Workout Rules for Safe and Efficient gains

Everyone who uses a gym has a goal.  Some are looking to build huge muscles, others want to be as cut as possible, but most just want to improve their health.  This post is for anyone who wants to know how to make consistent progress using weights and cardio-vascular exercise.

Workout 2 gives a good idea of what exercises to focus on.  This post is about how to continue making gains in the gym after the first few weeks have been conquered.

Cardio doesn’t really ever change

The rules for cardio are solid.  As a personal trainer I would recommend no more than 30 minutes 5 days a week.  Use a treadmill, bike, run, do a few cardio classes, but do not get carried away. Too much cardio will put a definite hold on your progress.  It cuts down on your ability to recover and also burns muscle if over done.

Weight training is the most important

Your metabolism is completely dependent on the amount of muscle you have compared to fat.  Because of this fact, if you are not lifting weights you are not taking advantage your body’s greatest asset, your muscles.

Where do you start? 

If you are trying to increase your metabolism, the best place to start is 12 rep sets.  So a typical exercise should look something like:

  • 4 Sets for 12 Repetitions each
  • Try to find a weight where you can barely finish the 12th rep
  • Stick with a routine for 2 to 3 weeks
  • After 2 to 3 weeks change the exercises or attempt to do a little more weight

Bottom line

Slowly, every 2 to 3 weeks, increase weight used for gains in muscle and tone. Cardio is also important, but if you do too much it will halt your progress.


Next Time: Workout 3, New Exercises

See you then…


Myth 1: You can never do too much cardio.

Too much cardio can definitely be a bad thing.

One of the things I have encountered most in training has been the idea that “cardio is king.”  Many times I have had a long conversation about the dangers of over-training and the injuries and metabolism slowing effects too much cardiovascular exercise can have.

Issues too much cardio can create:

  • While cardio does burn fat, it also burns muscle.
  • If you burn too much muscle, you can actually slow your metabolism.
  • Too much cardio can actually prevent you from reaching your goals at the gym.

I am not saying you should stay away from cardio; far from it.  I am however saying doing cardio for an hour a day by itself is not necessarily the best way to reach your fitness or weight-lifting goals.  Livestrong suggests cardio should not exceed 150 minutes for an entire week.  QBX Fitness says too much cardio is definitely a bad thing.  They even say that too much cardio can actually cause you to start GAINING fat.

Bottom line: keep your cardio a bit shorter and add some muscle-toning weight training.

Next time: Myth 2, lifting weights will turn you into this guy.Just kidding.  That’s steroids and over supplementation.