The hardest part of training isn’t getting started. After all, it’s easy to join a gym or buy an exercise bike in the January sales. The tricky part is keeping it up. Fast forward a few months and you might get a sudden shock when you notice a hefty sum regularly leaving your bank account to cover a gym membership you’d almost forgotten about. While the only exercise you get from your bike is wiping off the dust.
Get back on track
Over time it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of everyday life, repeatedly press the snooze button on a Saturday morning, and generally let those good intentions fade away – along with the hopes of a six pack. But help is at hand. Because with the right strategy to back up the right frame of mind, you can get your training back on track. And here’s one easy exercise program for beginners that anybody can easily follow.
Part 1: Training
Start by training twice a week. Not at least twice a week. But exactly twice. Not too onerous, right? You’re not looking to completely transform your lifestyle from the word go. That might sound like a good idea, but the last thing you need is to be overwhelmed and put yourself off for good.
All in good time
Consistency is the key, so start with minor adjustments that soon become a natural part of your routines. And if you’ve struggled with getting to the gym and training in the past, try just getting to the gym full stop.
Get into good habits
That’s right. Just get your body to the gym and don’t train. Put on that smart new gear, make the trip, and then decide if you want to work out or not. The important thing is getting into the habit of visiting the gym, which can be a huge obstacle when you’re just starting out. After a while you’ll be thinking: “I’m here. I’m dressed. Why not?”
Part 2: Diet
It’s equally important to avoid any sudden and dramatic changes to your diet. We all know that a regular fitness routine needs to be supplemented by the right foods. So many people instantly cut out all the bad stuff they’ve always eaten. Trouble is, old habits die hard and that kind of drastic action can lead to disillusionment. It’s easy to feel trapped and end up drifting back to the comfort zone of comfort foods.
Food for thought
Just as with your training routine, start in small digestible chunks. Make sure you eat one healthy meal, then tuck into whatever you want for the rest of the day. Give your body time it needs to get used to all that wholemeal pasta, raw veg, soups and salads… Then over time gradually add the oily fish and lean meat, the fruit and veg, the seeds and nuts. By the time you’re eating two healthy meals every day, who knows? You might even enjoy it.
Action: The 10-step beginner’s workout
So let’s say you’ve got to the gym and you’re ready to put the theory into action. Where do you start? Well, here’s an all-round exercise program for beginners that will get you up and running. Over time you can make a few tweaks to shift the focus onto what’s important for you. And never forget that gym staff are always happy to help, so if you’ve got any questions about any of the equipment, don’t be shy.
- Treadmill: 5 to 10 minutes of cardio to warm you up
- Leg Press: Work your quadriceps
- Lying Leg Curls: Target your hamstrings
- Wide-grip Lat Pulldown: Work your lats, the broad muscles at the side of your back
- Butterfly: Target your chest muscles
- Triceps Pushdown: Now for the muscles at the back of your upper arms
- Bicep Curl: Next up, the front muscle of your upper arm
- Shoulder Press (Military press): If you don’t have access to a machine, can use free weights on a bench
- Ab Crunches: Avoid heavy weights at the start to avoid injury
- Air Bike: Finish your routine with an easy set of bicycle crunches
Guidelines: how to get it right
Start by performing 1 set (8 to 12 repetitions) of each exercise but make sure you avoid overextending yourself. When you settle into a routine and start looking to step up to the next level, try 2 sets per exercise. And remember you can always ask gym staff for advice and suggestions to add some variety. The more you mix things up, the more effective your sessions will be.
Nice and easy does it
Take it nice and slow and controlled, say 4 to 5 seconds per rep. Then rest for one or two minutes between each exercise, have a drink of water, and move on to the next set. As soon as you feel comfortable with a weight, it’s time to move on to a heavier one – but don’t get too confident: a 5% increase at most will do to avoid strain and possible injury. Finally, remember that rest plays a big part too: try to have at least one day off between sessions.
E² makes a great place for beginners…to begin
One of the big problems with sticking to a training routine in the long term is simply finding the time. Well, that’s where the free E² app comes into play. E² offers 2-hour gym sessions and one-off classes at premium venues all across London. All on demand. So whenever you have time to squeeze in a workout just open the app, find a convenient gym and book your session in a tap. When you make fitness fit in with your life, you’re much more likely to keep it up.