Designing Your Workouts

How do you go about it?


Jump Rope
Jump Rope. Photo by Odalaigh.
The summer's finally here and it's all about fat loss. Don't worry, this isn't another "6-weeks to 6-pack" article. Frankly, I don't follow programs. I like the idea of changing up your routine as much as possible, with one primary focus along with other mini workouts to maintain strength, speed, and endurance.

Step One: Identify your ONE goal.

Yes, it is possible to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. I've been doing it for the past 8 months. In september, I was 158 lbs at 16.5% bodyfat. This month I am 13% bodyfat at 155lbs. Put that into excel, and you get 6 lbs lost and 3lbs gained, or 9 lbs total displacement. Achieved these results simply by eating healthy and training for less than 10 minutes 6 days a week. Now who's too busy to workout? (By the way, before I get any "oh, you're not big enough" talk, I should inform you guys that I'm 5'5" and not a bodybuilder. Just an average kid who's struggled with his weight since childhood.)

But I only did this because I had one more semester left of school and knew I was going to busy. Now my goal is to burn off all my fat and finally get that nice, sinewy, 300-Mf'r look. I want to get in some hours before I start working a boring 9-5 dread job for the next 10 years. Hence my goal for the next few weeks will be to burn as much fat as humanely possible. I will be using two approaches: High Intensity Circuits, and Low-Carb diet.

Step Two: Identify a few other goals that you would LIKE to achieve, but it's ok if you don't.

Honestly, it gets boring and annoying running sprints and doing circuits all the time. I suggest setting some goals that are opposite to your primary goal, just to mix things up. My secondary goal will be two gain or maintain overall strength. Hence, I'll perform one heavy barbell workout approximately once a week.


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Step Three: Develop the overall structure of your program keeping your goals, equipment, days available to train, and fitness level in mind.

This is the fun part. A general structure is necessary in order to achieve your goals. However, because I like to keep my workouts fun and random, I don't sit down and plan out each and every workout for the next few weeks. I know what I'm supposed to be working on, so the fun part is to figure out how to work on it when I actually workout. This approach works best for me. Others may need a more detailed plan. Here is mine:

Overall idea is to alternate between cardio and resistance workouts, followed by a heavy barbell workout after 6 workouts.

Cardio Workouts

Alternate between these two:

Interval Workouts
Choose From:

Steady State Workouts
Choose From:

Resistance Workouts

Alternate between these two:

Workout A

Workout B

Some thoughts about the resistance workouts:

I decided to place greater emphasis on my Chest, Biceps, Triceps, and Abs. These are bodyparts that I have not really been training exclusively. Most of my previous workouts were sports-specific, and hence my better bodyparts include my shoulders, back, and legs. Naturally, I will be throwing in other exercises, however the emphasis will be on the exercises posted above.

Step Four: Construct your workout on the day you workout.

Just to give you guys an example how how this works: Today was Sprint day. I decided do the following:

Maximum rounds in 20 minutes:

I was able to perform 5 rounds, but I was pretty much done after the second round. So now that this workout basically kicked my but, I'll develop a progression scheme, performing the workout once a week, until I can do those 5 rounds in 20 minutes without any rest. In the process I'll burn off a load of fat.

Try this method to construct your workouts and get back to me.


Parth Shah

Parth Shah is a Strength Consultant based in New Hyde Park, New York and is currently going through his own personal physique transformation. Find out more at Shah Training.



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Of course, if you enjoyed these, I'd highly recommend grabbing the Strength & Fitness Newsletter. Delivered weekly, and absolutely free.

(there's also a Daily Update, if you're looking for an even larger dose of training-related goodness.)

NB : If you'd like to write a guest post for Straight to the Bar, or if you'd like to join the team of Moderators here (I love hearing about everyone's training approaches) - get in touch. And if you've got a fitness competition or seminar coming up, add it to the calendar.

Look forward to hearing from you.


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