Workout Tips

Ultimate Starter's Guide 2014: Part II

Have your 2014 gains hit a wall? Use these 13 strategies to stay the course and keep the gains coming.

5) Sleep

Beginners have a tendency to go pedal-to-the-metal on training and nutrition, but one of the first things to fall through the cracks is adequate sleep. “Sleep is the secret to growth,” says Eric “the Trainer” Fleishman, a Hollywood-based fitness expert and M&F advisory board member ( “All of your physical change occurs during slumber.” As you sleep, GH levels peak to aid in the repair of the muscle you damaged at the gym. It is generally recommended that you get seven to nine hours a night to maximize growth.

6) Listen to the Experts

“One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners making is not sticking to a program designed by a professional,” says Justin Grinnell, C.S.C.S., owner of State of Fitness (mystateoffitness. com). “They read about the next best thing and want to start it the next day in hopes of making faster progress. Unfortunately, they become disappointed with no results and more frustration.” Listen to men who’ve done it before, and steer clear of fads.

7) Be Prepared to Adjust

We wear this phrase out here at M&F: For a beginner, everything works. But nothing works forever. The key to continued growth is keeping your body guessing. Once your body acclimates to a particular stimulus, it be- comes reticent with new muscle and stingy with body fat. “Many new lifters see strength and muscle growth, simply from the new physi- ological stimulus of lifting weights,” Grinnell says. “After the initial six to eight weeks, you not only have to change your program in order to make gains, but you also need to take a serious look at your food and supplementation plan.”

8) Keep it Simple

Rob MacIntyre, C.S.C.S, spends most of his days training WWE wrestlers and world-class athletes. But even they, at one time, were beginners. And one particular problem that arises with beginners, he says, is the desire to do it all. “It’s very easy to get crushed with the amount of information that’s available these days,” he says. “In the beginning, keep your programs basic. Become proficient at a few key exercises that work lots of muscle. It’s much easier and faster to learn the correct way at the beginning than to try to correct them after you’ve been doing them wrong for years.”

9) Write it Down

“Everyone should keep a training journal, but this
is especially important for beginners,” MacIntyre says. “Were those 25s on the bar or 35s? I remember doing 150 pounds that set, but did I count the bar? Writing it down makes it easy to know what to do next time and to see your progress. I have people also make note of their pains, mental state, and sleep levels around the workout because it helps give them the whole story. When someone asks you about your workout, you can just show them. It’s also inspirational to look back at training journals from years past to see how far you’ve come.”