Burn fat, build muscle and strength, and access the fountain of youth

If you think you know it all already, see how you rank on the Beginner to Badass: The 10 Step Checklist to Strength and Muscle. 

It all started for me when I was about 12 years old. My Dad had boxes of bodybuilding magazines in the basement of our childhood home.

My older brother and I would look and read for hours and marvel at the physiques that looked like they were chiseled out of stone.

My Dad was former military, so physical and mental fitness was very important in our family.

My bro and I would train all the time. By train, I mean doing pushups, situps, and endless curls.

I was a tiny kid growing up. As I got into my late teens, I tried everything under the sun to get bigger and stronger as I wanted to perform better for sports.

However, I had very little success. I was going at it alone and jumping from program to program. Many of the programs I tried were bodybuilding programs that were made for guys on the “juice” (steroids).

Eventually, I wised up and found the coaches who were doing things the right way.

I learned from them and invested in being coached by them. That’s when I made real progress.

I’m here to save you the trouble and time necessary to set up a solid strength training program that will build muscle and burn fat.


I see so many beginners and even intermediates mess this up. Consider this required reading before you think about starting another program.

Why You Should Read This?


If you want to build a head-turning body that performs as well as it looks, read this guide.

As we age, just about everybody loses muscle mass and their metabolic rate declines (the rate at which their body consumes energy).

Did you know that people after the age of 25 experience a 2-4% loss in their resting metabolic rate (their body’s ability to consume and use calories) and a 5 lb loss in muscle mass every decade?! Whattt!? No bueno.

Yes, this will happen to most people.

But if you’re reading this, you’re not most people. And, I’ve got your back.


I’m going to show you how to avoid what most believe is the inevitable physical decline.

Not only can you build a leaner and stronger body through strength training, you can also reduce or eliminate injuries, improve your posture, build strong bones and tendons, and increase your muscle mass.

All this will help you stave off the aging process.

No matter if you’re 20 or 60+, settle in, grab a cup of coffee and get ready to expand your mind.

6 Strength Training Myths That Need to Die


Myth #1: Do crunches to get abs

A common misconception is that if you do crunches and strengthen your core that you’ll magically lose fat from your midsection and have a ripped six pack.

The body doesn’t work that way, and if anyone tells you differently, they’re trying to take your money.

The body loses fat by being in a caloric deficit. And, it loses fat from everywhere, not just one spot.


Generally, as men lose fat, they lose it from all over the body and lastly from their mid-section.

Women are no different than men in that they lose fat from all over the body, but fat on the hips/thighs is usually the last to go.

Losing fat solely from your stomach is not possible, unless you get surgery.

And, you can’t “spot-reduce” from any individual part of your body either.

If you want to have “toned” arms, slim thighs, or a six-pack, that is achieved through strength training and having low body fat.


Now, the more muscle you have, the more you can get away with higher body fat and still look “lean,” but many people aren’t carrying around that much muscle mass.

If you train a muscle properly, it will grow and increase in size, but if you don’t lose the fat covering it, you’ll never fully reveal it in all its glory.

Myth #2: Workout with weights 5-6 days a week


I fell for this one hard. I’ve been at this fitness game for a while, but back in the day, a lot of the information I consumed and that was readily available was put out by bodybuilders. Many bodybuilders train using body-part splits.

A typical example of “chest day” (every Monday AKA International chest day)….


  1. Flat bench press.
  2. Incline bench press.
  3. Decline bench press.
  4. Machine and/or dumbbell versions of the above exercises.
  5. Dumbbell flyes and cable flyes, all at different angles of course.

Not only is this overkill to the max, but the people who can handle this type of workload have years and years of training experience and are often “enhanced” (use steroids).

Here’s a common example of what a week of body-part split training looks like…


Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Back

Wednesday: Shoulders

Thursday: Biceps/Triceps

Friday: Legs

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Rest

This type of training is not time efficient and is highly ineffective for the vast majority of people and their goals.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not poo-pooing on body-part splits.

They can be very effective if you’re not a beginner and when programmed intelligently.

The main problem with body-part splits is that they don’t provide enough training frequency to build muscle and strength if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate lifter, since you are only training a body-part once per week.

Training each muscle group 2-3 times per week allows for adequate frequency and stimulation of muscles to grow and get strong fast.

Myth #3: I’m a woman; I don’t want to get big and bulky

This is a huge misconception, and I encounter it with almost every one of my female clients. People associate women who strength train with female bodybuilders in magazines. They are often ripped to the max, veiny, and have muscular defined pecs.

Many women are afraid that lifting weights heavier than the “pink” 5 lb dumbbells will make them look like that.

“My dumbbells are blue…you a-hole!”

This is completely false.


Women who look like that have decades of training experience, likely use steroids and are often photo-shopped (the same is true for the huge ripped dudes in the men’s bodybuilding magazines).

Simply put, women don’t have high levels of testosterone like men do, and this limits the rate, ability, and amount of muscle they can build.

This is a good thing, a little goes a long way.

Women who strength train often have the desired physique that many women and men find appealing.



Still don’t believe me?

Let’s just say you’re a woman (or man for that matter) and you’re lifting heavy weights and eating right.

You’re not going to wake up one day, look in the mirror, and say “OH SHIT! I’M HUGE! AHHHHH!!!”

You see yourself in the mirror every day and will see the changes you are making to your body.

Gaining muscle is hard, and happens over time. If a body part becomes too big for your tastes, just back off on training it. Losing muscle is easy.

So, if you’re a woman and you’re wondering if this guide applies to you, yes, it does.

This guide applies to both men and women equally.

Myth #4: I want to be “toned”

I’ll keep this one short. Getting “toned” is not achieved by lifting light dumbbells for 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps.

The “toned” look that many people look for is simply the result of having low body fat with a decent amount of muscle.

This is built through strength training and a healthy diet.

Myth #5: Bikini ready in 30 days, Ripped abs in 2 weeks, Gain 10 lbs of muscle in 30 days, etc.

If it was easy to slim down, build 10 lbs of muscle, and have ripped abs in just weeks, everyone would look amazing.

How many times have you procrastinated before your summer vacation, reunion, or even wedding and tried to cram months or even years of physique results into weeks?

I know I have, and trust me, it doesn’t work.

It doesn’t matter if you have the best training and nutrition program on the planet, the body doesn’t work that way.


You are smart and not easily fooled, but marketers in the fitness and supplement industry are really good at selling and they get the best of us from time to time.

Set yourself up for success by having realistic expectations before beginning your training program.

What does realistic look like for a beginner for fat loss and muscle gain?


Fat Loss

1-2 pounds per week

Muscle Gain

0.5 pounds per week

These aren’t exact numbers and it is possible to exceed them, but it’s a good baseline.

In your first year of training it is possible to lose 50-100 pounds of fat and gain 20-25* pounds of muscle.

*Women can expect about half these amounts

Those are impressive numbers, but far from many claims you may see from supplement companies advertising.

Keep in mind, these numbers are based on proper training and nutrition protocols while staying consistent and injury-free.


Muscle becomes much more difficult to build after the first year of training. “Newbie” gains will decrease a fair amount.

Here’s how much muscle to expect to gain after year one…

Year 2

10-12* lbs

Year 3

5-6* lbs

Year 4 and beyond:

2-3* lbs

*Women can expect about half these amounts

Fat loss is not related to years of training experience. 1-2 pounds per week can be achieved by both the beginner and advanced trainee.


And yes, fat can be lost at a higher rate than 1-2 pounds per week, but often it’s usually not healthy or sustainable.

What often happens when people crash diet to lose a lot of weight fast, is that they are miserable while doing it and often gain that weight back because they haven’t built healthy sustainable habits.

Myth #6: I need supplements to build muscle



Read my post The Truth About Nutrition and Supplements.

So, now you know what doesn’t work, let me introduce you to what does work.

Strength Training 101


Strength training in its simplest form is picking up something heavy, putting in down and then repeating multiple times.

Then, the next workout you either increase the weight, reps, sets, tempo, etc. to keep progressing.

Simple? Yes, but, having a plan is crucial to your gym results and increasing your “hotness factor.”

Principle #1: Pick a program and stick with it

The fastest way to frustrate yourself, not make any gains, and quit altogether is to program hop.

Program hopping is getting super excited about a workout program and crushing it for a few weeks, then seeing a new “shiny” and “better” workout program, and immediately switching over to it.

Ultimately, this comes from the desire to see results instantly and wondering if you should try a different program if you don’t see results “fast enough.”

There’s no getting around it.

Patience, time and discipline are required when it comes to building muscle, losing fat and transforming your body.

Principle #2: Check your ego

I remember when I was attending summer basketball workouts at my high school. They were offered to freshmen who were going to try out for the team in the fall.

One day, all the boys were in the weight room. I was hanging with my workout partner and he was repping out 95lbs (big boy weights) on the bench press. I had never benched before but, if he could do it, I obviously could.

I unracked the weight, and was immediately pinned by it. A huge football player came over and pulled it off my chest with one hand and just shook his head.

It was a humbling experience.

I learned immediately that if I wanted to get stronger, I needed to check my ego at the door and use weights that I could handle with good form.

Checking your ego will keep you safe, reduce risk of injury, correctly stimulate muscles, and speed up your progress.

Principle #3: Focus on Foundational & Compound Movements

Stick to these tried and true movements that are proven to build strength, muscle and lose fat…


  • Horizontal push – chest press variations
  • Vertical push – shoulder press variations


  • Horizontal pull – row variations
  • Vertical pull – pull-up / chin-up variations


  • Back squat
  • Front squat
  • Goblet squat


  • Deadlift
  • Romanian deadlift
  • Hip thrusts
  • Glute bridge variations


  • Front
  • Reverse
  • Lateral (side variations)

Loaded carries and core

  • Farmer’s walk
  • Plank variations

Vanity Work

“DAMN…I’m fine!”

There’s nothing wrong with adding in some extra arm work if you’re a dude wanting to fill out the sleeves of your t-shirts.

The same goes for women wanting to get dat booty. Some extra squats, deadlifts and hip thrusts should do the trick.

But, make sure the foundation of your program is based on the exercises above and that extra work is programmed intelligently.

Choosing a Program



If you’re looking for a solid beginner program, I’d recommend checking out Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe or StrongLifts 5×5. They are tried and true programs that deliver results.

If you’re ready to stop guessing if a particular program is right for you and want to fast-track your results, then definitely consider my Online Training Program.

There’s no shortcut to doing the work, but my custom training and nutrition programming can keep you quickly progressing where one-size-fits-all programs cannot.

Learn more here.

See how you rank on Beginner to Badass: The 10 Step Checklist to Strength and Muscle.

Sign up in the box below and get it for free.

P.S. Let me know if you have any questions about strength training in the comments below. I’m happy to help.