It isn’t enough that you are a “guy” – you may still not know exactly how to start your own workout routine. Going to the gym is probably a good bet as there is everything you need to accomplish whatever goals you have for your fitness. Whether you are losing weight, increasing your cardio fitness level, building muscle or just toning up – a gym or fitness club will have what you need, you just need to make the decision about what kind of gym workouts for men you want to try.
Fitness Centers vs. Gyms
A lot of people don’t know it but there is a difference between a “fitness center” and a “gym”. A gym is often more focused on weight lifting or something specific like boxing. They are usually filled mostly with men – but you will see a few women in there – sometimes. They tend to be serious workout places and aren’t really for socializing. They also tend to be “no-frills” – lots of high quality exercise equipment and free weights but not a lot of shiny stuff.
Not that it is bad, but gyms don’t tend to smell as great – more like a college gym for football guys – serious stuff. They also don’t require that you wear the latest in exercise fashions – most of the time they don’t care what you are wearing. If you are serious about lifting weight and don’t want a lot of chatting – a serious gym is the way to go to create your workout plan.
Fitness Centers on the other hand are often multi-purpose. The atmosphere can be a lot more social and there is usually a lot more going on. Different fitness centers offer different activities but each one has a variety. Most fitness centers have multifunction weight machines, endurance equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals and a free weight area. Almost all of them have a classroom or two dedicated to exercise classes which can vary from “spinning” to Zumba to kickboxing – depending on the club.
Fitness centers are also more likely to have “extras” like indoor running tracks, racquetball courts, swimming pools, hot tubs, and saunas. Some larger fitness centers even have juice bars – though this might not be such a great thing if you are looking to lose weight. Fitness centers provide some people with a lot of motivation as there is a desire to look good by dressing good – and there are a lot of people who are willing to encourage you to do your best. Most fitness clubs also have trainers who can help you along on your fitness journey.
Where you decide to workout depends on your likes and dislikes – both gyms and fitness centers usually offer a trial membership or free visits so that you can decide if you like the environment or not.
Muscle Building and Toning
You might need to consider what type of focus you need – whether you are looking to build muscle or simply tone up what you already have. If you are looking to “get bigger” you will need to focus on weight lifting. Toning can be done with weight lifting as well but the approach is a little different – and you can also get a lot of toning through classes if that is something you like.
Muscle building is accomplished by lifting heavy weights for fewer repetitions. You will want to lift as much weight as you can for 3 to 7 reps, and repeat that for only 3 or so sets. You are concentrating on growing the muscle which means that you have to lift more. A lot of people think that free weights are the best for this as they develop the auxiliary muscles as well. Machines are fine – but you tend to have muscle growth in only one direction and you want it all around.
Muscle toning can be done with weights – either free weight or weight machines. With toning – you are looking to shape up your muscles and develop some definition. This is best done with lighter weights for more repetitions. You will want to do 10 to 15 reps (or even more) and 4 to 5 sets. You should still be muscle tired after the exercise but you don’t have to go at it with the same intensity.
Muscle toning can also be done through classes which provide some cardio work as well but it may be best to do a combination of both weight lifting and cardio work for the most benefit.
Endurance and Weight Loss
Endurance activities and weight loss activities are basically going to be the same types of exercises. The difference will be in whether you restrict your diet. Eating healthy is a good idea for everyone but men who need to lose weight will also have to concentrate on making some dietary changes.
Endurance activities, the same as those designed for weight loss basically involve constant movement over a long period of time. You don’t have to work out for hours – but a good solid 30 minutes or more will be required at least every other day.
Endurance workouts can be done on fitness machines such as:
- Stair trainers
- Rowing machines
- Stationary bikes
You can also go it alone and do some running if that is your thing.
Team or individual sports can provide weight loss benefits – with games such as racquetball, basketball and soccer – but only if you keep moving the whole time. A lot of men find enjoyment in boxing and martial arts – but usually in the “class” variety which encourages you to maintain your motion.
No matter what type of activity you choose to add endurance or weight loss to your workouts, you need to plan at least 30 minutes each time you work out to get the maximum benefit. Most experts recommend 150 minutes of cardio work each week – which means that you have to do 5 sets of 30 minutes every week.
Consider Your Options
There isn’t really only one way to do gym workouts for men – there are hundreds. For most men who are looking to get into shape – one single focus won’t do it which means you need to do a lot of different exercises to fit in everything you need. An all-around workout week might look like:
- Monday – Upper Body Weights, 30 minutes of cardio/endurance on elliptical
- Tuesday – Lower Body Weights, 30 minutes of cardio/endurance on stair climber
- Wednesday – Kickboxing class
- Thursday – Abs, 10 minutes of cardio/endurance on rowing machine, 10 minutes of cardio/endurance on stationary bike
- Friday – Kickboxing class
Someone who is more serious might switch out more muscle work to do each body area twice in a week and move cardio to separate days, or shorter amounts of time. For example:
- Monday – Weightlifting
- Tuesday – Exercise Class
- Wednesday – 2 – 30 minute sessions of endurance machines
- Thursday – Weight lifting
- Friday – Exercise Class
You can switch out activities based on your likes and dislikes. If you look at your workout as a flexible thing, it won’t be difficult for you to change your routine as your needs change. If you were looking to lose weight – you can go into “toning” mode when you get closer to your goals. One main factor of success is establishing a routine and the main part of that routine is doing something on a scheduled basis – at the same time, every time – on the same days, every week.
Once you get used to working out on a set routine – your body will tell you if you forget so you will be sure to keep going.