Congratulations and welcome to the world of fitness. Beginnings can seem tough in just about anything. Luckily for you, the world of fitness is jam-packed with all kinds of information. The good news, especially when you are looking for a beginner workout, is that you can find an answer to pretty much any question you may have. The bad news is that you are being bombarded with information from jacked-up dudes and super model-looking girls that just makes you go “wow I wanna look like that”.
A beginner workout is not a less effective workout, it is one that is supposed to set the foundation for a better you!
Even though in most cases you can eventually look like that, jumping around from diet to diet and from workout routine to workout routine, is not doing you any favors. That is going to be your number one lesson for embarking on your journey for that killer six-pack abs.
LESSON 1: CONSISTENCY
You can spend hours upon hours looking for the best workout routine and the best diet to lose fat and gain muscle and most likely you will find it. It’s not rocket science that if you lift heavy stuff and run, you will eventually lose fat and gain muscle. The point right now is to find something that works for you and stick with it.
Muscle growth as well as fat loss, take time even when you are consistent with your diet and workout routine. The thing with being consistent is that in the end, progress is inevitable. As a beginner, you need to focus on learning and mastering the very basics first. Learning the basics will help you stay focused on realistic goals and make it easier to really stick with them.
Being consistent means starting with something you can handle and repeating it again and again. That goes for both your workout routine as well as your diet. As a beginner, there is no point in working out 3 hours every day for 7 days a week and then quitting by week 2. As a beginner, working out three times a week while focusing on full-body workouts, with enough rest and solid nutrition, will make you unrecognizable in three months.
The problem? You need to actually do it!
LESSON 2: THE BEST WORKOUT ROUTINE TO EVER EXIST FOR EVERYONE
Once upon a time, in a pretty little kingdom far away, there was a workout routine that was best for all, young or old, beginner or experienced, and for any goal that you want to achieve!
I hope you picked up my sarcasm because there is no such thing as the best workout routine. What you are looking for, is a workout routine that works for you and your goals. As this post is for beginners, I will do my best to provide you with enough information that will help you while starting up.
WHAT IS MY FOCUS FOR A BEGINNER WORKOUT?
In my opinion, your focus at this stage is to find something that will be easy for you to stick with. Having said that, I would recommend avoiding super long workouts that leave you so sore that it takes 2 weeks to recover.
One Hour. An hour’s worth of a solid workout is a great start. Within an hour you can hit all the major muscle groups and build that foundation to take you to the next level. Remember, right now it is more important to get that ONE HOUR of solid work three times a week rather than workout once hard enough to make you never want to do that again. Be patient, the time for ass-whooping workouts will come in time.
What about cardio?
Cardio is about as important as lifting weights and going to the gym. Sure cardio helps you lose weight, and trust me it does, but that’s not the most important reason you should do it.
The most important reason is the health benefits. Some examples:
- stronger heart
- increased lung capacity
- immune system boost
- better sleep
- reduced risk of several diseases
The way I would recommend doing your cardio, is either after your weight lifting session or on the days that you are of the gym. For example:
- Monday: Gym
- Tuesday: Cardio
- Wednesday: Gym
- Thursday: Cardio
- Friday: Gym
FULL BODY WORKOUT
As a beginner, a full-body workout is a great choice. It allows you to be at the gym just three times a week and get a massive amount of work done. But what does a full-body workout consist of?
A full-body workout is the one that is used to work all major muscle groups, all three times a week that you will be doing it. That is great because hitting a muscle group, three times a week is ideal for muscle growth.
But what are these muscle groups that I will be training? Simple stuff:
What to include in a full body workout?
A full-body workout does not have to be too complicated, your focus should be on doing big compound movements that also hit the secondary muscle groups. Big movements can be tricky when you are just starting out, don’t worry though, I will make sure to dedicate a post on exercises that are a good replacement for some free-weight ones, that are more beginner-friendly.
Structure your beginner workout routine
You want to start by picking a compound movement for each muscle group. I will give you an example below, but know that it is just an example and not the only way you can go about it, your limit is the sky here:
- Chest: Bench press – push ups
- Back: Bent over rows – pull ups – pull downs (easier if you cant do pull ups)
- Legs: Squats – deadlifts (only with supervision as a beginner)
- Shoulders: Shoulder press (machine option can be helpfull for now)
- Abs: sit ups – leg raises
A good idea, since you are doing this three times a week, would be to alternate between compound movements within a muscle group. For example, let’s see some chest exercises, Monday is bench press – Wednesday is Incline bench press – Friday is dips. Doing this, not only do you make it harder to hit a plateau with a different workout all the time, you are also activating the entire muscle group, the chest’s upper, mid and lower sections. You can do this with all the muscle groups and research at this stage as long as you are consistent, which is a great opportunity for growth.
What about rep ranges and breaks?
The rep ranges that I have found to work best at this stage would be:
- 6-8 reps
- 4 sets
- about 90 seconds rest in between
In time, you will come to recognize the purpose in different rep ranges and break times. The one we are using here is a good balance between hypertrophy and strength. What that means is that you should pick a weight that is comfortable for you to handle and execute the exercise with a really good form. At the same time, the last reps should not feel like a breeze, choose a weight that will put you to work!
Good form over weight, is an absolute must for now and forever. There will never come a time that lifting more weight is more important than avoiding getting hurt. You are here to make your body strong and healthy, if you really want to get there, you need to be able to train. Get hurt and that will soon seem harder than it is.
Lesson 3: Avoid Injuries
I do not know whether you are religious or not, but for the love of God, don’t skip those steps.
Warm-up before you train, get some blood flowing, get your muscles burning before you start getting that weight moving. I will definitely cover this in more length at a different post, but for now, youtube is a great tool for some examples.
Stretch afterward, no great workout is complete without a good stretch at the end. Just like you need to prepare your muscles before, you need to help them recover afterward. Not only that but, by stretching you give room to your muscles to grow and can help massively with soreness and injuries.
For examples on stretching and how to warm-up:
Once you have made sure that you got your diet right, a great option for a beginner workout or for someone with less time is to stick with a full-body workout.
Definitely add your cardio sessions in between, that does not need to be only running. The options are many, usually, the best one for you is to do something you enjoy. Shadowboxing, cycling, dancing, swimming you, name it!
For tips about dieting and taking control: