My gym routine - why it works
1st february 2024
I have a decent sports background, having played tennis for over 14 years, yet I had never lifted a weight until January 2023.
I started going to the gym for the first time in January 2023, since then, I completed about 200 hours of quality training time. I went from 65kg to about 72kg during the first 4 months, a pure body recomposition. I was losing fat and gaining a lot of muscle, very quickly. During the first 4-5 months, I experienced incredible results; the most impressive were going from 50kg x 8 in benchpress to 85kg x 8, or from only being able to do 1 push-up with no added weight to now doing 15 with 10kg of extra weight.
My routine is very simple. It was designed to use up time as efficiently as possible, going to the gym the least possible, yet maintaining the same level if not more of high-intensity training.
My thought process is the following: Why go 5 times a week for an hour a day, when you can do 3 times a week for two hours per session? This way, you’d have rest days in between to balance that extra hour of training the day prior, and save up a lot of time on the pre and post gym routine, that is: showering, commuting, changing clothes, etc. That’s 30 min per gym day you could minimise. In addition, instead of doing 5 hours of training time per week, you’d be doing 6 hours.
If you dig deeper, you are actually using that extra time you have on pre-post gym routines, into more training. For 5x a week, on an average case you waste 2.5 extra hours on pre-post routines; while with 3x a week, you waste 1.5 hours. That 1 hour difference is now used on an extra hour of training every week.
In terms of the actual routine. I train a full-body split, 3 days per week, yet I only have two different types of workouts. Session A and Session B. These are rotated on a rolling basis every week. For instance, week 1 would be A-B-A and week 2 would be B-A-B, and so on. If you look at the two routines, they include mostly simple exercises that through trial and error have become the most effective exercises for both muscle growth and personal comfort.
It’s actually a very flexible program when it comes to self preferences. For instance, you can replace Bulgarian split squats with plain barbell squats.
In terms of nutrition, I keep it simple too; I aim for 120g of protein per day and eat as clean as I am able to. As a result, I do not see necessary to track my calorie intake. As of food, I slowly identified 4-5 different meals I could easily cook that would last me a few days. I am no fan of cooking, yet I love eating. I don’t like to overcomplicate my life, so I eat the same food every week, with the occasional order or restaurant. In terms of meal distribution, I divide it into 4: Breakfast, Lunch, ‘Merienda’, and Dinner. I try to absorb 30g of protein in each meal, to reach that goal of 120g by end of day.
On a final note, I wanted to discuss mental form when going to the gym, as I know many people struggle when following routines on a consistent basis, myself included. In my opinion, the gym is boring, I have never enjoyed going to the gym, but I do enjoy the results you get, and the mental clarity you feel when finishing a workout. I found that the gym helps you build your character and maximise your productivity when working on demanding tasks.
However, the most important factor is building up your tolerance to repetition. Discipline is what you will develop if you remain consistent for long enough. The key when going to the gym is consistency. If you keep showing up, you will see results sooner or later and you will extrapolate your discipline to other areas of your life, which comes with endless benefits. Once you break through the initial barrier of introducing a new habit into your life, the rest will flow on autopilot, you will feel the need to go to the gym to not break your streak, and this is how you build true, long-lasting strength. As mentioned in some of my articles, the quote “The discipline of ritual, even if you don’t feel like it, still being there, even if no progress is being made, still be there for the grind because sometimes just minutes later, there’ll be a breakthrough” is how going to the gym should feel like.
If done successfully, there will be a point where you reach total control over your gym routine, where you will be able to miss a day and not worry because you know you won’t miss the next one. You become confident in your word.
All in all, this simple yet effective framework allowed me to create and maintain a healthy physical form while dedicating as little time as possible.