Where to Start When You Want to Get Back In Shape

Posted on Posted in Fitness

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As the Men’s Health Fitness Director, BJ Gaddour gets dozens of questions every day from readers about specific workout moves and training strategies. But the most common question he receives is also the simplest: “Where do I start?”

Gaddour’s answer: Start with the fitness basics. 

When most people start training, they set deadlines for themselves: Drop 5 pounds in 5 weeks. Sculpt a six-pack by summer.  

But that’s the wrong mindset to have, says Gaddour. The best way to establish a healthy, sustainable workout routine is to “just commit to 10 minutes of movement every day,” he says. 

Whether you squeeze in those 10 minutes of time during your workday, in between Netflix episodes, or right before bed, you need to find a fitness habit that fits with your lifestyle—and stick to it, Gaddour says.

Once you nail down your workout routine, that’s when the gains can really begin. 

So start by setting aside that time, and then follow this two-week training plan that gives you 10-minute workouts to do each day. And once you’ve made fitness a regular part of your schedule, you can move on to the long-term fitness regimen for week number three and beyond.

Week 1: The 6 Mobility Moves Every Man Should Master

The first week of Gaddour’s beginner workout blueprint focuses on expanding your range of motion. 

“Fitness starts with mobility,” Gaddour says. “If we can’t move through a full range of motion without pain, adding loads and intensity on top of that restricted motion is a recipe for disaster.” 

Try each of these exercises for 2 to 5 minutes three times throughout the day, totaling 10 minutes.  

Day 1: Ankle/Calf Mobility Drill 

Day 2: Couch Stretch

Day 3: Elevated Prayer Stretch

Day 4: Elevated Glute Stretch

Day 5: Elevated Hamstring Stretch

Day 6: Deep Squat Mobility Drill

Day 7: Perform the six exercises from this week for 2 to 5 minutes each. 

Week 2: The 6 Muscle Moves Every Man Should Master 

The second half of Gaddour’s training plan consists of exercises designed to build strength in key areas. 

Day 8: Hip Thrust

Perform 10 reps of this exercise at the top of every minute for 10 minutes.

Day 9: Dead Stop Pushup

Perform 10 reps of this exercise at the top of every minute for 10 minutes.

Day 10: Goblet Box Squat

Perform 10 reps of this exercise at the top of every minute for 10 minutes.

Day 11: Single-Arm Farmer’s Walk 

Perform this exercise for 10 minutes straight, switching arms every 30 seconds.

Day 12: Alternating Stepup  

Perform this exercise for 10 minutes straight. 

Day 13: Passive Hang

Hang for as much of 1 minute as you can, then rest for the remainder of the minute. That’s 1 round. Do 10 total rounds. 

Day 14: Perform each of the six exercises above in the order shown for 1 minute, resting 30 seconds between moves. 

That’s 1 round. Do up to 3 total rounds.

Week 3+: Your Long-Term Workout Plan

Now that you’ve made fitness a habit and prepared your body for training, it’s time to start doing longer, harder workouts.

“In order to progress, it’s important to understand that the overall idea is to try to gradually do more work,” says Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., an elite trainer based in Boston. 

In addition to working harder—a concept trainers call “progressive overload”—you also need to stay consistent with your workouts, Gentilcore says. 

Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, or both, those two rules are key.

There are countless ways to plan your workouts from here, but Gentilcore put together a basic blueprint that will work well for most people. His plan involves doing three full-body workouts per week.

“If you get to the gym three times per week, 52 weeks out of the year, great things will happen,” he says.

Each of your three weekly workouts involves roughly the same exercises, but with different numbers of sets and reps. That’s because doing fewer reps with heavier weights is best for building muscle strength and size, while doing higher reps with lighter weights is best for increasing your muscular endurance. Mixing up your rep scheme ensures you get well-rounded results.

HOW IT WORKS:

Do each of the three workouts below every week.

Each workout contains a list of exercise “categories,” such as “core exercise.” You can choose any exercise from that category to perform during your workout, based on the equipment available to you and on your current fitness level. See the bottom of the article for the list of exercise options in each category. 

Day 1 Workout

1. Do the following three exercises for the prescribed number of reps in the order shown. Rest 1 minute between exercises. Then move on to step 2. 

Bench press, 5 reps

Squat, 8 to 12 reps

Deadlift, 15 reps

(Try to increase the weight on these three exercises by 5 to 10 pounds each week.)

2. Perform the following two exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed both exercises, rest 1 minute. Then move on to step 3. 

Upper-body pull movement, 8 to 12 reps

Core exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

3. Perform the following three exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed all three exercises, rest 1 minute. 

Posterior-chain exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

Day 2 Workout:

1. Do the following three exercises for the prescribed number of reps in the order shown. Rest 1 minute between exercises. Then move on to step 2. 

Squat, 5 reps

Deadlift, 8 to 12 reps

Bench press, 15 reps

(Try to increase the weight on these three exercises by 5 to 10 pounds each week.)

2. Perform the following two exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed both exercises, rest 1 minute. Then move on to step 3. 

Upper-body pull movement, 8 to 12 reps

Core exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

3. Perform the following three exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed all three exercises, rest 1 minute. 

Posterior-chain exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

Day 3 Workout:

1. Do the following three exercises for the prescribed number of reps in the order shown. Rest 1 minute between exercises. Then move on to step 2. 

Deadlift, 5 reps

Bench Press, 8 to 12 reps

Squat, 15 reps

(Try to increase the weight on these three exercises by 5 to 10 pounds each week.)

2. Perform the following two exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed both exercises, rest 1 minute. Then move on to step 3.  

Upper-body pull movement, 8 to 12 reps

Core exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

3. Perform the following three exercises back-to-back in the order shown, with no rest between exercises. When you’ve completed all three exercises, rest 1 minute. 

Posterior-chain exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

Bodybuilding exercise, 8 to 12 reps

(Start with just 1 round of the above in your first week, but add another round each week until you’re doing 4 rounds.)

Source: Men’s Health