So. You have a plan. A nice, step-by-step plan based on a specific and measurable goal. With a deadline. Great! Now what?
I am going to post some different types of workouts or apps for workouts that can help you achieve your goal. I hope to give plenty of variety since goals could, and should, vary depending on where you are in life. A pregnant woman, like I currently am, should not be trying to do 1000 burpees for CrossFit. An elderly person may need to go slow at first. A fitness buff may be able to jump right in.
Goal: Gain Muscle
It may seem like a no-brainer. If you want to gain weight, you go to the gym and go through every weight machine the place has. Some workouts have it broken done to work each teeny muscle in your body, based on what day it is. It can be confusing. It can be frustrating. And it can simply not work the way you think it will.
I recommend starting with Body Weight Strength Training. No equipment, no excuses. And no crazy or impossible plans. I find that the more complicated you make it, the less likely you are to do it. If you are just starting out, I strongly recommend Steve’s Basic Body Weight Workout over at NerdFitness. I started doing this, and I did not make it to 3 sets. I was lucky to make it to 2 and still had to take a break. But, that is where goals can help. If you can’t do 3 sets, that is your goal.
Want something more advanced? Then start adding in weights. Nothing complicated and please, for the love of cheese, don’t separate out single muscles. You don’t use single muscles in real life, you use groups of muscles. You can
Goal: Lose Weight
For this, I still say read the above goal and work on gaining muscle. The reason is two-fold: you will look good when the fat comes off, and you will burn more calories than cardio exercise alone. So, start with doing the Basic Body Weight Workout 3 times a week. When I started this, it usually took about 20 minutes and I could only complete 2 sets. The other days would be when you add in some cardio. If you are anything like me, you will find that an hour on a treadmill or stationary bike at the gym would be pure torture. I bore easily. For some people, though, this would be a great way to get in some cardio.
For me, I use the Run, Zombies! app to encourage me to walk. Getting some form of reward, even an imaginary one, has a tendency to motivate me. Another great option is Couch to 5K, because you can be a complete sedentary person with this program. By the end, it will have you moving and you will feel fantastic! No matter how you slice it, add in 2-3 days of cardio if you can. I emphasize “if you can”. The idea of working out 6 days a week can be overwhelming and daunting, especially if you’re starting out. Maybe that should be a goal. Start off with something and work your way up!
I know there are more than two goals out there, but those are usually the two biggest. Some of your specific goals may fall under those two above. If not, leave what you are working on in the comments and I’ll be happy to help you find the resources you need to get started!