Thursday, April 18, 2013

Workout Advice for the Gym

How many of you have ever walked into a gym only to stop and think, “I don’t know how to work any of these machines!” I know I have. But I want you to put that panic button aside and resist the urge to avoid gyms simply because you feel like you don’t know how to get the most out of the gym experience.

Make sure you get some treadmill or other cardio time in at the gym!
Make sure you get some treadmill or other cardio time in at the gym!
Image: Shutterstock
Personally, I’m a fan of at-home workouts, but I’ve found that there are some great advantages that gyms have to offer that are certainly worth trying out. Plus, if you are someone who finds motivation in the masses and laziness in isolation, the gym might be the best place for you to work out.

If regular squats are too easy, try goblet squats using a dumbbell or kettlebell. It will  both strengthen and help you build up core stability.
Goblet squats with dumbbells make a simple move a little tougher.
Image from
So what kind of workouts can you do in a gym? First, start with what you know: the basics. There are usually plenty of open, matted spaces inside gyms where you can do the same moves you would at home—pushups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, etc. Plus, chances are that someone else will be doing some of the same activities.

Once you feel you’ve mastered basic moves, you can move on to some of the weights and machines in a gym. While you may want to focus on getting nice legs or arms, remember that if you don’t have a strong core you won’t get very far. Kettlebell workouts, the Captain’s Chair, planks, crunches, exercise ball sit-ups, and medicine ball workouts will help ensure that your core is becoming strengthened as well as your limbs.

Lastly, make sure you get some cardio in! There are plenty of options: treadmills, stair-steppers, ellipticals, and maybe even some aerobics classes. Try to work at least thirty minutes of cardio into each workout. This will help burn extra belly fat and increase your endurance.

Kettlebells will help strengthen arms, legs, and your core.
Simple kettlebell exercises
Image from
Here are some simple workouts you can try at the gym, borrowed from an article by Matthew Katz. He interviewed Frank Paganucci, who has enjoyed taking advantage of the gym at his condo building, Azure.

Complete as many circuits as possible in 10 minutes:
Beginner: 5 sit-ups or crunches, 10 push-ups, 15 walking lunges
Advanced: 5 v-ups, 10 manmakers with dumbbells, 15 walking lunges with dumbbells.

Three circuits as fast as possible:
Beginner: 10 squat jumps, 100m treadmill sprint
Advanced: 10 goblet squats (with kettlebell held to chest), 100m treadmill sprint

Complete as quickly as you can:
Beginner: 100 squats, with four burpees at the start of every minute
Advanced: 100 squats with dumbells, with four burpees at the start of every minute.