This full-body program includes a little bit of everything I have done throughout my fitness career:
- Running. I used to run track, so I’ve added a lot of track workouts to this program. We’ll run a mile every couple of days throughout the eight weeks, and we’ll measure progress based on time. So don’t worry if you’ve never run before — you can build up to it. Check out No. 4 below on how to start prepping by walking and jogging.
- Lifting. As you might have guessed, based on all my training as an IFBB Figure champion, we’ll do some heavy lifting. I’ll focus on high reps and low reps while using heavy weights — lifting heavy is the fastest way to get arms like a champ!
- Yoga/stretching. I love practicing yoga, so I’ve included some yoga and stretching. This also includes some exercises to work your core.
Since my goal was to create a well-rounded, balanced program, we’ll also be changing up our location: We’ll do some workouts in the gym, some outside, and some at home with dumbbells and bands.
Phase 1 vs. Phase 2
Each phase of my program lasts four weeks, and they are both fairly similar — the main difference is that Phase 2 will be more intense. For instance, in Phase 1, you may do an exercise for 30 seconds, but in Phase 2, you’ll either do it for a minute or you’ll have less rest in between sets. Essentially, Phase 1 is warming your body up for what’s to come in Phase 2 so you can see strength and stamina gains from the beginning to the end of the program.
Also, in the beginning of the program, you’re only working out four days a week, but by the end of the program, you’re being active every single day — including a mile run on the seventh day. So you’re building your stamina throughout the program, and that was one of my main goals.
How to Prepare for the Program
Before diving into the program, it’s a good idea to put some healthy practices in place a week or two ahead of time. These include the following:
- Setting a schedule. Something I’ve learned through bodybuilding is that I do much better when I maintain a strict schedule. Even now, I set alarms for important things. For example, I have alarms set for my water consumption: I make sure I’ve had a certain number of ounces by noon and again by dinnertime. Same with food: I eat every three-and-a-half hours, so I have alarms set to remind me to eat so I can keep my metabolism strong all day long. I even have an alarm set for my bedtime, which helps ensure I get enough sleep. Finally, set an alarm for your workouts so you make sure they are on your calendar and not something you can forget about or de-prioritize. Having a schedule and sticking to it will help you get through the program.
- Stretching. A few days before starting the program, I would recommend starting to do some static stretching of your hamstrings, quads, calves, etc. This will help with all the yoga moves to come.
- Increasing hydration. It’s also important to increase your water intake — being well-hydrated will help prevent aching muscles and helps with flexibility.
- Walking/jogging. A couple of weeks before the program begins, I’d suggest going out and doing some walking if you’re not used to running. Start by walking a lap on the track, or set a timer and walk 30 minutes. Then transition to speed walking and then a hybrid jog/walk.
- Joining the Facebook group. Sign up to join our Next-Level Lifting Facebook group. I will be available to meet everyone, answer questions and do some live videos. I want to build a community and check in on everyone’s activities, so let’s connect!
Have you been lifting for a while? Do you want to push your limits and see just how far you can go? Let Candice Lewis-Carter — a 13-time IFBB Figure champion, seven-time Olympia Figure champion, two-time Arnold Classic Figure champion and two-time Arnold Classic Australia Figure champion — be your guide. She’s partnered with Oxygen to create Next-Level Lifting, an exclusive eight-week program for those looking to level up their fitness and their physiques. Sign up today!