12 Workouts a Week

Want more muscle and less fat? Train twice-per-day for 6 days a week.

Now, don't freak out. I know you're busy and probably not a genetic freak on PEDs. The program I'm going to outline for you below is doable.

One daily workout is performed at the gym. That's the harder workout. And the other daily workout can be done at home with a couple of light dumbbells or bands, along with your bodyweight. That's the easier workout. By the end of the week, you'll have completed 12 workouts (and taken long, restorative walk on the off day).

The Fastest Results Possible

In order to see body composition changes as quickly as possible, you need a higher degree of frequency than what you're currently doing. "Frequency" refers to how often you train or how often you hit the same muscle group or lift. Training frequency plays the biggest role in achieving more muscle and less fat.

See, the more you train, the greater the energy deficit, and the more opportunity your body has for protein synthesis – muscle growth. The caveat? Going overboard on volume will actually stall your progress, and that's what a lot of lifters do. (Volume can be defined by how many sets/exercises you do in a single workout.)

So let's break it all down. Here's exactly what you need to know about upping the frequency for freaky gains and a leaner physique.

The Meals and Snacks of Training

When most people try to increase training frequency, they think they need to give every workout the same time and attention. So instead of treating some workouts like "meals" and others like "snacks," they treat every workout like a Thanksgiving dinner free-for-all. This is counterproductive.

Too many hard training sessions will eventually fatigue you past the ability to recover and you'll start overreaching very quickly. Overreaching is like overtraining's little brother, but still just as annoying if you're trying to train in a productive fashion.

Fatigue will mask your real fitness, and if you can't actually recover when training at a high frequency, then you'll just be digging yourself into a hole that'll eventually require some time off.

Think of snacks and meals this way:

  • A meal would be a leg training session consisting of squats, leg presses, and stiff legged deadlifts.
  • A snack might be some high-rep lateral raise variations or some high-rep arm work.

So, when frequency is high, you need to either reduce volume or the effort being put forth. And since no lifter is a fan of pansy-ass workouts, it's going to be volume that gets the toss here. Just stick with short, ball-busting training sessions six days a week, complimented with a few less-intense workouts that don't impact systemic recovery.

Done properly, it'll keep you from overreaching, and you'll see changes in your physique at a very fast clip. It'll create a cascade of benefits because when you see that immediate change, it'll keep your enthusiasm high too. That's a huge component because it'll drive your motivation. And it's hard to stay motivated when you're doing an enormous amount of work with little to nothing to show for it.

Light Dumbbell

Questions and Answers

You'll find a sample program below, but I bet you already have some questions. Let's take care of those.

1 – What if I can't get to the gym twice a day?

You don't have to. Get some light dumbbells and some quality bands to do the small "snack" workouts at home. Depending on your strength, you probably don't need anything higher than 20-pound dumbbells at the most. That's what I use for virtually all my evening training sessions.

2 – What's the body part split?

You'll have six big "meal" workouts a week. You'll train the big body parts twice a week: legs, chest, and back.

In the evenings, you'll hit "smaller" body parts using high-rep pump work, and then take a 15-minute brisk walk.

One day a week you'll get out for a longer walk, preferably out in nature. Walking out in nature is far more restorative than walking around in, say, Baltimore or Afghanistan, or the gym's treadmill section.

3 – How hard do I push it?

Train hard enough to feel the work, but not so hard that you feel like you've been on a bender during the days following. Try to walk out of the gym after the "big" workouts feeling better than when you walked in.

Use the first week to feel it out; don't push it too hard. On week two, allow a bit more petrol into the engine and see how the entire week goes. Then intelligently apply intensity increases as needed each week.

On days where you're feeling tired, back off a bit, get the work in, and go home. There will be plenty of other workouts to do for the week, so don't make one single session the benchmark for success. If you find performance taking a hit every day, back off the effort for a few days until it returns. This is a tool for learning your body and the degree of effort it can recover from.

4 – What if I feel great? Can I add more work?

No. On days where you feel like someone spiked your pre-workout with meth and you feel like lifting the whole gym, you might want to reconsider. Those are the kinds of workouts that actually give you feedback that you're meeting the needs for recovery, which is why you feel so amazing.

Feeling great is feedback that you haven't been stomping on the accelerator too often and creating deep inroads into systemic recovery. When you push the pedal to the floor, then you can screw up and offset the rest of the training week in terms of performance, due to that one session. So be smart with your intensity.

5 – What about warm-up sets and reps?

Do as many warm-up sets as necessary. Then do all the working sets as listed in the plan below. Do these sets where you're meeting the target reps. Ideally, there will be a rep or two left in the tank. In other words, you're not training to complete failure.

6 – How do I fit food around these workouts?

You should have a minimum of two high quality meals between the two daily workouts. Both should contain protein and most of your carb intake for the day. I would suggest that about 80% of your carb intake comes in these two meals.

The Program

Day 1 – Legs (Quad Focus)

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Leg Extension 2 20
B Leg Press 2 15
C Squat 2 8-10

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Split Squat (bodyweight only) 4 20
B Single-Leg Calf Raise (bodyweight only) 4 20
C Brisk Walk 10-15 min.  

Day 2 – Morning Chest, Evening Shoulders

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Incline Press 3 8-10
B Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-10
C Incline Flye 3 12-15

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Lateral Raise (with dumbbells)   100 total
B Bentover Lateral Raise (with dumbbells)   100 total
C Brisk Walk 10-15 min.  

Day 3 – Morning Back, Evening Arms

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Chest-Supported T-Bar Row 3 10-12
B Dumbbell Row 2 15
C Low Cable Row 2 10

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Dumbbell Curl   100 total
B Band Pushdown or 1-Arm Triceps Extension   100 total
C Brisk Walk 10-15 min.  

Day 4 – Legs (Ham and Glute focus)

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Hip Thrust 3 15
B Hamstring Curl 3 8-10
C Sumo Leg Press 1 20

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Walking Lunge   150/leg
B Calf Raise (both legs)   100 total

Day 5 – Morning Chest, Evening Shoulders

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Bench Press 2 8-10
B Dip (bodyweight only) 4 AMRAP
C Flat Flye 3 12-15

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Dumbbell Upright Row   100 total
B Front Raise   100 total
C Brisk Walk 10-15 min.  

Day 6 – Morning Back, Evening Arms

Morning

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Chin-Up   50
50 total reps in as few sets as possible (if you're weak use the "I got you" machine)
B Lat Pulldown (any handle variation) 2 8-10
C Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown 3 12-15

Afternoon/Evening

  Exercise Sets Reps
A Hammer Curl   100 total
B Floor Dumbbell Triceps Extension   100 total
C Brisk Walk 10-15 min.  

Day 7 – 45 Minute Walk

Not in Baltimore or Afghanistan.

A Note on Body Composition Changes

When trying to shed unwanted flab and build or retain as much muscle as possible, you need to be in a hypocaloric state (more energy going out than coming in) and you want to give the body a reason to keep the hard-earned muscle you've built under the blubber that currently exists on top of it.

It's true, building muscle while in a calorie deficit is damn near impossible. Sure, if you're a noob it can be done easily. But if you've been training half-heartedly on low frequency programs, it can happen by upping the frequency too.

Of course, this implies that you aren't black-hole deep in a calorie deficit to such a degree that you're wasting away muscle along with the fat. Minor caloric deficits (think bodyweight x 12-15 with 1.25 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight) is key here, since you'll be training a lot.

The other reason that building muscle may be possible even in a hypocaloric state is because frequent training sessions will keep muscle protein synthesis elevated much longer than simply training three times a week. Especially for the natural guy. And so long you're going to pound-town on the protein and quality carbs instead of potato chips and Mountain Dew, you may be surprised to find a few ounces of new muscle awaiting you after the flab comes off.

At the very least, if these conditions are met, then muscle retention and fat oxidation will be at a very high level. And that's exactly what excellent body recomp is all about.

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