The 3 MOST effective ways to workout at the gym as a beginner

I know what it’s like to be a total newbie at a gym and feel like an outsider. Maybe you have been taking a break from an injury and you kinda have no idea from where to start. In either case, I wrote this to help you out..

This post is for you if:

  • You are a gym newbie and can’t afford a personal trainer to show you the basics.
  • You are not a gym newbie, yet you have been stuck in the cardio machine area for quite some time now, and you are ready to make the crossover to the cool side (aka weights area), although you do need a beginner’s workout plan to follow.
  • You really need some kicking new ways to spice up your training because you just can’t see your results no matter how many reps you do – because you have been doing the same thing every. single. day.

I am so excited to write this post because It is inspired by all the mistakes I made during the first year or so going to the gym.

Do not be afraid to make the crossover from day 1

Okay, I know it can be a bit daunting the first day. You have no idea where everything is.

Generally, you will be given a small tour by a gym employee to show you where everything is. Usually the weights’ area will be separated from the cardio, and then, there will be another kinda “empty” space for bodyweight workouts where people can use mats and such, for stretching.

Once you get an idea where everything is, do not be scared to go explore.  Believe me, those big guys, who are a bit intimidating to you, are very focused on their next Set, don’t pay attention to them. You are at the gym for one main reason, to work on you and only you, so do make the best of it.

If you know me well and have been reading my other blog posts; you know that I am all about efficiency and saving time. So why waste 2 hours at the gym jumping from one cardio machine to the next, if you can get much better results by using 30 minutes the right way?

Below, I will structure my “perfect” beginner’s workout plan for you to follow.

I will provide descriptions to help you do the exercises properly; yet, do ask a personal trainer working at the gym to show you proper form of an exercise if you aren’t sure. Usually they will help you out with those little things, if you have a gym membership.


1. A beginner’s workout plan need compound movements

Compound movements should be performed about 3 days/ week

Let me say it plain and simple; a beginner’s workout does not mean you need to be stuck on a treadmill or a bike for an hour. Hate to break it to you, but that’s a recipe for quitting before you even start. You will get bored, tired and will not see the results you are seeking. Then you will tell yourself: why bother anymore.

Let’s not do that.

How about a beginner’s workout plan that gets your body moving the right way, gives you more energy, challenges you, and shows you those sweet results?

Let me introduce you to compound exercises.

Have you heard of them before? if not, let me teach you what compound movements are, and why they are and will always be your best friend at the gym, and at home 🙂

The first thing you want to focus on when you first start training, or workout out, is to LAY A GOOD SOLID FOUNDATION.

Compound movements will get you to increase strength FAST. They are the best if you are looking to look good, feel good, build lean muscle, and melt fat. A beginner’s workout plan should have compound exercises as the foundation of the program.

Examples of Compound exercises:

Notice how each exercise work muscle groups together? that’s how your body likes to train. We were not meant to isolate.

Flat Bench Press: will work your Pectorial muscles, Anterior deltoid, Triceps, Serratus anterior, Core, Coracobrachialis, lats

  • lie face up on a flat bench, arch your back slightly, contract your core, keep buttocks on the bench.
  • Grab the barbell or pair of dumbbells. The weight should be on top of your chest, and not your shoulders when you press it up.
  • Inhale and lower the bar or dumbbells to chest level (not shoulder level), until elbows are are parallel to the ground but not over your shoulders. Imagine doing this on the floor, your shoulders will stop on ground level, not over your shoulder level.
  • Push the bar or dumbbells up, as you exhale to exhale.

Deadlift: Rectus abdominis, Quadriceps, Glutes, Traps, hamstrings, Rectus Abdominis

  • Stand with a barbell, legs apart about shoulder width, and your core braced (tighten your lower and mid abs)
  • Hinge your hips, and start lowering your body, and bend your knees. Grab the bar.
  • Inhale, brace your core, and lift the bar up. Your back should stay strong and vertical
  • Exhale and lower the bar down in a controlled movement

Push Press: Deltoids muscles, Traps, Upper pectorals, Triceps, Serratus Anterior, core

  • Stand with your core braced, hold the barbell or dumbbell.
  • Inhale, pushup with the thighs and glutes to get the weight up.
  • Lower the bar down in a controlled movement

Squat: Quads, Glutes, Adductors, Hamstrings, Rectus Abdominis, Core

  • You may want to start with a kettlebell if you never tried squats before. They will help you keep the weights in the centre.
  • You can lift the kettlebell and hold it with both your hands from the handles, near your chest.
  • Inhale, contract your abdominial muscles.
  • Your feet should be slightly wider than your shoulders. Pick a width you feel comfortable with. Your toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Bend your knees, keep your heals on the floor, and continue lowering your legs until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground. Your knees should not go way over your feet. Your back should be straight.
  • Straighten your legs up, as you exhale.

Other compound exercises that will bring you the best results: Pull up, lunges, Bent over rows, Bridges, Clean and press.


2. High Intensity Interval Training

Interval training should be performed for about 3 days/ week. You can do a body-weight intense 5 minutes, following your strength training session or have them scheduled on their own days. 

If you are confused about interval training, just focus on this: It is alternating between periods of intense work (40 secs), followed by periods of rest (10 secs). The interval training session is generally very intense to only last between 5-20 minutes. Some of the exercises you can do in your beginner’s workout plan:

  • Bodyweight squats
  • Mountain climbers
  • Jumping jacks
  • Jumping lunges
  • Side to side planks
  • Crab kicks
  • Burpees
  • Jumping rope
  • Side plank
  • Pushups

Feel free to introduce things like a bosu ball, a stability ball, sliders or some weights into your interval workouts.

Schedule interval training every second day (following your strength training days).


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3. Low Impact cardio training

While I do not encourage anyone looking for sensational results to have the beginner’s workout plan focus only on cardio machines, and fully rely on them for results; I do encourage some type of low impact cardio couple times a week. This can be things like a nice walk at the park or engaging in a cardio class at the gym for fun.

If you do have extra time for it, than why not!

If it is keeping you active, then it’s good for you, and no exercise is worse than no exercise.


Here is a quick schedule of  how to structure your training.

Monday: Strength Training – Upper body (30 minutes). Rest periods between 1-2 minutes.

Tuesday: High intensity interval training – Full body and end with a 1 min plank (15 minutes home workout). 40 seconds work/ 20 seconds rest.

Wednesday: Strength Training – Lower body (40 minutes). Rest periods between 1-2 minutes.

Thursday: low impact: walk/ yoga/ pilates

Friday: High intensity interval training – Full body – either at home or at the gym (20 minutes)

Saturday: Strength Training – Full body (35 minutes)

Sunday: Rest

Please keep in mind; Sunday does not need to be your rest day. You can have Monday or Wednesday your Rest day.

You do need to schedule one rest day at least to let your body recover. It is when resting that you build strength and let your body do its magic 😉

When you are at the gym, you are breaking things down (catabolic mode), and when you are outside the gym, you are building things up (anabolic mode), so keep that in mind when you go spend 3 hours at the gym and see no results and expect big results.

Your time at the gym needs to be short but INTENSE. You need to trigger the change, and give your body a chance to respond to that trigger by building itself. Many people misunderstand this concept.

If you are still with me

Now, comment down below about one thing you were doing wrong as a gym newbie, or still doing and how you will change it 🙂

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