T Nation

Hows this program


A friend of mine was given this program by a "fitness consultant" at a Virgin Active gym. Please take a look and tell me what you guys think... maybe a rating on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is really dumb and 10 is really great.

My friend is a guy who wants to lose fat and gain muscle, and is a new trainee. I believe the word "toned" was mentioned by the consultant. All weight/machine work is specified as 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps. Failiure is not indicated, nor are any weights. Cardio levels are indicated on a scale of 1 to 10. No strength or fitness tests were performed.

Day One

Bike: 10-15 min, 4
Row: 10 min, 4
Pec Dec Bench Press
Pec Dec Flys
Seated Chest Press
Machine Pull-Overs
Standing Bicep Curls
Seated Alternate Bicep Curls
Flat Bicep Curls (machine)
Arm Curl Machine

Day Two

Step: 10-15 min, 3,4
Treadmill: 10 min, 4
Dumbell Lunges
Press Machine
Leg Extension & Lying Leg Curl
Standing & Seated Calf Raises
Latt Machine
Vertical Row
Low Row
Dip Assistance Machine

Day Three

Row: 10-15 min, 3,4
Step: 10 min, 4
Shoulder Press Machine
Standing Deltoid
Rear Deltoid & Upright Row
Tricep Pushdown
Incline Tricep Cable Pulls
Dipping Machine

Day Four

Cycle: 20 min, 3,4
Treadmill: 10 min, 4
Super Circuit

The spilt was not specified, but a 2 on, 1 off split will be used. These are ostensibly one hour workouts.

No diet changes were suggested. Diet was not even mentioned. We were also told that the 30 min of MI cardio was the warm-up for the weight work.


I often check my program with others and get their opinion. Usually someone points out that there is an overlap here or there and offers up a suggestion or two. The program you posted seems to be serious overkill.
They don't call them Virgin for nothin!

Bar the number of sets, the number of exercises reads like an old M&F routine. I give him two weeks before he feels fried and ready to give up.

There is a complete lack of compound movements. If he wants to look like an anemic whippet this work out might do the biz. Do him a favour and point in the direction of T-Mag's previous issues.


he'll lose bodyfat al right!!!, and pretty much any other weight he has going.

I agree first thing he needs to get his diet planned, then incorporate compound movements in to form the shell of his training program and fill in the gaps with isolation excercises you want to do.

way too much much CV, at the most he will doin 105 minutes per week!!!! accoring to that program.

on a well planned diet he can do CV 3 maybe even 2 if you know what your doing, 20 mins a time and still lose fat.

Diet is most important, read T-dawg 2.0 or berardi's dont diet diet(both found by using search engine)

good luck


That is exactly the sort of programme I would expect from a geek employed by Virgin fitness.

The best thing you could do would be to go to the FAQ on this site,where there are plenty of much more productive programmes you could introduce your friend to.


can i give that pos a negative rating?


Thanks guys, I'm vindicated here.

I've been training for a while now, and the info that I've picked up on T-Mag, as well as advice given and recieved on the forums has been a great help in my education in strength training.

This is why it was immediately obvious to me that this program was a load of crap!

Incidentally the "fitness consultant" did a minor "ETA course" (Virgin's own in-house diploma course) to become a fitness consultant, which is basically one small step up from the guy who mans the turnstile at the door.

He looks to weigh about 90-100kgs at about 5'7", carrying about 15% fat, by my rough estimate. What scares me about this guy, other than the fact that his handwriting is worse than my 3rd grade nephew, is that his back and chest are covered in some very prominent round spotty scars... they remind me of a friend who had chronic acne. This guy currently has no acne or scars on his face, and is probably too old for that to be residual scarring from his youth. My idea is that he may have juiced a while back. I know, I know, inconclusive evidence to yell "ROIDS", but it makes one suspicious. No one who is his size should really need juice to get that way.

What makes me more supicious is that the program is the same-old cookie-cutter crap that gets dished out to every "client"... but we've already said that, haven't we. Well, I'll say it again, that program was CRAP!

Anyway, I told my friend about my concerns. He and some pseudo-bodybuilder groupies that hang around our office for no aparrent reason decided that it was actually a pretty good program. This, they said, was because it was created by a real-life Virgin Active (TM) "fitness consultant", and therefore had to be good. They asked me who I was to suggest any differently.

Well, anyway, I posted that plan so it'd get the crap kicked out of it, by a whole crew of T-Men, and that's what happened. And you don't argue with a whole crew of T-men, now do you?


i give it a 1.

and what the hell is a pec dec bench press?


since your friend is a newbie then it will work if he has any work ethic. as far as it goes for more advance trainees, i don't think the same. This is a program to get in general good shape. I personally have never done that routine and prefer the more traditional push pull antagonist routines or isolating certain areas with compound and isolation movements; for example legs, chest tris, back bis. maybe all the cardio was prescribed so your friend would get in better cardio-vascular shape. let him learn the basics of being disciplined and then let him move on to the real stuff. laters pk


I agree that the program is crap, and you can go back and tell your friends that, but the above quote is the only relevant statement from either of your posts.

By my standards, that program would yield shitty results, but that may not be the case for some. Give that program to an overweight housewife that gets winded walking a flight of stairs, and if she stuck to a decent diet, I bet you would see some results.

Everbody's different man.

Why don't you try to help your friend? It won't take him too long to realize that an individualized program based on sound scientific evidence will yield better results than this one.

If he still wants a cookie-cutter program, print off OVT, ABBH, and EDT for him to read. Any one of those programs could be easily manipulated to suit his needs, I'm sure.



Well, a machine only (almost) program is better than nothing. If it can get you friend started then it have served it's purpose.

To get results, get your friend started on a proper program, many here on T-Mag, and teach him about nutrition.

Crap diet=crap results.


its a 1.
but, if your friend really wants to follow through, at least he'll be moving around (nothing close to optimal though).

your friend really should list his goals about what he wants to accomplish in the gym. that way, both of you can tailor a program that is fit to reach those goals. ensure that the program also takes into account the amount of time your friend can spend in the gym as well. hate to make a program that someone can't follow because they don't have time. and, just as everybody else has said, take care of the diet first and foremost. that last thing you need is hard-earned results covered by an ugly layer of fat. there are tons of programs here to follow so have your friend read through them and see what he likes. and dump that freaky ass trainer. the guy is about as good as a condom in a convent.


It makes me sad that this guy is in a similar industry as I am.


Thanks a million for your posts guys. Yes, I will definitely help him with diet, program and info. Also, I'm gonna go shoot the pseudo-bodybuilders (DAN AND JON THIS MEANS YOU), in a little upcoming paintball match.


This program=crap



I couldn't agree more with what has been posted regarding this program. It almost seems like you are putting us on. Anyone else get this impression?


Dude how 'bout you use one of the programs outlined by t-mag. Honeslty for half a year i used to make up my own jammies and shit never worked. I started to use stuffs from t-mag and holy shit did it work! Once you get the hang of how real workouts are you can make your own up.


First off, this is not my program, it belongs to a VA fitness consultant named Thoba.

Second, I am not putting anyone on. Everything I have said is true.

Third, yes, of course T-Mag has some great programs, and more importantly, info on the principles behind them, but my friend just didn't want to take my advice, based on my reading on T-Mag and other places. He was convinced in the virtue of this Thoba's program since he had "studied" it.

The reason for the post was for him and the groupies to see that the program was crap, and have it called that by the members of a respected on-line community. So it worked, and he's now on a good program and a higher protein diet. Once he's passed the initial adaptation stage we'll start to reduce calories (I feel it's better to let him to adapt to the new program on his current hypercaloric diet and then cut down to minimise muscle loss). Of course some nutrient timing work is in order, because he's eating 3 meals a day.

More broadly speaking, it's annoying that people who don't know a damn thing about the science behind strength training decide to wax lyrical about it in the gym, and hand out advice to all and sundry. I don't consider myself an expert, or even a trainER, merely an informed trainEE, but when some semi-literate shithead hands out a cookie cutter program that may actually be harmful, and doesn't take the time to find out what kind of trainee he's dealing with, it pisses me off. It pisses me off more when the person is a friend of mine, and is a novice trainee who, through no fault of his own, can't see that it's crap.

Frankly that shithead should read T-Mag. Maybe then he'll learn how to come up with a decent program, and even learn to cycle his andros and take some Clomid so his raisins won't shrink even more.