Burn It: DIY Workout Routine
I recently got an email from reader Meghan:
I’m at a basic level of fitness now, and I joined Planet Fitness (I don’t know how familiar you are with their franchise) and I love their 30 minute circuit room, but I have no idea how many reps/how much weight to use on the machines. They have trainers there to help, but they’re only around during the day when I’m at work.
If you know any good workout plans, or where I could look them up, it would be great! I love the trainerpack ipod videos for home workouts but I’m looking for a gym routine now!
I’ll teach you how to create your own routine! For strength workouts, the general rule is to pick a weight that is challenging by around the 8th rep. I would start with three sets of 10-12 reps for any given exercise, but as my trainer says, don’t limit yourself to a number! If you feel like you can do a few more reps on a given set, do them. But, if things are TOO easy, you may have to up your weight.
Try to focus on two muscle groups for each workout rather than trying to hit all of them on the same day (you risk overtraining certain muscles anyway). Pick two to three exercises for each muscle group. Here’s a good schedule, based on the one my trainer made for me:
Choose from: Bench Press (with dumbbells or machine), Incline Bench Press, Dumbbell Flys (or use machine), Push-ups, Bicep Curls, Hammer Curls, Concentration Curls
- Wednesday: Shoulders & Triceps
Choose from: Side Lateral Raises, Shoulder Presses, Upright Rows, Rear Delt Pec (machine), Lying Tricep Extensions, Tricep Dips, Tricep Dips off Smith Machine
Choose from: Lat Pulldowns, Seated Rows, Rows under Smith Machine, Back Extension (machine), Shrugs
Choose from: Squats, Lunges, Straight-Leg Deadlifts, Standing Calf Raises, Abductor (machine), Adductor (machine), Leg Press (machine)
On strength days, I still warm up with 10-20 minutes of cardio, depending on how much time I have. On the off days, I do light cardio or rest. I also sometimes switch it up and do circuits. These are great! To create your own circuit workout, alternate the above moves with 1-5 minute bursts of cardio. Your heart rate will be up the whole time, but you’ll get some good toning moves in, too. For the cardio, choose from:
- Butt Kicks
- Jump Rope
- High Knees
- Mountain Climbers
- Squat Thrusts
- Jumping Jacks
- Any cardio machine, but turn up the intensity!
Let me show you what a sample strength/cardio circuit workout would look like on a bicep/chest day:
- 5 minute easy cardio warm up
- 3x10 Bicep Curls
- 1 minute Mountain Climbers
- 3x10 Hammer Curls
- 1 minute jumping jacks
- 3x10 Push-ups
- 5 minutes high-intensity elliptical
- 3x10 Bench Press
- 1 minute Jumping Jacks
- 3x10 Dumbbell Flys
- 1 minute Butt Kicks
- 5 minute easy cardio cooldown
That workout would take you around 35-40 minutes, and I guarantee you’d be sweating the whole time!