Muscle & Fitness
Fitness Training Gym Bodybuilding Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness
Fitness Training Gym Bodybuilding Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness

Everything You Need To Know Before Starting A Fitness Program, Part 1

Professional bodybuilder, contest prep coach, and gym owner Eric “Merlin” Broser answers reader questions about starting a fitness program.

How should I structure my training to get both bigger and stronger?

You’ll need a well designed weight training program that primarily uses free weights and compound (multijoint) exercises. A four-day-a-week program works quite well for most, using a pattern of two on, one off; two on, two off. This allows you to hit each muscle group hard once a week, while providing you three days for rest and recovery (which is when actual growth takes place).

I suggest starting with about four exercises for three sets each for major muscles like back, quads, hamstrings, chest, and shoulders. For smaller groups like biceps, triceps, traps, abs, forearms, and calves, you’ll do well with just three movements for two to three sets each. Perform one to three warmup sets before each exercise (more are needed earlier in the workout), and then working sets of 13 to 15, 10 to 12, and 7 to 9 reps. Generally, the lower the reps, the heavier the weight should be.

What are the best ways to track my progress?

If possible, it’s a good idea to meet with a coach or trainer every two to four weeks to have your weight, body fat, and body measurements taken. If general health is also a concern, you can take it a step further by having regular blood tests via your primary physician to measure cholesterol, you


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