I first started lifting weights in college. Unfortunately, I was never able to find good guidance anywhere. I did plenty of internet research and read a couple of books – but it was all very confusing. Heck I even talked to a personal trainer at the gym. The routines were too long, complicated and never really produced any good results. Pretty soon I gave up.
I wish I hadn’t, I wish I knew then what I know now. I would be so much further ahead today...
Squats. Dead-lifts. Pull Ups. Dips. That’s it. That all you need to do. The real trick is making sure you progress from one session to the next.
You don’t need to spend 15 minutes on 6 different curl and triceps variations like I used to.
Sets vs. Reps
There is no magic number here. The key is to make sure that you are getting more reps than the last session or doing more weight. Also, change things up every so often. If it helps, try to aim for 25 total reps for each exercise (less if you are going super heavy).
Again, variety is important. Do an exercise explosively for low reps, but high weight one day. Do it for high reps and moderate weight the next.
In my opinion 2-3 times a week is ideal for me. But that's because I get bored fast. Some people have had good results working out more – I just don't want to spend any more time in the gym then I have to.
What about Cardio?
I used to spend 30 minutes on the treadmill 5 days a week. Not a good idea. Do hard sprints (4-8 100m sprints) a day or two every week on your non-workout days.