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Me in May 2008 When I started back at the gym 3 years or ago, I really didn’t have much of a goal or knowledge of what I wanted other than to lose a bit of body fat and get a bit stronger. I started up at the new Planet Fitness that opened up locally and just went in did a little cardio on the elliptical or treadmill and used the weight machines.

After a while I realized my results were stalled, so I started trying to learn more about the right approach to working out. My routine migrated into a little cardio for warm-up (not enough for weight loss), free weight work and some weight machines.

At this point I started to see some fat loss and muscle gain but it was still really slow going. My goals were simplified into getting a six-pack stomach and having the appropriate muscle tone to support it. The first picture here shows where I was physically at this time.

My turning point came while researching fitness online. I came across two sites by Irishman Mark McManus – Muscle Hack and Total Six Pack Abs. I bought his eBook (highly recommended) and applied both the diet principles as well as the techniques of progressive overload. A saw results within a month and that gave me the incentive to keep going.

Me in February 2010 Since then I became dedicated to learning much more about the effects of food and nutrition, but also how to workout more effectively and efficiently. I concentrate heavily on free weight routines and usually perform one compound exercise per workout – completing 4 (5 if I have time) workouts a week of no more than 45 minutes at a time. I work in 10 week stints, keeping the exercises the same week to week but always aiming to increase the volume lifted the previous week. After 10 weeks, I take a week break, rewrite my routine and start over again.

Most recently, Planet Fitness changed equipment effectively ousting the more serious lifters. This prompted the (long overdue) move to the local Gold’s Gym.

Following is my current routine. To be honest I made some mistakes setting it up, but I am 6 weeks in so I am just going to complete the 10 weeks and correct the mistakes for the next round

Day 1 (Legs and Upper Back)

  • Barbell Squats – 5 sets
  • Reverse Dumbbell Lunges – 3 sets
  • Calf Raises – 3 sets
  • Wide Grip Pullup – 3 sets
  • Chinups – 3 sets

Day 2 (Shoulders and Biceps)

  • Power Clean and Press (or Military Press if lower back pain) – 3 sets
  • Side Lateral Raise – 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Front Raise – 3 sets
  • Standing Dumbbell Curl – 3 sets (using Fat Gripz)
  • Ez Bar Reverse Curl – 3 sets
  • Incline Hammer Curl

Day 3 (Back and Triceps)

  • Dead Lift – 3 sets
  • Barbell Good Morning – 3 sets
  • Lying Triceps Extension – 3 sets
  • Triceps Press Down – 3 sets
  • Triceps Kickback – 3 sets (Cable Station)

Day 4 (Chest and Abs)

  • Push Ups – 3 sets with weight plate on back
  • Incline Dumbbell Press – 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets
  • Ab-Wheel Rollout – 3 sets with weight plate on back
  • Renegade Rows – 3 sets
  • Captains Chair – 3 sets
  • Hanging Leg Raise – 3 sets

The pictures show my progression over 18 months. The key thing to learn from my results is that results will come if you workout intelligently, eat relatively cleanly and are patient.

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