There’s three things I wish someone had told me when I first started working out.

1) “Exercise” less. Work toward a fitness goal more.

2) Stop doing so much cardio.

3) Lift more weights.

Resistance training is the most effective way to lose body fat, build muscle, and achieve that healthy physique most of us desire. This is a 5-day per week lifting program you can follow whether you’re a beginner or intermediate weight lifter. Just make sure you start with light enough weight to allow for proper form while challenging yourself. Search for videos online to see how to properly perform the movements. If you only have 2, 3 or 4 days per week to exercise, that’s fine, just combine some of the exercises and make sure you’re hitting those big movements: Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, and Overhead Shoulder Press. I follow the 5-day because I love it. The key is to track your performance workout to workout and see progress over time. If you’re getting consistently stronger with good form, that means your diet, training, and rest are pretty much on point.

This routine focuses on compound weight lifting in the 4-6 rep range. The 8-10 or 10-12 rep ranges are also effective. The key is to train with enough intensity to force muscle breakdown in order to promote strength gain. Every workout, I record my reps and try to beat my previous performance. More weight on the bar or more reps with the same weight. By consistently making progress and properly fueling yourself, you will continue to improve body composition and strength. I love these heavy lifting workouts so much because in a way they’re actually pretty laid back. Push yourself as hard as you can for each set, then take 2-3 mins to rest in between. During that time, I’ll read, write, do some homework, some core exercises, or listen to a podcast. Working out is never a chore when you’re doing something that motivates you and makes you feel great.

Think you don’t have time for exercise? WRONG. When you make time for exercise, you actually create more time for yourself by enabling your body and mind to perform at its best. Below is the actual routine I currently perform on a weekly basis. A lifestyle centered around physical movement is a non-negotiable element of my life. And it should be that way for every human. If it’s not for you currently, it’s time to wise up!

Here is how the week looks:

Monday: Chest
Tuesday: Back
Wednesday: Shoulders
Thursday: Legs
Friday: Chest/Arms
Saturday: HIIT, Abs, Active Recovery, Walking, Bicycling, Foam Rolling, etc.
Sunday: Rest, Walking, Biking, Stretching, Active Recovery

Monday – Chest SEE VIDEO HERE
Monday is one of my favorite days: Chest. The perfect routine to get you in the workout groove, especially if you were naughty over the weekend! Get your butt in gear today because the hardest workouts of the week are yet to come. Here are the recommended rep schemes and the weights/reps I performed during the filming of this video. You will need to start with much less weight if you’re a beginner!! Note: I split this workout between my garage and Planet because I don’t have the ability to do face pulls in the garage. Substitute exercises on those for which you don’t have equipment. If you need suggestions, please comment below and I will respond!

Warm-Up: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press
40lbs    1 x 12 Reps
40lbs    1 x 10 Reps
60lbs     1 x 4 Reps
70lbs     1 x 1 Rep

Working Sets
Incline Dumbbell Chest Press (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)        80lb – 6,6,7
Flat Barbell Bench Press (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)               210lb – 7,5,5
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)            85lb – 5,5,5
Face Pulls (3 Sets x 8-10 Reps)                                     65lb – 12,11,10
Ab Rope Pull Downs (3 Sets x 8-10 Reps)                     95lb – 12,11,10

My Favorite Alternate Chest Exercises
Push-Up (Weighted, if possible)
Bodyweight Dips
Standing Cable Flys
Dumbbell Pull-Over

Tuesday – Back SEE VIDEO HERE
Deadlifts are one of the very best exercises you can do. They work your entire body. It’s a very technical move so get some practice with lighter weight before you start lifting heavy. When you do a heavy deadlift with proper form and really push yourself, it’s one of the best exercise highs you’ll ever have!

Warm-Up: Barbell Deadlift
185lbs   1 x 12 Reps
185lbs    1 x 10 Reps
275lbs     1 x 4 Reps
345lbs     1 x 1 Rep

Barbell Deadlift (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                               370lb – 5,5,4
One Arm Row (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                                 125lb – 6,6,6
Lateral Pull-Down (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                          180lb – 7,6,6
Seated Cable Row (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps) Optional                          65lb – 5,6,5
Leg Press Calf Raises (3 Sets x 10-12 Reps)                                195lb – 25,20,19
Seated Calf Raises (3 Sets x 10-12 Reps)                                     285lb – 12,15,9
Barbell Shoulder Shrugs (2 Sets x 8-10 Reps) Optional                285lb – 12,15,9

My Favorite Alternate Back Exercises
Pull-Up (Weighted, if possible)
Rev-Grip Chin Ups
Bent-Over Barbell Rows
T-Bar Row or Chest Supported Row

Wednesday – Shoulders WATCH VIDEO

Warm-Up: Shoulder Press
75lbs     1 x 12 Reps
75lbs      1 x 10 Reps
115lbs    1 x 4 Reps
135lbs    1 x 1 Rep

Barbell Shoulder Press (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                     150lb – 5,4,4
Lateral Raise (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                                     30lb – 9,7,7
Seated Rear Delt Raise (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                    35lb – 7,7,7
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3 Sets x 10-12 Reps) Optional             50lb – 6,5,5
Alternating Front Raise (3 Sets x 10-12 Reps) Optional                 35lb – 16,12,14

My Favorite Alternate Shoulder Exercises
Upright Rows (Barbell or Cable)
Dumbbell Arnold Press

Thursday – Legs WATCH VIDEO

Warm-Up: Barbell Squat
135lbs     1 x 12 Reps
135lbs      1 x 10 Reps
205lbs    1 x 4 Reps
245lbs    1 x 1 Rep

Barbell Squat (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                                    265lb – 5,5,5
Barbell Lunge (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                                   155lb – 8,7,7
Front Squat  (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                                       55lb –  6,7,8
Squat Rack Calf Raises (3 Sets x 10-12 Reps)                                295lb – 26,31,30

My Favorite Alternate Leg Exercises
Dumbbell Lunges
Spit Squats
Hack Squat
Leg Press
Romanian Deadlift
Goblet Squat

Friday – Chest & Arms WATCH VIDEO

Warm-Up: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

35lbs    1 x 12 Reps
35lbs    1 x 10 Reps
45lbs     1 x 4 Reps
55lbs     1 x 1 Rep

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press (3 Sets x 8-10 Reps)      65lb – 10,10,11
Alternating Dumbbell Curl (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)               35lb – 10,9,8
Close Grip Bench Press (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                 185lb – 7,7,6
EZ Bar/Barbell Bicep Curl (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)               66lb – 7,9,9
Skull Crusher (3 Sets x 4-6 Reps)                                  66lb – 7,7,7

My Favorite Alternate Accessory Exercises
Hammer Curls
Preacher Curls
Zottman Curls
Rev-Grip Chin Ups
Bodyweight Dips
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension
Tricep Cable/Rope Press Downs
Dumbbell Tricep Kickbacks
Bench Dips

Saturday, Sunday, Any Other Day: HIIT, Abs, Active Recovery, Walking, Bicycling, Foam Rolling, etc.

Foam Rolling Routine #1 WATCH VIDEO

Foam Rolling Routine #2 WATCH VIDEO

HIIT Routine #1 (Kettlebells) WATCH VIDEO

Here are some of the routines I perform when I’m not weight lifting:

Walking – One of the most simple forms of exercise, and one of the ones we were actually meant to do as humans. My favorite time to do it is in a fasted state first thing in the morning.

Biking – Long rides with the wife or commuting to and from work (6 miles each way). Excellent and easy way to get the blood flowing and save some money on gas!

Foam Rolling – Amazing way to improve flexibility, mobility, and enhance recovery. Myofascial release, self-massage. Invest in a foam roller if you don’t have one. You won’t regret it!

Body Weight Exercise – You don’t have to spend an hour in the gym moving heavy weight in order to exercise. Squats, Push-Ups, Pull-Ups, Burpees, Jumping Jacks. The possibilities are endless. No matter where you are or what time it is, you can always stop what you’re doing and move your body. When I need a quick break or boost of energy, I’ll do a brief set of body weight movements in order to loosen up, stimulate blood flow, and burn some calories. It’s amazing how much better you feel after even just a couple minutes of exercise.

Abs – I usually do these either fasted first thing in the morning or on my lunch breaks at work. Always outside in the sun if I can help it. There are several routines I follow, including UFC Fit, P90X, and Keith Weber’s kettle bell abs. Never more than 10-20 minutes.

Stretching – Same approach as with abs. 10-20 minute routines, always separated from my weight lifting workouts. I love doing these on my lunch breaks at work, while watching a show or listening to a podcast or audiobook. These are great post workout once your body is already heated up too.

HIIT Cardio Workouts – One of the most effective forms of cardio. Essentially, it’s short bursts of all out intensity cardio followed by short rest periods. For example, 1 minute of stationary biking as fast as you can go, followed by one minute of rest, then repeat the cycle for the duration of the workout. Personally, I do 1-3 HIIT sessions per week depending on my goals. 20-30 minute HIIT routines are the perfect length for fitness. Here are my favorite methods of HIIT training:

  1. Kettle Bells – Highly functional, portable, and they will kick your butt! I love these because you can get a full body, intense workout done very quickly no matter where you are. I love doing these workouts outside in the sun or preferably on a beach (maybe some day).
  2. UFC Fit – Full-body intensity training is their motto. These workouts are really intense and utilize dumbbells for some moderate resistance. This is an excellent form of HIIT training.
  3. Stationary Biking – I do this at the gym, and usually perform a 1 minute on, 1 minute off routine for 20-30mins.
  4. P90X – This is the program I used many years ago when I first started working out on a more consistent basis. I mostly do my own thing these days but still use the ab routine from time to time!
  5. Running – I love a good run, but just make sure you’re adequately warmed up. I pulled something doing my high intensity sprints once before and it turned me off of running for quite some time. Be careful!
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