Training Advice for a Big Comeback

Expert Cited: Andy Galpin

Written by
Brian Leddy
A sporty man with muscles runs on a mountain trail 2023 11 27 05 00 53 utc

Let's copy our classmate's homework, shall we? While discussing a variety of muscle building principles, Peter Attia's and Andy Galpin also created a workout routine for a hypothetical client.

If you missed it in their original article, this is a summary of what they recommended for this formerly athletic person who is looking to get back into shape.


Their hypothetical client was active in high school and college but has been primarily focusing on daily activities for exercise over the last decade.

They've recently started incorporating two hours of Zone 2 cardio (cycling) per week but are unsure how to approach strength training. They're committed to three hours of gym time per week, one hour at a time.

Their DEXA scan reveals an ALMI (appendicular lean mass index) of 40%, and they aim to reach 75% or higher within 2-3 years. Their goals include gaining functional strength for longevity and adding muscle mass.

General Advice:

The recommended approach begins with focusing on hypertrophy (muscle growth). For someone returning to exercise after a long break, prioritizing fitness before intensive muscle building is a wise investment.

Start Slow: Begin with low volume and be cautious of eccentric movements (lowering weights) that can cause soreness.

Movement Patterns: Build essential movement patterns to prevent injury and master these before increasing weight.

The First Six Months:

  • Cardio: Continue Zone 2 training for 2 hours per week.

  • Strength Training: Add three one-hour sessions per week.

    • 1-3 working sets of 4 exercises per day, targeting both upper and lower body.

    • Focus on compound movements (e.g., goblet squat, hip extension, overhead press/bent rows).

    • Spend 30 minutes on these exercises.

The Second Six Months:

  • Power, Speed, Agility: Dedicate the first 10-15 minutes of each gym session to these aspects, which are crucial for injury prevention and long-term functionality.

    • Include box jumps, jump rope, short sprints, or racquet sports.

  • Strength Training: Maintain total body workouts but vary the rep ranges across the week.

    • Monday: Heavier weights, 5-7 reps per set.

    • Wednesday: Moderate weights, 15-20 reps per set.

    • Friday: Isometrics (holding positions).

  • Targeted Work: End each workout by focusing on a weak area or muscle group you want to grow.

  • High-Intensity Finish: On at least one day, include a brief burst of high-intensity exercise to elevate your heart rate (e.g., breath holds).

This is a general plan that can be adapted to the individual's needs and progress. It's always advisable to consult with a qualified fitness professional for personalized guidance and adjustments.

What from this plan speaks to you? Pick out some best practices and consider working them into the mix for your own routines.

Brian Leddy Profile Image
Brian Leddy CEO & Co-Founder, BodyStack (FDN-P)
Certified Functional Diagnostic Practitioner (FDN-P) and owner of Leddy Functional Wellness. Formerly an Adweek Executive and Media Entreprenuer, Brian pivoted his career to focus on inspiring and coaching people from all walks of life to make positive strides in their respective health journeys. Brian is a Co-Founder, and now serves as the CEO of BodyStack.
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