"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." How many times have you heard this adage? It isn't always true, of course, but this mantra is true in the fitness world.
The "don't fix it" adage works when there are no arbitrage factors in place — that is, no competitors fighting over the same resources. One of the biggest mistakes beginners make is something called "program hopping". They rush to a new program (marketed as better through "science(™)", no less) faster than a line of hungry people rushing for free burritos.
But this does more harm than good. Almost all programs can work. Sticking consistently to a "subpar" program will get you much further than sporadically utilising a routine that you've heard is scientifically optimised for fitness.
Of course, if something is broken, there are times that you'll need fix and/or change something you're doing. For example, when it gives you pain, when you don't have the time for it, when it's unsustainable because it makes you eliminate your favourite foods, when an appendage bends the way it's not supposed to, and so on.
With that in mind, if you don't have a consistent program already, here are some sample programs to get you started. Follow them religiously. Don't try to mix and match, and don't enter incorporate your own variations. Remember, the programs exist this way for a reason.
- Starting Strength
- 5x5 Strong Lifts
- JCDeen's Hypertrophy Program
- The Minimum Viable Effectiveness Training program (written by yours truly)
If you've been a program hopper in the past, pick your favourite one above and stick to it. Don't second guess a different program, no matter how hard your brain tries to convince you to try something new. Give yourself 8-12 weeks and you'll probably see better results than ever before.