ERF Q&A 029: You Don’t Have To Be Sweaty To Have An Effective Workout

Your cardio class REALLY kicks your butt! It really makes you sweat and out of breath!…

But, so does going outside and running down the street as fast as you can for 12 seconds. 

Or chasing your kids around the house 3x..

Does that mean those two things are an effective workout as well?

We need to break this myth that you NEED to be sweating and out of breath to have a “good” workout. 

Listen to this podcast if you think that is the case, I guarantee by the end I will give you new perspective to look at.

How To Design Your Own Strength Training Program


Ever feel like you walk into the gym, and it is a jungle of machines, dumbbells, kettlebells.

All staring at you, and you have no idea what is the most optimal way to use all of these things to get you the results you want.

It doesn’t matter if your goal is to lose fat, build muscle, or get stronger.

You want to make sure the time you spend in the gym, is spent well.

You want to make sure what you are doing is actually going to get you closer to your goal.

It can be very overwhelming in many different ways.

Maybe you are a beginner and you have NO idea what to do.

Or maybe you have been working out a little here and there, but never really had any structure to your workouts. Never had a plan.

Today I am going to make sure, by the end of this article, you are confident in building your own strength training program.

You are going to be sure to have a structured plan you can take into the gym, put into action, and start seeing results.

Before I show you exactly how to do that, I must cover some initial “rules to train by” if you will.

I would get out a pen and paper (because I am old school), and take some notes.

This article will be filled with information. Let’s press on, shall we? (Get it, press, like bench press?.. Alright fine moving along).

Strength Training “Rules”

Now, are these rules ones you MUST follow EVERY TIME?

No, but they certainly are some very good guidelines I love to follow, and have my online coaching clients follow, when it comes to strength training.

Stick To The Basics

This is one I see butchered and drug through the mud So. Many. Times.

Especially in a world of instagram workouts, internet phenoms, and just the feeling that more is better.

There always has to be some crazy exercise. Like doing a triple axle backflip off a bosu ball into a pistol squat with a bicep curl..

But you don’t even know how to squat properly first!?

No no I won’t get started.

For real though, the basics are there for a reason. They have been around forever a reason.

They work. Plain and simple.

You don’t need a ton of different exercises. You don’t need to do difficult movements atop of unstable surfaces.

There is no place for doing exercises under conditions that are susceptible to any type of major injury or cause you to repeatedly break down form because you are so exhausted.

I know, that isn’t the sexiest thing to hear. I know the basics may seem boring at times, but please please trust me when I say, they are THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WHEN IT COMES TO WORKOUT PROGRAMMING.

Later in this article I will lay out exactly what I consider the basics, and how you can use them in your workouts.

You Don’t Need To Sweat To Have An Effective Workout

This one, again, is one I unfortunately see often times from not just general population, but trainers and coaches alike.

I am here to tell you, you don’t need to sweat or be out of breath, to have an effective workout.

Try this for me. Go outside right now and run down the street as fast as you can.

Or chase your dog or kid around the house a few times.

You’ll undoubtedly get sweaty, and be out of breath.

So, is that what you would classify as a good workout?

I would hope not.. and if you do, just go ahead and exit out of this page now because the rest won’t be down your alley.

Sweating and being out of breath has NOTHING to do with having an effective work out.

Can you sweat and have a good workout? Sure.

But I am 6’4 255 lbs male. I sweat peeling an orange.

I know ladies who are 4’10, completely kick ass in their workouts, and don’t sweat a drop.

Using someones sweat glands to determine the effectiveness of a workout is ludicrous.

Your workouts should be based around if you are getting stronger, doing more reps, getting better endurance.

And let me tell you something else, if you know a coach or trainer who’s SOLE purpose is to beat you down and make you sweat / be out of breath..

That is not a trainer, that is a monkey. Because a monkey can do that to you. Find a new coach.

Leave Your Ego At The Door

Listen, we all have somewhat of an ego.

And we don’t want to admit we are bad at something, or we don’t know how to do something.

If there is one thing I can tell you if you are looking to get into working out, or stay healthy, is please leave your ego at the door.

It is okay to admit you don’t know how to do something. It is okay to perfect form.

It is okay to seek out help from someone who does know how to do it, and learn from them.

If there was one thing I am glad I made the switch from in my early teens, it was taking the step back to understand the movements I was doing.

Learn how to squat. Learn how to deadlift or row. Lessen the weight a bit, and understand what was going on.

Not only did this eventually help my gainzz, but it also helped my injuries.

I encourage you to do the same, and if you want help, please feel free to reach out to me.

Movement Patterns, Not Muscles

People often are quick to do isolation exercise to work their biceps, or glutes.

But fail to realize that total body compound lifts will work those same muscles, with a heavier load, and multiple other muscles at the same time.

Thus maximizing not only the muscle they wanted to work, but 4 other during the process.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a bicep curl thrown in, and I will program specific glute movements if a lady would like her tush a bit bigger.

But they should in no way shape or form make up the majority of any smart training program.

I would program a bent over row, or deadlift, before I would a bicep curl or a glute kick back.

These movement patterns are going to work those same muscles with much more efficiency.

You will also probably realize these movements will also leave you needing not much *if any* extra work.

So, what are these movement patterns I am talking about? Glad you asked. Keep reading below, and seriously get a notepad out to get some notes.

Understanding Movement Patterns

Let’s talk movements, shall we?

But not just any movements. Movements that are going to make up your exercises in your training program, for your goal.

You have to have a system in place to be able to create programs, as opposed to just picking random exercises.

And understand what muscles those movements are working, and how they affect the other things you will do later in the workout.

Let’s cover the 5 fundamental movement patters, with some individual sections for each.

Upper Body Push

An upper body push movement, can be divided into two sub categories, horizontal push and vertical push.

Horizontal Upper Body Push includes variations of bench press, push ups, and all similar exercises. Mainly ways you are pressing in a horizontal motion.

Vertical Upper Body Push includes all variations of shoulder press, push press, and all similar exercises. Mainly ways you are pressing in a vertical motion.

Upper Body Pull

An upper body pull can be divided into two sub categories, horizontal pull and vertical pull.

Horizontal Upper Body Pull includes variations of bent over row, inverted row, and all other similar exercises. Mainly ways you are pulling in a horizontal motion.

Vertical Upper Body Pull includes variations of chin up, lat pull down, and all other similar exercises. Mainly ways you are pulling in a vertical motion.

Lower Body Push

These movements typically refer to lower body exercises that cause you to recruit more quads than hamstrings, usually causing a “pushing” motion rather than a “pulling” motion.

Examples include all variations of the squat, lunge, step up, and hip thrust.

Lower Body Pull

These movements typically refer to lower body exercises that cause you to recruit more hamstrings than quads, usually causing a “pulling” motion rather than a “pushing” motion.

Examples include all variations the deadlift, good morning, kettlebell swing, and cable pull through.


These movements typically refer to all these including the “core”. Everyone you talk to will have a different definition of the core, but I am referring to not just your abs. Also the muscles that stabilize your hips, stabilize your spine, and play a role in upper body stabilization. So much more than the 6 pack bro.

Examples can include all variations of plank, sit ups, Russian twists, pallof press, deadbugs, etc.

Understanding The Daily Workout Make Up

Here is where some people get caught up when it comes to what is the most optimal way to program a daily routine.

This is what you actually will be composing your daily sessions of, throughout a weekly basis.

There is no one “right” way, only a right way for you. Learn about the four main ones below.

Full Body

These training sessions typically tend to be longer, and obviously hit the entire body in one session, rather than splitting it up.

This split is incredibly great for beginners, and people who are uber busy and just can’t make it to the gym that much during the week.

I would not tend to program a full body any more than 4x a week, MAX. 2-4x a week for these full body session typically will do best. Again, this is for beginners, or people who don’t wanna spend a lot of the time in the gym, but still get an effective workout.

Upper / Lower

Yes, as it sounds like, this split just divides the training days up into an upper body day and a lower body day. Generally, 2 upper body days, and 2 lower body days, for a total of 4 days total per week, is what is used best here.

This is something that I program a ton for people who can make it to the gym 4x a week. It allows for proper frequency, exercise selection, volume, among many other things.

Push Pull Legs

This split is one that divides the days into 3 separate days, one of upper body pulling, one of upper body pulling, and one of legs, including both pushing and pulling motions.

This split is generally combined with 1 full body day, or 1 upper body + lower body day. So a total of upper body + lower body + Push + Pull + Legs. Or just 6 days a week of Push, Pull, Legs. This can be a total of 5-6x per week.

Yea, a lot of math there. Personally, unless you are towards the advanced level, I would not worry about this one.

Body Part Split

This split is one that is popular amongst the body building world. This splits days up into certain body parts, one day for chest, one day for back, one day for legs, etc..

Personally, even after living and studying the body building world for a while, I see no real reason to use this split for any general population individual, or even body builder for that matter. This split should be reserved for top level bodybuilders who need the extra isolation work to win Mr. Olympias.

Understanding Training Days Per Week

Touched on briefly in the split session above, this is where you figure out how many days a week you are training.

This is also where you decide what split you are using.

As a general rule, I like to hit both upper and lower body at least 2 days a week. Depending on the client, that can go up to 3 or 4 in some cases. But remember, more is not always better.

2-3x Days Training Per Week

For people who only have a small amount of time in the gym, full body tends to do best for this.

3 Day Full Body Split


Day 1

Full Body

Day 2

Full Body

Day 3

Full Body


However, there is more than one way to skin a cat (whatever that means anyway).

I also love this split to get more of a feel for the muscles, and split things up a bit nicer.

3 Day Upper, Lower, Full Body Split


Day 1

Lower Body

Day 2

Upper Body

Day 3

Full Body


This split allows you to split up into an upper and lower body day. I use this to have people focus on an area a bit more as opposed to switching back and forth between upper and lower body in one session.

Takeaway: There is no one RIGHT way to do it. Some people like full body better, some people like splitting it up. The one thing I would advise is try not to do all 3 days back to back to back. If you HAVE to, that is one thing, but if you have a choice, get some rest between days.

4x Days Training Per Week

This training schedule allows you endless possibilities when it comes to splits. This is great for the average gym goer to the intermediate / advanced trainee.

A standard upper lower split can be used here, like we talked about earlier.

4 Day Upper Lower


Day 1

Lower Body

Day 2

Upper Body

Day 3

Lower Body

Day 4

Upper Body

This is also a great way to get different stimulus to the body as well, because you have two chances to get at it.

Below is a bit more advanced way to look at the 4 upper / lower days you have.

4 Day Upper Lower


Day 1


Day 2


Day 3


Day 4


This is great because you can focus one day on getting stronger, and one day on more muscle building. **Hypertrophy is just a big word for muscle building**.

Takeaway: Training 4x per week is amazing for the general gym goer, the intermediate to advanced trainee, or someone looking to build strength and also build muscle. There are so many ways to slice this cake, try it and see what works for you.

5x Days Training Per Week

Honestly, unless you are more towards the end of intermediate / advanced, this probably is unnecessary for most.

That being said, let’s look at ways to program a 5x a week training program.

5 Day Upper Lower Push Pull Legs


Day 1

Upper Body

Day 2

Lower Body

Day 3


Day 4


Day 5


Like we said earlier, you can combine an upper, lower, with a push pull legs routine, to get you to 5x a week. This hits all muscle groups 2x, and can allow for optimal recovery while still hitting a higher frequency.

Takeaway: Again, unless you are more towards the advanced side, you probably won’t have to worry too much about this one. Recovery starts to become HUGE here, and if you are not eating, sleeping, and recovering properly, things WILL start to break down.

Number Of Exercises Per Training Day

Now we get into what you are ACTUALLY doing during your training day. I know, a lot to get here right?

That just goes to show you how much goes into actually making an individualized training program. If you want me to help you with yours, click HERE.

Moving forward, I am going to exclude 2x a week, and anything over 4x a week as far as training splits. I have just seen as a coach, the vast majority of people don’t need more than 4x a week, and if you can’t get to the gym more than 2 days, we need to have a conversation on that.

Before we dive into what the days exercises are going to consist of, we need to first talk about what types of exercises will exist.

  1. Strength Focused Exercises

Strength exercise are full body, compound movements like squat, bench, deadlifts, that challenge you with a relatively lower rep range.

But, it is not so much the exercise that is strength focused, though that does play a role, it is the weight and reps you choose to do with it that is “strength focused”.

Generally speaking, these movements tend to be no more than 6-8 reps, with 8 being on the high end.

2. Hypertrophy Based Exercises

Hypertrophy focused exercises can be full body, compound movements OR isolation exercises.

The main difference between a strength focused exercise and a hypertrophy, is A. The load you are using and B. The point at which the exercise becomes difficult.

You are focused on working and fatiguing the muscle, rather than gaining strength.

This is where having a mind muscle connection comes in, and where finding the right weight that isn’t tooo heavy, but not toooo light comes in.

Generally, these exercises tend to be in repetitions from 7-15 to achieve this stimulus.

So, How Many Exercises Per Day?

Well, it depends. There is no one real answer, it would depend on how many days a week you are training, what your focus is that day, what your goal is, to name a few.

But, I will give general guidelines you can follow.

Strength focused exercises

Goal: Build Strength, full body compound movement

How Many Per Day: 1-2 exercises per day

Sets and Reps: 3-5 sets, 3-8 reps

Rest Period: 90-180 seconds

Examples include: All variations of the squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press, rows, and chin ups.


Hypertrophy Focused Exercises

Goal: Hypertrophy focused, work and fatigue muscle

How Many Per Day: 2-6 exercises per day

Sets and Reps: 2-4 sets, 8-15 reps

Rest Period: 45-90 seconds

Examples include: All Variations of the squat, split squat, push up, shoulder press, tricep extension, bicep curl, face pull, Romanian Deadlift, lunges, etc.

Tying It All Together, Sample Workout Plans

Alright, so now we get down to actually putting this all together to see what it looks like in an actual program.

Remember that notebook I told you about earlier? That bitch should be full by now, but hopefully you saved some room for this.

Sample Upper / Lower Body Training Days

Upper Body

Upper Body Day

Sets x Reps

Rest Period


1. Bench Press


120 seconds


2. Barbell bent over Row


120 seconds


3a. 1 arm shoulder press



3b. Assisted chin up


90 seconds


4a. Push Up


75 seconds


4b. Cable Face Pull



5. Plank

2×40 sec hold

45 seconds


** If an exercise is labeled with a and b, that indicates a superset, where exercises are completed back to back.

So, let’s dissect this day.

The first exercise is a strength focused, compound movement in the bench press.

The second exercise is another strength focused, compound movement in the barbell bent over row.

The third and 4th exercises are still somewhat compound, they still provide a pretty good full body stimulus, but they are more hypertrophy focused in their rep ranges.

The 5th and 6th exercises are a bit less intense, less load due to being later in the workout, and wanting to be smart about injuries, effort, etc. They still work the muscles and provide a stimulus.

Then the trunk at the end to finish off the day.

Lower Body

Lower Body Day

Sets x Reps

Rest Period


1. Barbell Front Squat


120 seconds


2. Deadlift


180 seconds


3a. Single Leg RDL



3b. Split Squat


90 seconds


4a. Leg Extension Machine




4b. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl



4c. Side Med Ball Slam

2×8/ea side

90 seconds


Again with the dissecting.

The first two movements of the day are full body, strength based compound movements. They have a lower rep range, and higher rest period from what we talked about above.

The 3rd and 4th are still full body exercises, just a bit less load, a bit less intensity, and getting more focused on muscle building.

The last circuit for the day is focused on isolation of muscles, lower loading, and working on the trunk.

The Final Word

Woo, I know that was a lot.

There is a lot to consider, a lot to think about. I urge you to go back and read over some parts, to make sure you fully grasp them.

Seriously, take notes.

I would NOT worry about getting the perfect routine, the perfect split, the perfect this or that.

The truth it, it will all be trial and error. It will be testing things and seeing what works and what doesn’t, for YOU and YOUR life.

Your schedule, your goals.

If you want to workout 4x a week, go back and look at the 4x week options. Look at how to structure the split. Pick what strength and hypertrophy exercises you want to put into your routine.

And then just go try it.

There is no ONE RIGHT way to program and design your workouts… Rather try things, see what sticks for you, and then narrow down later.

I know this is a lot of information, I know you may be like whaaaattttt…

If that is you, I implore you, please reach out to me for help. Leave a comment below, or email me @ .

Or if you would think coaching might be a better option for you rather than trying on your own, click HERE to fill out the form to see if we are a good fit together.

I hope this article helped, and again, please reach out for help. I wrote this whole damn thing for free, so you know I want to help.

Look forward to hearing from you. Talk soon. -E.

ERF Q&A 024: Strength Training Vs Muscle Building?

People think if you lift weights, you automatically get big and bulky.

Trust me, I wish that was the case.

But no, it is not. Just because you lift weights, doesn’t mean you AUTOMATICALLY build muscle.

Can you? Of course. But there are certain ways you can structure your exercise so train for more purely strength.

Train for more muscle. 

Train for both.

And you should not be scared of either one. Because they are both essential, and should be included in your workout program.

Take a listen to this weeks podcast to understand the difference between the two, and how you can implement into your own routine.


ERF Q&A 023: Cardio Vs Weight Lifting For Fat Loss?

The great debate.

When one is looking to lose some weight and change their physique, we know diet is paramount (Well we should by now..).

But when it comes to exercising, how should you spend your time?

Doing HIIT workouts?

Doing hours of steady state cardio?

Lifting heavy weights? (One no one thinks of).

Well, it is a great question to have, and one that has a multi-sided answer.

First and foremost, it DOESN’T have to be one or the other. 

You can, and should, do both.

BUT, when talking about which is more beneficial,

When talking about what is going to give you the best bang for your buck.. the most return on your investment (your time)..

There seems to be a clear favorite.

Check out the podcast to see which one comes out on top.

ERF 021: Why You Should Be Lifting Weights *For Fat Loss*

Run Forest, Run!

No, just no. Running is NOT the only way to lose fat. Doing hours and hours of cardio is very outdated in the sense of trying to lose fat.

Lifting weights is considered paramount in ones plan of action for losing fat. 

NO, it will not immediately make you big and bulky. Trust me, I wish it did, or I wouldn’t still be here trying 8 years into my own journey.

It is great for changing your body. Changing your muscle : fat ratio. For burning more calories at rest, BY DOING NOTHING, might I add.

For changing not only your physical strength, but your mental and emotional strength as well. 

It should be a staple in your routine.

Listen here to find out the benefits. 

ERF Q&A 017: How To Mix Fat Loss & Workout Performance

It seems that it is either one or the other. Fat loss or workout performance. 

Or it seems that workout performance gets thrown under the rug when fat loss is in the mix.

I’m here to tell you you can have both. They can be married as one. It just has to be a marriage that is planned out and taken care of well.

You CAN still have really good workouts when in a calorie deficit. You don’t HAVE to lose energy lose strength and have your workouts suffer.

Because at the end of the day, the workouts are going to change your body. You provide a stimulus to your body to adapt to.

If you can still keep up the intensity, keep providing a stimulus enough so your body needs to adapt to it.

Not only will you see fat loss, but you will see muscle gain, strength gain, better endurance, to name a few.

They are both important, and this podcasts labels out how you can create a healthy loving marriage.

Let me know what you think. Talk soon. -E.

ERF 012: Mobility Matters W/ Karon Hawkins

Mobility is the secret sauce.

It can not only help existing injuries inside (or outside) of the gym, but it can PREVENT new ones, if done properly.

Todays guest is a special one.

Karon is actually the man I am working with currently on MY body, so you know I have a ton of respect for him.

He goes very in depth on how the body moves, how joints are supposed to work together, how our everyday lives can lead us to not use our bodies correctly.

We go over not only theories and strategies to inform people on how they can fix/prevent injuries, but provide some applicable information you can immediately take and start seeing results.

This is the longest podcast yet, and there is some parts that get a bit in depth… but that is why myself or Karon are here to help answer the questions you guys have. 

It is the longest because we just kept giving too much damn value to stop. 

Let me or Karon know any questions you guys have. Be sure to share this one with a friend if you got any value out of it.

Everyone can benefit from a little mobility work, so don’t be shy to share. 

Below are some links to what we talked about in the podcast, and Karons Info. Til Next Time, -E.


Ian Markow Full Body Car Routine 

ERF Q&A 006: Should You Be Sore After Your Workouts?

This is a question I have heard throughout gyms since I started working out.

Heard some people say if you aren’t sore after you workout, you aren’t working hard enough!

Heard if your muscles don’t ache for days, then you aren’t pushing and your body is not changing!

This could not be farther from the truth.

Can you have an effective workout and be sore? Yep.

Can you have an even more effective workout and not be sore? Absolutely.

Some people believe if they aren’t getting or stopped getting sore, then they need to change up their routine and find something new.

Again, couldn’t be farther from the truth. 

Give this podcast a listen to learn about what soreness comes from, what factors influence it, why it is arbitrary in achieving your fitness goals, and what you should be tracking instead of how sore you are. 

This podcast was made available by one of you guys who reached out to me and asked me this question. 

I thrive off questions and love answering them! So please reach out to me via dm, email, text, wherever, and ask away! Your question could end up on the podcast!

Thank you all so much,