Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Fit Publican's Beginner Gym Guide

General Gym Tips
Before I get to the actual workout I wanted to give you a couple of tips that I think will be a big help.

You need to find yourself a gym that doesn't get too busy as trust me after a few weeks you will get seriously fed up with always waiting for equipment to be available.

You want to aim to never spend more than an hour in the gym as you will eventually find that your motivation will slide if subconsciously you know it's going to be a massive drain on your time and energy

You also need to get yourself into a routine that allows you to go to the gym a minimum of 3 days a week. Anything less and you will simply not be putting enough effort in to see results

Workout
So to start off with I think it's best to keep it simple with just a two day split program Then when you are feeling more comfortable and have more strength ramp it up to a 3 day split program which is what I do now but means you need to be at the gym a little bit more often and have the confidence to do Squats and Deadlifts which are a bit of a trick for young players.

Instead of doing a 'warm up' on a bike or treadmill which is what all personal trainers would prescribe on a workout routine (which actually curtails your lifting potential) you should be doing a warm up set of the exercise you are about to do. For me I do this at about 1/4 of the weight I'm about to lift but don't get too pedantic. This is only important on the first set for a particular muscle group, which I've noted on the program. Warm up sets also allow you to feel for any injuries or niggles which may impair your ability to execute the lift safely and effectively.

Back, tricep and core day (3 sets of all exercises)

Cable Seated Row (with warm up set)
Tricep Pushdown (with warm up set)
Dumbbell shoulder press (seated, as upright as possible) (with warm up set)
Lat Pulldown
Exercise Ball Crunch/any type of ab exercise you like

Leg, chest and bicep day (3 sets of all exercises)

Leg Press (with warm up set)
Bench Press (with warm up set)
Bicep Curl (with warm up set)
Leg Extension
Pec Fly (machine, dumbbell or cable cross over)

You should be aiming to achieve as many reps as possible on all the sets you do. Some trainers will tell you to do 3 sets of 10 reps, this doesn't really maximise your potential for strength gain. For example lets say you can achieve 10 reps on your first set but then only 8 on your second and 6 on your third this is perfect but like I said don't stick to any formula just try to push out as many reps as you can.

Ideally you need to find a weight for all these exercises where you can't do more than 10 reps on the first set (ie if you can Bench Press 50kg 12 times take it to 55kg). Having said that the amount of weight your are pushing to start with is almost irrelevant, you need to make sure you are doing the exercises with correct 'form'. Form basically relates to the way in which you perform the exercise, incorrect form can often mean that you will be able to lift heavier weight but also decreases the effectiveness of the exercise and increases the likelihood of injury. Using the exercise directory at http://exrx.net/Lists/Directory.html is an excellent resource as they have gifs which show you how to correctly perform the exercise. I would definitely recommend having a look at the all the exercises I give you on that website before you head to the gym as it will give you a good idea where to start.

It would be best if these workout sessions I've drawn up for you be done in a one day on one day off style to allow your body to recover but like I said you need to be getting to the gym a minimum of 3 days a week so if that means a couple of back to back sessions then so be it. Be conscious (but not paranoid) of over training though, if your body is in pain (even if it's just delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS) it's probably best not to go to the gym as it won't be mentally or physically rewarding. A brisk walk would probably be a good substitute in these situations.

The sooner you can incorporate squats and deadlifts into your routine the better. They're universally regarded as the golden gods of the lifting/aesthetics world. Don't stress too much about it though as you'll see great gains with this routine alone if you've never lifted before. Confidence and enjoyment is key, regardless of what ANYONE tells you is "the most important thing" just do whatever you wanna do... so long as it's safe :)

Fat Loss
Considering the reason most people start going to the gym is body recomposition (more muscle and less fat) it's important to talk about fat loss too. Any gym newbie is going to achieve certain levels of body recomposition from initiating a resistance training program but that will only go so far. Diet is the most important factor when trying to achieve fat loss but to give tips on nutrition is quite difficult as it requires a far more intimate knowledge of a persons history, current lifestyle and goals. My current nutritional ethos surrounds intermittent fasting and low carb/high fat foods, but we'll get into that later.

Cardio
In terms of cardiovascular fitness, I believe cardio is great for many reasons (although some people hate it) but it doesn't burn weight off as effectively as resistance training, I find cardio a lot more rewarding out of the gym anyway. Depending on how far away your gym is riding a bike to and from the gym is a method of getting sufficient cardio into your workout (although potentially not ideal for strength gain). I think it's important to have a balance in your training protocol and for me being cardiovascularly fit is just as much fun as being strong but that really comes down to individual preference.

It's also worth mentioning High Intensity Interval Workouts (HIIT) are universally proven to be the #1 exercise to drop weight, resistance training (ie the plan I've written) are forms of HIIT but not in its purest form, Tabata training is the most intense type of HIIT and only lasts 4 minutes.

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