This document describes the approach that I have adopted for training. This system is working great for me, and also produces results for my personal training clients.
Please feel free to use any or all of the ideas and principles below, but always refer to a qualified Doctor if you have any concerns on whether any point below is ideal or recommended for you.
I try to workout twice on most days as follows
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Mornings (usually at 06:30):
Mon/Wed/Fri – 45 minutes abs
being 6 sets of 30 for upper abs, 6 sets of 30 for lower abs, and 6 sets of 20 each side for obliques. I have a banana and a small protein/carb bar in advance of the exercise.
Tue/Thu/Sun – cardio
Cardio on the cross-trainer. Either 40 minutes cross-trainer keeping heart rate in range 110-115 (65-70% of my maximum, the rate that leads to maximum fat loss with minimum muscle loss), or 24 minutes of high-intensity cross-trainer cardio, which has cycles of 2 minutes all out effort followed by a much easier period until heart rate is back to 110bpm.
Nothing except water and coffee before this, to encourage use of accumulated fat stores for energy, rather than recently-eaten carbs.
Sat – 5K park run
Sometimes followed by a Body Combat gym class. This is a little later in the morning (09:00 start), so I’ll have a full size protein/carb bar in advance. This isn’t ideal for muscle building – but it’s a good social activity for me.
Each of these is followed by a good breakfast, heavy on carbs and protein – see my ‘Power Breakfast’ article for more details.
If I have to miss a day, then that’s fine. I try hard not to miss more than two sessions per week.
Depending on the day, this can start anytime between 12:00 and 21:00. Each workout taking between 50 and 60 minutes in-gym time, including some warm up time and rest between sets.
There is always a protein shake (with some fast carbs) to follow – I want around 40g-50g of protein and 40g-50g of fast carbs within 15 minutes of ending the workout – an amount of up to 400 calories.
I call my system ABC7
It’s based on both the alphabet and the number 7. It cycles around the following five body part based workouts.
Each workout has seven exercises, focussing on all angles and movements of the bodypart.
(Elevators are Legs by the way – I just like the alphabet a lot!)
I perform 3 sets per exercise, therefore a total of 21 sets. Each set, I do to 10 reps or failure, whichever comes first.
I choose the weight based solely on previous performance:
The first set is done at the weight used in the last set on the previous occasion. 10 reps.
For the second and third sets, I base this on the number of reps achieved in the previous set as follows:
10 achieved in the last set, then the weight goes up
6-9 achieved in the last set to reach failure, then the weight stays the same
5 or less achieved, then the weight comes down.
The specific exercises I do are listed on a spreadsheet. For example, for chest flat bench presses I vary between dumbbells, Smith Machine and a barbell.
To make all this work it is important to record the date, exercise, weight and reps
This ensures I vary the exercises within my exercise alternatives, and also records the final set weight per exercise so I know what the weight is for the first next time I perform that exercise.
If you want to see how the exercises are performed, or see some additional alternative exercises, I recommend looking at my YouTube channel where I have all the exercises shown. The full system, all the spreadsheets, documentation, photos and videos, is available on my website.
Connect with Expert Chris Zaremba.