There are more programs out there that promise pecs and perfect posteriors than carbs in a deep-fried Mars bar, with promises as empty as that same deep-friend Mars bar’s nutritional value. Many people agree that the hardest thing about exercising is taking the first step and doing your first workout. Once we’ve felt the resulting rush of endorphins, and especially started to notice differences in the mirror and waistband, it becomes something more than just a chore.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
So what’s the best exercise regime for you? Well, that all depends on what your goals are. There are three general outcomes that people exercise to achieve: to not be fat, to not be skinny, or to get toned/ripped. Interestingly, all of these are attained by increasing muscle and losing fat. The more muscle we have, the faster our metabolism works, which leads to faster weight loss. If you’re a woman, don’t let anyone tell you that lifting weights will turn you into an Arnie-sized she-hulk; that 100% will not happen.
One thing that should be practiced no matter what you’re trying to achieve is stretching and warming up/down – injuries are never a good thing, especially when they can be avoided. As far as choosing a specific workout, it’s entirely up to you. We recommend either the Starting Strength or Strong Lifts programs for the relatively uninitiated.
Once you’ve progressed well with them, you will probably have the knowledge to create your own split routine (e.g. back/bi, chest/tri, legs). As stated previously, the main point is that you get to the gym, but you should have a general idea of what you’re going to do there (and do it safely). For the first little while, don’t load up too much weight, but focus more on your technique and get that down from the start. It’s much harder to change how you lift down the track.
Mould your desired Physique in the Kitchen
What many people don’t realise is that these goals are attained through not only exercise but also mostly (80%) diet. Use the Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator found here, to determine roughly how many calories you need to consume in a day. You can even incorporate how much exercise you’re doing weekly to assist its accuracy.
Once you have that, get yourself a tracking app like myfitnesspal and keep records of your intake throughout the day. To put it simply, if you’re looking to lose weight, aim to eat up to 500 calories less than your TDEE. If you’re looking to improve your health and build muscle, eat up to 500 more. Please note that this is a general rule, so if you’re eating 500cal less per day and not losing weight, reduce it by another 100-200, keep at it and see if that makes a difference.
If you view your gym sessions as hell on earth, it’ll be something you begin to resent after a while. Stay focused on the goals you have set, and keep track of how you’re faring. Being able to see progress in black and white is a great motivator. Buying yourself some quality gym gear like Russell Athletic is a great psychological motivator, too – you put it on and your brain knows it’s time to smash out a workout and that the endorphins are on their way. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and lift! LIGHTWEIGHT BABY!