Gym and fitness routine

Wed 05 October 2011

I started going to gym about three years ago. I am still a beginner and here I put some ideas which I learnt during these three years of tryings and experimenting different things. What it's working for me maybe it's not working for you, or vice versa, that's why you have to try and see how different exercises, diets, drinks, affect your body.

My gym training is additional and complementary to my martial arts training, and I also have a full time job and a family, so, I don't really have time to spend hours every day in a gym, that's why maybe some exercises are not suitable for everyone or maybe they are lighter for some people.

Let's start first with calories: I don't count calories, honestly, I don't have time for that, perhaps a personal trainer will do that for you, but for me it's simple:

  • want to build mass? Eat a lot of good foods including protein and lift heavier weights and lower reps (stay in 7-12 reps range).
  • want to lose weight? Eat right and don't overeat, and exercise. Cardio: bike, running, swimming.
  • drink a lot of water and rest. See Rules section below, for more.

Supplements: First, you need to get your daily food right, that is key. In general, a decent multivitamin and omega 3 fish oil supplement daily, will help. Regarding the protein powder, personally I don't take but if you can not cover your necessary protein amount per day from real food, a protein shake will help to accomplish that, but keep in mind that it's just a supplements and it's not, should not be, a meal replacement.

Rules to follow:

  • don't miss the breakfast.
  • eat 5-6 small meals per day instead of 3 big meals (don't get hungry).
  • eat about 2g protein per kg of bodyweight (ex. for 75 Kg bodyweight you need about 150 g protein).
  • distribute your protein intakes over 5-6 meals.
  • be patient, you need a lot of hard work and proper nutrition for your muscles to develop, don't focus on final result, enjoy the process of bodybuilding and the results will come in time.
  • be consistent in your training and don't skip training sessions.
  • focus on your training, don't vast your time at gym discussing with the other people.
  • keep the training session around one hour including 10 minutes warm up at the beginning and about 10 minutes stretching at the end which is very important, as well.
  • drink water and rest, you should sleep about 8 hours per night.
  • listen to your body, it will tell you if you overtrain and if you need more rest to recover.
  • focus on compound exercises which will work many muscles groups at the same time.

Pre/Post Workout:

  • about 1.5 - 2 hours before training I usually have some carbs and cottage cheese.
  • about 30 minutes before, I have a banana to fuel my workout.
  • during the workout I have plain water.
  • immediately after my training I have a banana and 500ml Chocolate Milk (about 48 grams carbs and 20 grams protein). It's a very good recovery drink and the ratio carbs/protein is also good, and it's way cheaper than commercial recovery drinks.
  • in about one hour after, I have a full meal with complex carbs (pasta, rice, potatoes) and protein (chicken, turkey, fish).


Warm up: slow running, jumping and flexibility exercises for about 10 minutes

1. Bench Press / Pec Deck Machine / Dumbbells Fly / Push Ups
2. Incline Bench Press
1. Bent Over Barbell Row
2. Seated Cable Row / Lat Pull Down / Pull Ups
3. Dumbbell Shrugs
1. Crunches/Sit Ups
2. Hanging Leg Raises
3. Hanging Knee Raise
4. Lying Floor Leg Raise
5. Russian Body Twist
1. Plank
2. Side Plank
3. Cat-Camel
4. Hand-Leg Diagonal Stretch Legs
1. Lounges
2. 45 Degree Leg Press
3. Leg Extension
4. Leg Curl
5. Good Morning 6. Deadlifts and Squats (very good compound exercises which will work many muscles groups at once, but dangerous for your lower back, spine and knees if you don't have the proper form or/and the weight is to much). Biceps
3. Chinups
4. Standing EZ Barbell Curl / Standing Hammer Curl
3. Cable Triceps Extension / Dips
1. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
2. Military Press (Dumbbells/Barbells)
3. Dumbbell Front Raise
4. Reverse Dumbbells Fly
5. Dumbbell Front-Lateral Raise
6. Clean Press (take a barbell from the floor, lift it above your head. Useful for Shoulders: main: legs, lower back, triceps: secondary) Abs
1. Crunches/Sit Ups
2. Hanging Leg Raises
3. Hanging Knee Raise
4. Lying Floor Leg Raise
5. Russian Body Twist
1. Plank
2. Side Plank
3. Cat-Camel
4. Hand-Leg Diagonal Stretch

I finish each training session with about 10 minute of stretching.

During the weekend, sometimes, I am going for about one hour: soccer, swimming, running, tenis, table tenis or cycling.

Some useful and interesting articles, links, in no particular order:

Here a few articles to read about chocolate milk as recovery drink, very interesting read: