Do you need to get fit? Signing up with your local gym is a good place to start, but then what? If you are a beginner and have never set foot in a gym before it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of fancy machines scattered around the gym floor.
Relax, it’s easier than you think, all you need is a plan and the energy to push yourself through your workout. Let’s take a look at what you should be doing in the gym as a beginner and how to build your level of fitness.
Build Strength with Compound movements
Squats are a fantastic exercise that should be the focus of your training on the first day. This compound movement works the legs and also uses stabilizer muscles in your core, back, and glutes. For the first four weeks, until your legs strengthen up, make sure that you do bodyweight squats, also known as ‘Hindu squats’. Try to hit 200 reps without a break, it may seem easy in the beginning but you will be ready to fall over by the end.
Once this workout is no longer challenging, it is time to use barbells loaded with a bit of weight. Start out with just the bar and complete 20 reps, then add five to ten pounds to the bar and complete 12 to 15 reps. Complete 6 to eight total sets and then call it a day, this workout will be the second of the week and should last no longer than 40 minutes, try it yourself.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
HIIT comprises your second workout of the week. You can complete this workout on your choice of cardio equipment, or the track. You don’t even need to go to the gym for this workout, it can be done outside your house on the street, or at a local park if you feel like being outdoors.
Start the workout by warming up with a light jog until your heart rate reaches 135 beats per minute. Once you are warm, start the first interval by sprinting as hard as you can for thirty to forty seconds, then cool down for twenty seconds until your heart rate drops back to the 130 to 140 bpm range.
This constitutes one interval. Try to complete 15 intervals in 20 minutes. Never let an HIIT workout last longer than 30 minutes as the intensity will drain you quickly and disrupt your central nervous system, opening you to possible injury.
Tabata Sets for Fitness
Tabata sets are an incredibly physically demanding form of circuit training. If you are a member of a commercial gym, you can use their circuit equipment to do this workout. Pick six to eight exercises that you enjoy, then complete as many reps as you can in sixty seconds, then immediately move on to the next exercise, taking as little rest as possible.
Once you have completed all six exercises, take 30 seconds to recover and then complete another round of the exercises. Your workout should comprise of six to eight rounds that are completed in less than thirty minutes total. Tabata sets are all about completing as much work as you can in as little time as possible. This second workout of the week will leave you exhausted in less than half an hour, perfect for the mom with a busy schedule.
Pay Attention to Your Diet & Recovery
Your diet plays a large role in your recovery from training. Make sure that your diet is comprised of healthy fats and protein, with as few carbs as possible. Refined carbohydrates should be avoided completely as they create inflammation in the body, delaying the recovery process.
Never go back to the gym if you have not fully recovered from a workout, there is a good possibility that you may be injured if you have not recovered properly. If you need help with your diet, then visit a nutritionist and explain your goals to them, they will design a diet that is exactly what you need to achieve your fitness goals.
Log Your Progress
Track every exercise you do, noting the weight used and the reps done. Review this data in your training journal every six weeks to ensure that you are making progress with your training and diet. If you stay dedicated to achieving your goals, you will eventually achieve them if you are committed.