A Beginner Training Program
I want to lift weights but have never been in the gym? Can you recommend a program to get me started?
Going to the gym for the first time can be a daunting experience. With a plethora of machines and devices (more nowadays than ever) one can get overwhelmingly excited, confused and frustrated all at the same time. I would recommend you seek help from one of the gym staff to help watch and correct your form - most gyms will offer a free session or two for a new member.
When choosing a program, stick to the tried-and-true basics that produce the most gains in muscle mass and strength such as barbell bench presses, shoulder presses, rows, chins, squats, barbell curls and some basic machine work such as leg curls and calf raises.
Here is a quick starter program broken down for you:
Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders
- Incline bench barbell press
- Flat bench barbell or dumbbell press
- Shoulder width chin ups
- Bent-over barbell rows
- Seated military press
- Wide-grip upright rows
Day 2: Off
Day 3: Arms, Thighs, Calves
- Barbell curls
- Close-grip bench press
- Barbell squats
- Leg press
- Lying leg curls
- Seated or standing calf raises
Day 4: Off
- Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each movement.
- Keep alternating days (1 on, 1 off).
- Do 1 warm-up set before your 3 work sets.
- Do between 4-6 sets for abs at the end of each session.
- Rest 2 minutes or less between sets.
Q&A With Brad Borland
There are a ton of pre-workout products out there, how do I tell which one to buy? What should I be looking for on the ingredient label?
First and foremost we live in a time where money is becoming tighter by the day so you do not want to waste your money or your time on anything that will yield less than significant results. With that said, you can still find affordable yet effective supplements that will satisfy your muscle-building aspirations.
You want to look for a quality name-brand whey protein supplement. Whey is more easily digestible so you can saturate the muscle and your bloodstream with muscle-building amino acids. I personally like to find a protein with digestive enzymes so more can be absorbed by the body. Another key ingredient would be creatine monohydrate. The extensive research on creatine has proven its effectiveness and is backed up by countless testimonials. Beta-alanine is another supplement with loads of promise. Its function is to increase intramuscular energy levels thus making it a great pre-workout choice.
- Whey protein: 20-30 grams
- Creatine: 3-5 grams
- Beta-alanine: 2-3 grams
I've heard taking creatine and beta-alanine together pre-workout can help me add muscle mass. How do creatine and beta alanine work together? How much should I take?
Yes, it has been found that creatine and beta-alanine do work well together. Being a source of anaerobic energy, creatine replenishes ATP stores in muscle enabling you to recover faster between sets and workouts. It also has the ability (with proper hydration) to saturate the muscle cells with fluid providing an awesome environment for protein synthesis as well as boosting muscular strength over time.
Beta-alanine has the potential to increase intramuscular energy levels thereby supporting muscular endurance and increasing performance. These two supplements combined may have a synergistic effect on muscular strength and endurance. Higher energy output and better recovery.
I can't take stimulant fat burners as they keep me awake at night. Are there any other alternatives that I should look at? I already have my diet down on a calorie deficit, I am just looking for an extra boost in my fat loss.
Apparently it is the high doses of caffeine you are suffering from. Most fat burners additionally have compounds to work along with caffeine to boost its effects. You can try a more mild dose of those fat burners or try some natural fat burners that use food ingredients in the ingredients. These compounds can also be found in your kitchen such as cinnamon, all types of peppers and hot spices. These common condiments are not only cheap and convenient, but also are relatively calorie-free and have a significant thermogenic effect! Just use some of these spices on your favorite foods for a fat burning, metabolism boosting jolt without the added insomnia.