How many times have you asked yourself that question? If you’re not scheduled for a group fitness class, then it’s pretty much up to you to decide for yourself how to move, if you’re heading to the gym. Here are some questions you should ask yourself …
- When was the last time you lifted weights? If it was just the previous day, then maybe you are due for a HIIT cardio session with some stretching instead of weightlifting.
- Have you been doing a lot of hard workouts lately? If so, then maybe you should have a lighter day of incline walking with some stretching. (Why? Read this to see why every workout doesn’t have to be hard.)
- Is your workout slate pretty clean? If so, then maybe today is a good day to do a full-body resistance session. And if that’s the case, you need a plan.
After many years as a fitness person — both an informed one and a newbie — I am well aware that having a plan is a necessity. If I’m not teaching Les Mills BODYATTACK or BODYPUMP, then I’m probably doing a solo session, and I always go in with the exact same loose plan. Here’s how I do it …
- Foam rolling for a few minutes. Get the quads, hamstrings, calves, glutes and upper back with some fairly quick rolling along the muscle to get it ready.
- Dynamic movement for a few minutes. Do some plank walk-outs, arm circles and maybe even light bodyweight lunges to get loose.
- Step it out. You will often find me power-walking on the treadmill at a high incline with my arms pumping. I start almost all resistance sessions with a 5-10 minute warm-up of fast incline walking, because boy, it works to get your body and mind ready. Try moving at 4.0 MPH with a 5-8 percent incline, and don’t hold on.
- Full-body work is the way to go to burn big calories. While doing split days and isolating your muscle groups is excellent for building physique, it’s really only a good option for those who plan to lift weights each day. If you’ve only got a few days a week to do resistance, then go with full body.
- My workouts almost always includes some form of squats, deadlifts, chest presses, rows and core work. I always take time to use dumbbells and a bench, and sometimes utilize the pulling machines, Roman chair or back extension contraption.
- Reps matter. I either do four sets of eight reps. Or three sets of 10-12 reps, depending on the weight. The heavier the weight, the less reps, of course. It’s great to vary this as well throughout the week.
- Circuits. I also like to do no more than four different kind of moves in a set to get a good cadence, then I do a second “circuit” if you will, which can include another two-to-three moves. Two circuits is plenty for a session, and I usually spend no more than 30 minutes total on the weightlifting portion.
- Here are some workouts you can follow for ideas: A busy girl’s three-move total-body dumbbell workout, 20-minute total-body dumbbell workout and A short-on-time dumbbell workout.
- I finish every workout with about two-to-four minutes of stretching and foam rolling again. I usually try to put my legs up one at a time on a box for a nice hamstring stretch. Then I grab a band to help release the upper-body. When all is said and done, the cool-down and stretching portion at the end of my workout is usually shorter than it should be, but it always gets at least a couple of minutes.
Hydrate and recover.
- After the workout, it’s either time for breakfast or a protein shake and always a lot of water.
The moral of the story? Have a plan when you hit the gym, so you don’t waste any time, and make sure your plan has a few of these elements mentioned above. When in doubt — Warm up. Work. Cool down. Use the foam roller and drink plenty of water. And if you’re having problems with motivation, a new playlist or a new workout top can do wonders!What should you do at the gym? Follow this #fitness plan today ... #BGBCommunity #FitFluential #SweatPink Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
What’s your normal gym routine?
Do you have a favorite piece of gym equipment?