If your home gym consists of a treadmill, a stationary bike and a weight machine, you’ve got all the tools necessary to get an effective full body workout. As a beginner, it can get a bit overwhelming trying to design an effective workout plan without knowing where to start. Start out simple and work your way up to more advanced training programs. You can get a great all-around workout by using a combination of aerobic exercise and weight training three days per week.
Start the week off with some aerobic exercise using the treadmill. Keep it basic by choosing a speed that gets your heart rate up to about 50 to 70 percent of your maximal heart rate, or MHR. Determine your MHR by subtracting your age from 220; then, multiply the resulting number by 0.5 and 0.7 to find your target heart rate range. You can add variety to your workout by increasing the treadmill incline slightly and/or alternating between fast and slow intervals. Aim to workout for 45 to 60 minutes. For reference, a 180-pound person burns about 316 calories walking at a brisk 4 mph pace for 45 minutes and burns 616 calories running 6 mph for 45 minutes.
For your second workout of the week, use your weight machine to get a full-body resistance training workout. Keep the workout under 60 minutes; aim for 30 to 45 minutes to ensure you have enough energy to give it your all. Use compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups at once, for example, the bench press, leg press or squats, deadlifts and shoulder press. Additionally, do crunches, calf raises, bicep curls and tricep extensions to complete the workout. Perform one set of 12 repetitions for each exercise. Use enough weight so that the final rep is difficult to complete. Rest for one-and-a-half minutes between sets. Warm-up with some light cardio before the workout and cool down with some stretching afterward.
Complete your weekly training with some interval training on the stationary bike. Interval training works by alternating short “work” intervals with short “recovery” intervals. For this workout, start with a 45-second interval performed at a moderate pace – about 50 percent of your MHR – followed immediately by a 15-second “work” interval done at near max speed. Follow the work interval with a "recovery" interval, which like your starting interval is about 50 percent of your MHR. Repeat 10 times with no rest in between intervals. Warm-up at a light-to-moderate pace for five minutes and do the same to cool-down after this vigorous workout. The total workout duration is 20 minutes.
Use this workout plan for at least two or three weeks before adding more workout days or increasing any of the workout intensities. Your body needs to become accustomed to consistent training before you take the next step. Muscle soreness is normal when first getting started, but do not complete the subsequent workout if your muscle soreness is severely affecting your movements or range of motion on any machine. Rest is crucial to building muscle and burning fat. Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night for the best results and eat plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruit and whole grains to promote muscle recovery. Lastly, sip water throughout the day, especially just before, during and after each workout.
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