So, you’ve signed up to a new gym, got your gym bag sorted and are ready to hit the gym.. Well, not quite! A workout plan is the perfect way to ensure that any pre-gym nervous are well and truly put to bed, allowing you to enter the gym with confidence knowing you’ve prepared well before hand and have a clear vision of what you want to do.
According to the American Heart Association the recommended amount of exercise per week requires 75-150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, mixed in with two strength-training sessions and this plan will be tailored with those recommendations in mind.
To make sure you get the amount of exercise that’s required, we recommend trying to attend the gym a few days a week to begin with, this helps you to ease into your new routine while simultaneously giving your fitness journey a little kick start. Another key factor you should consider to avoid any muscular problems is your warm up. Don’t just dive head first in to your sessions, a 5 minute brisk walk on the treadmill is perfect for any cardio workouts or 5 minutes of upper/lower body stretches if you plan on getting some strength training in.
To start you off with we’ll begin with a cardio session, this will help give you some time to adjust to your new surroundings as well as give you a general idea of where everything is in your new gym before you start your strength training. If you’d like to take a look at the types of gym equipment you might come across, a full list can be found here.
We’re gonna start you off easy with this one. Find an exercise bike, treadmill, or elliptical machine and try to get 30 minutes done at a steady pace, if this is too much don’t worry, try taking the time down to 20 or even 15 minutes.
If you find that steady speed at 30 minutes is a little easy for you, try slowly increasing the incline, resistance, or speed (depending what machine you’re on) to suit your fitness levels.
This is the simplest way to get used to your new surroundings and cardio machines are perfect for your first session, not only do they allow you to manage how hard you work but they also have the best long-term effects on your fitness.
Upper Body Workout (3 sets x 10 reps each exercise)
- Lat Pull Downs – Grasp the bar with a wide overhand grip about shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar down so that it reaches your chin (or just below it) allowing your back to angle slightly. Keeping a firm grip on the bar, allow it to slowly rise back towards the starting position and repeat.
- Chest Press – Find a bench and a set of dumbbells that you can lift without putting too much strain on your muscles. Next, lie flat on the bench (face up) with a dumbbell in each hand, creating a 90 degree angle with your upper arm and forearm. Push your hands up using your chest muscles, extending your elbows so they’re directly above your shoulders. Squeeze your chest muscles at the top with your arms fully extended, hold for a moment, then lower the dumbbells back down slowly to the starting position.
- Overhead Press – Grab a bench and adjust the top half so it leans back slightly. Sit on the bench and raise your dumbbells up creating a 90 degree and with your upper arms and forearms, wrists extending back towards your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades, making sure your head is back and chest is up. Raise the dumbbells above your head, when reaching the top elevate your shoulders slightly and lock your elbows before returning to the start position.
- Tricep Extensions – Grip the bar with palms facing downwards, approximately shoulder width apart. Keep your elbows in to your body as you lean forward slightly, and exhale as you push the bar down until your arms are extended fully. The key is to focus on using your triceps when pushing the bar down and keeping your shoulders/elbows as still as possible.
- Bicep Curls – Start with a dumbbell in each hand arms relaxed by your sides and palms facing outwards. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides as you raise your forearms up in front of your body, bringing the dumbbells up towards your shoulders, hinged at the elbow. Once at the top squeeze your biceps before slowly lowering the dumbbells back down in a reverse motion and repeat.
Lower Body Workout (3 sets x 10 reps each exercise)
- Bench/Box Squat – Place your box/bench behind slightly behind you and lower your body by pushing your hips back, focusing on squatting backwards touching your butt slowly onto the surface. Allow your full weight to land on top of the box pause for a second, then push back up through your heels to get back to the starting position.
- Calf Raises (10 reps each side) – Grab a barbell weight and place it on the floor in front of you, placing the ball of your right foot on top of the weight. Raise your heel off the ground so you’re up on your tip toes, you should be able to feel a stretch in your calf. Hold this position for a moment before slowly lowering back down to the start position.
- Lunges (10 reps each side) – Stand with your feet hip-width apart, take a big step forward with your chosen leg making sure your core is engaged and lower your body until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Hold for a second, then drive back up through your front heel to the starting position and repeat.
- Glute Bridge – Lie on the ground with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your arms down by your sides, engage your core and glutes raising your hips off the floor so they’re inline with your knees and shoulders. Pause for a second and return back to the start position.
To finish off your workouts it’s important that you cool down, this is similar to warming up and are just as important! After performing physical exercise your blood vessels are dilated, your heart rate is risen and your body temperature is higher than normal, this means if you stop too fast you’re prone to feeling sick or lead to you passing out, neither of which are ideal. A cool-down after exercise allows your body to gradually return to it’s relaxed state.
Here’s some ideas for a good cool down:
- Walk: About 5 minutes should be enough time for your heart rate to drop below 120bpm, sometimes it may take longer however, so adjust accordingly.
- Stretches: Make sure you’re holding your stretches for 5-10 seconds each without causing yourself any pain and don’t bounce.