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We are two sets of brothers from South-West London with a passion for nutrition and training for health, fitness and aesthetic goals. We set up
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Before we get to our exclusive training guide for Muscle Food, we must first tackle the issue of the most useless workout ever.

This is a bit of an awkward subject, given that the most useless workouts are usually performed by the least knowledgeable trainers, which are generally beginners.

So in this instance I would firstly like to state that 99% of the time any increase in activity from a sedentary lifestyle, in an attempt to improve one’s lifestyle and or body composition, is a good thing!

This isn’t designed to poke fun at or deter any newer or less advanced trainers, but rather educate you on more optimal training methods to more efficiently reach your goals!

Beginners fitness journey - good or bad!

Below I will detail the most ineffective methods (in general) of training for fat loss and muscle gain- the two most popular demands from a new and intermediate trainer.

Aiming for one of these two options primarily, is most optimal for any trainer, but for those newer trainers and people who have been eating and training sub-optimally for a long period, you may be able to both gain muscle mass and drop fat initially, with consistency and hard work in the gym and kitchen.

Endless low intensity cardio (LISS)

This will work well for an initial 1-3 week period in most cases, but beyond this period is it very inefficient for fat loss and especially improving or maintaining muscle size and strength gains.

Your body will adapt to this low intensity output fairly quickly, reaching a point where you make no progress with the inclusion of 2-4 60 minute sessions on the bike or cross-trainer per week.

You may have also been told fasted LISS burns fat- this is not solidly proven, and often believed by the same people who say you absolutely must eat every 2 hours to avoid muscle catabolism, which we find quite confusing!

Light weight low reps

There has also been evidence to suggest extensive use of LISS actually reduces your metabolic rate, further supporting the notion that this type of training should not be overused.

Furthermore, the ‘fat burning zone’, commonly said to be around 120 beats per minute, can vary massively between individuals - and we have found that most people will sit at around 100-110 beats per minute when performing LISS cardio.

Use LISS in moderation if at all, opting for HIIT or shorter bouts of higher intensity training instead.

If for medical reasons you cannot perform higher impact HIIT simply opt for lower impact methods, and if you cannot perform high intensity cardio due to a medical condition, simply try to work within your limits and increase the intensity of cardio steadily over time-switching between different forms of cardio (machines) regularly.

You can also count commuting to work by bike, or brisk dog walks as LISS cardio, and replace it with sport/active hobbies if directed to LISS by a guide, plan or coach.

Rack of weights

Light weight and high reps

This will again work well for a shorter period, but is not as optimal as cycling through rep ranges for consistent progress in regards to muscle gain and fat loss.

light dumbell

If you are consistently using light weights you will not force the muscles to adapt to higher stressors, and the body will quickly adapt itself to ensure as little energy is used as possible for this now expected level of activity (in layman’s terms!).

Your body will also begin to recover more quickly and easily from these sessions, reducing the total calories burnt during and after training over time.

If for some reason you cannot work with heavier loads simply try to ensure you increase the intensity of your sessions over time; perhaps by improving your technique and range of motion, or simply increasing the weight within reason and manipulating the tempo of exercises.

We would suggest working through strength, hypertrophy and higher volume rep ranges in order to build muscle and strength over time- and not neglecting one over the other. Building new muscle mass will increase your basal metabolic rate, and allow you to lift more weight in your high rep sessions- burning more total calories!

We do not like methods like DTP, which we feel are very inefficient unless injured and restricted to said training method.

Overuse of drop and super sets

These work well for advanced trainers trying to recruit a maximal amount of muscle fibres but should be used in moderation.

When you are a newer trainer you do not need excessive volume within sessions to stimulate results, just like you don’t need to train 6-7 days per week with weights and or cardio straight away.

overuse of drop sets

Super sets and drop sets should be used in moderation for this reason, perhaps more commonly on higher volume work where splitting 30 reps between two exercises will allow for a better average quality of muscle contraction and overall technique.

Drop and super sets are very taxing on both the body and central nervous system, further suggesting the moderation of their usage.

Drop sets can be used in moderation to add more volume, fatigue and recruit maximal muscle fibres. They are best used during hypertrophy sessions, or higher volume training. As a newer trainer two muscle groups can also be simultaneously worked using supersets, which is also a useful time saver when needed.

All isolation, no compounds

Isolation work requires working an exercise through a single joint, i.e. the elbow for bicep curls or tricep extensions, and the knee for leg curls and extensions. Compound work requires multiple joints and thus more total muscle fibres to be activated (and more weight to be used in general).

Isolation work incorporates less muscles, usually does not critically require core activation or good posture, and will use less weight- ultimately it will burn less total calories and stimulate less muscle growth (or need for repair).

LDNM Isolation vs compound excercise

Basing a session around isolation and machine work is usually aimed at ‘toning up’ certain areas like the upper arms and (inner) thighs. However, unfortunately spot fat loss is not possible, and thus basing sessions on compound work, supplemented by machine and some isolation work is far more ideal for ‘toning up’ (improving muscle definition) the entire body over time.

You will be better served basing your sessions around compound work with barbells, and then dumbbell compound work with a challenging load to immediately follow this.

Ask your gym instructor for some pointers to help achieve proper and safe technique with compound free weight exercises before you start to use high weights. Some effective compound barbell exercises are:


Beginner’s Gym Session

Excercise Plan


  • 5 minute warm up on a rowing machine.

  • Dynamic stretches; body weight squats, lunges, press ups, forward and backward shoulder rotations, calf, chest and hip flexor (static) stretches.

  • Perform 1-2 lighter sets before starting your working sets on each exercise. We do this to warm up the muscle and connective tissues, practice the movement and increase blood flow to the area- all in order to prevent injury and increase the efficacy of the exercise.

  • If confident enough, aim to go very near to failure on the last set of each exercise- increasing the weight and performing said set in a monitored environment and safe manner!


Exercise 1: Barbell Back Squats

  • 3 sets of 10 repetitions
  • 75 seconds rest between sets

Exercise 2: Dumbbell Bench Press

  • 3 sets of 10 repetitions
  • 75 seconds rest between sets

Exercise 3: Lat Pull Down

  • 3 sets of 10 reps
  • 75 seconds rest between sets

Exercise 4: Standing Dumbbell Military Press Superset to Press ups (these can be performed seated or on your knees)

  • 2 sets of 10 reps Superset to 10 reps
  • 60 seconds rest between sets

HIIT Cardio:

  • 10 sets
  • 20 seconds at 90-100% effort in a medium/high gear
  • 40-60 seconds slow recovery, minimal effort required in a low gear.

Improve muscle recovery by ending this session with these two stretching routines:






About LDNM

We are two sets of brothers from South-West London with a passion for nutrition and training for health, fitness and aesthetic goals.

We set up (EST. August 2012) as a way of creating an informative website that could answer all the questions we commonly received on topics such as diet, recovery and training, and most importantly to give people, honest and realistic advice.

We are 100% drug free, and looking to show people how to achieve results naturally - and not compare themselves to the unrealistic and unattainable examples set all too commonly in the fitness industry.

For more information about LDNM, check out their Twitter page @LDN_Muscle or Instagram LDN_MUSCLE.

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