The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™

BONUS ARTICLE: Two-Day Workout


Time is a rather rare commodity nowadays. Between working 40-60 hours per week, carting the kids to and from their extracurricular activities, or being forced to take those swing dancing lessons you promised your girlfriend (we've all been there), the last thing on the "to do list" is going to the gym.

Regardless, people often become frustrated that they never have time for the gym. While I do feel that in order to get the BEST results, you need a solid 5-6 hours per week of training, I also realize that this isn't possible for a lot of people. What I propose is the Two Day Workout.


What I DON'T Want You Doing

Copious amounts of steady state cardio. It's just not a very efficient way to burn fat (or calories). In short, the amount of metabolic stimulation or "spark" that you stimulate during a high intensity resistance training session is almost ten times higher when compared to the same time frame performed with steady state cardio. When you train with weights, you break down muscle tissue, which takes energy (calories) to repair.

Compare this to steady state cardio, which involves very little muscle activity/stimulation and results in little to no "spark" as far as metabolism is concerned and you can see which is more effective. Oh, and did I forget to mention that steady state cardio tends to increase the release of cortisol, which just so happens to be the #1 catabolic hormone in the body? You sure you want to spend what little time you do have promoting muscle loss?

Body-Part Splits: Why spend half an hour training your biceps and doing endless repetitions of crunches when you can spend the same amount of time training your entire body and burn more calories in the process? Besides, you have a 40-inch waist, why are you doing biceps curls in the first place?

From a hormonal standpoint, utilizing full-body training splits focused around compound movements are going to be the most efficient and give you the most bang for your training buck. Movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench press, rows, pull-ups, etc will allow you to train multiple muscle groups at once and force your body to release a cascade of muscle building and fat burning hormones (such as Testosterone, growth hormone, and IGF-1).


That Being Said

What I propose is a standard undulated approach to your training. You'll use two FULL-BODY training sessions per week. One day is strength based and one day will be more metabolic based (burn a ton of calories). Additionally, instead of spending the last 5-10 minutes performing endless crunches, I suggest that you implement a few "rounds" of interval work afterwards to get an "after-burn" effect.

When it comes to fat loss, EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) is crucial. You can do crunches till you're blue in the face, yet it won't do a bit of good if you have a layer of fat covering them. Besides, if your programming is built around compound movements, your "core" will be getting plenty of work anyways.


Training Session #1 (Strength Based)

A1. Squat Variation 5x5 (Back/Front Squat, Box Squat, Anderson Squat, etc)

A2. Row Variation 5x5 (Seated Row, DB Row, BB Row, Chest-Supported Row, etc)

B1. Lower Body Unilateral Movement 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

B2. Horizontal Push 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps (Bench Press, DB Press)

C1. Miscellaneous (triceps) 3-4 sets x 8-10 reps

C2. Core Movement (Reverse Crunch) 3-4 sets x 15 reps

D. 10-15 Minutes "After-Burn"

*2 Minute Warm-up

*30 seconds high(er) intensity (sprint), 90 seconds low(er) intensity (recovery)

*Perform 5-7 Rounds

*2 Minute Cool down

This can essentially be done on any cardio machine (I like the elliptical).


Training Session #2 (Metabolic Based)

Week #1

Week #2

Week #3

Week #4

A1. Deadlift Variation

(rack pulls from various heights, conventional deadlifts, SUMO deadlifts, etc)

4x10

3x10

5x10

3x10

A2. Vertical Pull (pull-ups, lat pulldown)

4x10

3x10

5x10

3x10

A3. Vertical Push (overhead press)

4x10

3x10

5x10

3x10

A4. Lower Body Unilateral Movement

4x10

3x10

5x10

3x10

***Perform in a circuit fashion. Do all 4 sets back-to-back, then rest 90 seconds. Repeat for allotted number of sets.

B1. Rotator Cuff (External Rotation) 3x10

B2. Core Movement (Roll-Outs) 3x10

C. 15-20 Minutes LIGHT Aerobic Activity (I doubt you will want to do any interval work after this training session).

Essentially, you can alternate training sessions and swap movement patterns every other week. For training session #1, you can start with a deadlift variation/pull-ups for 5x5 and just plug in different movement patterns as you go. The idea is to BALANCE everything. The possibilities are literally endless. This is just a sample template, but one that I feel is very effective. Obviously it can be "tweaked" to cater to your personal weaknesses/imbalances. But trust me, you don't need more benching (wink).


About the Author:

Tony Gentilcore is a certified personal trainer and strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) through the NSCA, located in the Boston area. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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