Beginner Gains- Consistency is Key

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

I’ve been a little short on time the last week, working on some new projects so today’s post is taken from a question in the Renegade Inner Circle

Question: I’m curious about peoples thoughts on the whole idea of beginner gains, I noticed a lot of places on the net, say that if a beginner starts working out that they can gain 20 pounds pretty easily.

What if your workouts and nutrition sucked when you were a beginner, and you never gained those 20 pounds? Is that window gone for when you get your shit in order?

Jay I’ve noticed in a few articles/replies you’ve written, that you mention you sometimes need to add things into workouts so people don’t get bored, even though they may not help the person.

I was wondering, if you didn’t have to worry about people getting bored and could give them any workout. Would you make the beginner phases of MGS last longer, until they can’t progress on it anymore or would you still mix things up after a month or two, with the rep ranges, adding in different exercises etc?


Answer: If you do everything right as a beginner it’s EASY to gain twenty pounds. You actually have to do something retardedly wrong to not gain 20lbs. And I did just that. I made countless mistakes for years that prevented me from making the gains I should have at the beginning. In other words much of my training was completely retarded. Many people have made the same mistakes during their first few months or even years of training.

That doesn’t mean those gains are gone. Once you get your shit in order you can still make great gains. And the younger you are the faster they should come.

I personally like having beginners stick with something for a long time. I would have people stick with the same beginner program for months and months at a time, making very small jumps at each workout, until they plateaued. Then I would bring their weights back down and start over again, sticking with mostly the exact same lifts, just maybe some slight modifications here or there if I thought it was warranted.

This might be a six month process. And it may even be a twelve month process. That was very doable before the internet. Nowadays I don’t know how many people have it in them to do that. They don’t have the same focus or patience and lack the consistency. Everybody wants to try the next best thing or move onto advanced methods before they are ready. All that does is screw up your progress. Too many people want to be entertained these days instead of just buckling down and working hard.

But the fact remains that old school, basic linear periodization works incredibly well for beginners. Many old school lifters stuck with the same exercises for an inordinate amount of time and didn’t do too much else but a handful of basic lifts, 52 weeks per year. And ya know what happened? They became some big, strong motherf*ckers.

One funny thing that people notice over time is that after they have been training and eating right for a few years and learn how to make progress their genetics seem to “get better.” I’ve seen a lot of skinny/fat ectos with shitty genetics actually start to recover faster and make better gains a few years into their training. That’s when they really dial it in and get a grasp on training, nutrition, recovery and consistency. It’s not that their genetics got better, it’s just that they are finally now understanding the whole process and training, eating and recovering the right way. You just need to be committed to getting through those first few years of solid basic training without questioning things every little step of the way and changing your program every week.

Commit to benching 250, overhead pressing 135, squatting 315 and deadlifting 405. Once you’re hitting those numbers you will have some decent size. Then commit to doing those numbers for ten reps each. When you can do that you will have some really good size. Then set the next goal, and on and on.

That’s all it takes. Not jumping from one system to the next or questioning or over thinking. If you can hit the numbers above for ten reps I promise you you’ll be a big dude.