Online Manual

Fitness Training

There are many reasons you can be interested in fitness; you want a healthier lifestyle, to become strong, or simply want to look good. Whatever the reason, there is a lot of information available for both the novice and professional. This course caters toward beginners, to give you a starting point for your new interest. Outside of this course, other helpful sites are and Youtube can show you how-to videos, motivational videos, music, or new exercises to help you on your fitness journey. provides articles on nearly every subject and has some simple beginner tools that you can use for free as well. 

Fitness Genres


There are many reasons people become interested in fitness. They might need an outlet, or want to look good,simply want a healthy lifestyle. If you walk into a gym, you will see a variety of physiques and goals for each person.This section will describe powerlifters, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts to give you a better  idea of why some people workout.


Powerlifters come in all shapes and sizes. They focus on maximum weight movement versus body appearance.  Powerlifters do high-weight, low-repetition exercises that engage higher-end muscle fibers. The focus is on 3 exercises: bench press, squats, and deadlifts. These exercise are done at powerlifting meets and competitors will train all 3 regularly, with little isolation work. Powerlifters have a much higher calorie intake compared to others, since they are using much more energy and often have much more muscle mass to sustain.


Bodybuilders are most likely what you're used to seeing. They are always lean (thin, shredded, muscular are often used as well), meaning they have little body fat. Bodybuilders work high-repetition, low-weight exercises to form their physiques. Unlike powerlifters, they also focus on isolation exercises to target individual muscle groups to promote even muscle development. Their diet is very strict to their desired body weight,and body  fat percentage. Their total number of calories will have to be calculated specific to their goals. 

Fitness Enthusiasts

There are also those who simply enjoy exercise. Their only goal is to maintain a healthy body, while bodybuilders or powerlifters are working toward a performance based goals. Enthusiasts often go have little structure to their workouts and diets. They simply workout regularly and eat in moderation or chose healthy foods. 

What kind of workouts do powerlifters do?

  • low weight, high reps
  • powerlifters don't lift
  • heavy weight, low reps

What do bodybuilders typically look like?

  • they come in all shapes and sizes
  • lean

What are fitness enthusiasts goals?

  • lift maximum weight
  • build even muscular physique
  • enjoy a healthy lifestyle

The Big 3 Exercises


Whether you're just starting or have been working out for some time, there are 3 main exercises that you need to be aware of. These are bench press, squat, and deadlift. All 3 are compound movements, meaning they use multiple muscle groups and joints. When done properly they build muscle mass, encourage fat loss, and increase mobility. All 3 should be incorporated into your workout, as long as you stay safe and enjoy them. 

Bench Press

A proper bench press will use the entire chest and parts of the shoulders and back. Before you do any exercise you should warm up the muscles and joints properly to avoid injury and encourage better muscle use. You should also have a spotter to help you in case you need it. 

  1. Warm-up before you start. You could run, stretch, or do lightweight reps to get ready to bench press. 
  2. A bench press starts with weight selection. Choose an appropriate weight for you and your goals.
  3. Lay yourself on the bench, before you lift the weight off the rack, arch your back slightly so your shoulder blades and butt have the most contact with the bench. 
  4. Place your hands so that your knuckles are on top of the barbell and thumbs wrapped firmly around your fingers, and lift the weight off the rack. 
  5. Lower the barbell slowly to your chest. Follow the "nipple" rule, the barbell should come down and barely touch where your nipples are. 
  6. To start the exercise, push the weight up. Your chest should move your elbows up before your arms start to extend.
  7. At the top of the exercise, keep your elbows slightly bent and then continue with as many repetitions as you planned. 


A squat, with good form and depth, will primarily use your legs, but also activate your abs and lower back. Squats are a compound movement that involves multiple joints in your legs, however, the knee is a sensitive joint and a good warm-up will help lower your risk of injury. Just like with the bench press a spotter is recommended. 

  1. A squat starts with a warm-up. Cardio, stretching, or lightweight reps are your best options to get ready. 
  2. Load the bar with an appropriate weight for you and the number of reps you want to perform.
  3. Place the bar on your traps. You can either place it high or low based on your comfort with each. (See the link for the differences and which will work best for you.
  4. Before you begin the movement, place your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed out slightly. INSERT FOOT PHOTO (NEED PHOTOSHOP)
  5. Start the squat by slowly lowering yourself, keeping your weight in your heels. Your knees should reach a 90 degree angle or below at the bottom of every rep.
  6. Finish the squat by standing back up, be sure to keep the weight in your heels and keep your knees pointed out. 
  7. Back at the start of the rep keep your knees slightly bent and start the next rep. 


Deadlifts are an essential exercise for adding size and strength. Although muscles in your back are the major movers of this exercise, your entire body is used. Again, a proper warm-up is crucial for the best results and injury prevention. 

  1. Warm-up. The following link is a detailed presentation of proper deadlift form
  2. Add an appropriate weight for you and the number of reps you want to do. 
  3. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly out, like a squat.
  4. Grab the bar with an overhand grip. Note you may need to use an alternate grip (one overhand, one underhand grip) if the weight is too heavy to hold with the overhand grip. 
  5. While grabbing the bar, and without attempting to lift the weight, be sure to have your back in a neutral position (not arching or bending abnormally).
  6. To start the lift, simply stand up while keeping your back neutral. Keep the weight in your heels. 
  7. At the top of the rep, keep your spine in a neutral-standing position and your knees slightly bent.
  8. To finish the exercise slowly lower the bar to the floor, make sure to keep your back flat.continue until you have performed the number of reps you want to complete.

Figure 1 shows the difference between the overhand grip and the alternate grip. 

Figure 2 is showing proper deadlift form. Notice how her back remains neutral, or flat, throughout the entire exercise. 

Where should the weight be while lifting for both squats and deadlifts?

  • Your heels
  • Your toes

What can you do to warm-up?

  • You don't need to warm up.
  • Lightweight reps
  • Cardio
  • Stretching

What muscles do the most work during a deadlift?

  • Your legs
  • Your chest and shoulders
  • Your back
  • Your abs

What joint is the most sensitive in your leg?

  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Hips

Isolation Exercises


Despite the big 3 exercises being a essential, there is also a need for isolating individual muscles and groups of muscles. Isolation work helps muscles develop evenly and can keep your workouts interesting. There are many ways to do these exercise and some of those options will be explored in this section. 

Free Weights

Free weights include a range of equipment you'll find in the gym. They could be a dumbbells, different varieties of barbells, curling bars, or even bands and chains. Outside the big 3 exercise, this equipment can be used for various exercises to work different, smaller muscle groups. Go to to view different muscles and the exercises you can be doing. The benefit of doing free weights for isolation exercises really comes down to these

  • They use stabilizer muscles. These are small muscles in and around major muscle groups that help hold everything together. 
  • There's no "cheating" with free weights. Cable and machine exercises are useful, but the mechanisms can eliminate some of the weight from an exercise.
  • There are more variations possible then with machines or cables. Free weights can be moved or angled in your hands to help target or workout different parts of your body, cables and machines have set tracks.


Cable exercises are another great way to work smaller muscle groups. They are any machine, usually look similar to the one above. Just like free weights, cables offer unique benefits and should be incorporated into you workouts.

  • They offer continuous resistance during the entire exercise. Essentially, your muscle is always working to hold the weight.
  • They are safe. Unlike free weights, cables are relatively safe to use since there is a stricter limit on motion. 

The image is a typical setup for cable equipment for any gym. There are some variations, and some maybe smaller than the one shown above, but the basic concept remains the same. 


Machines are another way you can do isolation exercises. Machines are a great asset to use during your workouts because they are specific. They can help teach good form for other exercises, but are also safe to use. They have no free motion and can only be used one specific way, making them safe to use, but also makes them able to be used extensively for physical therapy. 

What are the small muscles that free weight exercise will use?

  • Stabilizer Muscles
  • Primary Muscles
  • Secondary Muscles

What is another benefit of using free weights?

  • Helps with good form
  • Can be used for therapy
  • There are lots of variations

What is the primary benefit of cable exercises?

  • They help with form
  • They give you continuous resistance
  • They can used for therapy

Machines can be used for therapy

  • True
  • False

Training Split


The exercises you do are just as important as the way you train. There are different systems, but the following sections are for the novice athlete. The objective for any training program, or split, is to provide enough rest and exposure for each muscle.

Upper body-Lower Body

The first type of training program you can do is an upper body-lower body. This simply means that one day you workout everything above your waist, and the next time you're in the gym, everything below your waist. An upper/lower body training split is good for the starter for many reasons, the most important being that it gives you the most rest. Lots of rest also means that you spend very little time in the gym. It's tough to start going exercising, much less for an hour a day, everyday. You'll also benefit from an upper/lower split because it means that you're getting great muscle exposure during those days.

 An upper/lower training split will look similar to what's below, but you can change it to fit you and your goals.

Based on 7 day cycle. Note: you can include back in either your upper or lower body day.
Day 1: Upper body

  • work chest, shoulders, arms, and back (optional)
  • include some light cardio

Day 2Rest day

Day 3: Lower body

  • work your legs and back (optional)
  • include some light cardio

Day 4: Rest day

Day 5: Upper body, include light cardio

Day 6: Rest day

Day 7: Lower body, include light cardio

The next week, start with a rest day and continue alternating. You want to increase the weight or the reps, as well as increase the cardio intensity or duration. 


Another option for you is a push-pull-leg split. During your push days you work chest and shoulders, pull you work your back, and then of course leg day. This training is more intense, but will spread fatigue throughout your body so you have time to recover. This training split will also have you in the gym more in the week.

Based on a 7 day cycle. Include cardio each day except for your rest day. 

Day 1: Push day

Day 2: Leg day

Day 3: Pull day

Day 4: Rest day

Day 5: Push day

Day 6: Leg day

Day 7: Pull day

Your training should continue to progress every week. The weight should get a little heavier or you should do more reps. Cardio should also progress either in duration or intensity. 

4 day split

The more comfortable you become with exercise the more challenging you can make your weekly cycle. A four day split will give you lots of time in the gym and time to focus on specific muscle groups. The split will look like something chest, legs, shoulders, back. Any type of training cycle should include cardio.

Based on a 10 day cycle.

Day 1: Chest

Day 2: Legs

Day 3: Shoulders

Day 4: Back

Day 5: Rest

Day 6: Chest

Day 7: Legs

Day 8: Shoulders

Day 9:  Back

Day 10: Rest

As always, do cardio each day except for rest days and always be increasing the intensity of your workouts every new week. 

Upper body-lower body splits are good for novices

  • True
  • False

What do you work in a push day, in a push-pull-legs split?

  • Abs
  • Arms
  • Chest and Shoulders

What's the benefit of a 4 split?

  • It gives you plenty of rest
  • It hits every major muscle group
  • You don't have to work as hard



Bulking is 1 of 3 main dietary process. A bulk is the process of adding body weight. There a couple of options if adding weight is your goal. During a bulk you are in a caloric surplus, you are eating more calories than your body needs to maintain itself. You could do a clean bulk, you're eating "clean," or healthy foods. A clean bulk will severely limit the amount of body fat you gain through the process. A dirty bulk is essentially the opposite. You eat anything and everything while adding both muscle and fat. \

Before you begin you need to do some preparation work.

  1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn at rest). Use to find your BMR.
  2. Set a goal weight and calculate the BMR for your goal weight. (You will need to slowly build your caloric intake to match your goal body weight). 
  3. Determine what type of bulk you want to do.

To start the bulk it is a good idea to know how many carbs, fats, and proteins you need to eat everyday. A helpful tool to use is You can use the website or app to help you track your progress and your food intake.

A bulk is a process and can take some time depending on how much weight you want to gain. You want to start eating your calories that were calculated from the BMR and slowly add calories to reach the BMR of your goal weight. 

  1. Start bulking by eating the calories calculated by your current BMR.
  2. Over the course of weeks or months continually increase the amount of calories you eat per day. A good rule of thumb is to add 100-200 calories per increase. 
  3. Continue adding calories until you reach the BMR of your goal weight. At this point you can keep bulking, cut, or maintain your goal weight.


Another diet process you might find yourself doing is a cut, or losing weight. Generally, a cut refers to loosing body fat. To cut you need to be in a caloric deficit, or eating fewer calories than you need. A cut and bulk are similar process, the only difference being that a cut you slowly lower your daily calories. 

Before you start to cut you need to do some quick calculations. 

  1. Calculate your current BMR.
  2. Calculate your goal weight BMR.
  3. Start by eating the calories based on your current BMR
  4. Over the next few weeks or months slowly lower your caloric intake to match your goal body weight.
  5. Determine if you want continue to cut, or bulk, or maintain.

Again, using will help you determine and keep track of your carbs, fats, and proteins you need to reach your goals. 


The last dieting process you need to know is a maintenance. This is used to stay at your current weight. The calories you will need to eat are based on your BMR. You simply have to do the calculation and eat the calories. This process is usually done once you've reached your goal weight or if you are not if you want to cut or bulk again.

  1. Calculate your BMR
  2. Eat those calories daily

What is the purpose of a bulk?

  • Keep your same weight
  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight

What is the purpose of maintaining?

  • Keep your same weight
  • Lose weight
  • Gain weight

What is the purpose of cutting?

  • Lose Weight
  • Gain weight
  • Maintain your current weight