Everyday workout
May 5, 2012 11:59 PM   Subscribe

What's a simple workout that can help me get into the habit of regular gym visits?

I feel inspired once again to get into the gym for two reasons, firstly my apartment has a pretty nice in-house gym. Secondly, I've been reading that daily exercise helps with creativity and mood, and I want it.

So, with the goal of simply getting in the habit of exercising, what should I be doing? If left to my own devices I would probably run/elliptical for like 45 minutes and then be done...
posted by ejfox to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
My experience is that for the first few weeks, it doesn't really matter what you do as long as it gets your heart rate up and isn't putting you at undue risk of injury. You just need to do *something* to get your body from sedentary to moderately active. When you're starting out, the best form of exercise is whatever you find enjoyable enough to do regularly. If you enjoy the eliptical, do that! If you like dancing around like a loon, do that! Once you have a base level of fitness, then you can start thinking more carefully about your goals with respect to athletic performance, body shape, etc. Having said that, I've found that lifting free weights (with initial advice about form from a trainer) can be a psychological boost because the amount you can lift rises surprisingly rapidly early on (it plateaus as you get stronger).
posted by embrangled at 12:59 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I enjoy circuits because I have a relatively short attention span and get bored easily when I'm in the gym. If I'm working on upper body/core, it generally goes something like 10 minute running, set of bench press, set of assisted pull-ups, set of sit-ups, set of bicep curls, set of pullovers and I'll repeat that 3-4 times. I tend to do a different cardio exercise every time so I go from the treadmill to bike to rowing machine to elliptical or something.

I find that having a consistent/dependable workout buddy helps a lot when trying to get into the swing of just working out. Just having someone else to drag you to the gym really helps on days where you feel like just laying in bed!
posted by astapasta24 at 1:08 AM on May 6, 2012

Have you considered investing in one or two sessions with a personal trainer with the explicit goal of designing a ~1 hour workout. They'll show you the correct form for each exercise, and you can ask questions and take notes. It can be a little expensive, but it was worth every penny for me.
posted by yaymukund at 1:37 AM on May 6, 2012

Well... if you're looking for simple, you could do a pyramid burpee workout: say start with 10 burpees. You do your set of 10, rest for however long you want, do 9, rest, and progress until you finish at 1. If you want you can add in a stopwatch to push yourself harder and track your times.

This isn't really a 'gym' workout - but if you're looking to get into a habit of any sort of daily exercise, with burpees you don't get any excuse to not do them, because they don't need any equipment or apparatus.

Also if you push yourself with these they will wipe you out. It's fantastic and also killer.
posted by zennish at 1:38 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Body For Life book has a routine for 6 days a week. It's not too bad, and I used it when I first started at the gym.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:46 AM on May 6, 2012

I'm like you...if left to my own devices, I'll just do the eliptical for the whole time. After work, I just want to do something repetitive, be along with my headphones, and work up a sweat. I've done this for literally a couple years and it helps with my mood but (surprise) I haven't been seeing results.

I wanted to add some strength training to my workouts, and I personally think that doing body-resistance exercises are the easiest to get into, and not intimidating because there's not equipment to get used to (or wait for other people to be done with).

I've started a goal of doing bootcamp-style exercises for about 10 minutes (for me it's 40 walking lounges, 50 squats, 40 bicycle crunches, 15 pushups, 20 reverse pushups) and alternating this routine with 30 minutes of one type of cardio, then 20, then 10.

So my workout is: 10 minutes bootcamp exercises, 30 minutes jogging, 10 minutes bootcamp exercises, 20 minutes eliptical, 10 minutes bootcamp exercises, 10 minutes stair mill. (Optional 10 minute bootcamp that I've never accomplished yet.)

You could make different 10 minute routines for each bootcamp session, like the burpee pyramid workout above, or do one bootcamp set for upper/lower/midsection, too.

Since I'm new at this, I've made a rule that I have to finish each set once I've started it, though I can go as slowly as I want to. And sometimes I'll finish a set and think there's no way I can do the next, but I really just need a minute or two to rest and then I can continue.

I'd suggest to keep doing what you're doing/you would do, but add some strength in there and mix it up. Happy moving!
posted by shortyJBot at 4:19 AM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

So, with the goal of simply getting in the habit of exercising, what should I be doing?

Do something you enjoy, gym or otherwise, or it will never last.
posted by larry_darrell at 7:04 AM on May 6, 2012

If left to my own devices I would probably run/elliptical for like 45 minutes and then be done...

Do that. If the goal is simply to workout regularly, and that's a dandy goal btw, then pick something you will enjoy and do it. Cardio + headphones = awesome, and should be effective for creating that endorphin rush you want, assuming you push yourself.

You know what's a terrible workout for your goal? Something, anything, you don't want to do and don't enjoy doing. Get into the habit first, then worry about other varying your workouts after a couple of months of regular exercise.
posted by Dano St at 8:25 AM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

I started my regular gym habit with the Stronglifts program, which is a variant of Starting Strength. The great thing about these as beginner's programs is that you increase the weight on each lift every workout. So, when you are starting out, you will set personal records in every workout. The steady, measurable progress really helped me stick to the schedule, because I started thinking of each workout as a milestone--like "Thursday is the day I break 100 pounds on my squats"--and then I wanted to get in there and do it.
posted by Aquinas at 12:13 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you think you're going to get bored with doing the elliptical and treadmill, I have found the most helpful thing for me is finding a class I really like with an instructor I really like. You might not have classes at an apartment gym, but I think they're so worth it that I would even join a gym just for the classes. The instructor I have for yoga is so awesome that every time I can possibly make a class with her (and sometimes when I probably ought to be doing something else), I will go, even for a 90 minute class. It really motivates me.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:24 PM on May 6, 2012

posted by bbyboi at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2012

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