I’m going to be honest. As an avid gym-goer; I was not thrilled for the new year to roll around. Crowded cardio machines, lines for benches, and missing equipment is a recipe for frustration in any gym or recreation center–especially if you are new! It can all be a little overwhelming and slightly discouraging, especially when everyone else seems to be hitting the ground running on their fitness the first week of January.
Throughout the week I’ve been experimenting with new ways to get my workouts in with a crowded gym while at home for winter break that I want to share with you! I have a lot of people tell me that they walk in to the gym and just don’t know what to do…30 minutes on the treadmill AGAIN?
My typical routine consists of a 30-40 minute cardio session followed by a 20-30 minute strength training workout concluded by stretching.
“So I bought just bought a gym membership…now what?”
- If you are a beginner: try out each cardio machines to see which is most comfortable. You’re never glued to one option. Try different interval times and resistance levels for a challenge. Stick to it and get your groove going!
- If the gym is your thing: try out a new machine and amp up the resistance to avoid a plateau. You may hop on the elliptical every time and mastered the top resistance so try out the StairMaster or rowing machine to challenge new muscles. I like to pick a new cardio equipment each time and increase my resistance from the last time i used it to mix it up.
- If you’re looking for something new: You know all that loose equipment the gym offers? Use it! Create a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) routine using a BOSU ball, dumbbells, kettle bells, a yoga mat, and your own body weight. There are plenty of workout options all over the internet to choose from. Pick 5-6 routines incorporating all body parts and do them each for 1 minutes with a 15-30 second break in between. Repeat the whole set 3-4 times and you will be sweating even harder than being static on a cardio machine.
Strength Training Tips:
- If you are a beginner: Don’t be afraid to hit the weight room. Start off with dumbbells. Whatever weight you are comfortable with: go for it! Pick a certain number of reps and go for 3-5 sets. Challenge yourself. Muscle burns more calories throughout the day than fat so strength training combined with cardio is the best way to lose weight and body fat.
- If you’re a lifter: Try a new machine or a different set of muscles to focus on. Teach newbies in the gym who may need help with unfamiliar equipment. You’re the pro so give back to those who are less experienced. Hit the gym at hours where it is less likely to be crowded. Mid-day, very early morning, or late night are the best times to snag a bench and your favorite machine.
- If you’re looking for something new: Take a circuit training class or other class offered at your gym that incorporates weights and barbells. There are often plenty to choose from and it can be refreshing to be told what to do in the gym instead of having to think out every next move.
If you’re still not buying it: go for a run outdoors and explore your town, try out a hot yoga, barre, or pilates class at a local studio, take a hike and explore nature, go snowboarding or kayaking, hit the ice or rolling skating rink and experiment with unconventional ways to get in your daily sweat!
I want to know what you want to see on Fitness4U in 2016! Let me know in the comments below: