written by Dan Walls
When you first start lifting it can be a daunting time, with so many guru's and the top pro's adopting completely different methods of training and dieting techniques, how in the hell are you supposed to know which one to follow. Don't worry we have all been there, the last thing you want to do is walk into a gym and feel uncomfortable or intimidated because you don't know what you’re doing. This will kill your morale and motivation for training in a heartbeat. The same goes for eating clean or dieting, a lot of people without prior knowledge will think eating a chicken salad covered in salad crème is healthy because it’s a salad. Unfortunately this isn't the case.
One thing I can tell you is that all of these Guru's and Pro's that now adopt many different styles all probably started out training and eating the same way. The reason for the difference in their current plans is that they have all worked out the optimal way of eating and training for their specific body type and needs. You have to remember everyone is different, people will respond differently to high volume vs low volume training vs a mixture of both. People will respond different to low carb high fat diets vs keto vs high fat low carb diets. These are things you will learn about yourself as time goes on.
So in this article I'm kindly going to give you a basic lifting, eating and supplement plan that is aimed at giving you the basic foundations to kick start your journey to becoming the best version of yourself you can be. Note that these are not in order of most importance, if you want to achieve your goals you need to give 100% to your training and nutrition, neither one is more important than the other.
For a beginner I would recommend a 4 day split, this gives your body a day to recover after most workouts before you hit the next one. This allows you to concentrate on mostly compound strength movements. It is important you are proficient at these to build your frame and strength up before refining you smaller muscles with isolation work. Executing these properly will involve a lot of core work, but your extremities are only as strong as your core.
|Monday||Chest and biceps|
|Wednesday||Legs and calves|
|Friday||Shoulders, traps and triceps|
Key exercises: Flat/Incline barbell bench press, Barbell front squat/Back squat, Standing Barbell shoulder press, Barbell/ Dumbell rows, Deadlifts, Standing barbell curls.
Nutrition is kind of a tough one to give general advice on as there can be so many variables to suit someone's individual needs. Things like body weight, training split, male/female, daily activity rate, food intolerances and most of all what you’re trying to achieve all need to be taken into consideration when formulating a diet plan. One thing that is constant through all diets is the fact that fresh organic food will give the best results, this doesn't mean that you need to spend a fortune buying everything from organic sources but fresh veg and meat are a must. So using my own experience this is an example of a diet I use when I’m trying to tighten up a bit and lose a few pounds. You will see it’s very basic and boring but it’s been proven time and time again to work.
Meal 1 – 60g oats with 60g whey protein
Meal 2 – 40g carbs from white potato (skin on) 200g chicken/turkey breast 5 asparagus tips
Meal 4 – same as meal 3
During Training – 30g carbs from branched cyclic dextrin 10g Bcaa, 5g EAA
Meal 5 – 200g 5% steak mince with 40g carbs from white potato
Meal 6 – 500ml of pasteurised egg whites with unsweetened almond milk and sweetener
With these values I find I can lose body fat without any cardio for a while, but if I want to lose weight quicker ill add 45mins LISS fasted cardio in from the start. Obviously the values and food choices are what I have learned suit me so these will change to suit other individuals.
I want to start off by saying supplements are a tool that should only be used when your diet and training are on point, and they should never be relied on. However, using the right supplements at the right times can be very beneficial for general health, recovery from intense training and enhancing protein synthesis (the building of new muscle tissue). Again you don't have to go crazy and spend a fortune but I suggest finding a reputable company that you believe delivers quality and stick with them. For example protein powder. A good whey protein is expensive to make, so if you’re looking at a 5lb bag of whey for £25 chances are it’s not going to be the best quality.
Again, this list is from my experience and what I find works best for me. They are thousands of different supplements out there for anything you can imagine but as a beginner I suggest you go with the basics.
- Whey protein
- Essential amino acids or branch chain amino acids (EAA or BCAA)
- Highly branched cyclic dextrin
- Omega 3 fish oils
What I find with a lot of people is they are taking supplements but they don't even know what for. Before you consider any supplements make sure you do your research. You can find a description and uses for any supplement available at www.monstersupplements.com