As a beginner, you need to think about your workouts like you’re packing for a short trip. While you might want to bring four pairs of shoes, you don’t have enough luggage space—so you pick the one pair that’s suitable for most occasions. (Now try telling that to your wife.) Same with training: You might want to do four exercises each for the chest and abs, but you need only one. Learn to “pack” your training efficiently with the right exercises, and you’ll be well on your way to gainsville (no, not the one in Florida).

Beginners should always train the entire body each session, to guarantee balanced development and take advantage of your ability to recover quickly and work the same muscles again for faster growth. This approach also burns maximum calories each workout. Every time you train you’ll build your workout around a main lift (the front squat, bench press, or deadlift), the exercises that work the most muscle. At this stage, you need to master form on the basics and recognize less work equals more results.

Perform each workout (Day I, II, and III) once per week, resting a day between each session. Perform the exercises in circuit fashion, completing one set of 8 to 12 reps for each lift in turn and resting as needed between lifts. Afterward, repeat the circuit for three to five total rounds. Choose a load that allows you to perform the prescribed number of reps—but no more—and adjust as needed. Add weight to the exercises each week.

SEE ALSO: The Major Muscle Bodyweight Routine