From Beginner To Become Your Own Personal Trainer (Part 1)

become your own pesonal trainer

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and I learned good stuff.

Before to read this article, I advise you to read Find The Gym For Your Goals Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Equipment Part 1 et Part 2; Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 et Part 2.If you already read it, continue and have fun.

A strong body is a healthy body, you have heard this many times but it’s not easy to do. Starting a new workout can be intimidating. It’s, for this reason, a lot of people fail.

How you will train

gym training

To start, you have to find out what kind of strength training you want to do. It depends on the equipment and your goals. Here are several types of training programs :

Bodyweight

With a bodyweight training, you need little equipment (or not at all) and you can train everywhere (home, hotel, playground, workplace). As long as you have room to move, you can train.

If you like bodyweight training, take a pull-up bar and a set of gymnastics rings. If you’re really a beginner, an exercise band  can assist you in the movement like pull ups and dips.

If is that you can do bodyweight training without equipment, the disadvantage is that you need to constantly change exercises difficult to be sure to progress.

Dumbbells

Dumbbells are excellent for starting a workout with weight for several reasons.

First, gyms always have a good set of dumbbells. If you want to train at home, you can buy a set of adjustable dumbbells (that’s how I started in my bedroom).

The second reason is that dumbbells allow you to add a small amount of weight to do an exercise and exercise with dumbells are less intimidating that exercise with a barbell. For example, if you’re a beginner, starting with a 20kg (45lbs) barbell is a bit too much.

Dumbbells also allow you to work your symmetry and allow you to balance the strength of your right side and left side of your body. It’s ridiculous to have an arm or a leg extremely bigger and stronger as the other.

If you can’t finish a repetition, it’s easy to throw dumbbells on the floor compared to a barbell. For a beginner, it’s excellent for learning movements.

The disadvantage is that to evolve, you need to buy new dumbbells and this can be expensive. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

Barbells

If your goal is to gain only strength, this is the recommended option. Barbell allows you to progress cleanly and quickly by adding a small amount of weight each week.

A barbell is really stable because you use your 2 hands instead of 1 hand for dumbbells so it’s easy to lift heavy (especially for the lower body like squat of deadlift). For exercises like the squat or the press, you can use the rack to load and unload weights safety.

The disadvantage is that to do this at home, you need to have a squat rack, a barbell, a bench and enough weight plates in your house or in your garage. A gym membership is handy to avoid this problem.

What’s the best way to train?

The barbell is optimal for gaining strength. Bodyweight training is good but you have to seriously motivate you to train at home.

Sometimes you have to adapt to the situation to be able to do your training. When I travel a bodyweight training is perfect if I don’t have access to a gym.

But the best workout is when you lift heavy. Nothing can replace squat, deadlift and body weight pull up.

There are also other ways to have a strength training like rock climbing, yoga or parkour.

Choose the program to follow

gym training program

Never go to the gym without having a plan. To get results, it’s necessary to have a plan to track your progress.

For to make a lot of progress, a beginner can have a full body program of 3 times a week with a day off between training days. Be sure that the program you choose matches your goals, A powerlifters will have a different training from a bodybuilder or an endurance athlete.

In my article Back To The Source Of Human Strength Part 1 and Part 2, I talk about numbers of repetitions and their goals :

  • Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength

  • Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular endurance.

  • Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance and size

Many beginner strength training programs say to do 5 sets of 5 repetitions to optimize progress to gain strength.

With a circuit or superset, you do a set of each exercise in an order and you repeat the process.

For example :

  • 20 bodyweight squat

  • 10 push ups

  • 20 walking lunges

  • 10 dumbell rows

  • 15 second plank

  • 30 jumping jacks

  • Repeat all these 5 times to do 5 sets

In traditional strength program, you do a complete set of an exercise, you rest and you do another set of the same exercise and so on.

For example :

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Rest

  • 10 squat

  • Next exercise

If your goal is to be healthy and lose weight, you don’t need to focus on strength, a circuit (superset) is perfect.

This allows you to spend less time at the gym and to make up your high heart rate longer.

If your goal is to have more strength and have more muscle, choose a traditional strength training.

One important thing, your diet corresponds to 80-90 % of your success or failure. The quality of your diet will help you gain strength and lose fat.

When you choose a workout to develop your strength, be sure to increase the difficulty over time. To become stronger, you need to write a plan. This can be to do one more squat, lift 2kg (5lbs) more or do your circuit (superset) 10 seconds faster.

The main goal is to always be better than the last time, this is what ensures the continuity of being stronger and faster.

You can write your own training program or fortunately, there is a lot of excellent beginner program.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

From Exercise Machines To Free Weights

machine free weights

I read a Nerd Fitness article  and there is good stuff.

Very often in gym’s advertisements, we watch a lot of high-tech machines to do exercises and the free weight zone is a small hidden room.

What I see in my gym, it’s people start their training with a little bit cardio and they use machines. They do this because it’s easier and this look more secure. Unfortunately, this is not the reality. The Matrix trap us with these machines.

Attention : If you have a medical prescription or you need to use machines for a special reason, continue to follow your training program prescribed by your doctor or physiotherapist.

Why

why

The truth is that machines force muscles and joints to make movements that aren’t natural.

Machines force your body to move weights in a single pattern (up – down or left – right). Our bodies naturally don’t move like it, this is the problem. Movements or our bodies aren’t straight lines, it’s rather « S ». The result is that machines develop our muscles in a way that isn’t balanced and they endanger our joints and spine.

Like you can see, machines don’t put your body in safety and in addition, they don’t work your stabilizing muscles. Don’t work stabilizing muscles is very bad for everyday activities.

When you bent forward to take something on the floor, you body use a dozen and a dozen muscles at the same time. But since you no longer work your stabilizing muscles because of machines, your muscles don’t know how to work together so your body uses a muscle.

Study case

« Smith Machine » is famous to do squat in safety so it protects your back. Lie ! This machine is perfect to destroy your back and compressed your spine because this machine force your body to move only up and down. The real squat allow to do the fundamental movement and when you do it, you notice that your body doesn’t do a straight line from up to down. With the real squat you do a natural movement.

Do exercise with weight or with bodyweight is more efficient to burn calories than machines.

Full body

full body

All exercises classified in 2 categories : pull and push

I remember, I did a full body training program for 1 year before lift weight. This is what my Taekwondo’s teacher advised me and he was right (wow, Korean wisdom). A full body training program, 3 times per week is more efficient than a machines training program, 5-6 times per week for beginners. If you want to train more, you can do Tai-Chi or walking during rest days.

Full body is important

With full body, you learn to each body’s muscle to work together, you synchronize you body. This is allow you to be healthy, avoid using too much a muscle and avoid injury due to a weak stabilizing muscle. To maximize your body, eat healthy and you’ll burn more fat, build muscle and build a body of which you’re proud.

What is great with a full body training program, it’s when you skip a training day, it doesn’t matter. You’ll not have certain muscle more developed than any others because each training session work all body’s muscles

Bodyweight (full body)

bodyweight training

Mastering basics movements with bodyweight is perfect to prepare you for a training with weights.

It’s primitive movements therefore natural that allow you to become stronger without material.

The best example are gymnasts. Look gymnasts body, it’s amazing, impressive and the majority of their training are with bodyweight exercises.

Basic exercises

  • Push = push up, dips, handstands

  • Pull = pull up, body rows

  • Legs = bodyweight squat, pistols squats, lunges, box jumps

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No it’s too simple  ! => Do this training program and if it’s too easy, increase the difficulty. You can do push up with one hand or pull up with one hand (like my friend Inti). You can also add more set ou repetition.

No it’s too difficult => Do this training program and if it’s too difficult, decrease the difficulty. You can do sets of 3 repetitions. The principle is you progress to do 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Take your time but be regular.

No I want abs => When you do squat, push up and pull up, you keep your core tight and by this way you work your abs. But if you want to do an exercise specially for abs, you can to plank and side plank.

Strength training (full body)

strength training

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or a woman, dumbbells and barbells are your friends.

Basic exercise

  • Push = Bench press, Overhead Press

  • Pull = Deadlift, Bent Over Row

  • Legs = Squat, Deadlift

For each exercise, you do 2-4 sets of 8-10 repetitions.

No I don’t like squat => Do you think squat is an useless exercise ? I advise you to read the book of Mark Rippetoe. If you seriously want to train, this book is for you !

No I afraid of weights => Don’t panic. Most people in free weights section are too busy to look at themselves in the mirror, they will not look at you. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for each exercise to improve your pure strength. I advise you dumbbells.

No I’m afraid of being ridiculous => Everybody don’t care if you life a dumbbell of 4kg (8.8lbs) or you squat 181kg (400lbs) because everybody struggle to do their training program. Forget people, stay focus and do you training program until the end.

But if I do bad => At the beginning use light weight to do movements with the good form, the good technique. When you’ll stronger, you’ll can add weight slowly each week to reach your limit. You can hire a personal trainer for 1-2 sessions to learn and improve basic exercises techniques or form.

No I want only lose weight => It’s simple, you do basic exercises and you eat less. The training is the same for lose weight or gain muscle. It’s diet that make the difference ! It’s a science :

  • Eat more calories than you burn = gain weight

  • Eat less calories than you burn = lose weight

Your physical condition, it’s 80 % diet and 20 % training. If you want bulk, you need to have a specific diet to do this.

Track and adjust slowly your training program and your diet to see your progress.

No matter what you do, don’t be afraid of the free weight zone. Remember than 90 % of people inside are focus to do their exercises by looking in the mirror therefore don’t worry. Do your exercices, become better and become stronger.

What do you feel when you train with free weights ?

-Steph

Teenager Training (Part 3)

teenagers training

Session 2 of training for teenage (boy or girl) from JamCore DZ’s videos . This is what I want to share this with you.

You’re a teenager (boy or girl) and you want to have a better body. Here you will learn what you need to achieve this. First thing : Stop eating sugar, it kills you slowly.

In this Session 2, we will use 2 large water’s bottles (1.5l / 0.40gal). This is not a heavy weight but strong enough to prepare you to lift with much heavier.

water bottle

Sorry I didn’t find exercice’s picture with water bottle, I only found exercice’s picture with dumbbell.

Session 2

Rowing with water bottles

dumbbell rowing

Train back

You stand up, upper body bent at 45°, your arms are extended with a water bottle in each hand and you pull the bottles by contracting the upper back. The movement is done slowly.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Lateral raise with water bottle

lateral raises

Train shoulders

You stand up, chest high up without shoulders, your arms are extended with a water’s bottle in each hand. You raise your arms straight up to shoulder height. The movement is done slowly.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Curl with water bottles

dumbell curls

Train biceps

You stand up, arms outstretched with a water bottle in each hand. You bend your arm until the bottles touch your chest. The movement is done slowly.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Lateral squat

lateral squat

Train legs

It’s like squat in Session 1 except that in this version, you start with feet close and you take a step to the side to do a squat. Then you come back to the starting position with feet together. You take a step to the left and a step to the right. The movement is done slowly.

Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions

Plank

plank

Train core

Your elbows on the ground are in line with your shoulders. You pull your stomach and you stay stable.

This exercise allows you to have excellent posture to improve your self-confidence, everyday of your life.

Do 2-3 sets of 30-120 seconds

Legs raise

knee raises

Train abs

You put yourself on the floor and bring your legs to your chest slowly without your feet touch the floor. For teens who have weight problems, do the most of repetitions, no excuse.

Do 2-3 sets of 15-30 repetitions

Exemple of a week :

Monday: Session 1

Tuesday: Cardio

Thursday: Session 2

Monday: Cardio

Be very careful about your diet to get results. If you eat crap, you’re gonna look like crap. If you eat well, you’ll have a beautiful body.

In the next article, the last part, Session 3.

-Steph

FAQ On Strenght Training

faq

I find that strength training is excellent because my body and my muscles are in a routine that exceeds my comfort zone, breaking my muscle fibers, forcing them to rebuild. My body and my muscles adapt to rebuild stronger to be prepared the next time.

The body is constantly rebuilt to rebuild muscle by burning extra calories all the time, so strength training is cool.

I need to enroll in a gym ?

No, you can have a good strength training at home. You can buy weights or make bodyweight movements.

What’s a good workout program ?

A good training program in full body has two exercises from each components :

Leg exercises : bodyweight squat , lunges, barbell squat, deadlift

Push exercises : push up, dips, overhead dumbell press, barbell overhead presse, bench press

Pull exercises : Pull ups, bodyweight rows, dumbbell rows, barbell rows

Core (abs) : plank, side plank, raise knees

Ok, I saw the list of exercises but I do how many sets and reps ?

exercice sets reps

There are 2 things :

Generally, a strength training program, it’s 3-5 sets of 5-10 repetitions for an exercise. 60 seconds to rest between sets and to change exercise.

You can do a set of exercise and quickly move up with another, and so on. You make this circuit until you’ve done the same number of sets for each exercise, it’s the super-set.

Typical example :

  • Set 1 : 8 repetitions
  • Rest : 60 seconds
  • Set 2 : 8 repetitions
  • Rest : 60 seconds
  • Set 3 : 8 repetitions
  • Rest : 60 seconds
  • Set 4 : 8 repetitions
  • Rest : 60 seconds
  • Example super-sets :

Exercise 1 : 10 bodyweight squat

  • No rest, continues with the next exercise
  • Exercise 2 : 10 push ups
  • No rest, continues with the next exercise
  • Exercise 3 : 10 dumbbell rows
  • No rest, continues with the next exercise
  • Exercise 1 : 10 bodyweight squat
  • Repeat the circuit !
  • How many times I have to train ?

I advice you to train 2-4 days per week depending on your goal and your schedule. Avoid working the same muscle group two days in a row.

At the gym, I don’t know how to do the exercises in the list. I can only use the machines ?

I don’t like machines because they force your body to make a unnatural move. Bodyweight exercises and free weights are safer, healthier and better in the long term. I promise you.

But if you’re not sure of movement exercises, you can start with the machines and then make the transition to the free charges.

How to know what exercise program to follow ?

Yes there are many exercise programs that will give you good results. Remember 2 things :

  • The diet is 80% of the battle. If you follow a strength training program and you eat healthily, your body will change.

  • Select a program and keep it. The best plan is to follow the program by being patient and consistent.

I don’t see progress, I do something wrong ?

jefit progress screenshot

When we do strength training, we try to lift more weight or do more repetitions every 2 months. If you don’t add weights or repetitions, you will not make progress.

IMPORTANT : Note that you do in training. The strength training only works if you gradually increase the difficulty. You need to know what you did last month for what to improve.

How to find an advanced version of the exercise I do ?

The goal of strength training is « progressive overload ». You want to constantly lift weights heavier or challenge yourself with movement more difficult. Our body adapts quickly, and if we lift the same weight or do the same number of repetitions, our body adapts and we will have fewer gains from the same amount of work.

We need to make difficult things, HARDCORE !

If you train with barbell or dumbbells, simply added more weight and more repetitions to be stronger.

If you train with bodyweights movements, you need to increase the difficulty of movement once it became easier.

How to increase the difficulty of bodyweight movements  ?

  • Adding weight for dips or pushups

  • By elevating your feet when you make push ups

  • Make the pistol squat instead of the bodyweight squat

DON’T BECOME A GNOME !

gnome

-Steph

Weighted Decline Crunch

weighted decline crunch

Today was the abs – back – biceps session, it was especially cool because in July, the gym is almost empty. There is an abs exercise I do after the planck, it’s the weighted decline crunch.

For this exercise I use a dumbbell of 30kg (66lbs), right now. Not easy this crunch version but it’s effective. At first, I started with a disk but it will up to 20kg (44lbs).

The crunch works the rectus abdominis muscles and a muscular midsection limits the backache. This exercise also helps you to not having a big belly if you have a good diet.

weighted decline crunch

Sets the bench, take the weight and put your feet in the supports

Lie down on your back, put the weight on your chest or hold out your arms.

Inspire, blocks your breath and contract your abs to take off your upper body up until you make a 90° angle with your hips.

Back to the start position by controlling the descent.

This exercise mainly works the rectus and obliques a little bit.

And you ? Do you have an abs exercise with weights ?

-Steph

Plank

plank anatomy abs

This exercise work your core and improve your waistline and your posture.

Lying facedown on the ground on your elbows with your hands shoulder length apart. Push your body upwards as if you’re doing pushup. Your hands are fully extended and your toes grounded and your back straight. There should be a straigth line from your gead to your toes with no bend or arch in your back.

  • Keep this position as long as possible

Keep this position at least 20 seconds and you can go to 5 minutes. Then do the 2 sides as long as possible.

plank anatomy

-Steph

Legs

muscular leg

1-2 months ago I think, I increased the weight of my exercises and I had pain in my left knee and slightly in the lower back after the squat. After the squat, I did the deadlift which increased my pain in the lower back.

Because of that, I liked less and less the legs day and in the evening before going to bed I was a bit anxious because of the pain. One day I remembered that I used to like legs day legs before having changed the weight.

That day, I took my time to study more squat and change the order of exercises. I give you a link to a Mike Rashid ‘s video who help me.

Now for the squat the position of my feet are wider, so that I do sumo squat. I feel more stable and I have no pain in my knees. What a pleasure to squat !

After the squat, I go to the decline leg press like that my back rests. It’s super effective, I have no pain in the lower back and then I do the deadlift. Make the deadlift without pain in the lower back, it’s so cool !

Now, I like again the legs day and add rep or add weights not scare me anymore. I can evolve my legs like the rest of my body.

I show you my program for the legs: Abs -Legs

Plank

plank

Plank on the right side

plank on side

Plank on the left side

plank on side

Decline crunch with weights

weighted decline crunch

Decline crunch twist with weights

weighted decline crunch twist

Knee hip raise with weights

knee hip raise

Squat

squat

Decline leg press

decline leg press

Deadlift

deadlift

Leg extension with one leg

leg extension

Lying leg curls with one leg

lying leg curls

You want a symmetrical body, think to work well your legs like the rest of your body.

Come see free fitness programs on my new project (select a program and then click on “Log in as Guest”).

-Steph