Whether you're just starting out -- or starting again -- this fast-track workout plan will help you drastically improve your physique and fitness levels in four weeks.
In the realm of fitness, three-month programs dominate the landscape. You’ve even seen plenty of them in this magazine over the years. Are they effective? Absolutely. But we’re going to let you in on an interesting secret: It doesn’t necessary take eight or 12 weeks to get your feet wet in the gym. Not that you’ll be a seasoned vet after four weeks, but if you can just get that first month under your belt, you’ll get yourself over the proverbial hump where so many fail and give up, and set the stage for a lifetime of gains.
In this plan, your first month of training will be demanding, but not so demanding as to cause injury (or worse yet, burnout), and progressive in the sense that each week you’ll graduate to different exercises, higher volume, more intensity or all of the above. After four weeks you’ll not only be ready for the next challenge but you’ll have built a significant amount of quality muscle. In other words, one month from now you’ll look significantly better with your shirt off than you look now. (How’s that for results?)
This program isn’t just for the true beginner who has never touched a weight before; it’s also suitable for anyone who has taken an extended leave of absence from training. How long has it been since you went to the gym regularly? Six months? A year? Five years? No worries: The following routines will get you back on track in — you guessed it — just four short weeks. Let’s get to work.
You’ll begin the program with a full-body training split, meaning you’ll train all major bodyparts in each workout (as opposed to “splitting up” your training). Train three days this first week, performing just one exercise per bodypart in each session. It’s important that you have a day of rest between each workout to allow your body to recover; this makes training Monday, Wednesday and Friday — with Saturday and Sunday being rest days — a good approach.
The exercises listed in Week 1 are a collection of basic moves that, while also used by advanced lifters, we feel are suitable for the beginner as well. Notice we’re not starting you off with only machine exercises; a handful of free-weight movements are present right off the bat. Reason being, these are the exercises you need to master for long-term gains in muscular size and strength, so you may as well start learning them now. Carefully read all exercise descriptions, starting on page, before attempting them yourself.
In Week 1 you’ll perform three sets of every exercise per workout, which over the course of the week adds up to nine sets total for each bodypart, a good starting volume for your purposes. With the exception of crunches for abs, you’ll do 8–12 reps per set. This rep scheme is widely considered ideal for achieving gains in muscle size (the scientific term is hypertrophy) and is commonly employed by amateur and pro bodybuilders alike.
It’s 3 total weight training workouts per week (all of which are full body) done in an every-other-day format with 2 consecutive days off at the end.
Fitness can be an intimidating endeavor. We want to help you overcome your fears. Here's all you need to know about weight training, nutrition, cardio, and supplements so you can walk into the gym and rock it!
Fitness can be intimidating. Even small, mom-and-pop gyms are usually full of weird-looking machines, equipment you don't know how to use, and unapproachable sexy people lugging around milk cartons full of pink water. Most of us new to the world of weights will walk into a gym feeling immediately overwhelmed. There's so much going on it's difficult to even know where to begin!
That's when the non-scary elliptical calls your name. Your friendly neighborhood cardio machines have never failed you, so you jump on one and start swooshing. And that's where you stay, silently watching other people go about their awesome-looking workouts.
When you finally muster the courage to try some resistance training, you'll likely head over to the machines. You'll choose an open one, read the directions, and then try to copy whatever the model is doing in the pictures. "WTF am I doing?" you may ask yourself as you go through the motions. "Is this even right? I swear those directions don't make any sense. Good God, I hope no one is watching me!"
After your bout with the machines, you think about making your way to the dumbbell rack, but it's overrun with huge, muscle-bound guys doing their best to out-bro each other. Besides, what the hell would you even do once you had dumbbells in your hands?
After you leave the gym, you head home and start arguing with yourself about your next meal: I just worked out, why should I ruin it by eating? Maybe I'll just have some pasta...
And thus you struggle on with your fitness routine, never quite making the progress you hope to make and always wondering what "the secret" could be.
If any of this sounds familiar, you're in dire need of a fitness overhaul! Thankfully, you've come to the right place. The "Female Training Bible" offers everything you need to walk into the gym with confidence so you can start building your happiest, strongest, best self.