Welcome to Day Two!
You should have your calories and macronutrients now, and you should be tracking your intake in MyFitnessPal.
Make sure you don’t OVERdo your calorie deficit. You won’t be able to stick to it if it’s more than about 25% below your TDEE.
This is a common mistake. People reduce their calories, but then they just keep reducing them way past the point of being sustainable. They’re trying to rush to the end result but in doing so they’re ensuring they never get there.
Taking a more measured approach and having more patience means you’ll actually get there in the end, and makes it a FAR more enjoyable experience!
Onto the workouts!
So, you’re probably dreading this part.
This is the part where you see what sadistic torture methods I’ve devised for you to put yourself through…
Actually, no. It’s not going to be like that.
Just like with the diet side of things, the workouts actually need to be sustainable.
These shouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes, and I strongly recommend you workout 3 times per week.
If you want an app on your phone for tracking everything, I recommend Stronglifts (android) or Heavyset (iOS). This will allow you a really simple app to enter your reps and weights, and you can easily see what you did last time – which will help you to progress over time.
About these Workouts
You might find you don’t find these workouts particularly hard. Most of it will be spent sitting and resting. The exercises won’t be THAT hard apart from possibly the last 1 or 2 reps of a set. It’s WAY more enjoyable than being put through your paces by a drill instructor.
The focus with resistance training is building or maintaining muscle, and being tired isn’t actually great for doing that!
When you’re a beginner, you’ll be able to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. More muscle means you maintain your weight on more calories, so fat loss becomes easier!
You’ll also totally transform into a way more aesthetically pleasing shape as you build muscle. You put on dense, hard muscle in all the right places, which only serves to enhance by contrast the areas you’ve lost fat from.
Cardio doesn’t have either of these effects.
You will be working out 3 times per week on this plan.
These are full body workouts, so you’ll work all of the major muscle groups in your body rather than splitting up workouts by body part.
Do not do these workouts on consecutive days. You should allow a rest day between workouts targeting the same muscle groups.
Therefore, Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday are acceptable workout days, but Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday are not.
Action for today
Plan when you are going to do your workouts. Figure out how this will work around your life at the moment. Try to pick something that will not just work for now, but will work long term too. You want to be able to continue this habit well after the 2 weeks of this challenge.
The first workout is below. Start as soon as possible. I assume you will be starting today, so tomorrow will be a rest day and the next workout day will be Thursday (and the daily content will reflect that).
Do not worry about other people when you’re in the gym.
I know this can be a struggle. I really struggled with it when I was a beginner in the gym, and I wasn’t even overweight.
It’s common to think everyone is looking at you, even laughing at you, and feel self conscious because you don’t know what you’re doing.
This is even more the case when you venture into the free weights area of the gym (which is where you’ll have to go with these workouts). It seems like everyone is ripped and jacked, and all know exactly what they’re doing. It feels like they’re judging you for being in their domain, where you don’t belong.
Don’t feel like this!
No one was born ripped and jacked. Everyone had to work for it, and they did so in the free weights area. That means they started somewhere, which probably wasn’t that different from where you are now.
No one is watching you. No one really cares about you, and they’re definitely not going to laugh. If anything, they might want to give you a helpful tip but perhaps feel awkward about approaching you.
Just focus on yourself and getting better.
Your First Workout!
Today you’ll do Workout A, which is one of two full body routines you will perform on a 3 day alternating schedule.
That means you’ll do Workout A, then Workout B, then Workout A this week, while next week you’ll do BAB, then back to ABA the following week.
You shouldn’t work the same muscle groups on consecutive days, and as these workouts both work all muscle groups, you should leave a rest day between workouts. So Monday, Wednesday, Friday works well, or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, etc.
This is a simple full body routine that uses mainly dumbbells, with some bodyweight stuff. You’ll definitely need some dumbbells. You will need a pullup bar (and probably some resistance bands to help you out). If you have a barbell for the romanian deadlifts then great. If not, you can use a kettlebell, or dumbbells (and I’ve linked to an alternative video showing how to do with dumbbells).
All exercises should be completed for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Dumbell Goblet Squat
I like to include some sort of squat in all workouts. Squats are great because they work so many muscles at once and burn a lot of calories compared to other exercises.
You’ll be working your quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, abs, lower back and more!
The dumbell goblet squat is a good place to start for beginners. With this type of squat, you hold a dumbell in front of you (like a goblet) and squat down until your hips go below your knees, then stand up again.
Key things to watch are keeping your feet flat on the floor, ensuring your knees don’t cave inward, and keeping a neutral spine (not curved or rounded).
Chinups are a difficult movement (perhaps practically impossible for beginners) which is why we’re going to do them assisted. If you do have the strength to do them unassisted, then have at it.
Chinups will work your biceps and pretty much every muscle in your back, as well as your abs.
If not, you’ll need a resistance band or a chinup station with a platform that assists you.
Try to keep your scapulae (shoulder blades) retracted (pulled back). Make sure you don’t kip, or use momentum to get over the bar. Don’t crane your head back and strain to get your chin over the bar (you can give yourself a neck injury). The best thing to do, is use the assistance that you need, and stop when your reps are JUST starting to get sloppy.
Seated Dumbbell Press
The seated dumbbell press is a great exercise for developing your shoulders and triceps (the muscles on the back of your upper arm).
You’ll need to find a bench where you can raise the back fully upright, so you sit in it like a chair. Some gyms have dedicated seated shoulder press chair. Use this if they have one. It looks like a bench, but it is fixed into the “chair” position and can’t be adjusted. It has rests for your feet too.
With this exercise you’re going to start with the dumbbells on your knees as you sit on the bench. You can use your knees to help you “flick” the dumbells into position over your shoulders, about next to your ears.
From there you need to push the dumbbells up above your head and lower them back down under control. Don’t touch them together at the top (it takes tension off the muscles).
If you don’t have a sturdy bench to use, do these standing. Don’t try to use a couch, a bed or something else soft. Video here.
Dumbbell One Arm Row
This is another great exercise for your back and it also works your biceps too.
Watch out for doing this with a rounded or curved spine. You don’t want to get a back injury. Make sure your spine is neutral. You can practise this in the mirror at the gym if convenient.
You want to start with the dumbell on the floor next to the bench. Place your left hand and left knee on the bench, with your right foot down on the floor. Your back should be neutral and perpendicular to the floor. Use your right hand to lift the dumbell up towards your hip and lower it back down under control.
If you haven’t got a bench, you can still do these. You can also just find something low to lean on, like the arm of your sofa. Do it similarly to in this picture.
You can do these with a barbell, a kettlebell or dumbells.
This is one that people really struggle to get the form right.
You start standing upright with the weight held in front of you at about hip level, arms hanging straight down.
From there you need to lower the weight down, keeping it in contact with your body and legs, by HINGING at the hip, NOT flexing/bending your spine.
Think about your hips going back to initiate the movement, NOT bending at the waist or back.
You don’t need to go all the way to the floor. Just as far as your range of motion will allow.
You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings when you’re doing it right.
Here’s a video of me doing it with dumbbells.
That’s all for today, plenty to be getting on with! Post your form videos in the Facebook group for feedback! Make sure you comment “done” or “yes” to acknowledge today’s video and to let me know that you’ve received your workout plan and are ready to go.