Most beginners start out at the gym with a workout consisting of cardio on the treadmill, bike or elliptical, a few light sets on the leg machines, and then they might finish with some core work. The only place this gets them is back home on the couch, when they become bored with the routine and fed up with a lack of results. Avoid the drudgery of a standard gym-newbie workout, and see great results fast with a beginner's gym workout that can help you lose weight.
Weight training is one of the best ways of getting in shape. Strength training is far more effective than cardio for burning fat, according to trainer Charlotte Andersen of Shape Magazine, because it gives your metabolism a big boost, so you continue burning calories long after the session's finished. A report from the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois states that beginners might be more suited to resistance machines, but free-weights work more muscles, making them more functional for everyday life, and they burn more calories. If you're not sure how to use free-weights, it's worth asking a trainer at the gym for assistance and taking the time to get to grips with dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells.
Forget your steady half hour on the stepper or reading the latest gossip mag on the recumbent bike, it's time to take things up a gear. Switch from steady state cardio to interval training, advises Rachel Cosgrove, trainer and owner of Results Fitness, California, in an interview with Fox News. Alternate 20 to 30 second periods of very high intensity work with two to four minutes of low intensity work on any gym machine of your choice for a total of 20 to 30 minutes. While this may sound advanced, even the most out of shape person can manage interval training simply by adjusting the intensities or reducing the high intensity periods.
Train your whole body in each session. Full-body training provides a far greater calorie burn than splitting up your training and is better for weight loss and body sculpting, notes strength coach Marc Perry of BuiltLean.com. Perform four to five multi-joint weight exercises to cover your whole body such as squats, lunges, pushups, pull-downs, rows or chest presses, then move on to 20 to 30 minutes of cardio. If you're pressed for time, you could always do weight training one day and cardio the next.
The key to moving from beginner, to intermediate, to superstar fitness Queen is to constantly progress. If you did three sets of eight on deadlifts in your last workout, aim for three sets of nine or use a heavier weight next time. If you cover 3 miles on the treadmill, make your next goal 3 1/2 miles. Start with two sessions per week for the first month, then up this to three in month two and four sessions per week from there. Only make small jumps each time -- remember it's a marathon, not a sprint, and always maintain perfect technique when lifting heavier weights.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.