There are many advantages to working out at the gym. Not only do you get exercise, you are able to organize a routine that is not affected by weather conditions. You gain access to machines you might not have at home and at some gyms, you can even enroll in classes or work with a personal trainer. Gym workouts can boost your fitness level, help you lose weight, and aid in developing muscle tone. However, if you are visiting the gym without a set strategy or plan, you are unlikely to achieve the results you desire.
The best way to get the most out of a gym membership is to plot a course of action that includes five specific components of fitness. These are cardiovascular health, strength training, flexibility, core strengthening, and balance. A well-rounded fitness plan spends time on each of these throughout the week or during a single workout. The following are examples of a one week gym routines and a single session gym routines.
One-Week Gym Routines
1. Monday, Wednesday and Friday
On these three days, you will visit the gym to work on cardiovascular endurance and resistance training. Begin your workout on one of the cardio machines available at your facility. These might include treadmills, stair climbers, stationary bikes, or elliptical machines. Plan to spend 20 minutes exercising on these machines. Begin your workout at 50% of your maximum exertion and continue for two minutes, warming up your body and preparing it for more difficult work. At this point, you can increase speed, resistance, or incline to boost your workout.
Most cardio machines provide level increases by numbers. For instance, you can set a stair climber at a number one through five, but also increase the angle of the steps or the speed at which you are moving. Move the level of the machine up by one every minute until you reach 90% of your maximum. Once you workout for one minute at 90%, reduce the machine to the original setting and work your way back up again at one minute intervals. During the final minute of your workout, go all out and give 100% of effort. Once 20 minutes has passed, you will need to do a cool down. Set the machine so you are performing at about 40% of your maximum effort and continue exercising until your breathing and heart rate return to normal.
Once your cardio cool-down is complete, in one-week gym routines, you will want to move on to resistance training. This portion of your workout is designed to work all of your major muscle groups, including the chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. You can use either free weights or machines, but most health experts recommend using a combination of both. Start with three sets of exercises per muscle group. Each set can include 12 repetitions. Increase the weight on the second set and then again on the third set. If you are unable to complete the third set with the heavier weight, do as many repetitions as possible. This completes your Monday, Wednesday, or Friday workout.
2. Tuesday and Thursday
Since there is debate over whether interval training is more effective than regular full intensity training, this gym routine includes both. Your interval training occurs Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and your hard and fast cardio training occurs on Tuesdays and Thursday.
Begin your workout on these two days on a cardio machine. After a short warm up, increase your machine so you are working at 75% of your maximum ability. Continue this for at least 40 minutes and finish with a five minute cool down. After your cardio workout, you can focus on core strengthening with abdominal exercises for approximately 10 minutes.
3. Saturday and Sunday
Saturday and Sunday are rest days from the gym, but fitness experts recommend being active on at least one of those days. Skip the gym, but participate in sports, go for a walk, or have some fun rollerblading or playing tennis.
One-Hour Gym Routines
Some people prefer a one-hour gym routine. Instead of mixing things up on different days to create a well-balanced plan over the course of a week, you can create a one-hour plan that includes all the necessary components for fitness. One-hour routines should include:
You should stretch before and after your workout. Beforehand, it increases your circulation and heart rate, preparing the muscles for your workout. After your workout, stretching helps you prevent stiffness and allows your body to cool down. Stretching should be done for five minutes at the beginning and end of each workout.
Once stretching is complete, you can move on to cardio. Choose an activity you enjoy that boosts your heart rate. There are varying opinions on which cardio exercise is best, but it varies from person to person. You are better off enjoying something than focusing solely on calories burned in a workout. This makes it easier to commit to fitness. The cardio portion of your workout should last 20 minutes.
3. Strength Training
Strength training helps you increase strength and tone your muscles. Do not overdo weight lifting when you first start working out. It is better to do more repetitions at a lower weight than cause injury by trying to do something that is too much for your current condition. Make sure you vary your strength training during each workout so you are targeting all of your muscles. Strength training should make up 20 minutes of your workout.
4. Core Training
Core training is strength training that focuses on the core of your body. Strengthening your abdominal muscles helps you look your best and prevents pain. As a matter of fact, many people are able to eliminate back pain by strengthening their abdominals. A one-hour workout should include 10 minutes of core training.
Balanced fitness does not end in the gym. In addition to well-rounded gym routines and work-outs, you must also eat right and drink plenty of water. It is especially important to refuel with protein and water following a workout. Speak with your doctor about your specific health goals to design a diet that compliments your fitness plan.