INTENSITY is factor #1 in this program.
Lift like there’s no tomorrow.
30 to 40 minutes in the gym is not too long of a time where you can’t lift with extreme intensity.
If you have any doubt what exactly intensity is, just think of it this way.
When doing an exercise, do it to the very best of your ability. If you finished and after feel it wasn’t as good as you could have done, you didn’t lift with max intensity.
When you do an exercise, realize that’s the last time EVER you will get a chance to do that specific exercise at that specific time.
Treat every single rep and every single set like it’s the last one you’ll ever do.
Only then are you harnessing the absolutely incredible power of intensity.
Remember that old saying from your high school English teacher…
The same should be done with your weight training.
Lifting heavier for low reps is the ONLY way for muscle to grow.
Light weight for high reps WILL NOT.
Think of what causes a muscle to grow.
It must be forced to grow and adapt to heavier weight.
This is only accomplished with high weight, low reps.
Why low reps? Because that ensures higher weight.
If you can handle a lot of reps, the weight is too light and you are not forcing your muscles to grow, they can already handle light weight.
So, low reps and high weight is a must.
Step 5: How Many Muscle Groups–How Many Days to Train–How Much Rest
Let’s point out a very important part of this program right here:
The more exercise you do in the gym has NOTHING to do with getting better results.
You WILL NOT gain more weight, muscle, and strength from just working out more.
The more you begin to workout, the less results you will start to see.
It’s almost like the Law of Diminishing Returns.
Basically, what that law says is this:
Anything more than what is absolutely required to build muscle and gain strength will start having negative returns on what you are trying to accomplish.
To get muscle and strength gains, you have to work out to a certain point.
What I am trying to say and what the Law of Diminishing Returns says is anything past that point will not give you back anything worthwhile, in fact, could have negative results.
Think of it as getting a sunburn.
When you get a sunburn, you do not want to go right back out into the sun, do you?
Of course not, you’ll get burned even worse if you go out into the sun with a sunburn.
Let me give you this chapter in these words:
Do only what you have to do—and no more.
The thing is, you have to do those things to the absolute best of your ability.
You have to give 110% intensity and effort for those few things to work.
If not, it doesn’t matter if you do 8 reps and 3 sets or 50 reps and 100 sets, the results will be limited if you do not train with your absolute best.
Now, let’s specifically talk about the number of muscle groups and the number of days to train.
I’m a firm believer in doing only one or two muscle groups per workout.
Why only one or two?
Mainly because of focus and intensity.
You see, great results come from intense focus and burning desire.
When you start doing too many muscle groups and too many exercises, you will have difficulty staying as intense and focused as you need to be all the way through your workouts.
It’s much easier to focus and work hard on just biceps and triceps than it is doing bi’s, tri’s, chest, and back all together.
The muscle groups at the end of that workout may suffer from not getting worked heavy enough because of the dwindling energy towards the end.
It makes perfect sense that as you progress in a workout, you will become more and more tired, more wiped out.
What happens if you are training many muscle groups when this happens?
Like I mentioned before, the ones trained at the end begin to suffer.
I myself used to get the best results from training just one muscle group a day.
I’d go in and hammer my chest into oblivion and then leave in 30 minutes.
This short workout allowed me to focus 100% with absolute intensity on just the chest workout—nothing else.
This intensity becomes watered down when you throw in a lot of extra muscle groups and sets.
Now, I understand that not everyone has the time and schedule to train only one muscle group per day.
But I would not go any more than 2 muscle groups a day
A good routine to follow would be:
Thursday: Cardio Friday: Legs and Shoulders. Saturday and Sunday: Rest
You can place abs in there are couple times a week as well.
You can see, we’re able to accomplish the entire body in one week and still get two days of quality rest.
People underestimate the importance of rest.
On a priority scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being important, rest is a 10.5.
All of your gains, or lack of gains, can be traced back to the amount of rest you are getting—or not getting.
Before you go to train a muscle group again, make sure that its 100% rested up from the last workout or else you will not be as strong as you should.
If you’re not as strong as you should be, you will not lift as heavy and as intense and will not get the benefits that each of those brings.
Rest can be broken down into several sections and I am going to go over each one.
Rest between sets: You want to rest at least 1 minute between your warm up sets and at least 2 minutes between heavy sets.
Any less than that and you run the risk of not lifting with your strongest effort.
Rest between workouts: I believe that resting a full 24 hours before working out again is the most beneficial.
This allows your body to recover from the last workout.
Now, if you only train one muscle group during a workout and train for just a brief time, say 20 minutes, than you could probably get away with training a different muscle group later that evening.
This is called a split training routine.
For example, at 6:00 in the morning you train chest for 20 minutes and rest for 8 hours and than train biceps later in the evening.
I know several people who train this way and it seems to work for them.
That brings me to another important point.
Test and see what works for YOU, not for your cousin or training partner.
You should be willing to try different styles and approaches, but learn from trial and error. Test, test, and test some more.
If something seems to be working, stick with it.
If it doesn’t, drop it and try something else.
You must be willing to learn from your feedback and make changes when necessary.
Back to split routines.
I personally got better results from resting a full day before working out again.
When I tried split training, the night workout was always a little sluggish.
Who knows if it was physical or a little more mental?
All I know is that it didn’t work for me so I didn’t do it.
On the other hand, there were days where I knew I had to get my cardio in, so I would do a short cardio session at night when I had already trained with weights in the morning.
But for the most part, I think it’s wise to wait 24 hours before working out again. But as always, see what works for you.
If you are sore the next day from a particular workout, do not be afraid to take another day off for rest.
So many people I speak with underestimate the importance and power of rest.
All of your gains count on enough rest.
Please give it the importance it needs.
If you are extremely sore the next day from a workout, that is your body’s way of telling you that it’s still not ready to train again.
If it’s not ready but you force it anyways, you are not going to make much progress.
Training with very sore muscles will limit the amount of intensity you use and the amount of weight you handle.
When this happens, you are going backwards, not forwards.
It’s like trying to dig yourself out of a hole. You just keep getting deeper.
To summarize rest between 2 workouts—please make sure you are fully recovered from your last workout before doing another one.
What about rest between 2 same muscle groups?
For instance, what if you trained chest on Monday? When should you train chest again?
Many people I speak with get this wrong, they believe that the more they train a certain body part, the better results they will see.
This is absolutely 100% not the case.
Like I’ve mentioned already a lot through this program, adequate rest is Importance #1–without enough recovery–you will not see good results and more often than not, you’ll go backwards.
You should wait a full 5 to 7 days before working that same muscle group again. Preferably 7 days.
If you trained heavy and intense enough, you should feel that you need the full 7 days to recover.
If you’re still a bit sore from your last chest workout, that’s a sign you’re not fully recovered.
Do not train just to get sore. Soreness is not an indicator of a good workout.
Overload and overload only is the indicator of a good workout.
If you went up 5 pounds in all of your lifts, THAT’S A GOOD WORKOUT.
Soreness is just that–soreness.
I get a lot of emails from people asking me why they are not getting sore after their workouts—they want to know what’s wrong.
I tell them I don’t know if anything is wrong and that soreness has nothing to do with a successful workout.
Overload and going up in weight lifted is the sign of a successful workout.
Back to resting between working the same muscle group again.
A full 7 days of rest often times ensures that you will be fully recovered from the last workout.
And what if, after 7 days, you still feel really sore and tired, not up to your absolute best?
Take another day off to rest.
Building muscle and gaining strength is not so cut in stone where you MUST work out to the same schedule forever.
It’s not black and white–if you feel like you need some more time to recover, then take that time. There is probably a reason for you feeling that way.
I am not talking about feeling lazy; I’m talking about feeling sorer than normal, or run down.
Learn to trust how you feel; you’ll be much better off for it.
Let me give you a personal example.
After competing in a recent bodybuilding contest, I was completely wiped out, both physically and mentally drained.
So I took a vacation and didn’t work out for a full two weeks.
You’re guessing that I came back and all of my weights went down as a result of the lay off?
Nope, two days after getting back into it, I beat most all of my personal bests on all of my exercises.
The rest allowed me to fully recover and I came back stronger because of it.
So before you train a particular muscle group again, make sure you’re recovered fully from the last time you trained that muscle group.
Getting 5 to 7 days rest between working that muscle group again should ensure that for you.
If you train chest on a Monday, wait until the following Monday before you train it again.