The ultimate guide for beginning your new fitness routine. By Robert Reames, Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute Member and Author of the book, Makeover Your Metabolism.
Congratulations! By deciding to get in shape you’ve taken the most important step toward leading a healthy lifestyle. Now, you need the ultimate roadmap to get you started. Well here it is! We’ve put together a simple, easy routine you can use to get you going and get you results!GO BACK
Our goal is to make the best use of your time. You want maximum bang for your buck every time you go to the gym. And keep in mind…that this is just the start. Your fitness and wellness program is a process that will continue to develop through time.
Before we get to the actual program, here are some key things to keep in mind as you embark on this journey:
- Muscle dictates metabolism. You want to continue to develop, build and maintain your maximum amount of lean, active, fat burning muscle. One pound of added muscle can burn an extra 40-50 calories per day. This alone will make a huge difference in vitality and your daily energy levels.
- Maximize your intensity. And I emphasize that this is your best intensity, not someone else’s. In other words, go to your peak levels on any given day. Research shows that overall, it’s the intensity or the level at which you work is what will give you best results. So rest assured that you don’t have to spend hours upon hours in the gym in order to achieve. Ask for your ”Personal Best” from yourself every time you hit the gym. You’ve been handed a blank slate in which there is only room for progress.
- Keep in mind that no matter what level you happen to be at today, where you are coming from or where you’ve been-our bodies all move the same. You push, pull, rotate and squat the same as Arnold, MJ, Venus or any other elite athlete. The difference lies in the range of motion, the work volume and resistance levels used. Our bodies are engineered for load and locomotion. We’re born to move. So maximize your individual abilities and embrace all progress.
- Never hesitate to ask a Gold’s Gym staff member questions on safe and confident operation of all equipment that you’ll use while in the gym. Safety is always…the #1 priority in your fitness program.
- Wear workout apparel. You can take this with you to work so you don’t have to stop at home before or after work. Have a pair of sneakers that you will use for your workouts. A good pair of comfortable shoes can make all the difference in the quality of your workout experience. Your foot plant resonates and in many ways determines what the rest of your body does each step of the way. So make proper footwear a priority both in and out of the gym.
- On determining resistance levels for your strength work-use levels that are comfortable yet challenging. Make sure that you can perform the exercises in optimum form and full range of motion for the given recommended sets and repetitions. It’s an excellent idea to practice these motions…with no resistance. Then you’ll be confident in the motion and can load your resistance appropriately. You can think of strength training ultimately as motor skills that we already know and use in everyday life…and we’re just adding resistance to these skills.
- Now that you’ve made this commitment it’s imperative to get proper rest. Make it a goal to get 8-9 hours of restful sleep on a regular basis. Rest and recovery is a vital component of your fitness program. “Work hard and rest well!”
- Put optimum fuel in your tank. 70-80% of your success relies on the choices that you make outside the gym during your daily walk of life. So make the sleep and your nutrition a priority. Take advantage of our many expert nutrition and lifestyle articles available online now. ALL of your efforts combined (exercise, nutrition, proper rest) work synergistically to keep you at the top of your game.
- And keep your head in the game. Just by showing up and participating you are experiencing success. Maximize your fitness level and your time on a consistent basis. It is that simple…and you’ll continue to be successful.
*So let’s get to the total body roadmap!
1) Warm-up: (4-5 minutes) Pick a your cardio piece of choice; treadmill, elliptical or bike. Step on and perform at a moderate intensity…gradually increasing intensity as you go. Do this for 4-5 minutes. The purpose of the warm-up is simply to elevate your body temp, increase circulation and ultimately to get your body ready for action.
2) Strength: (12-15 minutes) Here’s where we start to develop and build the muscle…the fat burning machinery that works for you 24/7.
- Scope the gym and pick out three machines. Pick one pushing or chest press unit, one pulling or lat machine unit (row or lat pull down) and one leg press unit for comprehensive lower body work.
- Pushing Motion or Chest Press. (works chest, shoulders and triceps) Sit up nice and tall on the seat. Look straight ahead and incorporate your best posture. Grip your hands firmly on to the handles. Push the bar out until your elbows are at full extension. (do not lock or hyperextend your elbow joint) Bring the bar back to where your elbows are even with your shoulders and repeat this motion. Here at the beginning allow 2-3 seconds on the push and another 2-3 seconds on the return. Perform this motion for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions at a resistance level that is comfortable yet challenging. Allow 45- 60 seconds of rest between sets. (see above note on resistance levels)
- Pulling Motion or Lat/Back Pull Downs or Rows. (works muscles of the back, biceps and all elbow flexors) Pull Downs: Sit up nice and tall on the seat, leaning back just slightly at the hips. Grip the lat bar above with your palms facing away from you right around where the bar begins to curve. Engage your abdominals (draw your navel into your spine) as you perform this motion. On motion simply bring your elbows down and into your body as your chest meets the bar. Return to full arm extension and repeat. (Same sets and reps recommendation as on the chest press) Rows: Sit up nice and tall with optimum posture. Grip the handles firmly directly in front of you. On motion simple pull the handles back to where your elbows just pass your torso and return to full arm extension and repeat. Again here for both row and or the pull downs allow 2-3 seconds on the pull and another 2-3 seconds on the return.
- Leg Pressing for Comprehensive Lower Body: Sit down at the leg press and place the bottoms of your feet firmly on the platform approximately shoulder width apart. On motion with legs in full extension (again here do not lock out or hyperextend the knees) simply bend both legs to no more than 90 degrees and return to full extension. Perform this motion for 1-3 sets of 10 repetitions using the same time from of the 2-3 seconds for both the press and the return.
Note: Strength train on opposite days allowing 36-48 hours of rest and recovery for the given major muscle group worked.
3) Cardio: (8-10 minutes) Here’s where we begin to increase stamina, endurance and overall cardiovascular capacity.
- Pick out your cardio machine of choice; treadmill, elliptical trainer, bike, step unit or rowing machine. Get on to the unit and again here, even though you are warmed up due to the previous work take 1-2 minutes to escalate your intensity. Use the next 6-7 minutes to work at your peak level (keep in mind that your peak level may be just the fact that you’ve actually stepped on to the machine…and that’s okay!) Then take 1-3 minutes to cool back down to where your heart rate is back to a normal resting level.
- Take a minute or two to walk around the gym. Give yourself kudos for a job well done!
* Note: This is an overall program to get you started off with a 30 minute total body workout. This program will get you to know the facility and the possibilities available to you. It’s only the beginning. In time…as you build momentum I ultimately advise you to get a session or two with a Gold’s personal trainer to further consult with you on a specific program(s) that meets your individual abilities and goals. This will continue to open up opportunities for you to maximize your experience. As I said above…this is a process and your fitness program will develop and evolve in the coming weeks, months and years of your life. Embrace and enjoy the journey!