to accomplish. I have sort of covered this in the previous question but I will give you some more in depth information on the topic based on your goals. Though in my answer to this question I will not include your level of lifting experience, this answer will be a good starting point to answering Your question.

Reps and Sets to getting aesthetic/toned

Your reps and set scheme for getting toned should be more in the range of 10-15 reps and keeping your sets around 2 to 3 for each exercise.

Reps and Sets to gain muscle

To gain muscle I would stick within the rep ranges of 5-12 and do approximately 3 to 4 sets per exercise.

Reps and Sets to gain strength

To gain strength you should be staying in the rep range of about 1-5 reps. You’re sets should be within the range of 4 to 8 sets per exercise.

I would highly recommend going to my tips and advice page to learn more about sets and rep ranges in the context of your specific fitness goals.

How do you find time to workout?

Since this website is oriented towards people wanting to workout at home. I would say working out at home saves you the time it takes you to get ready and drive to the gym and back. But even so working out can be tedious and hard to allocate time for here are some tips however to help you schedule exercise into your daily routine.

Create a task list of your current daily tasks and how much time each will take and schedule in time to workout.

Maybe this means including things such as approximating how long it takes to cook super and prepare your lunch for the day, how many hours you will work, time allocated towards hobbies and or spending time with loved ones to name a few. You may find that you have some down time within your schedule that would be perfect for you to exercise or you may not. If the later is true I would recommend creating more time by waking up earlier or going to bed earlier.

Stop sporadically using social media and YouTube

Even I fall victim to this one occasionally sometimes Social media and YouTube send you down quite the rabbit whole. But try to set a stopwatch every time you go on YouTube and Social media for a day. I bet you will be shocked at how much time you spend on one of the two or both and heck this may also save you money if you don’t have unlimited data.

Set a written list of fitness goals you wish to accomplish in a certain time frame

If motivation is your problem then this will definitely help you out. Since you have a certain time frame to achieve these goals this should motivate you to get your workout in to achieve a the reasonable goal you have set for yourself.

Will I lose muscle doing cardio?

Not necessarily cardio is good for endurance and losing fat. I would recommend incorporating some kind of cardio no matter what your fitness goals are. Cardio is good for building muscular endurance which may help you get a higher workload in a certain period of time increasing muscular growth. Cardio may improve your mentality towards working out. I have found that after a Cardio session you may sometimes experience a “runners high” or a sense of satisfaction. Though cardio can make you lose muscle if you go overboard with it. That is if you don’t have much fat to lose and you are not eating more cardio may cause you to break down muscle to use for energy. Also you may lose muscle if you are sacrificing to much of your time you should be doing anaerobic exercises(exercises with reps and sets) to do cardio.

What is the best home workout equipment?

I have dedicated an entire page to answering this question that dives more in depth on what equipment you should get based on you specific fitness goals and would recommend you check it out.

What are the benefits of working out?

There are many benefits to working out and getting in shape. Some benefits I have found to be True is Mental Clarity, increased self perception, lower stress and more energy . An increased Mental Clarity means fitness may improve the time it takes you to think complete everyday task and or improve the time it takes you to come up with solutions to the problems you have at work. Of course if you get in shape and look better or are stronger you will have accomplished something, this in turn should make you more confident in yourself and your abilities. In addition you may find that working out gives you more energy. This may be the case because after exercising your body becomes more efficient at using calories and oxygen. Both lowering your stress level and having more energy can be attributed in part to the endorphins released during a workout that mimic the use of drugs like pain killers and anti-depressants.

How much muscle can I gain naturally?

The answer to this question is for the vast majority of people is a large amount of muscle mass. Personally I’d say the most amount of muscle you can gain naturally is a little greater than the percentage of muscle to body fat that the Hodge twins have. A quick google search with there names will show you what I believe is close to the maximum ratio of muscle to fat a natural lifter can have.

Will I get really muscular if I use free weights?

This is a question that I hear many women ask and the answer is no. Women produce less testosterone then men which hinders muscle growth. In addition people who get really muscular put a lot of time into there training and diet, it doesn’t just happen by accident. But lifting free weights as a women may give you more strength and shape your muscles better. However if you are a women looking to get more muscular this should not dissuade you, women can still build a sizable amount of muscle given the right training regiment and diet.

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