So, you signed up to the gym and you think “right new Monday new me!”
Then you get into the gym so look at all the equipment, you walk around trying to find something you recognise, hoping that maybe someone you know is there to guide you but they aren’t and then think “what the hell is all this, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, if I try use any of this I’m going to make myself look like a right moron, I’ll just go on the treadmill at least I can’t be judged on their’
Yes, I know you thought that because I did, and so has everyone who has even stepped into the gym!
The difference is knowing what to do in the safety of the treadmill, while you ‘warm-up’ on the treadmill first look for the matted areas, this is now your safe spot the ‘stretching’ area – now you have been on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes you got comfortable on there and you walk over to the matted area don’t grab anything – you will just use your body weight.
You haven’t lifted before so you need to get used to using your own bodyweight, this is where you start!
With key movements like Press ups, lunges, squats, general stamina, hinge movements and light dumbbell work an example program of this would be:
Once you can move your body weight well usually after about 6 weeks and you can control your body weight fully then it’s time to start earning your right to move onto the key lifts like deadlifts, back squats, bench etc. but again a barbell back squat and the others requires tremendous movement skill and control so you have to do the foundations of these skills to then build up to them, so you would now build you skill level, I personally would put someone through a hypertrophy stage first, this will build muscle and some strength but also the skill at a lighter weight would give us time during the lifts to change things, so we would utilise tempo training, pause reps etc. an example of an upper body day the next phase is here:
It’s also at this point where if your goal was weight loss which it probably is – then we start adding some intervals at the end of the session so sprint on the treadmill, rower, bike, we might do a med ball circuit – you can find these below.
Once you have built some muscle and you are getting used to intervals, we can start getting you stronger and meaner, at this point you should have dropped quite a bit of fat because of the dietary changes that we would of made, which would be completely personal to you, you would be looking leaner and more toned, you should feel healthier, stronger, more determined, then with this momentum we can use that to start to get you stronger, so in weeks 11-16 we look to do a strength phase.
Because of the last 6 weeks you should have your movements patterns nailed, unless of an injury, you don’t train frequently enough or you have given up all together, which is a whole different story and one we might cover in a different blog.
We can now start lifting heavy shit and getting you stronger, to do this we would drop the rep ranges down, so maximum of 6 reps on a given lift, we would be using longer rest times to allow for recovery, but most of all we would be lifting heavy weights.
An example of weeks 11-16 is below:
Because you goal isn’t to become an Olympic athlete we won’t be doing snatches, clean and jerks etc. yes, they are incredible movements and have a lot of transferable skills but when in life are you going to clean and Jerk a pint of milk, so although they have amazing benefits we can get those benefits from other lifts.
Then weeks 16+ is 100% in terms of how much more fat do you want to lose, do you want to go on to become even stronger, do you want to get more muscle, do you want to be faster, do you want to be more agile, more supple, more athletic?
Depending on the answer the program will be made into phases to help you achieve that goal.
Most likely it is fat loss, so you will go into a hypertrophy/strength phase so we can keep that toned look with strength but do intervals and different approaches to help create the biggest deficit we can so you lose fat.
Before we wrap up there I have to say that your training is completely specific to you too, The examples on here are completely generic and the programs have been created without a specific goal or specific person in mind, If you were mine client we would go through a movement assessment but you would be continually accessed through the weeks, so the program might and probably will change through the weeks we train to make sure you are getting the exercises you need for your goals.
The purpose of these are so hopefully with these examples you can move away from the treadmill in the corner and into the gym, have a plan so you go in and know exactly what you have to do have a choice of plans you can do, so if the equipment you need is busy you can just pick another day or different way of training that muscle group and know that as long as you do all the sessions you need in that week your result might actually be better!
Make sure you always do Mobility work, stretch, go to yoga. Always work on your Core, whether that’s on a separate day or the same, make sure you train your core 2-3 more times a week, please read the 'how to properly train your core blog' here - https://www.applied-fitness.co.uk/blog/how-to-properly-train-your-core-and-not-just-your-abs.
Thank you for reading,
The Main Author is Dan Grimes, Guest authors will be posting too.