Want to Achieve Gym Goddess Status?

A friend of mine, and one of the original MCLV readers & supporters, came to me with a request a few weeks ago. Could I provide her with some pointers for how to spend her gym time so that she’d be getting the best results? In the past six months she visited a nutritionist to assist with digestive issues, changed her eating habits and, with her husband, began eating a primarily plant-based diet. As she is working on stabilizing her diet, she also wants to start working on getting back into fighting shape after a brief hiatus from the gym.

With her blessing, I’m going to do a short series on her progress and how well she’s been doing with her new regime, which is easily adaptable for most beginners.

*Note: As Liz did, please talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness routine.

Day 1:

      10 minute elliptical warm up (level 7/incline 7 minimum)

      3 rounds:

  •             5 push-ups (on knees if necessary)
  •             10 sit-ups (chin up to ceiling)
  •             20 seconds plank
  •             25 jumping jacks (clap at the top)

      5 minute stationary bike warm-down


The purpose of this workout was to gauge Liz’s capabilities and determine how far she could be pushed. She was enthusiastic, worked really hard and by round 3 she was starting to get tired, which is perfect.

Day 2:

10 minute cardio warm up – elliptical (level 7/incline 7 minimum)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

5 minutes cardio – stair master (a fast pace, but not exhausting)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

5 minutes cardio – stationary bike (a fast pace, but not exhausting)

  • 20 crunchies
  • 20 bicycles
  • 20 leg lifts

10 minute cardio warm down – elliptical

Of the three workouts the first week this was the one that made Liz the most sore, it also made it clear that we needed to do some serious core exercises to give her the basic strength that she needs to stabilize herself during other workouts. For example, you need to have a certain level of strength through your core before things like heavy overhead weights or kettlebell swings are attempted so that back injuries don’t occur.

Day 3

10 minute cardio warm up (a fast pace – you shouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation well) 

5 rounds:

  • 10 squat jumps
  • 10 lunges (each leg)
  • 10 mountain climbers (each leg)

10 minute cardio warm down

The first week we stuck with just the three small workouts so that the introduction would be fairly painless and so that Liz wouldn’t be too sore to work even harder the next week.

Something to keep in mind when you begin a new workout regime is spacing your workouts and incorporating rest days in order to stave off exhaustion or overuse of muscle groups. See The Fitnessista’s take on Rest Days here, FitSugar’s advice here and Fitbie’s moderation suggestions here.

Also, please remember the importance of stretching to keep yourself limber and uninjured, see David Kirsch’s take here. Interested in some safety tips for beginners? Please check out Sparkpeople.com.

Stay tuned for week #2!

Disclaimer: I am not a trainer nor do I have any certifications associated with physical fitness, I’m just an enthusiast who has worked out alone or with coaches & trainers since the age of 6. I am lucky enough to have access to a handful of blogs, websites and trainers to answer my questions though, including the talented Gina at The Fitnessista and my boyfriend who is a certified CrossFit instructor. The workouts above and the ones to come are recommendations based on a specific individual’s needs and abilities, they should not be followed blindly or attempted without the consent of a doctor.


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