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Making Your Workout Work For You

It’s the New Year.  Gyms are being over run with people who’ve decided this year is the one they’ll get fit and be healthier.  It can be a bit intimidating joining a gym with new surroundings, unfamiliar equipment and the lady by the weights with the perfect body looking fabulous with minimal effort as she does another set of 50 bicep curls.

It helps to have an idea of what to do when working out to enable you to achieve your required goal whether it is to improve fitness, muscle mass, tone etc.  It’s not always easy to want to exercise over the colder months.  Finding ways to make exercise more fun can really help with motivation.

What do you Need to Know?

It helps to learn the basics about training as that will help you not only exercise properly but also lose weight, tone, develop strength or build up where you want to.  Many throw themselves into training thinking they know best and this will often result in injury which may mean they are unable to train until they heal.  If you are wanting to train in a gym sometimes it can help to book yourself in with an instructor to get a programme written up for you.

Aerobic Classes

Classes are a great way to train as you don’t need to think much except for making sure you follow the teachers instruction.  Having a good teacher can help as they are great at providing exercises that can tone and strengthen specific areas.  A good teacher will also provide alternatives for new and seasoned attendees.  Attending a range of aerobic classes is a great idea as it means that it will mean different muscles are used.

Try mixing bums, tums and thighs classes, circuits, even pilates over the week to cover a good range of muscles.  In the class you will learn about controlling your breathing, how to exercise safely and how to stretch properly before and after a workout. 

Training In a Gym

This is more of a solo exercise unless you train with a partner.  It can be much more motivating to partner up and helps pass the time faster as well as provide encouragement.  Using a personal trainer can also be helpful as they can tailor training to suit your requirements.

You might want to also take a beginner’s lifting class where you will learn traditional weightlifting techniques that use the whole body. The lifts you’ll do will be compound lifts. They use the entire body which allows you to improve your strength in all your body parts at once.

What’s Best

Ideally a combination of both aerobic and weight bearing exercises such as those done by body builders work well.  I’m not saying you need to become a body builder yourself just to use some of the exercises they often perform to help build up core strength and tone.

What are Compound Exercises?

These are exercises that work more than one muscle group at the same time.  They include squats, pull ups, cable pull downs and dips.  These can be done whilst training in the gym but some can be incorporated in aerobic classes too.

Isolating Muscles

Bodybuilders specialise in isolating their muscles to get the best workout for singular muscles or muscle groups.  They separate each muscle to target it’s weaknesses and work to strengthen them.  Techniques are used in many different ways.  For example, pairing a weak muscle with a strong muscle doesn’t work well.  The stronger muscle then needs to work harder in an attempt to do it’s job.  You see this a lot in people’s arms such as small biceps and strong triceps.  Here they may look to use isolation techniques to help them strengthen where it is needed.

For Those Interested in Body Building

Looking at websites that are for bodybuilders can be helpful as they discuss different techniques.  Some like Bodybuilding.com have forums where you can ask questions and learn first hand what works and what doesn’t.  Of course take advice with a pinch of salt and use common sense when trying new techniques.

Love Training and Want to Turn it into a Career?

I power walk when I can and one of the mums I do this with was considering turning her training into a career.  This is very popular as more and more people are hiring personal trainers to help them get fit and get into shape.  This way you can train and earn at the same time!  It can work out better for novices especially to hire a personal trainer as although many gyms will offer an basic induction to show clients how to use their equipment after that they are left to their own devices.  Those that are not used to training can injure themselves.  This results in them being unable to attend sessions due to injury.  In some cases this can put them off and some will even throw in the towel altogether.

 For those beginners wanting to just get a good grounding on how to train in a gym there are numerous courses available.  An example of which is the OriGym course.  It is varied and covers fitness principles and also personal training techniques.  It’s a level 2 fitness course – one level below a personal trainer.  The course can be done online or via a full time 2-week course in a classroom.  You can use what you learn to improve the effectiveness of your workouts.  This will develop you physique and confidence.  As well as this one you can and also develop a basis from which you can build upon, continuing with further training to eventually become qualified to do personal training.

Mix It Up

Mixing classes where you do cardio training, then endurance lifting with light weights can be beneficial.  This tests your overall fitness from strength, stamina and speed.  Your fast twitch fibers will be activated as well as your slow twitch fibers.  The more you learn about varying techniques and styles of workout the more knowledge you have to implement into your own workouts.  You can take from different classes what you need.  Then make a routine where you work all the muscles you want but also improve your ability to workout or exercise for longer.

With the various sources of information you can use the best from each to tailor work outs for yourself and for others (should you become qualified to do so).

Do you exercise?  If so what form of training do you enjoy most?

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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. I’m not very good when it comes to workouts I prefer swimming and walking

    1. They can work well too for you, mix it up and speed walk in different areas that are a mix of flat and hilly. Swimming is great and there are classes for this too that are great fun.

  2. I feel inspired after reading this! I know I need to do more exercise and I enjoy classes and just struggle to fit them in to my life time-wise.

  3. I’m starting to get back into exercise after being ill so thanks for all these great tips!

  4. I really need to join a gym, but I do have a cross trainer that I use from time to time. To be honest walking is probably my main form of exercise currently though…

  5. Thanks for sharing this it was really interesting to read! I don’t exercise at the moment but really should! It can feel really daunting an overwhelming though with so many classes, equipment and different avenues when it comes to exercise so this post has been a big help when it comes to working out what I should be doing!

  6. I have recently started yoga. I am pretty active with daily life living in the countryside and the dogs and allotment but I felt focussed body work was lacking so I am giving it a go

  7. I am really enjoying the aerobics I have been doing lately. Once you get the hang of following the instructions, it’s pretty simple to get your head around. I feel inspired after reading this.

  8. I really need to get back into fitness. I struggle a little due to having a curved spine, but I found dance to be good for me when I was younger (as long as I didn’t overdo things), so I might look into getting back into that. Or maybe aerobics. I’ve always fancied giving spinning a go but I just think it would be a bit too much 🙂

    Louise x

    1. Dance can be a great way to get fit and have fun.

  9. I don’t really like the gym so I mix it up by sticking to varied fitness classes instead. At the moment, my favourites are Burlesque, Pole Fitness and Pound Fitness. I get too bored otherwise! x

    1. It can be boring. Having a gym buddy helps. The classes sound like fun.

  10. I have actually just cancelled my gym membership. I just wasn’t using it enough. I go on loads of family walks instead, and so a bit of yoga in the house

    1. As long as you are doing some for of exercise you should be fine 🙂

  11. These days the gym is the last place I want to be but I have been running daily and doing classes once a week which has been a help targetting different muscles.

  12. I’ve started to make exercise part of my day to day routine, but I do it at home around the school run!

  13. Great advice, I just cancelled my gym membership at Christmas as I hadn’t been for 6 months. Time is the issue for me!

  14. Lots of great info In This article.
    This time of year the gyms are heaving with newcomers
    I take part in 2 Bootcamp sessions per week and love an early morning workout

  15. I really need to join a gym and even thought about hiring some equipment for home

  16. Great tips here. I exercise from home.

  17. Whenever I’ve joined a gym I always feel intimidated and stop going (so a waste of money). I prefer walking and cycling

  18. My workouts normally involve swimming or walking, I am not a fan of the gym

  19. What an interesting read. I didn’t know the differences between the different forms of exercise and the reasons some people choose one over the other. I’m hoping the weather starts to warm up soon so I can hit the pool again (it’s an outdoor one). Swimming is my preferred method for exercising.

  20. I need to get fit asap. I need to hit the gym for sure, but it is just getting the time to do so xx

    1. That’s the problem with many but even a short workout can help.

  21. I would def prefer a class & a teacher to follow! I’m not very good at motivating myself when I am on my own!

    1. That’s where a gym buddy comes in. It can be fun training with friends.

  22. I’ve recently joined a Zumba group and have got the wii fit out . Really wanting to get fit this year

    1. Zumba is great for getting fit and also good fun, enjoy x

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