Updated: Oct 20, 2019
Have you been thinking recently that you would like to get a bit fitter and healthier, but not really sure where to start? We have all been there before – trust me, as I’ve said in previous posts, I wasn’t always this into health and fitness, it was a journey which hopefully you can join in on too.
With so many pieces of specific advice out there with conflicting ideas of what is the best way to improve fitness, it can start to seem very complicated indeed. That’s the purpose of me writing this post, to make it plain and simple, and to give you an easy idea of how to improve your general fitness. To get specific goals, like to be able to lift a specific weight, or to get certain muscles to look certain ways, you will need specific advice. If, however, you are just starting to look at going to the gym, why bother with all this complicated information to begin with, lets just break it down into the basics! I’ll first set out some basic ideas, followed by an example routine you can do at the gym.
In order for you to improve your fitness, you’re going to need to do some cardio (sorry!), as well as some weight training. As I’ve said before, but want to reiterate – lifting some weights is not going to make you look instantly like a bodybuilder. That’s great news if you’ve been afraid of weights due to the fear you may become bulky, when this isn’t your goal. Bad news for those of you who thought going to the gym once or twice a week and lifting a couple of weights is going to make you the new Dwayne Johnson in four weeks’ time… it has taken him years of dedication and specific training for these muscles (FYI, Dwayne actually takes a gym with him wherever he is shooting a film – he calls it his travelling gym!).
Some basic guidance:
1) Start with some cardio
Starting with some medium intensity cardio is a great way to get the muscles warmed up, whilst also increasing cardiovascular endurance and burning calories. I’ve written before about some different types of cardio you can use as inspiration on your fitness journey. The most important thing though? Is to do it! Thinking about it is going to do nothing, but going to the gym and throwing in 20 – 30 minutes of cardio to begin with is going to do wonders for you.
2) Do some higher volume, lower rest period weights
By doing higher volume (a rep range of 10 – 12) and low rest periods (a minute between sets) you can keep your heart rate at an elevated rate – this is going to continue to improve your cardio fitness without doing the classic cardio exercises! Do around 3 sets of each exercise, this will be sufficient to work those muscles for fitness.
3) Do full body workouts 2 to 3 times per week
If you’ve only just started going to the gym, then you probably aren’t going to want to be going there 2 hours a day 5 days a week. Most people who jump straight into this type of training give up after a few weeks due to the toll it takes and dedication it takes. Let your body easy into it, as well as your mind! Going two or three times a week is not going to massively disrupt your plans and seems totally doable right? As you’ll only be going two or three times a week, leaving a couple of days between workouts should allow your body to recover and be ready for another full body workout. Doing full body also means if you do occasionally miss a workout, then you’ve at least workout all the muscles once that week – that’s one more than you are currently doing – progress!
Cardio – rowing machine for 25 minutes, spend a few minutes warming up (gradually increase the intensity) and then at the end a few minutes cooling down (gradually decrease the intensity)
Resistance Training (all 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps) with 1 minute rest
Bicep curls (Biceps) – Get a set of dumbbells and keep the top of your arm next to your body pointing at the floor (pivot at the elbow only) pull the dumbbell up towards your chin and down again.
Cable pull downs (Triceps) – find a pulley machine and attach a rope at the top – and keeping the top of your arms immobile pointing towards the floor, grab the rope each side and pull towards the floor (again only pivoting at the elbow).
Dumbbell chest press (Chest) – Find a bench and lay it down flat. Get the dumbbells, lay down on your back on the bench and put the dumbbells next to your chest (don’t have your arms too high, you want your elbow quite near your body). Then push the dumbbells towards the sky
Row resistance machine (Back) – Find the machine where you are able to sit down facing the machine, and pull the handles towards your chest. This works your back and is pretty standard in most gyms. Be sure to push your chest out, sit upright and as you pull the handles towards you, make sure you squeeze the shoulder blades together
Military Press (Shoulder) – This one requires a barbell. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, bring the barbell up onto your chest (carefully) and push towards the sky – being sure to move your face out of the way as you do, it looks pretty silly if you hit yourself in the face with the bar.
Goblet Squats (Upper Legs) – For this one, grab a dumbbell and put your feet 1.5x hip width apart. Get the dumbbell up near your chin by holding it like a goblet! Then slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor and push back up.
Standing Calf Raises (Lower legs) – This one does look deceptively easy, but it’s not as it requires balance and the use of calves which rarely get trained that much. Put a barbell on your back as if you are going to do a squat, but with legs only hip width apart. Then slowly push up onto your tip toes and back down. It works even better if you do this off of a small step.
Ab Crunches (Abs) - Everyone loves a good ab crunch. Lay down on the floor as if you are going to do a sit up, and either place your arms across your chest, or behind your head and lift up off the ground. Don't however go all the way up, just go about half way then back down. Be sure to use your abs to pull you up, do not push your head up with your arms, as this can cause injury.
This would be a great workout for you to get in a couple of times a week, and will start to improve your fitness from the start I really hope you find this a quick concise and helpful aid to get you started towards achieving your goals. As always, if you want any more help or information then please do get in touch with us, we love hearing from you and how our posts are helping you achieve your goals.