Exercise is an integral part of any effective weight loss program. Building good exercise habits also help ensure you’ll be able to keep the weight off in the long run. But exercises, like running, while an excellent way to burn calories is fundamentally different than most of the exercises you do in the gym.
And gym workouts can be just as important and beneficial as anything you’ll do at home when it comes to helping you lose weight. Below, we’re going to take a close look at the best gym exercises for losing weight for both men and women.
How to Set a Weight Loss Goal for Beginners
Setting a weight loss goal for beginners is all about deciding what end results you want to achieve for yourself. And it’s important so that you can have a point of reference as you progress through your weight loss program.
Treat it like navigating a boat using the stars. Stars provide captains with a point of reference so they can tell if they’re on course. Same here. Your goals help you stay on course so use these criteria to set your weight loss goals:
- Be specific – Simply saying, “Exercise more next week” is not a goal. “Spend 30 minutes every other day in the weight room at the gym” is a goal.
- Make them measurable – “Eating better” doesn’t provide anything you can measure. “Limit food intake to 1,300 calories” does.
- Make sure they’re attainable – “See ribs by end of the week” may not be attainable. Especially if you just started your weight loss program. Instead, try “Lose at least 2 pounds per week.”
- Set a time limit – If you don’t institute some sort of time limit on your weight loss, you’re likely to start slacking off, because hey, what’s the rush?
Things You Need to Know Before Starting a Weight Loss Program
Keep the following things in mind before you embark on your weight loss odyssey:
- It’s a process, not an event – This is the most important thing to keep in mind. You’re not going to walk into the gym tomorrow overweight and emerge 2 hours later slim and cut. Achieving weight-loss and improved overall health is a process, not an event.You didn’t put on all your extra weight overnight. And you won’t lose it all overnight either.
- It’s not all about cardio – While cardiovascular exercise is important for all-around health and is a great way to increase the number of calories burned, there are other aspects to good health as well.
Muscle tissue, for instance, actually burns a lot of calories even when it’s at rest. So one of your goals should be to increase muscle mass. You don’t have to look like a bodybuilder. But you should make time for the weight room and the various resistance training machines at the gym.
- Nothing good will come from being dehydrated – No matter what type of body fat loss and exercise program you adopt water will be a crucial component. If you’re like most people, chances are that you’re not getting as much water as you should be right now.
You should make drinking enough water one of your goals and be specific: “I will drink 3 liters of water per day.” That’s actually the amount recommended by the National Academy of Science.
- Intensity is the key – When working out at the gym, it doesn’t matter how many machines you use. What matters is the intensity you bring to each exercise. The only way to build muscle is to challenge yourself. So don’t stop when you feel resistance.
Push forward through the resistance and once you’re able to lift a certain amount with relative ease, increase the weight.
How Soon Before I Can See Weight Loss Results as a Beginner?
How soon a beginner will see weight loss results depends on a number of factors. In general though, if you restrict caloric intake and begin working out at the same time, you’ll likely notice a difference when you step on the scale within a few days. But it may take a bit longer before you begin to see the evidence of weight loss in the mirror.
How to Choose a Workout Plan
To find the right workout plan to fit your needs, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s my ultimate fitness goal? – Do you want to become a bodybuilder or are you just interested in slimming down and becoming a bit stronger? Most people just want to slim down and tone up. In which case, a moderate amount of resistance training should be fine.
- How much weight do I need to lose to achieve that goal? – If the amount of weight you want to lose is significant, you’ll likely have to include more cardio in your workout plan than if you only wanted to lose 20 or 30 pounds.
- How much time do I have to devote to weight loss and strength training? – Do you have 2 hours you can dedicate to visiting the gym every day? Or is your time seriously constrained? If you’re chronically short of time, you may want to work with a personal trainer to devise a series of short, intense workouts.
- Are there any mitigating circumstances? – Old injuries or current medical conditions may need to be accommodated when you devise your exercise program. If you have a history of shoulder problems. For instance, you’ll want to avoid declining pushups.
“A good workout helps clear the mind” – Former NBA star Reggie Miller
Beginner’s Workout Plan Using Gym Machines
If you’re new to strength training or if it has been years since you last did any serious exercise you’re going to want to start slow and build. There’s nothing wrong with starting with a relatively light workout, as long as you remember the “build” part of the equation.
It’s recommended that beginners limit themselves to 1 or 2 workouts per week. Once you get in the flow of things and start losing weight or gaining strength, you can increase the amount of weight involved and start working different muscle groups on different days.
Types of Exercises to Do
This is a typical strength training gym workout routine for a beginner. Practice this one or two times a week for a few weeks then increase weights, reps, and frequency:
- Ab crunch – 2 sets of 10
- Seated rowing – 2 sets of 10
- Chest press – 2 sets of 10
- Seated leg curl – 2 sets of 10
- Preacher bicep curls – 2 sets of 10
- Triceps extension – 2 sets of 10
The amount of weight you begin with on each machine will depend on your physical state when you begin your workout regime. You want enough weight for the above sets to present a challenge. But not so much that they’re completely undoable.
In time, you can start training to failure if you want. But at the start, the focus should be on shaking off the cobwebs and getting yourself reacquainted with your muscles and your muscles with strenuous activity.
What’s the Best Weight Loss Program for Beginners?
The best weight loss plan for beginners will depend on how much weight a person needs to lose. Any weight loss plan, however, should include a vigorous exercise component.
How to Avoid Workout Injuries as a Beginner?
A beginner can avoid workout injuries by not trying to do too much too fast. Most people are impatient for success. They want to see results now. But expecting an out of shape body to respond like a well-oiled machine is unrealistic. Be patient and build toward your goals. Don’t try to achieve them in a week.
Another common source of injuries according to experts is poor technique. It’s not a surprise that someone who’s never used gym equipment before would exhibit poor technique. But doing so is often a blueprint for injury. Before you hit the machines or the weight room, talk to one of the trainers at the gym about proper technique.
The process of losing weight and getting in shape can be both exciting and rewarding if it’s done right. If you’re impatient, overzealous, unrealistic or simply doesn’t set aside enough time for exercise, you won’t likely meet your weight loss goals or end up sustaining what becomes a nagging injury.
Before you set out on your quest to reshape your body, remember that just as getting overweight and out of shape was a process, getting in shape will be a process too.