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Learn Strength In 5 Days


Day 1


Task: Visualise

Day 2


Needs analysis

Exercise Selection


Bench Press

Barbell Rows


Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Lat Pulldown

Key techniques


Task: Practice

Day 3

Progressive Overload

Other points to consider

Example Programme

Task: Plan


Day 4


Where to start?


Estimating calorie requirements


Estimating macronutrient requirements

Task: Calculate


Flexible dieting

Task: Prepare


Day 5

Tracking Progress

Why we track progress


Where to begin?

What to track?

How to track

When to make changes

Task: Goals


Parting Guidance

Task: Take Action


V1.1 © Alex Rothwell 2017. All Rights Reserved

[+ Day 1+]

[+ Introduction+]


Hi, I’m Alex and I’ve written this eBook. If you have any problems throughout reading the book, or any questions or feedback afterwards I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email me at [email protected]


This isn’t a training programme, nor is it a diet plan. I don’t promise “A Six Pack in 5 Days” or “Massive Muscles in 5 Days”. What I am offering is my philosophy on what I believe is the optimal way to reach your gym goals for those of us who aren’t full time athletes. Regardless of whether your goals are fat loss, muscle gain or strength gain, I believe this eBook will help you reach your goals in the most optimal way and even more importantly, help you enjoy the rest of your life while you’re at it. There’s currently more people than ever joining the gym and lifting weights with the goal to change how they look or feel. However, the percentage of people who reach the goals they want to achieve within a year is in single digits.


One of the biggest challenges is that results take time and consistency. Most people have a good idea of what they need to do to get results in the gym. They roughly know what to eat and what to do in the gym and most of the time it works out for them… for a while. The main reason that so few people actually achieve their goals is that they can’t stick to whatever diet and exercise routine they’ve got themselves into because it’s so restrictive or un-enjoyable for them. Then because of that, they stop doing it, and I don’t blame them. Then because they’ve stopped doing it, they get back to where they were in the first place, whether it be putting the fat back on that they lost or losing the muscle and strength they’ve gained.


That’s why if anyone ever promises you “6 weeks to your best body” or any claim of results with a time scale it’s probably best to avoid at all costs. Sure, you might get those results in that amount of time, but then what? You slowly go back to square one if you don’t maintain what you were doing to get there. To get results that last and to enjoy your life more, we should find an approach that not only works, but is enjoyable and sustainable; fitting around our life, rather than fitting our life around it. That’s the first main idea behind the eBook; enjoy life and enjoy reaching your goals.


The second point is probably more immediately obvious and maybe the reason you were first interested. There’s a lot of rubbish information out there, even by so called “experts”, and you want good quality advice you can trust. “Learn Strength in 5 Days” offers scientifically sound advice, but combined with that “life friendly” approach we talked about before. The idea of science can be daunting for some people; however, the aim is for science to make our lives easier, not harder. It’s simply making sure our effort we put in doesn’t go to waste. As much as it tells us what will help us reach our goals, it also tells us what won’t.


The thing is, most of us aren’t looking to be full time athletes. We just want to reach our gym goals in the most effective and quickest way while living our lives. We don’t want the extra stress of obsessing over the small details of our training and nutrition with everything else life throws at us. So that’s what I’m delivering; the best scientifically proven methods to reach your goals but in a way that works for you. It’s flexible, fits around your life and is enjoyable. Sounds too good to be true, right?


That's why we're going to focus on something called the 80/20 rule. The 80/20 rule is a principle that states that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. In essence, "focus on what makes the biggest difference and forget about wasting our time and our effort with the things that don't really matter". For a full time athlete, their entire livelihood is based around them gaining any advantage possible, no matter how small, over their competition. Everything they do contributes to this. However, not all of these actions are created equally, some things they do have more of an effect on their ultimate goal than others. Fortunately, as people whose livelihood may not be dependent on achieving such levels of performance we can be more relaxed about our training and balance that with the life we want to lead. We can focus on the actions that will result in the greatest gain to our own performance and ignore the things that make less of a difference if we want to.


This allows us to have more balance in our lives and spend our time how we like. According to the 80/20 rule, we can choose to engage in roughly 20% of the actions a full-time athlete would and yet achieve 80% of the results they have, a pretty good deal if you ask me. If we choose to commit more to our training, then great; we may achieve more, however we've got the flexibility to live the life we want all while getting the results in the gym we want.


So, the big question is, what do we need to focus on to get the results we want?


Before, we get onto that I want to introduce you to a few things. Firstly, every day at the end of the chapter I suggest a task to you that’ll start you on the road for reaching your goals long after you finish reading this book. Check out today’s task on the next page.


Secondly, along with the eBook, I’ve included a super handy spreadsheet pack that helps with a number of things. It helps you track your progress in the gym and your subsequent results. It also calculates your personal nutrition requirements using a few great little formulas. It’s dead easy to use and all the instructions are included on the first page. To download your free spreadsheet pack head to LearnStrength.com/product/Spreadsheet-Pack and simply enter the password “SpreadsheetPack”.

[+ Task: Visualise+]


Visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool for reaching our goals. When you can visualise an image, you give yourself something to aim for. It should also serve as motivation; what greater motivation is there than seeing your goal in front of you every day?


Take a moment for yourself and close your eyes. Imagine what you want your life to look like. Imagine how your fitness goals fit into this.


Use all your senses; look at what’s around you in this life you want, what do you look like? Most importantly, how do you feel?


Now take a moment to think about how you got to that ideal life you have. What was the process? What was the work you did to get there? How did that look? How did that feel?


This is a very valuable exercise, if nothing else it creates an image in your mind of you reaching your goals. Take the time to do this frequently. Many athletes use this technique, acting out how they want certain moments to go in a match or game. They play it over in their head thousands of times. By the time they actually come to do it, it’s simply performing the action one more time on top of all those times before; it’s feels like no big deal when the pressure is then on in a big game. We can use this to create an image that excites us, that’ll guide us through our goals.

[+ Day 2+]


Having a gym routine we enjoy that fits around our life and creates consistent progress.

[+ Needs analysis+]

First things first; advice always needs to be goal specific. If you don’t know what someone is aiming for, then how could you possibly tell them how to get there? That’s like giving someone directions when you don’t know their destination.

So, to be clear, the advice offered in this section on lifting focuses on muscle and strength gain for those who are new or relatively new to strength training. Even if you’re focusing on losing fat right now, but ultimately your goal involves gaining muscle or strength at some point, then this will work for you. If you want to ultimately focus on strength over muscle gain, then this will work for you. If you want to ultimately focus on muscle gain over strength, then this will work for you. That’s because to reach these destinations, they all require you to take the same road to begin with. Regardless of your later focus, you’ll still need to learn the basics of lifting (such as form and techniques), you’ll still benefit from gaining strength throughout your body and you’ll still benefit from gaining additional muscle mass. In fact, the largest differentiator between which of these goals you go after, likely isn’t down to your training, it’s your nutrition. This will be covered later.

We’ve concluded getting to grips with strength training and focusing on all round body strength is the way to go for the moment, so how do we go about doing that?

[+ Exercise Selection+]

First, let’s look at what exercises we may want to perform. There are no magic exercises, in fact there’s no magic anything when it comes to getting strong. Any of these exercises can be substituted with other exercises that’ll lead to largely similar adaptations, the exercises listed here are ones that use a large amount of musculature and multiple joints. By focusing on these exercises, we train the body as a whole not neglecting any major muscle groups, we use the fewest exercises possible to get the best results and we also gain all round strength as we teach the body to perform as a unit. It’s also worth noting that we’ll be learning the three powerlifts, which are used in powerlifting competitions.

Before we get onto how to perform each exercise let’s look at the purpose of performing each exercise:


Mainly work the quads and glutes. Considered by many experts to be the number one exercise for athletic development for its subsequent improvements to explosive jumping and sprint times.

Bench Press

Mainly works the chest and triceps. An upper body exercise staple, used by many sporting establishments as a test of upper body strength.


Mainly work the upper back, the lower back, the glutes and the hamstrings. One of the best exercises for full body strength. Not many exercises are more physically demanding rep for rep.

Barbell Rows

Mainly work the upper back and lats. The go-to exercise for upper back development and strength.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Mainly works the shoulders and triceps. Can also be performed standing and/ or with a barbell. Performing them seated with dumbbells allows you to be more stable, focus on feeling the deltoids working and use a greater range of motion.

Lat Pulldown

Mainly work the lats. The lats are one the most underrated muscles in the body. They play a massive role in stability in many exercises and weak lats often contribute to poor posture. Lat pulldowns can be performed by anyone whereas some may struggle to perform a pullup.

When starting lifting, here is what I believe to be the six most important exercises. That’s not to say I don’t believe you can get strong doing any other exercises or there are situations where other exercises would be more useful, but I believe these provide a great foundation for your journey into strength training. Mastering these exercises will provide transferable skills to most other exercises in the gym.


p<>{color:#fff;}. Start with feet at around shoulder width apart. Shrug your shoulders, pull them back and rest the bar on your upper trapezius.

p<>{color:#000;}. Tense your abs and begin the movement by pushing your hips back staying on your heels/ midfoot.

p<>{color:#000;}. As you move your hips back, move your knees outward to create space for your body.

p<>{color:#000;}. Keep your chest up to ensure you don’t fall forward and your lower back stays flat.

p<>{color:#fff;}. When you reach as far down as you can go (aiming for your hip crease to be below your knee), drive through your heels until you’re back to the top, completing the movement.

Squat Demonstration

[+ Bench Press+]

p<>{color:#000;}. Lie down flat on the bench with your shoulder blades pulled back and down, and your feet driving through the floor so your glutes are just touching the bench.

p<>{color:#000;}. Grip the bar at a width that allows your forearms to be perpendicular to the ground when the bar is at nipple height on your chest.

p<>{color:#000;}. Unrack the bar while maintaining the initial position with your body.

p<>{color:#000;}. Bring the bar down to nipple height maintaining the strong body position.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you reach your chest, drive the bar back up focusing on squeezing your chest and bringing your elbows across your body.

Bench Press Demonstration

[+ Barbell Rows+]

p<>{color:#000;}. Grip the barbell just wider than shoulder width apart standing up straight.

p<>{color:#000;}. Bend over, keeping your torso and lower back flat (think chest up, hips back) so your upper body is 45 degrees to the floor.

p<>{color:#000;}. Maintaining this position pull the bar into your lower stomach squeezing your upper back muscles as you do so.

p<>{color:#000;}. When you’re at your stomach, lower the bar back down so your arms are fully extended.

Barbell Row Demonstration

[+ Deadlifts+]

p<>{color:#000;}. Stand with your feet the same distance apart as you would use for a maximal jump, with the barbell in front of you.

p<>{color:#000;}. Grab the bar with the closest grip possible, but on the outside of your legs.

p<>{color:#000;}. Your shoulders should be positioned in front of the bar, the bar should be touching your shins or just next to, and your lower back flat.

p<>{color:#000;}. Keeping your lower back flat (hips back, chest up), extend your hips and knees simultaneously and pull the bar straight up your legs.

p<>{color:#000;}. If the bar is drifting away from your body you need to extend your hips faster, if you’re banging the bar against your knees you need to be extending your knees faster.

p<>{color:#000;}. Once you reach the top of the movement, reverse the motion to bring the bar back to the ground.

p<>{color:#000;}. Allow the bar to settle before beginning the next rep.

Deadlift Demonstration

[+ Dumbbell Shoulder Press+]

p<>{color:#000;}. Grip the dumbbells on the inside of them (this means the dumbbell will fall away from your body, placing more stress on your deltoids).

p<>{color:#000;}. Use your knees to get the dumbbells onto your shoulders if you need to.

p<>{color:#000;}. Not allowing the dumbbells to drift forwards, extend them fully above your head.

p<>{color:#000;}. Lower them to eye level to begin the next rep.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press Demonstration


[+ Lat Pulldown+]

p<>{color:#000;}. Adjust the seat so your thighs are firmly secured underneath the cushion.

p<>{color:#000;}. Grip the bar with an overhand grip around an extra hand width further than shoulder width apart.

p<>{color:#000;}. Keeping your chest up, pull the bar down using your lats to around chin height.

p<>{color:#000;}. Control the bar back up to a height just lower than full elbow extension.

Lat Pulldown Demonstration

[+ Key techniques+]

There’s a few techniques that will improve your form when performing the exercises. The first is known as hip hinging, this is the ability to bend at the hips while keeping the torso extended and stable. It is a crucial technique to protect the lower back during the squat, deadlift and row and it also helps us initiate the squat movement correctly. If we choose to begin the back squat with bending at the knee rather than the hip then ankle mobility will limit how low we can squat.

The hip hinge can be practised using a broom handle. Hold it with one hand behind your head and with your other at your coccyx, it should also make contact with your upper back. Keeping your spine straight and those three contact points; practice bending at the hip and standing back up. Notice the feeling of keeping your torso straight even though you’re bending forward. Practice this movement and remember it when you’re performing squats, deadlifts and rows.

The Valsalva manoeuvre complements the hip hinge. It is a technique that involves attempting to exhale against a closed airway. You’ve probably done a modified version to make your ears pop when flying. When strength training we perform it against a closed glottis. Start by breathing deeply into your belly, then attempt to exhale while stopping yourself from letting any air out (think of when you’re trying to blow a balloon up but it won’t inflate). While doing this also focus on contracting your abs. This movement helps maintain the stability of your torso due to massively increasing intra-thoracic and intra-abdominal pressure. It’s important to breathe and re-perform the Valsalva manoeuvre during each rep so you aren’t holding your breath for the entire set.

This is a great technique to use during squats, deadlifts, rows and also the bench press. When performing it your torso should feel much more stable. Be aware that the Valsalva manoeuvre can lead to a temporary decrease in blood pressure, so be sure to have a rest if you feel light headed.


Be patient and take time to learn correct form rather than worrying about how much weight you’re lifting. If your goal is based around how you look and feel then the weight you lift is irrelevant, if your goal is focused on strength then it’s more important to learn how to correctly perform the exercises when you start strength training, rather than be forced to relearn the movements later down the line because you reach a sticking point due to performing them incorrectly or even worse develop an injury.

The important things to focus on when it comes to form are:

p<>{color:#000;}. Using the techniques described above for each exercise.

p<>{color:#000;}. Learn what each muscle feels like when it’s contracting and make sure you can feel the muscles you want to be working being worked during that exercise. Practice contracting each muscle so you learn how it feels. 

p<>{color:#000;}. Range of motion refers to the amount of movement in a specific joint. Larger ranges of motion lead to greater increases in strength and muscle gain so make sure you don’t take shortcuts on any reps.

Feel free to email me videos of any of your exercises at [email protected] if you’re concerned, I’d love to take a look at them.

Finally, don’t be concerned if it takes you a few months to really feel like you’re getting the hang of an exercise and are comfortable adding more weight on the bar. You’re learning a completely new skill, by its very nature that takes time. I’ve kept the descriptions of the exercises to the basics to not overwhelm you, even 10 years from now I’m sure you’ll be learning small cues and pointers which work for you.

[+ Task: Practice+]

As we’ve mentioned, learning a new skill takes time, it’s time to practice these exercises we looked at. Try them without any weight and get used to the technique I mention. You’re not going to be an expert by the time you get into the gym, but you’ll have a better idea of the movement patterns and specific techniques than if you didn’t.

[+ Day 3+]

[+ Progressive Overload+]

Progressive overload is the concept that underpins all progress. When we exercise we need to give our bodies a reason to adapt, if our goals are muscle and strength gain we need to give our bodies a reason to do that. If we were to do exactly the same regime every week nothing would happen. We need to overload to achieve this, by putting our body under more stress than it has been under previously.

However, it’s important we don’t do this by suddenly deciding to add 20kg to our squat next time we head to the gym. Firstly, we won’t be able to lift anywhere near as many reps (we’ll go onto find this is pretty important). Secondly, we’re likely to injure ourselves if that is a weight we’ve never even got close to lifting before. Thirdly, even if we do manage to do this, where do we go from there? To continue to overload and adapt we’ll have to go and do the same thing again next week, and then the week after and the week after. Not exactly sustainable long term. Therefore, we need to overload progressively. So how do we do this?

There’s a number of factors we can control when training and, depending on our goals, we decide which we change. Here are some examples:

p<>{color:#000;}. Rest between sets

p<>{color:#000;}. Number of sets

p<>{color:#000;}. Number of reps

p<>{color:#000;}. Weight lifted

p<>{color:#000;}. How often we train

When dealing with muscle and strength the most important factor to overload is volume. Volume is described as “(the total number of repetitions) x (amount of weight lifted) for a given time”. Therefore, volume is a combination of the number of sets you do, the number of reps you do within those sets, how often you train and how much weight you lift. This seems a lot to take in and consider, however a few of these factors controlled individually also have effects on strength and muscle gain.

The most obvious advice first, it's important you lift heavy weight! Weights of less than 65% of 1RM (the maximum weight you can lift for one repetition) are not considered sufficient to lead to muscle growth. Especially if your goal later down the line is strength, in which case you need to get used to your body handling heavy weights. The weight you lift impacts how many repetitions you can perform; the heavier the weight, the less number of times you can lift it before you tire. In a set, performing reps of over 15 is less effective for building muscle and strength than lower reps, so the question is how low? While low reps of 1-5 is effective at building muscle and strength it may be marginally more effective to lift in a slightly higher rep range of 6-10 reps. For our muscles to work, many chemical reactions take place within the muscle to fuel the process. A build-up of these chemicals signals to the body that the body is under stress and it needs to adapt. During rest periods, these chemicals are then partially cleared away as our body recovers, if we have longer sets then there is a greater build-up of these chemicals which could result in stronger signals to the body to adapt.

There is one exception to using the 6-10 rep range. Deadlifts are a movement which uses many different muscle groups and some muscle groups tire quicker than others. The lower back can tire very quickly, when it is tired there is a danger it cannot lift the weight we’re trying to. Normally, this isn’t an issue as we simply can’t lift the weight, however during the deadlift the lower back plays a role in protecting the spine. Therefore, it’s best if we work in a lower rep range (1-5 reps) when performing deadlifts, this prevents the lower back becoming overly fatigued to the point where it could affect our form and cause injury, but still allows us to stress the other muscles used appropriately.

Due to the need for volume, multiple sets have proven superior to single sets for increasing muscle and strength gain. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the more sets the better, the more sets we do the more we get diminishing returns, it’s also important to remember our aim is to progressively overload the muscles. The number of sets is therefore influenced by other factors, such as the number of exercises we do, the number of reps we do, the frequency of training and how important it us for us to practice that particular exercise as a skill. Considering you are probably relatively new to strength training, we won’t need that much volume to lead to increases in muscle and strength. However, we also want to practice the exercises we’re doing so we can improve our proficiency at them. Therefore, 3 sets are a good middle ground for each exercise. In time, if we find this isn’t enough volume, we can increase it, but it’s better to start too low than too high.

Frequency is then our final factor we look to control to influence volume. We need to give ourselves enough recovery time before working the same muscle group again, however we need to balance that with stressing the muscle frequently enough to cause adaptation and not leaving it too long between practising the new skills we’re learning which may hinder our development. Balancing all of this out we’re going to try and give ourselves around 48-72 hours between training major body parts. However, just as it was with sets, we can alter this depending on how it goes. These are just factors that influence volume and have less effect by being individually manipulated than rep ranges and the weight we lift.

So there we’ve covered optimal reps, sets, training frequency and weight lifted for maximal muscle growth and strength gain. All of these things influence volume, which is the most important training variable. Remember, our goal is to progressively overload our training volume, working at the lowest volume possible to give us the progress we desire, then increasing it as little as possible to continue to adapt. The most common way to increase volume is to increase the weight we’re lifting as we get stronger. However, in the future you may reach a point where you struggle to gain strength as easily and therefore you’re also struggling to increase your training volume (which then means you struggle to get stronger and the cycle continues). At that point, the next easiest factor to manipulate to increase volume is the number of sets. You may want to add another set to an exercise which is stalling to help stop that negative cycle of volume and strength. Again, when we do this, we’re using the minimal possible added volume to result in the adaptations we desire. The more volume we add to our programme, the more then we must continue to add to adapt.

Finally, it’s important to remember there are so many ways to influence training volume, which is great because we can use this to reflect our personal preferences. If you prefer having shorter gym sessions, then fine: just have more days in the gym during the week to make up for it. Alternatively, if you prefer less days in the gym: you may have a longer session with more sets to counter that. The important thing is controlling training volume, not so much the individual components of that. 

[+ Other points to consider+]

We’ve covered the main points to focus on, but there are a few other factors which are advantageous to get right.

Firstly, how quickly we perform a repetition could potentially play a role in strength and muscle gain. There are two phases of an exercise which involves movement. There is a concentric phase, which occurs while the muscle is shortening and the eccentric phase which occurs while the muscle is lengthening. For example, during a bicep curl, the concentric phase is as we lift the weight upwards because the bicep muscles are shortening, while the eccentric phase is as we lower the weight back down to the bottom of the movement. Research suggests that performing the eccentric movement slowly is beneficial for muscle gain. The majority of studies also support the idea that the eccentric phase is actually more important than the concentric for muscle gain, meaning the lowering of the weight has more impact on muscle gain than the lifting itself. This is likely due to the fact that the eccentric phase causes more damage to the muscle than the concentric, this damage then results in the need to repair and adapt. It is therefore recommended that you take the time to perform the eccentric phase of the movement in a controlled manner of 2-3 seconds for each repetition. An exception to this advice would be the deadlift. The deadlift is such a demanding movement that the concentric phase is demanding enough without the need for any extra stress. And as we previously discussed the lower back fatigues quicker than the rest of the muscles we use during the movement, which will only compromise our ability to work the rest of the muscles involved in the movement.  

Some research suggests that strength and muscle gains are greater when we perform the concentric phase of the movement as quickly as possible. This is possibly due to the fact that more muscle fibres are recruited when performing repetitions quickly.

It has also been shown that maintaining continuous tension on the muscle during sets (i.e. not having a rest in between repetitions) results in greater muscle growth than not doing so.

It used to be commonly believed that a moderate rest period of 60-90 seconds in between sets provided a balance of allowing the muscle to recover enough to be able to lift heavy enough weight during the next set to lead to muscle and strength gain, and not allowing too much recovery to clear away the chemicals produced during exercise which signal to the body to adapt. However, recent research is suggesting that actually there may be greater benefit to having longer rest periods than this. I would recommend not worrying about it too much, if it does make an impact, it is a small one. 1-2 minutes between sets will likely be optimal. Remember the most important thing is volume, therefore if you feel you need more recovery to lift a heavier weight, rest longer in between sets.

Now we’re going to look at the best order to perform exercises in. It’s simple enough, we perform movements that require higher levels of skill first, if we try these when we’re already tired then we might get them wrong which could cause injury. Next, we want to perform the most important exercises so that we’re performing them as best as we can do. So, what are the most important exercises? Considering our goal of muscle and strength gain, usually the ones that involve the most musculature. If there is an exercise you’re particularly weak at, or a weak muscle group, you may wish to perform this first while you’re fresh to get most benefit.

[+ Example Programme+]

So, we’ve covered everything about the basics of lifting, how to get the best results, how to keep getting bigger and stronger, and how we can fit getting the best results around our life. Here’s an example programme I’d recommend with reps and sets. Remember, this isn’t THE best plan going, there is no such thing. It’s a great starter to learn the basics and build strength and muscle, but of course it can be adapted to your personal preferences by changing exercises and even rep schemes.

table<>. <>. |<>\2.
p={color:#000;}. Day 1 |<>\2.
p={color:#000;}. Day 2 |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Day 3 | <>. |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Exercise |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Sets x Reps |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Exercise |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Sets x Reps |<>.
p={color:#000;}. REST DAY | <>. |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Squats |<>.
p={color:#000;}. 3 × 6-10 |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Deadlifts |<>.
p={color:#000;}. 3 × 3-5 |<>.

| <>. |<>. p={color:#000;}. Bench Press |<>. p={color:#000;}. 3 × 6-10 |<>. p={color:#000;}. Dumbbell Shoulder Press |<>. p={color:#000;}. 3 × 6-10 |<>. p={color:#fff;}.   | <>. |<>. p={color:#000;}. Barbell Rows |<>. p={color:#000;}. 3 × 6-10 |<>. p={color:#000;}. Lat Pulldown |<>. p={color:#000;}. 3 × 6-10 |<>. p={color:#fff;}.   |

*After your rest day on day 3, repeat day 1 and so on.

One of your spreadsheets in your pack is called “Tracking Lifts”. Record all of your workouts on this. This means that next time you’re in the gym you know what you need to be lifting to ensure you’re progressively overloading. Once you can do 3 sets of the maximum number of reps (5 for deadlifts, 10 for everything else) then increase the weight slightly. Only at a point where you cannot gain any more strength while doing this should you increase the number of sets. The “Tracking Lifts” spreadsheet is editable so you can add any exercises you wish to fit into your programme, however by default I’ve included the above example programme.

[+ Task: Plan+]

It’s time for you to plan your routine. Remember we’ve got lots of options and flexibility, the main thing we’re focusing on is increasing training volume. What time do you want to go to the gym? What days? What exercises will you do? Go through this chapter again and have a think about what would fit better around your life. If you’re flexible or you don’t really know, then just stick to the example programme I suggested above and repeat that on a three-day cycle. It’s a programme I’ve had much success with in the past, even though it’s so simple.



p<>{color:#000;}. Change your routine to fit around your life.

p<>{color:#000;}. You can get results with many different exercises, but some exercises make reaching our goals easier.

p<>{color:#000;}. There’s many different factors we can influence, however the most important thing to focus on is slowly increasing training volume to keep gaining muscle and strength.

[+ Day 4+]


Eating the food we want, when we want and building results we love.

[+ Where to start?+]

We’ve looked at what you should be doing in the gym, but what about for the other 23 hours of the day? In truth, these are the tough ones, the ones that can make or break you. When you think about nutrition and fuelling your body for your fitness goals it might bring up horrible visions of bland chicken and spinach, but it definitely doesn’t have to be that way. As we talked about in the opening pages, we need to find an approach that works, but most importantly of all is enjoyable. Not least because if your diet isn’t enjoyable there will come a day when you don’t want to stick to it.

There are a ton of myths and faulty beliefs out there when it comes to diet, it’s an absolute minefield. Everyone seems to be telling you something different with the aim of grabbing the headlines and selling you the next fad. In truth, when we look at the science, it’s really incredibly simple. Simple, but important. If we get our diet wrong all our hard graft in the gym is a waste of time, you won’t lose the fat you want to lose or gain the muscle you want to gain. There are a few simple rules we need to follow to get the results we want.

As with all advice we need to be goal specific. We’ll look at what to do to lose fat and what to do to gain muscle. Diet has less of an impact on strength. Gaining strength and muscle largely involves the same training, especially when we’re just starting out. If you want to get as strong as possible you want to gain as much muscle as possible, so it’s worth following that same advice. It’s also worth noting that even if fat loss is your ultimate goal you will also want to strength train and gain muscle. It may even be worthwhile focusing on gaining muscle first if your goal is fat loss. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and simply having more muscle will mean you expend more calories maintaining that. Therefore, if your goal is to lose fat, you can eat more and still lose fat if you have more muscle. We’ll talk about how to plan this in more detail later.

[+ Calories+]

In the introduction, we talked about focusing on the things that make the biggest difference and getting them right. Once we’ve got them right, we can move onto the smaller things if we want. When it comes to fat loss and muscle gain there is one single thing we NEED to get right otherwise you simply won’t get the results you want; that’s calories. If you want to lose fat, then you should be in a calorie deficit (meaning you’re expending more calories than you are consuming), if you want to gain muscle you should be in a calorie surplus (consuming more calories than you are expending). In all honesty, if that's all you get right consistently everyday with your diet then you're winning. You'll probably get close to 90% of your potential results from doing that. I expect 99% of people will get the results they desire by getting something so simple sorted with their diet.

Fat is stored energy, for those energy reserves to be depleted the body needs to be in a state where it is expending more energy than it is consuming. Trying to gain muscle mass without being in a calorie surplus is like trying to build a house without being given any bricks, you’ve got no materials to do it with. It is true that it can be possible without following these rules, but there’s no doubt your results will be slower. It has been shown that you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time by eating at around your calorie maintenance (the calories it would take to maintain your weight), however it is almost always quicker and more effective to focus solely on one goal (fat loss or muscle gain) for a period of time and then the other. Don’t worry if you’re not yet sure whether it would be best to gain muscle or lose fat first, we’ll cover this later.

So, if we decide we want to gain muscle, it’s best for us to be in a calorie surplus, consuming more calories than we are expending. If we decide we want to lose fat, it’s best for us to be in a calorie deficit, expending more calories than we consume. It really is that simple. But how much of a surplus or deficit do we want to be in? There’s no right or wrong answer to this, it’s more of an art than a science. We can only gain so much muscle in a day so having too high a calorie surplus is detrimental as we’ll gain fat on top of the muscle we want to gain (this probably doesn’t matter to you if your only goal is building strength). If we have too great a calorie deficit when trying to lose fat then you’ll lose muscle along with fat. Something else also happens when you eat at very low calories for an extended period of time; your metabolism slows, meaning you’ll have to eat even less to lose weight. This damage can remain for a long time, the longer you remain eating at a very low-calorie intake the longer it’ll take for your metabolic rate to return to normal once you start consuming more calories. Therefore, we need balance, enough of a direction to get the results we want, but not too extreme to work against our goals or even cause damage.

As a rule of thumb, add or take away around 10-20% of your maintenance calories depending on whether you're looking to build muscle or lose fat. Closer to 20% and you risk gaining fat/ losing muscle, closer to 10% and your results may not be as fast as you'd like. We'll look at tracking your progress later on, but as another rule of thumb aim for around 0.75-1 kg weight gain/ loss every week. The best way to track progress is to use a number of metrics. Ultimately, if your goal is based on how you look and feel then base your progress on that. Can you see in your progress pictures that you're building muscle or losing fat? Feel free to send your progress pictures to me at [email protected] and ask about dietary advice.

It’s worth mentioning my views on counting calories about now. It is easier to be consistent with your diet when you count calories and track macros. It’s also easier to make changes that you know will get you the results you want. However, I appreciate that not everyone wants to count calories and some are concerned that it could potentially become unhealthy. If you decide not to count calories it is possible to learn to estimate macronutrients and therefore get the results you want, however doing this consistently is difficult. In short, if you don’t want to count calories and macronutrients that’s okay, you can still learn to estimate what fits your goals, however be aware it can be more difficult to be consistent with your diet and get the results you want.

[+ Estimating calorie requirements+]

Over the years many equations have been tried and tested, but the Katch-McArdle equation has emerged as the most accurate in those who are relatively lean. (If you aren’t “relatively lean” then I’d still recommend using this equation and the techniques I describe below to make it work for you. It doesn’t actually matter how accurate the equation is, we will account for this later.)

One of the spreadsheets in your pack is called “Calculating Calories and Macros”. It will automatically work out your estimated requirements for you using the techniques I describe below. However, I’d still recommend giving this section a read so you can understand what’s going on.

The equation is as follows:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) = 370+(21.6 x LBM)

Where Lean Body Mass (LBM) = [(Body Weight in kg) x (100- Body Fat %)]/100

     BMR or Basal Metabolic Rate is the calories you would consume if you were in a coma.

Calculating body fat % is notoriously difficult. The easiest way is using callipers, however this isn’t particularly accurate, but for most of us it’s the best we’re going to get. If you don’t have callipers, have a guess based on comparison pictures you can find online. It’s important to remember that this equation isn’t going to give us a completely accurate number anyway, it just gives us a good prediction which we’ll use to help us.

Once we know this, it’s simply a case of filling in the equation and crunching the numbers. When you’ve done that, you’ve calculated your estimated BMR. However, this isn’t particularly useful as I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re not in a coma….

So, we need to include a thing called an “activity factor”. This is a value you multiply your BMR by to take into account all the activity you do throughout your day including your time in the gym, time walking the dog, time studying etc.

We can take a guess using these estimations:

1.2 = Sedentary (Desk job and little formal exercise)

1.3-1.4 = Lightly Active (Light daily activity and light exercise 1-3 days a week)

1.5-1.6 = Moderately Active (Moderately daily activity and moderate exercise 3-5 days a week)

1.7-1.8 = Very Active (Physically demanding lifestyle and hard exercise 6-7 days a week)

1.9-2.2 = Extremely Active (Athlete in endurance training or very hard physical job)

Now multiply your estimated BMR by your activity factor. You’ve just calculated your estimated maintenance calories.

Next, if you're looking to gain muscle add 10-20% to your estimated maintenance. If you're looking to lose fat take off 10-20% to your estimated maintenance.

Remember these numbers are only an estimate, which is fine for the moment. We’ll look more at how we can make them more accurate for us later on.

[+ Macronutrients+]

Once we’ve got our target calorie requirements sorted, we can look at the next most important thing, macronutrients. There are three major macronutrients; protein, fats and carbohydrates. Protein is essential for building muscle and involved in almost every other process in the body. The need for protein when strength training is impressed upon us almost constantly. However, much of this is driven by supplement companies looking to sell their products and studies have shown that the actual amount of protein required to build muscle and strength most effectively is much lower than this, around 0.82 grams per lbs of body weight a day. That is still more than the average person is getting, but far below the numbers that many supplement companies and magazines recommend. Protein contains 4 calories per gram.

Fat is essential for, among many other things, hormones and cell functioning. From a macronutrient stand point the type of fat e.g. Saturated, unsaturated, trans fat, is largely irrelevant. Most of us easily meet our daily fat requirements of ~1-2 grams per kg of bodyweight a day, though it is worth keeping in mind if we're going really low on calories. Fats contain 9 calories per gram.

Finally, carbohydrates are the only non-essential macronutrient. They aren’t needed for survival, but they usually taste good! Plus, they may be helpful for improving performance as you’ll find you have more energy around times you eat more carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram.

[+ Estimating macronutrient requirements+]

Protein in grams= (Body weight in kg) X 1.8 OR (Body weight in lbs) X 0.8

Fat in grams= (Body weight in kg) X 1 OR (Body weight in lbs) X 0.4

[+ Task: Calculate+]

Either using the spreadsheet in your pack or manually using the methods I talk about above, calculate your starting calorie and macronutrient goals. If you’re not yet positive whether you want to be focusing on gaining muscle or losing fat first, then calculate figures for both. It’s useful to be roughly aware of what both will be anyway even if you don’t use them immediately.


[+ Micronutrients+]

As with protein, micronutrient needs are often over-exaggerated. While vitamins and minerals are essential, as long as you’re eating a diet with a variety of fruit, vegetables and meat then it’s incredibly unlikely you’ll be deficient in micronutrients. For most micronutrients, there’s no benefit to supplementing unless you are aware for some reason you have a deficiency. However, there are two possible exceptions. Those of us who live in the drearier parts of the world are unlikely to be able to synthesise as much Vitamin D as may be necessary for our bodies to function as well as they could do during the winter months, so it may be worth supplementing. This is because Vitamin D is largely synthesised through the sun shining on our skin. There is also some research to suggest that supplementing Zinc can be beneficial for some hormone levels, such as testosterone, although an equal amount of research suggests this is not the case.

[+ Flexible dieting+]

You may have noticed so far I’ve not mentioned a single food. I’ve not told you what to eat or what not to eat, I’ve simply explained some concepts and talked about numbers. That’s because that’s what matters. There’s no magic foods or even foods that are “good” or “bad”. There’s only what’s right for us, the question we should be asking ourselves is; is our diet taking us closer to our fitness goals? In terms of fat loss, muscle gain and strength that just encompasses what we’ve already talked about. Are we hitting our calorie and macronutrient goals?

If that’s all that matters then that leaves us with a lot of freedom to eat the foods we want. The food you eat should be enjoyable. Firstly, considering how important what you eat is, if you’re eating food you don’t enjoy there’s going to come a time when you aren’t going to want to eat it anymore and you’ll stop following your plan. Changes take time so consistency is so vital for success. Why not make it as difficult as possible to fail? Secondly, what’s the point of doing something you don’t enjoy when you could be doing something you do enjoy, to get the same result?

If we’re limiting what food we can eat, maybe by classifying food into “good” and “bad” foods or maybe by having a strict meal plan you stick to, then that’s inflexible. Some people enjoy their entire life revolving around the gym and their diet and that’s fine, but some don’t. Most people want a balance where they run their own lives. If we can achieve the same results from eating what we want to eat and being flexible with it, then to me that sounds preferable! You can go out and eat with your friends and family with no worries and you don’t have to worry about planning your meals all the time. All that matters is that you hit your calorie and macronutrient numbers every day and you can do that however you like.

Some factors are probably going to influence how we go about this. If we’re eating to lose weight, we COULD eat a few chocolate bars and some protein powder in a day, reach our numbers and lose weight. However, you’ll probably be hungry for a lot of the day. Alternatively, if we’re having to eat 4000-5000 calories a day to gain weight then we’re going to have to eat a lot of chicken and rice in a day to make that up. If that’s the case, then we have much more room in our diet for things like chocolate bars and higher fat and sugar foods. Think of it like a budget. If you’re earning £50,000 a year then you can probably afford that new sports car you’re after, but if you’re only earning £15,000 a year then that maybe isn’t the best use of your money.

We’ve looked at the basics of what you need to do to get the results you want to get while enjoying your life. You may still have questions about other aspects of nutrition, feel free to contact me at [email protected] with any questions you may have.

[+ Task: Prepare+]

Have a think about some meal ideas and maybe even get preparing them. Remember, take into account your goals and therefore your calorie and macronutrient targets. Maybe divide your daily targets by 3 or 4 (depending on how many meals you eat a day) then develop some meal ideas based on those targets? Maybe you prefer snacking? Think up a few snack ideas that fit into your diet.

[+ Summary+]

p<>{color:#000;}. You won’t reach your goals if your diet isn’t suitable.

p<>{color:#000;}. It’s important we enjoy our diet.

p<>{color:#000;}. Focus on the right calories and macronutrients for you and your goals.

[+ Day 5+]

[+ Tracking Progress+]

Ensuring we’re getting closer to the future we want, while enjoying today.

[+ Why we track progress+]

It’s important for us to track the progress we’re making regularly for a number of reasons. Firstly, and probably most obviously, is that if we’re not making the progress we want to, we can look at why. Secondly, it can motivate us. With progress taking time, sometimes we only really realise how far we’ve come when we look back at where we were. It’s a bit like this; we may live with family or friends who we see us every day and to them nothing really changes, but then we see someone who we only see 6 months or so and they immediately say “you’ve changed”. In their mind, they have the image of you from when they last saw you, which is in much greater contrast to the small changes the people who see you regularly see.


From the start of the book we assumed that your goals were either to lose fat, gain muscle or gain strength. The advice given has been targetted towards these goals. It’s now time to really specify those goals for yourself. When we have those goals clear in our mind, we have a vision, and when we have a vision every decision we make is an easy one. We just ask “Does this fit with the vision I have for myself or does it not?”.

Here’s some tips for better goal setting, known as SMART goal setting:


Be clear on what your goals are.


Make sure your goal is quantifiable so you know there’s no doubt whether or not you’ve reached it.


It’s great to be ambitious, but make sure your goals you set are realistic in the time frame you set. Anything is achievable, but take your goals one step at a time.


Make sure your goals you set are relevant to your vision and to the place where you want to end up.

Time Bound

If we don’t set a time limit on our goals, we quickly find they drag on and on and on…

Keep these tips in mind when reading the rest of this chapter.

[+ Where to begin?+]

The most difficult decision to make when considering your goals is often the most basic one. Do I start by focusing on gaining muscle, losing fat or both? As we previously mentioned, it’s almost always quicker and more effective to focus on one rather than both, so we can discount that option. If you’re overweight and carrying a lot of additional fat then it’ll be a straight forward decision to lose fat first. If in doubt, it’s usually better to lean towards gaining muscle first, rather than losing fat. If you’re not carrying significant fat, losing weight will result in you losing fat, but also losing some of the muscle that you already have. Then when you go to gain muscle you’ll also gain some fat with that and probably find your body composition isn’t so far off what it originally was.

However, if you were to try to gain muscle first, you’d gain a good amount of muscle and a little fat, but when you finally came to losing fat (if you did intend to), you’d end up keeping a lot more muscle and having an all-round better body composition than you otherwise would have had if you attempted to lose fat first. It also means you’ll be able to eat more when trying to lose that fat afterwards due to the muscle requiring more energy to maintain it. As always, if you have any queries, email me at [email protected] with a few photos and I’ll help you out.

[+ What to track?+]

Once we know what we’re aiming for, we know what to track. It’s important we use a measure that is relevant to our goals, otherwise how do we actually know if we’re getting closer to our ultimate goal or not? If your goals are purely strength, then every month or so track how your lifts are coming along. Once you get used to the lifts and more comfortable performing them, then consider 1RM testing. This where you’ll take a session to test the maximum weight you can lift for one repetition. You may wish to perform this for the three major lifts. For those who are not concerned with how much weight they’re lifting then 1RM testing may be an unnecessary risk, as when handling weights close to our maximum there is more potential for injury due to muscle or tendon tears. Alternatively, simply track how much weight you’re lifting during your working sets in the gym using your normal rep ranges and use this to goal set.

Tracking body composition is a bit more difficult for a number of reasons. Firstly, if we’re tracking how we look, we’re having to take something qualitative and find a way to quantify it. Secondly, if we’re attempting to track body fat, then there is no easy and effective way to do this, it’s notoriously difficult. There are many ways to measure body fat, the easiest being using body callipers. These are very inaccurate as it doesn’t take into account your body fat distribution and you have to make sure you’re measuring the same part of your body each time. However, as long you recognise it isn’t an accurate body fat measure, but are using it to track your own progress only, then it can be useful. But for all its flaws I don’t think it’s a necessary measure whatsoever and I wouldn’t usually bother recommending it.

So, if tracking body fat isn’t that useful, what is? I believe a combination of methods is the way to go. The most necessary is progress pictures. Take pictures using consistent poses, in consistent lighting conditions, every month. A month is long enough to know whether something is working or whether there is something we need to change. We can complement this by weighing ourselves once a week. Be aware weight can fluctuate wildly depending on our hydration levels, how much we’ve eaten that day, salt intake, glycogen levels and many other factors. For this reason, we need try and control what we can. Always try and weigh yourself first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up, before eating anything. Track your weight week-to-week and look for a pattern. Don’t be concerned if your weight fluctuates a lot, but instead notice patterns over a period of a month or so. Alternatively, some people weigh themselves daily and notice the patterns that develop, however the concern is that this can become obsessive. Use your weight changes to back up any hunches you may have when looking at your progress photos.

Some people don’t like to track their weight as they find it uncomfortable and that is perfectly fine. If you choose not to track your weight I’d recommend taking progress pictures every two weeks rather than every month to make up for less frequent feedback. Obviously, you’ll see less of a difference in your pictures every two weeks, but it will let you know if anything is going really astray.

[+ How to track+]

For the most part, this is very straight forward, go to “Tracking Weight and Calories” in your spreadsheet pack. There is space for you to add the date, your weight (and the unit of measurement your prefer to use) and also your current calorie intake, which can help you decide if it needs changing over a period of time. Tracking macros can be a bit trickier though. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it easy to track your calories and macros. I’d recommend ignoring features like the estimates for your calorie intakes and the percentages of where those calories should come from, the app calculates them in a flawed, archaic way which is useless in practice. Instead, use the way we talked about to calculate them and use MyFitnessPal for what it’s good at, tracking those numbers for you. Unless your calorie intake is exceptionally low, you can probably ignore counting fats. We know that carbs are non-essential so there’s no need to count them, which just leaves protein and calories for each day. That also means that if you don’t fancy using an app to track your intake, you can easily just add up calories and protein on food labels. I’ve already mentioned the “Tracking Lifts” spreadsheet in your spreadsheet pack for tracking your gym sessions. It’s easy and quick to use and can be really exciting to look back on and see how far you’ve come.

[+ When to make changes+]

Now we’ve collected all the data, we need to know what to do with it. Sometimes because we’re so keen to get to our goals as quickly as possible we react too hastily when things don’t look quite how we’d like them too. It’s important to remember it’s a marathon not a sprint, it’s about long-term progress. The body is constantly changing and as we’ve looked at none of our methods of data collection are perfect, so we should practice some patience and be sure to build up a strong, clear picture before reacting and making changes to what we’re doing. Give it time before you make changes, there’s no need to obsess about your progress and your routine, just trust in the process. Instead, take some time once a month to look at your progress pictures and what your weight has been doing and make a calculated decision on your next steps. Then, once you’ve made your changes, stand by them until the next month. If we’re always changing our diet and our training constantly, then we don’t know what has made the difference to the results we’re getting. It’s like a science experiment, we want to change our variable, but keep everything else controlled so we can identify what really is making a difference. This mental side of things can easily become the most difficult part of training, if you want advice on what to do next or on how your progress is going; contact me at [email protected]

So, when do we make changes? First, be realistic with your expectations. Secondly, are you focusing on gaining muscle right now or losing fat? Now, let’s say you’re looking at your photos between now and last month and you can see that it looks like you haven’t lost fat or you haven’t gained the muscle you wanted. Do the scales support this? If you haven’t been losing/ gaining the weight you intended, then it’s time to make a change. Try adding/ reducing a few hundred calories from your diet for that month and go again. Rinse and repeat until things are going in the right direction! There’s no need to be hasty and try and get quicker results, it’s better to be sure we’re influencing the right things and making calculated decisions.

What if the opposite is happening and we’ve overshot on our diet. We might be losing weight too quickly and muscle along with fat, or gaining weight too quickly and fat along with muscle. It may be obvious from the photos this is happening, but again, do the scales support this? If we’re losing/ gaining over 1kg a week, this could easily be the case. Otherwise, your expectations may be a bit off. It’s inevitable you will gain some fat while gaining muscle, and lose some muscle while losing fat. We’re just trying to limit this as much as possible. So, if that is the case and we’re losing/ gaining weight at a rate of over 1kg a week AND it’s clear from the pictures we’re not quite getting the results we want, then we can take/add a few hundred calories onto our daily requirements and see where we end up next month. Again, rinse and repeat. Hopefully, now you can see why it didn’t matter so much that our estimated calories aren’t perfect to begin with.

If things are going in the right direction, but maybe not at the speed we want, first look at your expectations; are you expecting too much too soon? Secondly, there's no harm at all having a bit of an experiment around. Add/ take away a few hundred calories for a month and see if things start moving at a better pace. It's all a balancing act, but 0.75kg- 1kg weight change a week is a good guideline.

This may all seem a lot to take in and a lot of responsibility, but stick by what I’ve suggested, be patient you’ll be surprised at how easy it seems soon enough. You will quickly learn more about your body, what calories you need to maintain your weight and what is about right for you to gain muscle and lose weight off.

[+ Task: Goals+]

Go back to your vision of the life you want, by now hopefully it’s even clearer than it was a few days ago. Using the goal setting we talked about in this chapter, set some SMART goals based on that vision.

Now work backwards and set some intermittent goals. What are the goals in 5 years’ time? What about in a years’ time? Now, what do you want to have achieved in a months’ time?

Remember, you want your goals to be specific, but you don’t want too many that it’s impossible to keep track of them all.

Be ambitious with your goals, don’t limit yourself or your vision for what your life could be. But don’t worry that your goals are set in concrete, you might find that your goals get refined in time as you learn what you really want from life, just make sure it’s not fear that’s defining them.


p<>{color:#000;}. Tracking progress makes sure we’re going in the right direction.

p<>{color:#000;}. Set SMART goals to keep yourself motivated.

p<>{color:#000;}. Be patient with progress, but know when something needs changing.

[+ Parting Guidance+]

Hopefully, you feel far more confident than you did 5 days ago about achieving your fitness goals, but not only that, doing it in a way that means you can enjoy the rest of your life. Much of the information we hear about fitness is focused on sacrifice and making changes that simply aren’t enjoyable, I want you to know that this isn’t necessary. Hopefully, you’ve realised you can live your life to its full potential while achieving your goals.

You’ll probably still have lots of questions about what to do next, as I’ve said from the start please fire them my way, I’d love to hear from you and give you a hand if you need it.

I’d really appreciate any feedback you have on this eBook. My goal is to educate more people on how they can achieve their fitness goals while still doing all the things they want in life. In a few days’ time, I’ll be sending you an email with a 30 second feedback form, I’d be so grateful if you could fill that out and let me know what you thought of this. If you have any other thoughts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Email me at [email protected]

Finally, give the coupon code GymBuddy to a friend who you feel could benefit from the lessons in Learn Strength In 5 Days, for 50% of their copy at LearnStrength.com. Let's spread the benefits of properly learning strength training!

[+ Task: Take Action+]

It’s time to turn your vision into reality. We’ve done the planning, now it’s time to put that into action. You can read every book in the world on the best way to reach your goals, but at the end of the day if you do nothing with that knowledge then nothing will happen.

Don’t wait, do something today to build your vision, then do a bit more tomorrow and a bit more the next day. Start small if it feels daunting, but just do something. Achieving your goals is all in the doing.


The fitness industry is full of jargon and abbreviations which can be extremely confusing. I’ve tried to keep things simple, but where I’ve failed I’ve added a definition below that should hopefully make things clearer. If you have more terms that I’ve missed or my explanation is as good as it could be, then let me know at [email protected] and I’ll sort it out.

1 Repetition Maximum, the maximum weight you can lift for one complete repetition.

A number used to quantify the activity you do in a day. Used when calculating your calorie requirements, activity factor is the number you multiply your Basal Metabolic Rate by to gain an estimate of maintenance calories. A higher activity factor means you are more active during a day.

A physical change by the body in response to a stimulus. For example, strength is an adaptation in the muscle is response to it being overloaded.

Barbell- A long bar, usually loaded with weighted plates. Used to perform many resistance training exercises.

Basal Metabolic Rate- Amount of energy used to keep the body functioning at rest. Used when calculating daily calorie requirements.

Body composition- What the body is made up of i.e. muscle, fat, bone etc.

Body fat callipers- A tool used to estimate body fat percentage. Body fat callipers measure skin folds by pinching them.

The percentage of overall body mass which is made up of body fat.

Calorie- A unit of energy. Most commonly associated with food and the body.

Calorie deficit- When more calories are being expended than are being consumed the body is in a calorie deficit. Necessary for the body to lose weight,

Calorie surplus- When more calories are being consumed than are being expended the body is in a calorie surplus. Necessary for the body to gain weight.

Coccyx- A collection of small bones at the base of the spine. Commonly referred to as the tail bone.

Concentric phase- The phase of a resistance training exercise involving movement when the muscle is shortening.

Deltoid- Shoulder muscles at the top of the arm.

Dumbbell- A short bar with weights either side. Used to perform many resistance training exercises, often in pairs.

Eccentric phase- The phase of a resistance training exercise involving movement when the muscle is lengthening.

Form- The technique, posture and movement used when performing exercises.

Frequency- In exercise programme design, refers to how often you train.

Glutes- Gluteus maximus muscle. A strong hip extensor, it is also used in external rotation of the hip.

Hamstrings- A collection of muscles on the posterior of the thigh involved in hip extension and knee flexion.

Hip crease- When bending at the hips, the crease that if formed.

Hip hinge- The movement of keeping the torso extended and bending only at the hip.

Intra-abdominal- Within the abdomen.

Intra-thoracic- Within the thorax.

Lats- Latissimus dorsi muscle. Used in a massive variety of roles, including adduction of the arm and stability of the shoulder and back.

Lean body mass- The total mass of the body minus fat mass.

Lifting- Colloquialism for the act of resistance training.

Macronutrients- Type of food required in large amounts in the diet. Typically considered to be: carbohydrates, fat and protein.

Metabolism- The chemical reactions required to keep an organism alive. Often also used to refer to metabolic rate.

Micronutrients- Type of food required in small amounts in the diet, such as vitamins and minerals.

Muscle fibre- A component of muscle. Muscle fibres are responsible for contraction.

Powerlifting- A sport based on lifting the maximum weight possible in the bench press, deadlift and squat.

Progressive overload- The principle of gradually increasing the stress on the body to increase strength and muscle gain.

Quads- Quadricep muscles. Collection of muscles on the anterior of the thigh mainly involved in knee extension.

Range of motion- The movement of a joint during an exercise.

Rep- Repetition. The number of times an exercise is performed during a set.

Rep range- The number of reps we may aim to perform during a set, within a certain range. Different rep ranges may elicit different adaptations.

Rest periods- The amount of time we have to rest in between sets.

Set- A collection of reps broken up by rest periods.

SMART goals- A method of improving goal setting.

Squat rack- A piece of exercise equipment often used to perform squats. It may include safety bars and bar hooks to support a barbell.

Trapezius- A muscle of the upper back, involved in a variety of functions to do with the scapula and arms.

Valsalva manoeuvre- A mechanism to increase intra-thoracic pressure to support the torso when lifting heavy weights.

Volume- In exercise programme design, refers to (the total number of repetitions) x (amount of weight lifted) for a given time. An incredibly important factor in muscle and strength gain.

Working sets- The sets that you track that are not part of your warm up.

Learn Strength In 5 Days

Does this sound familiar to you? You started your new exercise regime and diet plan and it went great, but eventually you stopped doing it because it became so unenjoyable and restrictive on your life. Or maybe you’ve never started going to the gym because there’s so much information out there and you don’t even know where to begin? You’re not the only one There’s more people than ever joining the gym and lifting weights with the goal to change how they look or feel. However, the percentage of people who reach their goals within a year is in single digits… What if there was another option? What if we could enjoy our lives AND enjoy reaching our goals? What if we could use scientifically proven advice we know we can trust to get great results, but in a way that is flexible and fits around our life? The Learn Strength In 5 Days eBook focuses on the proven actions that will get us the best results, while we forget about wasting our time and effort with the things that don’t really matter. In short, we reach our goals in the gym and enjoy our lives a lot more! What do you get? -50+ pages of scientifically supported gym education. -Designed specifically for achieving long term, consistent muscle gain, strength gain and fat loss. -Make the choices on what you want to eat, how you want to workout and when to make changes. An education in strength training for life. -Reach your goals, quickly and effectively while living a life you love and feeling awesome! -Newbie friendly– detailed, yet clear explanations with pictures, diagrams and glossary. -Personalised diet advice for YOU and YOUR goals using the nutrition calculator. -Spreadsheets to easily track your progress as you get closer to your dreams. -Tasks to perform as you read to get you closer to your goals everyday. -Learn when to make changes to keep progressing long into the future.

  • Author: Alex Rothwell
  • Published: 2017-08-31 20:35:25
  • Words: 11911
Learn Strength In 5 Days Learn Strength In 5 Days