Are you just getting started at your new gym but have no idea what to do or where to start? Do you jump on the treadmill and run for 60 minutes just trying to figure out what else is possible here?
Here’s what do do at the gym:
- Start by spending 10 minutes warming up to get your body prepared
- Next, complete some functional strength exercises for 20 minutes
- Then, progress to some cardiovascular or HIIT training for a further 10 minutes
- Finally, perform a cooldown & recovery regime for 5 minutes
We’ll also be teaching you how to build your very own workout from scratch so you can feel confident and in control.
We have used this system to change the lives of hundreds of people. Learning & putting it into practice will mean you’ll never be lost in the gym again.
Let’s dive in.
What to do at the Gym for the First Time
If you’re just starting out, follow along to this routine, which is broken up into four sections and time-stamped.
00:00 – 10:00 minutes // Warm-Up
Raise your heart rate for 3 – 5 minutes using the cardio equipment.
Activate your postural muscles by performing a push-up twist for 1-2 minutes.
Mobilise your muscles & joints by performing a downward dog flow for 1-2 minutes.
Potentiate your mind & body by completing some squat jumps for 1-2 minutes.
10:00 – 30:00 minutes // Strength
Push – Dumbbell Chest Press – 3 x 10
Pull – Seated Cable Row – 3 x 10
Hip Hinge – Hip Thrust – 3 x 10
Squat – Goblet Squat – 3 x 10
Core – Plank Hold – 3 x 30 seconds
30:00 – 40:00 minutes // Cardio
Pick one of the following two options.
Option 1 – Steady-State Cardio – Hop on a cardio machine and hold a steady pace for 10 minutes.
Option 2 – HIIT Cardio – Perform the following routine.
40:00 – 45:00 minutes // Cooldown
Pick three cooldown stretches and perform twice for 20 seconds.
What to do at the Gym?
It’s great to be able to follow along to a pre-set workout, however, we would rather teach you systems that help you to know what a good gym workout should have.
That way, you’ll never feel lost in the gym.
Follow the five pillars below to build your very own, highly effective workouts every time you go to the gym.
Pillar 1: The RAMP Warm-Up
Duration: 5-10 minutes
What is the RAMP warm-up?
The RAMP warm-up is a simple and effective system you can implement to get you 100% ready for any workout.
R.A.M.P stands for, RAISE your metabolic indicators (heart rate and breathing), ACTIVATE your muscles, MOBILISE your joints, POTENTIATE movement (Up the intensity).
A consistent and effective 5-10 minute RAMP warm-up will give you the leg up to get the most out of each session.
Why is it good to add a RAMP warm up to your workout?
Warming up is often neglected.
Abiding by a simple system makes consistently warming up apart of your easy and effective.
A good warm-up can improve muscle activity and readiness decreases your chances of serious injury as well as offer you a few vital minutes before each session to check in on yourself, and make sure you are physically and mentally prepared for you workout and help you get the most out of each session.
What does a RAMP warm-up look like?
Focus on limbs, actions, and muscle groups that you will be using in your workout.
So for our full-body workout, we will need to get our whole body ready to train. This might look something like this.
RAISE – 3-5 minutes bike ride or treadmill walk.
Activate – E.g. Crab walks & Side Plank Clams
Mobilise – E.g. Inchworm Lizards & Child’s Pose into Seal Position
Potentiate – E.g. 3 sets of 10 assisted bodyweight push-ups and squats building repetitions and intensity.
Pillar 2: Functional Movements (Strength Training)
Duration: 20-40 minutes
What are the functional movements?
Functional movements are the five key movements patterns that your body does every day and that incorporate all your joints and muscles. They can be categories into: pushing, pulling, hip hinging, squatting and bracing.
You may know these more commonly as strength, weights, or resistance training. These movements and exercises build your muscle size & tone, strength, and endurance.
Mastering these movements will give you a solid base to launch your fitness journey.
Why is it good to involve functional movements in your workout?
Exercises that mimic the big 5 functional movements should be a staple in any good gym routine.
Incorporating these movements into your weekly workout routine is an excellent way to make sure you exercise all your main muscle groups, without spending hours at the gym.
Resistance training has been found to be an effective way to manage your weight, build muscle, strength, boost athletic performance as well as manage and prevent a wide range of health conditions from anxiety and depression to cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Individuals with higher muscle mass have also been linked to higher life expectancy. Beginners benefit most from small, frequent bouts of strength training. These have been found to be more effective than large sessions that are not as regular when building strength and muscle than one large effort.
What are good examples of strength exercises you can add to your session?
Start with a full-body strength session focusing on completing one exercise from the five categories we spoke about – pushing, pulling, hip hinging, squatting, and bracing.
Your body is made up of 5 key muscle groups which allow us to complete 5 different movement patterns. We like to focus on exercises that mimic these movement patterns so that you get the most out of each session.
Pushing: Push-ups, shoulder press, bench press, etc.
Pulling: Bent over row, seated row or lat pulldown, etc.
Hip Hinging: Deadlifts, hip thrust, glute bridging, etc.
Squatting: Goblet squat, lunging, step ups, etc.
Bracing: Plank, kettlebell carry, deadbugs, etc.
Pillar 3: Cardio
Duration: 5-15 minutes
What is cardiovascular training?
Cardiovascular training is a series of exercises that challenge and train your body’s ability to transports vital nutrients from your food and the air you breathe to your working muscles.
Why is it good to involve it in your workout?
The cardiovascular system is like the engine of the car. If we do not monitor and keep the engine healthy, the whole vehicle becomes compromised.
Cardiovascular exercise has many of the same benefits as resistance training. It is an excellent way to manage your weight as well as ward off a number of serious medical conditions.
It has even been found that those with higher cardiovascular fitness have a higher life expectancy.
What are good examples of cardio exercises you can add to your session?
When people think cardio they think the hard stuff. A long painful run or exhausting hill sprints.
We say just find something you enjoy doing.
Some examples of cardiovascular exercises you can add to the end of your session are,
- A short 10-minute walk on the treadmill
- Short Burst intervals on the bike
- Sled pushes
- Army Ropes 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off.
Should I do cardio and weights on the same day?
Yes! As long as you do your cardio exercises after your strength exercises.
In an ideal world, you would want to perform your cardio workout 6 hours after your strength session. However, sometimes this just isn’t reasonable or achievable.
This is what we in the fitness industry call learning to focus on big rocks not small rocks.
For a beginner, just getting to the gym consistently is a massive achievement. Consistency is a big important rock.
The small possibility of poor muscle adaptation because you did cardio and weights training too close together, is a tiny little problem of a rock. And is no where near as important as just being consistent.
We recommend that you complete your cardio workout after your strength session because cardio exercises can be extremely fatiguing for the muscle tissue, making completing a weights session more difficult and less effective.
Pillar 4: Cool Down & Recovery
Duration: 5-10 minutes
What is a cool down?
Cooling down & recovery is the process of lowering your body from a working state back to a resting state and the process it takes to repair and rebuild back to full strength.
Why should cool down & recovery be an essential part of your workout?
Cooling down, much like the warm-up is highly neglect but an essential part of your workout routine.
Cooling down kick starts your body’s recovery and can drastically impact the amount of time you will spend recovering and more importantly dictate how long it will be until you are 100% and ready to smash your next session.
What are good examples of cool exercises you can add to your session?
There are so many ‘ideal’ recovery tips and tricks we thought we would keep it simple.
Our four-step process to kick-starting your recovery is:
- Eat Something
- Drink Something
- Do Something (therapeutic)
- Do nothing (SLEEP)
Eat Something: After each workout, you have a 30-minute window to consume vital nutrients to kick start the recovery process. Missing this window exponentially increases how long it will take you to recover. So make sure you take a quick snack with you to eat straight after training. A good after workout meal contains protein, carbs, and fats. So something like a high protein muesli bar or a protein shake are both great options.
Drink Something: Water makes the world go round. And the water we drink makes it’s way to our bloodstream to transport vital nutrients from the food we have just consumed to our exhausted muscles. So drink something to get those pipes moving again.
Do something therapeutic: There is so still so much debate about what is the perfect way to cool down your muscles, from stretching, to walking, to ice baths and hot showers.
We say, do something that makes you feel good. The psychological benefits of doing something therapeutic that feels good after training has been found to improve recovery by decreasing feelings of stress and pain post-workout.
So whether you like to stretch, walk with a friend or go get a massage. Find something and make it apart of your routine.
Do Nothing (Just Sleep): Once you have successfully done the first three tasks. Get your butt home, have dinner, and get some quality sleep.
Sleep is the most underrated part of the recovery process.
Just like a cleaner coming into your office building to make sure everything is nice and tidy after you go home. Getting enough sleep is essential to give your body and the night workers time to make sure everything is working properly. If you don’t give your body time to recover and check-in overnight. There’s a good chance the office might run a little slower for the next few days.
The Next Steps
Joining the gym can be scary – trying to fumble your way through a workout without any structure or help can be even scarier.
We encourage you to practise designing your own workouts using our four step system to ensure you never feel lost in the gym again!