Beginner's Workout Routine Guide: Where To Start?

You just got a gym membership, but you don't know where to start. Don't worry, we all start somewhere! Unless you have a personal trainer, it can be complex to start working out. After ready this beginner's workout routine guide, you will have enough understanding to get started!

Before putting your hands on the barbell, you will need to know some training principles.

Whether you want to become a fitness model or "tone" your body, you must apply the same workout principles.

We’re to give you the beginner workout routine guide, so you can get started with weight lifting quickly.

After you finish a workout, your body repairs or replaces damaged muscle fibers with thicker and more muscle fibers.

To keep it short, you must force your muscles to adapt by creating a stress that is different than the previous your body has already adapted to. This is progressive overload.

You first need to understand that muscles growth happens while you rest after a workout.

So it's important to sleep accordingly and eat carbohydrates and proteins after your weight training session to let your muscles grow and recover.

Like said just above, your muscles need rest in order to grow and recover.

It's highly recommended to give 48 hours of rest to before you can train a muscle group again.

Whether you're a woman craving for a rounded butt or a man who wants a bigger chest, you will have to come to the gym with a workout plan.

You're here to get a better body, and you will have to work for it.

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

Before we get into the subject, there are a few terms you will often hear:

  • Frequency: how often you train a muscle group? If you're a natural lifter, we highly recommend you to train a muscle group more that once a week. Remember to let your muscle recover 48 hours between each session.
  • Intensity: how heavy are you lifting? You have to put your muscles into enough stress to make them grow: progressive overload. The analogy often used for this concept; you can do 100 reps of bicep curl with a pencil but muscle growth will not occur. It's simply because the weight is not heavy enough to damage muscle fibers. (We've often misused term 'itensity' to describe a workout that is short and intensive)
  • Volume: how much work are you getting done? The amount of volume of a workout is often described as Intensity (Weight) x Reps. It's a good number to help you keep track of your progression with a specific exercise.

If you're hitting a plateau, these variables can be adjusted in order to help you overcome it.

Research has shown that a natural lifter should be training a muscle group with 30-70 reps with moderate/heavy weight up to 3 times a week in order to achieve muscle growth.

That's right, if you schedule allows it, you should aim to train a muscle group more than once a week.

So if you're a beginner you should aim for 30 reps for each muscle group and if you're more advanced more toward the 70 reps.

Keep in mind that these reps are not from your warmup.

Compound exercises: They are multi-joints movements that use more than one muscle group to perform a repetition.

Compound exercises are popular because they help you increase your strength while making your muscles grow:

  • Squats
  • Bench Press
  • Pull Ups

Isolation exercises: On the other hand, isolation exercises place an emphasis on a single muscle group.

They are often used at the end of a workout to correct muscle imbalance:

  • Cable Flyes
  • Lateral Raises
  • Leg Extensions

Compound exercises are very draining but allow you to get stronger and get more results.

Therefore, we highly recommend you to start with compound exercises and finish with isolation exercises.

When a beginner get to the gym, he often starts his workout with cold muscles.

However,it's very important to warm up before starting your workout.

Warming up will help you increase the blood flow to the muscles and more importantly, it will help you prevent injuries.

So if you're doing bench press for example, you will have to warm up for 3-4 sets with no weights or light weights, in order to be ready to lift.

Whether you're a beginner or advanced in fitness, one basic principle you must keep in mind; you must always execute each movement with a good form.

In the gym, you'll see many people adding more weight, but doing exercises with a bad form.

Don't let your ego get ahead of you, it won't help you achieve your fitness goals, and it can lead to serious injuries.

The number of exercises per muscle group depends on your number of sets and reps for each exercise.

If you're trying to achieve the right symmetry and proportion, we recommend you to aim for 3-4 exercises per muscle group.

The number of sets depends on your number of exercise you have in your workout and how you feel about it.

3-4 sets per exercise is good number in order to obtain this fit body!

Here's a women’s training plan for beginners:

And for men:

There is a difference working with various rep range:

Performing low reps with heavy weights will mainly focus on getting more strength.

Having more strength will help you get better performance, which help to gain muscle mass.

This rep range is often used by lifters who are in a bulking period.

Whether you want to "tone" your body or get bigger, this is the rep range you must aim for.

Slow and controlled reps with moderate weights (75% of your one-rep max) is the key to obtain the best results.

Executing exercises with high reps can very difficult even if the weights are very light.

People tend to think that it will help you "get toned" and lean muscle, which is not necessarily true.

In order to make your muscles grow, you must get close to failure, which is much harder to achieve with this rep range instead of the 8-12 rep provided above.

High rep range is more suited for people who need muscular endurance, e.g. marathon runner, triathlete, etc.

You have to get close to failure if you want hypertrophy (make your muscles grow).

Which is what all rep ranges do, but they all have pros and cons.

So we highly recommend you to mix them up in order to get the best results.

Your body needs some rest time after each set to let your muscles recover. The best amount of rest time between your sets depends on how you're training:

  • Strength (4-6 reps): 2-5 minutes
  • Hypertrophy (8-12 reps): 1-2 minutes
  • Endurance (12-15+ reps): 30-45 seconds

For the beginner workout routine we will aim for 1-2 minutes between each set and 2-3 minutes after each exercise.

You must never let your muscles become cold due to a long rest time. It's important to always keep a certain intensity during your workout, so you can stay focused and build muscle.

"Less is more". I strongly recommend you to keep your workouts short; between 45 minutes and 1 hour.

It's always better to keep them short and intensive than long and boring.

If you don't have enough energy, long workouts can lead to enter into a catabolic state (using muscle tissue as a source of energy -> muscle loss).

Here is a little summary of what we've just learned:

  • Muscle growth is all about progressive overload.
  • Adjust your frequency/intensity/volume to achieve progressive overload.
  • Get to the gym with a plan.
  • Start with compound exercises and end with isolation exercises.
  • Leave your ego at the door and lift with a good form.
  • Do 3-4 exercises per muscle group.
  • Perform 3-4 sets per exercise.
  • Vary your rep range according to your goals.
  • Rest between each set is important.
  • 2-3 minutes of rest between each exercise.
  • Keep your workouts short and intensive
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Creating @gymaholic - Athlete and fitness coach. I help people move, feel and live better.

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