Workout For Every Guy: The Beginner Workout

You've probably picked up muscle magazines in the past, tried some things and quit. It's time to reliquish your 'beginner' tag and get some real results!

The Beginner

You're an eternal beginner. You get on a program and fall off just as fast. You skip the gym if it's raining. Your problem, however, may not be a weakness of character, but rather not following the right strategy.

Pry the snooze button off your alarm clock, because with a little effort, you can adopt good exercise and diet habits, thanks to this plan from Brian Grasso, a trainer and life coach in Montreal.

Start Slow

"The body and mind are terribly homeostatic machines," Grasso says. "They constantly search for comfort and consistency," so deciding to make a slew of changes at once often leads to failure.

"Making minor amendments to your daily routine will fly under the radar of your conscious thought and become positive habits." In other words, if you start so gradually that you barely notice the change, you'll be more apt to continue it and make more changes without them ever seeming daunting.

Get off the bench, go gradually, and forge positive habits.

Train Two Days Per Week

This isn't asking a lot, so try to go at the same times every week. Get used to making appointments with yourself and keeping them. But if you don't feel like working out, don't. Just go to the gym, walk in, and leave if you want.

The important thing is that you establish the habit of going. At the very least, change into your workout clothes when you get there - you can change back out of them and leave right away.

In no time, you'll be going to the gym and staying to train, and regular exercise will be a part of your life.

Eat One Healthy
Meal Per Day

"I believe in making modest changes to the diet that don't leave people feeling trapped and anxious to return to their old habits," Grasso says.

Choose just one meal to eat that you're sure is healthy. Don't psyche yourself out here-use common sense. Lean meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and raw nuts and seeds are all fine.

Eat what you like the rest of the day. Do this for two weeks and then up it to two healthy meals per day. Continue in that fashion and you'll find you're eating healthy most of the time.

Stand Up Straight

Want an easy way to tell if you're performing your exercises correctly? Check your posture.

The correct starting position for most exercises is shoulders back, chest out, standing (or sitting) tall, with your abs tight.

Good posture, good form.

Day 1

Directions

Frequency
Perform the two workouts (Day 1 and 2) once per week, resting at least a day between each.

Time Needed
35 min.

How to Do It
Perform the exercises marked with letters as a group. Do one set of A, rest, then one set of B, rest (note that some groups have an exercise "C"), and repeat until all sets are complete. Then go on to the next group. Perform three sets of 8-10 reps for each exercise.

Exercise 1A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as low as you can while keeping an arch in your lower back.

Exercise 1B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 60 sec)

Place your hands on the floor outside shoulder width and tighten your abs. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your chest is about an inch off the floor.

Exercise 2A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step back with one leg. Lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches, and your front thigh is parallel to, the floor.

Exercise 2B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 60 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Brace your abs and press the weights straight overhead.

Exercise 3A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Rest the top of one foot behind you on a bench or chair. Lower yourself using your support leg until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.

Exercise 3B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)
Dip

Grab onto the parallel bars of a dip station and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. If you can't do dips, do a lying triceps extension with an EZ-curl bar.

Exercise 3C //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 60 sec.)

Sit on the floor with a dumbbell or weight plate in both hands and recline your torso to a 45-degree angle. Hold your arms out straight and twist as far as you can in one direction and then to the other side.

Exercise 4 //
(12-20 minutes)

Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12-20 minutes.

The Beginner Workout: Day 1

Day 2

Exercise 1A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand with the weights against your thighs. Bend your hips back and lower your torso, allowing your knees to bend as needed, until you feel your lower back is beginning to lose its arch. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to come back up.

Exercise 1B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 60 sec.)

Grab a dumbbell in one hand, and rest the other hand and knee on a bench. Let your arm hang straight down. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, row the weight until it touches your side. Perform all your reps with one arm first, and then switch arms and repeat.

Exercise 2A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Lie on your back on the floor and rest your heels on a bench or chair. Brace your abs and push onto your heels to raise your hips off the floor until your body forms a straight line.

Exercise 2B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 60 sec.)

Sit at a lat pull-down station and hold the bar with an outside shoulder-width grip. Pull the bar down to your collarbone.

Exercise 3A //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell with one hand and stand on the opposite leg. Keeping your lower back arched, bend forward at the hips as far as you can and then extend your hips to come back up. Complete all your reps on one side and then switch sides.

Exercise 3B //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the weights up to shoulder level.

Exercise 3C //
(3 sets of 8-10 reps, rest 30 sec.)

Get on the floor in push-up position, then lower your weight onto your forearms. Brace your abs and hold the position - body completely straight - for 60 seconds, or as long as you can.

Exercise 4 //
(12-20 minutes)

Pedal at a moderately hard pace for 12-20 minutes.

The Beginner Workout: Day 2



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