If you are new to the gym or it has been a while since you last worked out it can be difficult to know where to start. How much time should you spend on cardio and where do you begin with strength training? These are all questions which might be going through your head.
Don’t fret!! 1Life is on hand to help take the guess workout of your workout and get you well on your way to leading a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Creating a workout routine
When it comes to creating an effective, quality exercise routine it is worth spending some time considering the F.I.T.T. principle.
- Frequency – how often you plan to exercise. Be realistic and remember this is a lifestyle change not a quick-fix.
- Intensity – setting the right level on intensity as a beginner. This will gradually change as you see improvements in your fitness levels and stamina.
- Time – how long you are able to spend working out during each training session.
- Type – the type of exercise you plan to include in your exercise routine, such as the gym, swimming, classes etc.
The key to creating an effective workout routine which will result in the changes you want to see, and feel is balance. Spending all your time in the gym using the cardio equipment will only deliver limited results but combine this with strength training and you can elevate your workout to achieve far better results. Likewise, only training your upper body muscles and neglecting your lower body can not only put you at risk of sustaining injuries but you are also not benefiting from a full body workout. This doesn’t mean that you need to spend every training session working on all the muscles groups in your body but striking a balance over the course of a week for example, is the best way to improve your fitness and achieve results.
Example Exercise Routine
Everyone’s baseline fitness level is different so if the suggested exercises feel too easy then look to increase the intensity or duration. Likewise, if you feel that you just can’t complete the exercises then look to scale it back to a level you are more comfortable with. As a beginner you want to start off at a moderate intensity and don’t overdo things. Remember, the aim at this stage is to raise your heartbeat but you should still be able to hold a conversation while exercising so modify the following plan to suit your current fitness level.
The following example workout plan should take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete, if this is too long then break the workout down and spread over a number of days. To really see results you should aim to workout approximately three times a week.
This is an important stage which shouldn’t be overlooked as it warms up your muscles ready for exercise and reduces the risk of injuries. You can use any cardio equipment for this so the treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationary bike, rowing machine or stair-stepper are all fine.
Your warm up should be at an easy – moderate pace, raising your heart rate slowly by increasing your pace and resistance. Aim for 5 minutes at this pace and intensity before increasing the pace and resistance further for 2 minutes before reducing the pace and resistance again for a further 2 minutes. Repeat this increase/reduction in intensity and follow with stretches.
Strength, Cardio and Stretch
For strength training you want to head to the free weights and weight machines which are usually grouped together on the gym floor. Choose a weight that you can lift for 10 reps without too much discomfort towards the end. Rest for 60 seconds between each set and aim to complete 3 sets of 10 reps for each.
- Dumbbell lunges
- Leg press
- Dumbbell shoulder press
- Lat pull down
- Cable chest fly
Your cardio can be based around the cardio equipment mentioned in the warm up section or you can introduce a high-intensity interval training circuit (HIIT) to your workout. Aim to complete 5 rounds of the following:
- 10 burpees
- 10 press ups
- 10 sit ups
Once you have completed your workout it’s time to cool down and stretch. Again, this is a part of your workout which shouldn’t be neglected. A gentle walk on the treadmill for 2 – 3 minutes should be enough to return your heart rate to normal.
A few simple stretches at the end of your workout can go a long way to avoid stiffness and muscle strains. Here are a few to introduce at the end of your training session.
- Buttock stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds
Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your chest.
Cross your right leg over your left thigh.
Grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands.
Pull your left leg towards your chest.
Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Hamstring stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds
Lie on your back and raise your right leg.
Hold your right leg with both hands, below your knee.
Keeping your left leg bent with your foot on the floor, pull your right leg towards you keeping it straight.
Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Calf stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds
Step your right leg forward, keeping it bent, and lean forwards slightly.
Keep your left leg straight and try to lower the left heel to the ground.
Repeat with the opposite leg.
- Triceps stretch – hold for 10 to 15 seconds
Stand with your feet hip distance apart.
Place your right hand at the top of your back.
Apply gentle pressure with your left hand so your right hand reaches further down your spine
Repeat with the opposite arm.
When you first join the gym, you will be offered a thorough induction with a fully-qualified member of the 1Life fitness team, which is a great opportunity to try out the different machines and ask any questions.
If you would like further guidance then one of our friendly personal trainers will happily create a personalised workout plan for you with your specific goals in mind. They’ll also be able to help you with different equipment and training techniques to build your confidence in the gym. Contact your local 1Life centre here to find out more.