Maybe you're looking to train for a race, get stronger, or try something new after a year of home workouts. But starting a new workout routine can leave you with more questions than answers, and we don't want you feeling lost when you step foot into the gym!
So, tapped Gideon Akande, trainer, coach and Founder of GetFitWIthGiddy to help you refresh your workout routine.
Vital Note: This article has been made available for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Your licensed healthcare professional can best provide you with the diagnosis and treatment of any medical condition and assist you as well in deciding whether a dietary supplement will be a helpful addition to your regimen.
How can someone get started on a workout routine?
If you want to get started on a workout routine, Akande suggests first assessing and understanding what you know and don't know.
"Specifically, when using weights and equipment you don't want to be doing movements that are complicated or you haven’t tried before," Akande tells Lively. "Don't throw yourself into the mix too quickly."
You should always be mindful of how much weight you’re using, and never be afraid to scale back. It's okay to modify your workload. Lifting too heavy too soon can cause injury and burnout. Remember that everything can be scaled. Even if you want to continue to use body weight, you can make those moves more challenging before adding weight.
"Just because you're excited to get things going, and full of motivation, you shouldn't go straight into working out three times a week," Akande says. "This can cause you to get sore and have to take longer rest, or even feel discouraged by how terrible you feel by large-volume training."
When Should You Add Weight To Your Workouts?
There are a few ways to make sure you're ready for more of a challenge. One example is if you’re completing a set number of reps with a weight.
Once those no longer challenge you, you can try going up in weight but keeping rep count the same. Or, maybe you were seeing progress and have plateaued. This can be another sign it’s time to incorporate or increase weight, says Akande.
How should you decide what body parts to work on what days?
That's going to depend on your goals. Ask yourself: Are you looking to get generally healthier or are you focusing on building muscle? For those who are working to get healthier, Akande suggests leaning toward total-body movements and compound movements — exercises that will target every body part. Doing these types of moves (like a squat to press, push and row, and lunge and curl), increases the demand on your body and requires more energy.
If you're taking a bodybuilding approach, you can try split days (ilke chest and tris or glutes and back). There are many different splits you can do, but no matter how you divvy it up, be sure to give yourself adequate rest days.
What is the best daily workout routine?
This depends on your goals, but overall it’s important to give yourself a rest day — no one should work out every single day.
Add this workout, created by Akande, to your routine
Squat to Shoulder Press
Stand with feet hips-width apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand. Rest one dumbbell on each shoulder. Initiate the movement by sending the hips back as if you're sitting back into a chair. Bend knees to lower down as far as possible with chest lifted in a controlled movement. Keep lower back neutral. Press through heels to stand back up to starting position. At the top, press the weights directly upward, pause at the top, then lower down to shoulder height. Repeat.
Renegade Row With Push-Up
Start in high plank position, with palms wrapped around dumbbells (or dumbbells next to palms). Bend elbow to lift one weight off the ground, driving arm back toward ribs, keeping core braced and a flat back. Then, lower weight back to the ground. Next, perform one push-up by bending elbows to lower body to the floor, keeping core engaged. Push back up to return to starting position. Repeat, alternating sides.
Lie faceup. Contract your core and slowly and lift your legs up to an extended position at a 45-degree angle with your torso. At the same time, reach your arms forward (or reach up to your shins). Hold at the top, then slowly return to starting position. Repeat.
Reverse Lunge To Biceps Curl
Stand with the feet about hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Slowly step backward with the left leg. After the left foot hits the ground, push back into the right hip to slowly lower the left knee toward the floor while keeping the chest raised. Press right foot into the ground as you bring the left leg forward to return to standing. At the top, perform one biceps curl. Repeat.
Lie facedown with arms and legs extended. Keeping head and neck neutral, brace core and lift arms and legs a few inches off the ground, pause, then lower to starting position. Repeat.
Lie faceup with hands behind head, legs bent and feet flat on floor. Lift right shoulder off mat to bring right elbow toward left knee, while extending right leg straight. Reverse to draw left elbow to right knee as you extend left leg straight. Repeat.
What's a good gym workout routine?
"I always encourage everyone, especially when trying something new and different in an exercise routine, to start as easy as possible," Akande says. Especially if you are new to the gym, make your workout so easy you know you won’t fail (which can help keep you from getting discouraged — we know the gymtimidation is real).
There are a few reasons for this: 1.) It’s valuable practice for heavier demands later on, and 2.) It can help you build confidence. From there, you can build up intensity, weight or reps.
"Give your body a chance to get used to what you're asking it to do, safely." Akande says. "Knowing what you can accomplish will ensure you're not putting yourself under a load you can't handle."
What is a good 5-day workout routine?
Again, this really depends on what you want to do.
For those starting out, Akande suggests working out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, resting on Tuesday and Thursday, doing a light workout on Saturday, and resting on Sunday. On your rest day, you don't have to sit on the couch either, says Akande.
You can go for a walk, do yoga or do lighter cross-training. Try some of your go-to movements, but at significantly lower rates of intensity. Space your workouts so there is not too much on the front end or back end of the week — feel it out to see what your body likes.