New Year, New You: A Complete Better Body Workout & Diet Blueprint

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The New Year is right around the corner which means everyone is reflecting on the past year and creating resolutions for the upcoming year. Plans and lists can be beneficial in achieving your goals but most people fail to adhere to them. There is no time like the present to begin designing an approach for ensuring you achieve your 2016 health and fitness.

A well-balanced approach incorporates three key pillars – diet, exercise, and recovery. Once you’ve mastered those three elements you may consider adding supplements to improve overall health, workout performance, and adherence to diet.

This article will provide you with an exercise, diet, and supplementation framework that can be tailored to suit your individual needs and goals. It’s time to eliminate the excuses and build an improved YOU in 2016.

New Year, New You Exercise Routine

A well-rounded exercise routine incorporates both resistance training and cardiovascular activity. If you haven’t been consistent with your exercise recently then consider gradually increasing the amount of physical activity you perform each week. Increasing your work capacity over time will decrease the risk of injury.

You will initially perform 3 exercise sessions per week, adding 1 session per week every 1 to 2 months, until you’re performing 6 sessions per week. 1 session is equivalent to a resistance training OR cardiovascular session. You can perform 2 sessions in one day or back-to-back – for example resistance training in the morning and cardio in the evening or both resistance training and cardio in the AM or PM.

Fit FemaleRest days shouldn’t be an excuse to sit on the couch all day after school or work. Instead take these days as an opportunity to get outside; cook healthy meals; hang out with your friends, dog, or children; engage in unstructured physical activity like walking in the park or playing a pick-up game of basketball, football, etc… These days should enhance, rather than detract from your recovery between the primary training sessions each week.

Resistance training scan be performed in a commercial or home gym. Strive for progression every time you walk in to the gym – add weight to the bar, increase the numbers of reps or sets, or decrease rest periods. If you don’t have the appropriate equipment in your home gym then substitute the exercise with something comparable.

Before every resistance training session you should perform 5 to 10 minutes of low intensity cardio and bodyweight exercises to prime your muscles and central nervous system for the upcoming workout. Rest 1 to 2 minutes between sets and 2 to 3 minutes between exercises; when you perform the upper rep range for each exercise (e.g. 3 sets of 8 when the rep range is 5 to 8) then increase the weight.

Weather-permitting you should try to complete cardiovascular training outside. Performing cardio outdoors is a great way to get fresh air, a change of scenery from all the time we spend indoors, and vitamin D from the sun.

Month 1 Workout Routine

Note: 3 sessions per week (2 resistance and 1 cardio)

  • Monday – Full-body Resistance Training
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – Full-body Resistance Training
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – Rest Day
Full-body Resistance
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Back Squat  3  5-8
Barbell Romanian Deadlift  3  5-8
Dumbbell Overhead Press  3  10-12
Pull-up or Lat Pulldown  3  10-12
Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curls  3  10-15
Rope Tricep Pushdowns  3  10-15
Standing Calf Raises  3  12-15
(Weighted) Decline Crunches  3  8-10

Pull-ups. Add weight to a dip belt if you are able to perform 3 sets of 12+ reps with your bodyweight for pull-ups.

Hammer Curls. Superset hammer curls with tricep pushdowns if you’re short on time.

Standing Calf Raises. Hold the stretch at the bottom and flex position at the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Weighted Decline Crunches. Hold a weight plate or dumbbell if you are able to perform 3 sets of 10+ reps with your bodyweight

Wednesday – Cardio

Start with 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 45 minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming

Full-body Resistance
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Deadlift  3  5-8
Leg Press Machine  3  10-12
Incline Dumbbell Press  3  8-10
Bent Barbell Row  3  8-10
Barbell Curl  3  10-15
Skullcrushers  3  10-15
Dumbbell Shrugs  3  12-15
Kneeling Ab Wheel Rollouts  3  10-12

Barbell Curls. Superset barbell curls and skullcrushers if you’re short on time.

Dumbbell Shrugs. Hold the stretch at the bottom and flex position at the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Cable Crossovers

Months 2 & 3 Workout Routine

Note: 4 sessions per week (2 resistance and 2 cardio)

  • Monday – Full-body Resistance Training
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – Cardio
  • Friday – Full-body Resistance Training
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – Rest Day
Full-body Resistance
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Front Squat  3  5-8
Dumbbell Stiff-legged Deadlifts  3  10-12
Seated Barbell Overhead Press  3  8-10
Cable Low Row  3  8-10
Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curls  3  10-15
Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions  3  10-15
Seated Calf Raises  3  15
Kneeling Cable Crunches  3  10-12

Dumbbell Curls. Superset curls and extensions if you’re short on time.

Seated Calf Raises. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity

Tuesday – Cardio

Start with 45 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 60 minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming

Thursday – Cardio

Start with 45 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 60 minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming

Full-body Resistance
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Sumo Deadlift  3  5-8
Dumbbell Lunge  3  10-12
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press  3  8-10
One Arm Dumbbell Row  3  8-10
(Weighted) Dips  3  10-15
Cable Curls  3  10-15
Barbell Shrugs  3  12-15
Hanging Leg Raises  3  10-12

Dips. If you cannot perform full reps then start with negative reps (lowering portion only) or partner/machine-assisted variations.

Cable Curls. Superset curls and dips if you’re short on time.

Barbell Shrugs. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Hanging Leg Raises. Start by performing these with bent knees. Increase intensity by keeping your legs straight throughout the movement.

Kettlebell Swings

Months 4 & 5 Workout Routine

Note: 5 sessions per week (3 resistance and 2 cardio).

  • Monday – Push Only Resistance Training
  • Tuesday – Cardio
  • Wednesday – Pull Only Resistance Training
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – Legs Only Resistance Training
  • Saturday – Cario
  • Sunday – Rest Day
Push-Only Resistance
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Bench  3  5-8
Flat Dumbbell Bench  3  10-12
Seated Arnold Press  3  8-10
Cable Crossover  3  10-15
Landmine Press  3  10-15
Seated EZ Bar Overhead Extension  3  10-12
Close Grip Push Ups  3  AMRAP

Cable Crossovers. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Close Grip Push-Ups. Perform as many reps as possible with good form.

Tuesday – Cardio

Start with 55 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 75+ minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming. Also perform 3 sets of any exercise targeting the abdominals.

Pull-Only Resistance
Wednesday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlift  3  5-8
Bent Barbell Rows  3  10-12
Pull-up or Lat Pulldown  3  10-12
Dumbbell Shrugs  3  10-15
Alternating Dumbbell Curls  3  10-15
Lateral Raises  3  12-15
Cable Facepull  3  12-15

Pull-ups. Add weight to a dip belt if you are able to perform 3 sets of 12+ reps with your bodyweight for pull-ups.

Dumbbell Shrugs. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Legs-Only Resistance
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Back Squat  3  5-8
Barbell Good Morning  3  10-12
Dumbbell Step-Ups  3  8-10
Cable Pullthroughs  3  10-15
Leg Extensions  3  10-15
Lying Leg Curls  3  12-15
Donkey Calf Raises  3  10-12

Donkey Calf Raises. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Saturday – Cardio

Start with 55 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 75+ minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming. Also perform 3 sets of any exercise targeting the abdominals.

Swole

Months 6-12 Workout Routine

Note: 6 sessions per week (4 resistance and 2 cardio).

  • Monday – Lower Body Only Resistance Training
  • Tuesday – Upper Body Only Resistance Training
  • Wednesday – Cardio
  • Thursday – Lower Body Only Resistance Training
  • Friday – Upper Body Only Resistance Training
  • Saturday – Cardio
  • Sunday – Rest Day
Lower body Only Resistance
Monday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Lying Leg Curls  3  10-12
Barbell Front Squat  3  5-8
Glute Ham Raise  3  8-10
Leg Extensions  3  12-15
Dumbbell Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts  3  12-15
Standing Calf Raises  3  15-20

Leg Curls. Performing lying leg curls before a squat movement will improve stability in-the-hole.

Glute Ham Raise. If you cannot perform full reps then start with negative reps (lowering portion only) or partner/machine-assisted variations.

Standing Calf Raise. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity

Upper Body Only Resistance
Tuesday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Overhead Press  3  5-8
Plate-Loaded Hammer Strength Pulldowns  3  8-10
Slight Incline Dumbbell Press  3  8-10
Chest Supported Row  3  8-10
Upright Rows  3  12-15
Close Grip Bench Press  3  10-12
Reverse Barbell Curls  3  10-12

Slight Incline Dumbbell Press. Keep the incline between 15 and 30 degrees.

Chest Supported Row. Can be performed using dumbbells or with a machine.

Upright Rows. Take a wide grip to minimize chances of shoulder impingement.

Close Grip Bench Press. Superset close grip bench and curls if you’re short on time.

Wednesday – Cardio

Start with 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 90 minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming. Also perform 3 sets of any exercise targeting the abdominals.

Lower Body Only Resistance
Thursday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Deadlift  3  5-8
Barbell Back Squat  1  20
Hack Squat Machine  3  8-10
Barbell Lunge  3  8-10
Seated Leg Curls  3  12-15
Cable Pullthroughs  3  12-15
Seated Calf Raises  3  15-20

Squats. As known as breathing squats. Start with a conservative weight and increase accordingly. The first 10 reps should be easy; take your time completing the remaining 10.

Seated Calf Raises. Hold the top of each rep to increase intensity.

Lower Body Only Resistance
Friday Workout
Exercise Sets Reps
Flat Barbell Bench Press  3  5-8
One Arm Dumbbell Row  3  8-10
Barbell Behind-the-Neck Press  3  10-12
Pull-up or Lat Pulldown  3  12
Machine Chest Fly  3  12-15
Cable Reverse Fly  3  12-15
Alternating Dumbbell Curls  3  10-15
Skullcrushers

Behind the Neck Press. Take a wide enough grip so that your forearms are perpendicular with the ground where the bar is at ear level.

Pull-Ups. Add weight to a dip belt if you are able to perform 3 sets of 12+ reps with your bodyweight for pull-ups.

Machine Chest Fly. Superset machine fly and reverse fly if you’re short on time

Barbell Curls. Superset barbell curls and skullcrushers if you’re short on time.

Saturday – Cardio

Start with 60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio and gradually increase the duration until you’re performing 90 minutes per session. Common activities include walking (on an incline), jogging, jump roping, bicycling (stationary, mountain, or road), rowing, using the elliptical machine, and swimming. Also perform 3 sets of any exercise targeting the abdominals.

Diet Plan

New Year, New You Diet Plan

Exercise and diet go hand-in-hand for achieve fitness goals. Before discussing diet specifics you should have rough idea of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). You can calculate your maintenance caloric intake by using the links below:

If your goal is fat loss then consume 200 to 500 calories below maintenance per day, ensuring you lose 0.5 to 1lb per week. If want to build muscle with minimal fat gain then eat 200 to 500 calories above maintenance every day, ensuring you gain 0.5 to 1lb per week.

Instead of following a specific percentage or ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fat, aim to consume the following every day:

  • At least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. More isn’t always better here; 2+ grams per pound of bodyweight isn’t going to expedite muscle gain or fat loss.
  • At least 0.4 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight. Be careful not go overboard on fat as it has over twice the calories of carbohydrates and protein (9 vs. 4).
  • 1 to 2 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight based on goal, caloric intake, and activity level
  • At least 10 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed
  • At least 5 servings of various fruits and vegetables
  • 2 to 3 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids in the form of EPA & DHA. You can obtain EPA & DHA from fatty fish like salmon or high quality fish oil supplements

Additionally you should minimize alcohol intake as it blunts fat burning and contains empty calories (low or no vitamins or minerals). If you’re of age and decide to indulge in alcohol then choose dry wines, low carbohydrate beers, and liquor drinks with low or no calorie mixers. Ensure you factor in the caloric content of alcohol, 7 calories per gram, in to your total caloric intake.

If you feel overwhelmed on designing and following an eating strategy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. To ensure long-term adherence apply the 80/20 rule to your diet. At least 80% of your calories should come from minimally-processed whole foods sources and the remaining 20% can be used at your discretion. Some may decide to treat themselves with a cookie or piece of pie while others may fill this 20% with more chicken and broccoli.

New Year, New You Supplements

Supplements should be a component and NOT be the cornerstone of your healthier lifestyle. Supplements are designed to increase convenience while improving overall health, workout performance, and adherence to diet. Before making major supplement purchases you should be consistently following your exercise routine and diet. Once these two elements are in-order then consider the following products to assist you in achieve your goals:

  • MTS Machine Greens

    Click here to order Machine Greens + Multi now.

    Multivitamin – Cover any potential nutritional deficiencies with a high quality multivitamin like MTS Nutrition Machine Greens & Multi, an all-in-one greens powder, multivitamin, and probiotic blend with no artificial colors or sweeteners.

  • Fish Oil – On days you don’t eat fatty fish take Ethitech Fish Oil to increase your Omega-3 EPA & DHA intake.
  • Whey Protein – A whey protein blend like MTS Machine Whey is a great-tasting and cost-effective way to ensure you meet your daily protein requirements. Those looking for a faster acting or lower calorie protein powder should use whey isolate product like MTS Machine Iso.
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) – BCAAs products like MTS Machine Fuel are a cost-effective way stimulate muscle protein synthesis throughout the day and prevent muscle catabolism intra-workout.
  • Pre-Workout – If you find yourself lacking energy prior to and during your workout then a pre-workout product like MTS Ruckus or MTS Clash will provide you with clinically effective doses of safe ingredients designed to increase power, decrease fatigue, and improve endurance.
  • Fat Burner/Thermogenic – Burn extra calories, eliminate stubborn fat, and suppress your hunger with products like MTS Drop Factor and Yohimbine HCL.
  • Weight Gainer – those who struggle to eat the number of calories required to gain muscle should use a high-quality weight gainer like Muscle and Brawn Huge Gainer. These products are a concentrated, convenient, and cost-effective source of healthy fats, high-quality protein, and beneficial carbohydrates.

Conclusion

This is YOUR year to make changes and achieve the fitness goals you set. You’ve been armed with a diet, exercise, and supplement framework. Tailor this framework based on your goals and logistical limitations (e.g. available gym equipment, budget, etc…) and you’ll be on your way to making positive changes both physical and psychologically. Comment below if you have any questions or would like to share your New Year, New You success stories.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram @nickludlowfitness as well as the rest of the Tiger Fitness Squad on Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook.

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Name: Nick Ludlow

Bio: When it comes to fitness I enjoy reading about historic weight lifters, non-conventional weightlifting approaches, nutritional protocols, and the science behind supplements.