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10 Best Ways to Get Fit at the Gym

Updated on April 27, 2008

If you plan on working out at a gym, the following 10 things are going to work your whole body & keep your heart-rate up, allowing you to tone up and slim down.

  1. 5 Minutes Cardio. Pick your pleasure: bike, elliptical, treadmill, even jump rope! You want to start easy for the first minute or two (say, a 5 on a scale of 1-10) and then pick up the pace to about a 7. Remember, you're only going 5 minutes, so push yourself a little!
  2. Squats. Squats can be done a number of ways: body weight only, at a squat rack, holding dumbbells, on a Bosu Ball, etc. If you're new to this, I would suggest using your body weight only or holding light dumbbells. Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps, allowing for a small amount of rest between sets. FORM IS IMPORTANT! Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart, sit back as though you were trying to sit down on a chair, pressing your weight through your heels. Keep your chest up (looking up towards the ceiling ensures that you will do this), and make sure you prevent your knees from going over your toes during the movement.
  3. Five more minutes of Cardio. Either go back to your original machine, or switch it up, but this time you need to keep your exertion level between a 6-8. Do intervals if it helps, starting at a 6, increasing to an 8, then repeating until your 5 minutes is over.
  4. Lunges. Again, you can choose to use your body weight only or add dumbbells. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, step forward with one leg, placing it solidly on the ground, with shoulders back & chest up, bend both knees at 90 degree angles (basically lowering your body straight down), keeping your knees behind your toes. The heel of your back leg will be off the ground, but your front heel should be down. Return to starting position and repeat with other leg. Do 2 sets of 12-15 repetitions on each leg.
  5. Again, 5 Minutes of Cardio. You want to keep the pace up, shoot for a 7-9 for your exertion level. Again, intervals are a great way to push yourself but still get some rest.
  6. Push ups. You can do these on your knees if you can't do a full-push up on your toes. Just make sure you're not cheating yourself by only going part-way down--go down until your elbows are at 90 degree angles. Keep your back straight--don't let your butt point up into the air! Shoot for 2-3 sets of 10-12.
  7. You got it, 5 more minutes of Cardio. Take it back down a little to a range between 6-8 exertion. Try a different machine if you want, or grab a jump rope. Mixing it up keeps your muscles guessing!
  8. Lat. Pull Down. Or if there's an assisted pull-up machine at your facility, you could try it, too. Whichever you try, remember that these machines are designed to work your back muscles, so concentrate on sqeezing your shoulder blades together while pulling the bar down. Also, some people pull the lat. bar down behind their head, this is incorrect. Lean back slightly, and pull the bar down in front of your body towards your chest while squeezing your shoulder blades together. The movement should remain smooth throughout. Shoot for 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.
  9. Last 5 Minutes of Cardio. Again, you can lower your intensity to a 5-7 range.
  10. Core. You'll want to do a couple different exercises to engage your core muscles (all of the stabilizing muscles of your abs, back, & hips). Do a plank for 30 seconds (google it for directions), follow that up with crunches on a stability ball, and repeat. This way you'll be strengthening your abs & back at the same time.

Well, there you have it, a full body workout with cardio and strength exercises in less than an hour! Don't forget to stretch after you're done & try to eat a meal with high-quality carbohydrates and protein in the 2 hours following your workout (think a glass of milk & a piece of fruit). This will help you refuel & build more muscle, which in turn, increases overall calorie burn. Enjoy!

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    • Boss Number 1 profile image
      Author

      Boss Number 1 10 years ago from Stayton, OR

      The best thing about these tips is they can really be used at home as well. Just run in place or step up and down on your stairs for the cardio, & all the remaining exercises, with the exception of the lat pull down can be performed at home. You can even perform a dumbbell row (look it up on the internet) in place of the lat pull down.

    • susanmalone profile image

      susanmalone 10 years ago

      Nice tips! But, only when we are "regular" at the gym! :)

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