The Best Workout Programs and Best Diet Plans | Not Your Average Fitness Tips

The Best Workout Programs and Best Diet Plans

As the year comes to a close, I thought now would be a good time to review my favorite workout programs and diet plans.  So what are the key components of the best workout programs and best diet plans?  In general, I think any good program provides some background and guidance as to why it is effective.  That should in turn help the reader understand and even construct their own workout program or diet plan.  Additionally, I find that the best workout programs and best diet plans lay out a recommended approach.  Obviously, this provides a starting point for readers.  Ultimately, I believe the best programs offer specificity as well as customization.  In other words, a reader can either perform an exact recommended routine or gain enough knowledge to create their own routine.  In this manner, the best workout programs and best diet plans can be effective for both beginners and experienced fitness fanatics.

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Before I review the best workout programs, I’d like to do a little self promotion.  My fitness guides are far from the best, but I’d like to think they offer a number of useful tips for people both new and old to exercise.  The best part is that they’re free.

Fitness in a Flash: my free diet and exercise guide to help you get lean, defined muscles without spending hours in the gym

How to Get a Beach Body in 2 Months or Less: my free book on fat burning workouts and diets for men and women

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Hopefully these resources help guide you in developing your own fitness program.  On to the best programs!

Best Workout Program for Men

Hands down, I think Visual Impact Muscle Building is the best workout program for men.  While it’s technically a muscle building course, there’s so much knowledge strewn in here that you can use the strategies for whatever goal you’re trying to achieve.  Trying to gain as much mass as possible?  Do Phase 1.  Want more of a maintenance approach to gain some muscle while burning some fat?  Do Phase 2.  How about a focus on reducing body fat while maintaining lean muscles?  Do Phase 3.  Of course, the best choice is to go through all these phases.  I did so two years ago with good results and I’m now working through again (read about my Phase 1 results).  Bottom line, Visual Impact Muscle Building is a solid 6 month program and also gives you all the tools you need to develop your own routines for the future.

Best Workout Program for Women

Workout programs for women don’t always focus on the right areas.  That’s why I like Visual Impact for Women.  It was designed to help women get the slim, feminine look rather than the muscular bodybuilder look.  There are a lot of unique tips and strategies that you won’t find in other workout programs.  Additionally, the 12 week cardio course is exceptionally well designed and serves as a great routine on its own.  Of course, I recommend that women incorporate resistance training as well and Visual Impact for Women offers plenty of guidance on the best way to get toned, not bulky.

Best Diet Plans

It’s tough to recommend a best diet plan since everyone’s needs are so unique when it comes to eating.  Any diet plan can simply recommend that you eat less calories than you burn.  It’s managing to do that in a way that doesn’t adversely impact your lifestyle or result in rebound weight gain that is most challenging.  That’s why my preferred approach is intermittent fasting.

For beginners, I would recommend Eat Stop Eat.  This diet plan helped me get back in good shape a few years ago while still allowing me to enjoy the foods I loved.  It involves fasting for 24 hours for 1-2 days per week.  It might sound challenging but once you get used to it, it’s a phenomenal program.

If you’re looking to get really lean, I would recommend the Leangains approach.  This involves daily fasting for 16 hours and also includes calorie cycling and meal timing components.  A unique aspect of the Leangains approach is that it can help a person lose fat, gain muscle, or do both.

For those who can’t handle intermittent fasting, I think the best diet plans allow for flexible eating.  Calorie restrictive diets ultimately fail in the long-term since your body can only go so low for so long.  Additionally, restrictions are psychological torture as well.  Both Cheat Your Way Thin and the Anything Goes Diet offer ways to lose weight without restricting what you eat.

Best Rapid Fat Loss Diet Plan

Finally, for those who want to rapidly lose a lot of weight, I would recommend the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet.  In essence, it combines fasting with strategic re-feeds and a lot of exercise.  This is a hardcore approach that I would only recommend to people who are looking to get in the best shape of their life for an event (read about my results).

Best Workout Programs and Best Diet Plans

So there you have my list of best workout programs and best diet plans.  With most people highly motivated by the start of the new year, I’d recommend starting one of these plans and sticking with it.  The key is finding a workout program and diet plan that you actually enjoy doing…or at least one that doesn’t feel burdensome!

12 Responses to “The Best Workout Programs and Best Diet Plans”

  • Hey Dave, good round up for sure. I think Visual Impact — both of them — get the workout of the year award and ESE is the winner in the diet category … like you said, if you are up to intermittent fasting.

  • Toni:

    I’m going to go with the lazy person’s response and just say that the best workout programs and diet plans are the ones that you actually *stick* to. Plain and simple.

  • Matt:

    You should look into a man named mark mcmanus runs it and has a musclebuilding book where he links all the research studies and makes a program solely on hypertrophy and muscle gaining and it’s free.

  • A great review, I have used many of these programs with great success.

  • Kevin,
    Glad you like all the workouts as well.

    Absolutely agree which is why I think all these workouts and diet plans are the best…they’re built to help people stick with them over the long term without getting bored.

    Great website. I vaguely recall seeing it before. I’ll have to check out the free book and see if I agree with everything.

    Thanks for the support.


  • You got some classics in there Dave. Great job this year and I’m looking forward to some more great posts in 2012!

  • Nice to see your recommendations. I agree that a good programme should be flexible and teach you how to construct your own programmes using the information they provide.

    I think intermittent fasting is a great idea, not just for calorie restriction, but also for the health benefits. It’s easy too. If you find it difficult at first, start with a shorter time period and gradually extend it. Or just miss breakfast each day if that’s easier – a bit like leangains.

    Lots of good stuff here.

  • Paul:

    These are some good recommendations. I like the sound of the book designed for men on muscle building. Also the book that advocates fasting once a week is a great idea too. The idea to not eat may be the hardest seller of any of these, but there are other great benefits like system clean out that go along with it.

  • These are great offers. Simple and east to follow. It’s funny how people try to make weight loss and fitness a complicated process. Workout regularly and don’t overeat. It’s that simple.

  • Srdjan, David, Paul, and Felipe,

    Thanks for all the feedback.


  • Will:

    Great ideas, Dave!

    I prefer to keep things simple in my training and focus on compound body weight exercises to truly harness that “mind/muscle” connection. Keep ‘em coming!

  • Will,
    Simple is the best way to go in my opinion. The more complicated the routine, the harder it is for me to stick with. Compound body weight exercises are a staple of most of my workouts as well.

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