Over at my blog, Training Products Reviewed, I always try to emphasise the fact that everyone should tailor a unique workout that best suits and works for them. I believe heavily that no one should follow a generic workout and nutrition plan. Just because the steroid pumped ape in the Muscle Building magazine said it was great for him, doesn’t mean it will work for your body type, lifestyle and goals.
Firstly you need to work out what body type you have and learn the characteristics of that body type.
What body type do you have?
Ectomorph (slim): An ectomorph will find it difficult to gain size and muscle quickly. This is bad for a man typically but could be desirable in a woman. Following a workout from a person that is not an ectomorph, (perhaps a bodybuilder for example) and therefore does not understand your body’s needs, is not a wise decision. Their bodies can repair its muscles quicker and therefore go to the gym more often, whereas an ectomorph should be advised to allow more rest between workout days. They also burn up more calories quicker, with high metabolisms, which emphasises the point of having to rest more often between workouts, to help them gain weight and muscle.
Mesomorph (muscular): A mesomorph is an enviable body type by many men, but not many are truly a mesomorph with overlapping characteristics from ectomorph and endomorph. A mesomorph naturally can gain muscle fairly easily and can still be reasonably lean.
Endomorph (Stocky): This body characteristic can easily put on weight and size, whether it is muscle or fat, or both. They will find it very hard to become lean and get that ripped look, but like with every body type listed here to alter your characteristics in your favour, is not impossible, you just have to follow a strict diet and exercise regime.
What Are Your Fitness Goals?
Are you looking to bulk, tone, or just improve your cardio and general fitness level?
When looking at home workout DVD’s or any workout program, ask yourself this, do I want a body like that? If you follow a workout by a bodybuilder, athlete, swimmer, or celebrity, ask yourself do you want a body like theirs? If you are following a bodybuilder’s workout plan, do you really want to look like a bodybuilder? Now not everyone that follows this kind of plan will naturally turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the general shape and characteristics will resemble this. If you would much rather a beach body, something that resembled Brad Pitt, what workout routine would you choose? To get a beach body that has even amounts of muscle all over, and looks athletic, means following an athletic muscle building workout plan. Depending on what body type you have the workout plan will have to be altered.
For example if you have an ectomorph type body then you will need to carry out more compound movements such as bench press and squats. If you have an endomorph body type then you will need increase the amount of reps every set to around 10-15, and increase the intensity to stimulate fat loss to reveal the steel!
If you are looking to improve cardio then on top of your workout in the gym, using the various treadmills, bikes and rowing machines you should take up a challenging sport like cycling, swimming or running away from the gym, at least once a week, but ideally 3 times a week.
A popular way of getting fit for busy modern life styles is home workouts. Home workout DVD’s vary in difficulty and purpose and you should be aware of this. Take Rushfit or P90x for example. They are great if you want to cut up and get lean, but for actual proper muscle growth and size the gym is still king.
The best piece of advice I can give you is when you first start working out for the first time, hire a personal trainer. Although they are expensive for the first month or two they are invaluable, as they are qualified to design a workout routine for you that meet your goals. They can also advise you on your diet. When training with them you will also learn the importance of proper technique and form which will prevent you from injuring yourself and get the most out of each and every rep. These are the most important lessons for any beginner. Once you are past the beginner’s stage and have a grasp of the basics then go it alone. It will save you money and boost your confidence. You will start to understand what works for your own body, and what will make it improve.