My Training programs

I have to admit that this one is going to be very hard to explain cause I am not an athlete nor a sport professional so I am a bit scared to say something that is not right. The thing that I do have is my own experience of losing about 35kgs of fat, gaining 10kgs of muscles over the last 18 months and on the way to gain 10 more kilos of muscle. No personal trainer, no gym partner, only me, my motivation, discipline and my open mind.

I can say that I have tried a looooot of things and the best advice I can honestly give is, we are all different and the things that work for one will not necessarily work for you. So try, try again and try some more. It is like failure in business, in relationship or any other things. If one program or work out or a specific exercise do not show any results, this does not mean you are doing wrong but could mean that you body does not react to it properly. So ty something else.

In marketing, we call that A/B testing and I was really good at it so I have and keep on applying it to many aspects of my life, including gym.

The first step: the beginning

The way I started for myself was pretty simple. I knew I couldn’t play the field so I gave myself some first step goals. My main goal was to look fitter in my clothes and the best thing I found was to wider my shoulders and lose some belly fat.

So, I started to walk every single morning. I didn’t eat anything, I just got up, did myself a tea and would go for about a 50min walk. I that time I didn’t know that walking about work so amazingly on losing fat but I remembered reading something that said to brun fat, we have to keep our pulse rate between 60 and 70% of our max bpm.

To calculate that max bpm, take 220-your age so for myself now it is 187 so I should keep it between 112 and 131 beats per minute. Walking is definitely the best way to be in that target.

This was my first step towards my goal. Then, I started implementing work outs where I was mainly targeting my shoulders.

Here is a list of some of the exercises I started doing to launch myself into bodybuilding, that I knew were working for me. I didn’t do those every day. I used to change my work out every days so I don’t get bored and to keep my muscles being stressed so they don’t get used to the training. I know that I was a beginner, again, so my muscles would never adapt that quickly, but I know the mind has a stronger power than the body. I believed keeping on changing exercises would help me so I did it.

  • So some barbells and dumbbells shoulder presses
  • Military press (mostly standing because I felt more stable on my feet, but if you are comfortable sitting it is actually better as you won’t be pushing on your feet and only your shoulders will be working).
  • I used to enjoy starting my work out with some both arms and single arms swings. I didn’t have any Kettlebells to I used a 10kgs disc that has kind of a handle through it and let’s go
  • Dumbbells front raise and lateral raise.
  • Barbell front raise (supination and pronation)
  • Raise to chin both large and narrow grip
  • Deadlift. I knew it was one of the best exercise to build mass and I wanted to see if I could become a great lifter. It is, to this day, one of favourite exercises.
  • The only thing I bought after few weeks was the Battling ropes. Oh my! It is super hard but it was really helping to increase my cardio, target the should but also the back, the core and the legs. Don’t try to make very long sets. This was my mistake. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough like the ones I saw online so it was kind of discouraging. You can incorporate some sets in-between other sets or just do a 15mins sessions on rest days or 12h apart from your work out if you feel like increasing your practice.
  • One thing I have done quite straightaway was doing some supersets. Both targeting the same muscle group and different muscles. I was working out only about 45mins each time and I really wanted to sweat and feel like I gave my best to each session.

I really didn’t use heavy weights and for two main reasons. Because I didn’t want to have real sore muscles so I could keep working out almost every day and keep that beginner motivation. Build a real discipline. And because I wanted to deeply focus on doing the right moves. Give my muscles the best directions to push and pull so later I will be able to go heavy and increase the muscle stress.

The second step: getting a bit more serious

Next, when I felt better about my performance, seeing some results (very light ones), I started to implement more exercises, more sets, more reps, more weights. The objective was to add more compound exercises such as

  • Deadlift (which I was already doing but now heavier)
  • Squats (I could only do front squats as I didn’t have any racks and that was safer for me that way)
  • Chest press (flat and inclined)
  • Barbell rows (supination and pronation).

By doing more compound exercises, I knew I would become stronger, properly learning the basics, put on some mass so later on, I will be able to add some isolation exercises to work each muscle from different angles. Anyway, I didn’t have much equipment so I had to make the best our of what I had.

After doing that for few months, I could see some changes and that really helped keeping on going. When we start we already want to be like those big guys, look ripped and have crazy stats…that is just delusional! I learnt to moderate my expectations and that is definitely a strong advice I can give you.

I was lucky to have access to a pool, so 5 times a week after work, I would go swim for about 20 to 45mins. The same way I was walking in the morning, I didn’t try to swim hard with the crawl, but instead I was simply doing the breaststroke. At the same speed all along. First, the water is just super relaxing. I just feel fresh after that. Second, it was reinforcing my fat loss and third, I was training my shoulders, arms and back to do some longer efforts.

The third step: trying new things

I arrived at a time where I was moving to Portugal to get a new job. I was going in a country I didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak the language, for a job that was light years from what I used to do and my capacities but still with one goal in mind: keeping on improving myself. Physically and mentally.

I obviously didn’t have any equipment so the first thing that I did was to register to a gym. I took the cheapest one. Wrong move…too much people so I couldn’t do my work out the way I wanted, and I think the fact that it was cheap, people were not following the basic rules like putting the weights back, waiting for you to finish your exercises, cleaning after the use, talking for hours while using a machine/work station, etc.

So, instead of looking for those big gyms, I then registered to a small one very close to my place so I can go early in the morning, just after lunch and sometimes late at night. Less people, more dedicated and at my disposal whenever I want. Right move 😀

Little by little, I introduced more isolation exercises with free weights but also with the help of cables. The cable machines have a huge potential thanks to the fact we can target muscles from a wide range of angles.

This is when I also started to focus on one specific muscle group per session thinking I would really destroy it and make it grow faster. How wrong I was. I did that for months and I didn’t see the results I was expecting while really going like a maniac. Then, I saw a documentary comparing the Bro Split Vs full body work outs. They based their reports on many studies and it appears that training a muscle several times a week with a full body work out was producing a better muscle gain than torching it one a week.

That’s when I changed my program again and decided to train 3 muscles per session.

The fourth step: today

I am not saying this will work for you, but it seems to be working wonderfully well for myself.

I train between 5 to 6 times a week and decided to train Chest, triceps and biceps 3 times a week with each time different exercises and training legs, back and shoulders the other 2-3 times per week. And I have to admit that I can see more gain that any other time before.

As the back, legs and shoulders are big muscle groups, I sometimes focus more on the back and sometimes more on the shoulders. for instance, the first weekly session I do like 4-5 exercises for the back and only 2 for the shoulders and the next weekly session, I do the opposite. Each muscles is being trained at least 2 to 3 times per week.

I know I should probably train a bit less, having at least 2 rest days during the week but because I am mainly using bodybuilding as a therapy, it is really hard not to train. The day I don’t train I don’t feel particularly well on the inside so don’t necessarily try to replicate what I am doing. As the rest of my website and blog, just get inspire and take what’s make you feel good and help you self-grow.

As many of us, leg day is quite hard to get motivated to do, as we mostly want to have a bigger upper body. Having those large shoulders, salient chest, massive arms and ripped six-pack. But where is the greatness in bodybuilding is having a real proportionate body and the legs are half the body so we just wan’t forget them.

I think, I have developed a good way to train my legs that can help many lazy bum like I was 😛 As it can be difficult to go to the gym and tell ourselves “today is leg day only”, I have decided to train them while doing my back and shoulder workout (I chose this one because I started doing deadlift which is engaging the legs and the back) and did 1 compound and two isolation exercises:

  • Deadlift – Leg press (flat or linear) with opened feet and calves press – Leg extensions
  • Squats – Leg press (flat or linear) with straight feet and calves press – Leg extensions
Feet positions to work out different leg parts

Oh yes my friends, you won’t develop massive quads and legs with that program but the point was to build a strong base and create discipline so I enjoy training my legs. I always had big legs due to lots of sports in my youth and my lower body has always been bigger than the upper so I didn’t really have to train that part. I just want to look proportionate with nice muscled legs.

My next step: let my inner beast take over

I am watching a lot of videos from Pros to get inspired and understand what I could be adding, editing, removing and improving to get to that next level.

For instance, I have always pushed away the “Abs” part. First because I was too chubby so what was the point of training my abs if the only effect would be to have a bigger belly. Yes that’s right! Doing abs exercises won’t burn your belly fat, it will only make your abs grow having for effect to push your belly forward. The only way to burn fat is to have a calorie deficit (burning more than what you are consuming).

It seems that doing planks also help as it is involving the inner abs part (transverse abdominus, your deepest abs muscles) but all the other exercises for abdominals will only build muscles and make you look fatter than anything else.

So, with the help of compound exercises such as deadlift, squats, standing shoulder press, chest press, etc. I have been working indirectly my core, making it stronger and more stable. Now that I have lost most of my belly fat (I still look like a gentle bear 🙂 ) I have decided that I couldn’t keep on skipping the abs workout and here I am. Since the last few days I have been incorporating a few sets at the end of each session and I can already see some results…WOOPWOOP !!!

*I have taken a pic from the day 1 (18/04/2022) and will try to take one every 7 days to publish them on here at some point. I am very uncomfortable on publishing pics on myself and my body but I will push myself to do it for two reasons: first, it makes me uncomfortable and if I want to grow I have to put myself into constent discomfort to unlock my true potential.

The things I would tell myself when I started training (again)

The best advices I have received, read, learnt and that I feel I should be sharing:

  1. Start with the exercises you like doing. They might not be the best to put on muscles, but you will enjoy what you are doing and this will build confidence and discipline.
  2. Start slow and add stuff with time. Doing too much at the beginning will just be changing your life in a way you are not prepared for.
  3. Understand the way you work at your best. Like at what time your prefer to work out, how you can eat to build on muscles, what is motivating you to go to the gym, etc. Learn yourself
  4. Never do cardio before your work out. You will use the energy available and won’t be able to push/pull as hard as you would like afterwards. If you want to do cardio on the same session, do it at the end. Or better, do it with a minimum of 12h apart from your work out or during another day.
  5. Don’t let your ego dictate the weight you choose. You will have much better results by doing the right move with lighter weights than pushing like an idiot because you wanted to show you can lift heavier. It will come on time.
  6. Don’t compare yourself to others. It is great to look around you and see what others are doing, to inspire yourself, but never compare to them. We are all different, we never know since when they have started working out, what their diet is, if they use enhancement products, etc. Make your own plan and believe you can do it.
  7. Give yourself time. Time to progress. Time to learn.
  8. Be flexible. Having goals is necessary but you never know how you will react to certains programs, workouts, exercises and diets. Have your goal in mind but be flexible.
  9. Be patient. Every single person who started lifting started from scratch. Consistency and discipline will give you the results your are looking for.
  10. Nobody is watching you. So follow your program. If you have to do some squats, deadlift or chest press. DO IT and don’t care if there are muscled guys or pretty girls around.
  11. Don’t make fun others as you don’t want others to make fun of you. We are all in the learning progress so instead of making fun, teach…
  12. And one thing that really pisses me off is those people moaning about others coming to give advices. Accept those advices!!! Some are they just to show off but most of people just want to help you out so be open and listen to any advices you receive, then filter down.
  13. Never forget that it is about 20% at the gym, 60% in the kitchen and 20% in bed.

holistikissim

You are in control

holistikissim

You are in control

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