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Starting out in Fitness
Guy Marlow

When starting out in fitness it is always the best practice to see your Doctor for a check up to make sure there are no underlying problems that may cause an issue. It has been known for people who are unfit to join a gym without consulting a Doctor and cause themselves more damage by adding stress to their bodies.

Phew…now we have that out the way, it’s time to talk about goals. You may want to decide on what you want to achieve from your training, do you want to gain muscle, increase your cardiovascular fitness (your heart etc) or do you wish to lose weight. This is important as your goal will determine your training structure. Spending 30 minutes on a treadmill four times a week without lifting any weights when your goal is to build muscle mass is a clear example of this as it will not achieve the desired results.

Building Muscle

As a beginner you will need a simple training schedule that is easy to follow and will give you the results you are looking for. The training schedule I believe is perfect for a beginner is

Day 1 – Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
Day 2 – Back, Legs and Biceps
Day 3 – Rest
And repeat

If you are unsure what exercises train each muscle group or how to use a particular machine always approach a member of staff at your gym who should be more than happy to help. Using weights incorrectly can cause serious injury.

Cardiovascular Workout

Cardiovascular training will improve the strength of your heart, the flow of blood around your body, increase your lung capacity an will generally make you feel a lot healthier and alert.

Good exercises for cardiovascular workouts are running and rowing although there are many other exercises that can achieve the same results.

As a general rule the Aerobic zone for cardiovascular workouts is training your heart at 70% to 80% of your total heart rate. Your total heart rate is 220 – your age.

Below is an example of how this is worked out.

I am 25 years old so the total heart rate (220) minus my age (25) is 220 – 25 = 195
70% of 195 = 136
80% of 195 = 156

So my Aerobic zone is training with my heart rate between 136 and 156 beats per minute.

Fat Burning

Fat burning follows the same exercises as a cardiovascular workout. You can run, jog, row and use the cross trainers. The only difference is that you complete the exercises at a lower intensity. While cardiovascular training the intensity is 70% to 80% of your total heart rate, to lower the intensity for fat burning you train at 60% to 70% of your total heart rate. Using the previous calculation my fat burning zone would be training with my heart rate between 117 (60%) and 136 (70%) beats per minute.

Guy Marlow is the creator of fitness management tools at and writer of many articles at

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