Workout Programs For Beginners

TRAINING

Step 1: Rep Range (The Great Decider)

In the Focus System, rep range is the deciding factor.  As soon as you have established your client’s goals, you should know the rep range they need to be working in. For example, if they want to train for power, their rep range is 1-5, muscle endurance 12-15, etc.

The rep range dictates the number of sets and exercises in a workout. If a client is training in the 1-5 rep range, their sets are going to be higher than in the 12-15 rep range.

To take this point one step further, if the client is doing multiple sets in the 1-5 rep range they will be completing fewer sets over the course of the workout.  Faster more dedicated/focused sets are more important when improving power.  In the 12-15 reps range, fewer sets per exercise will be involved, so more exercises will be included in the workout. Efficiency of movement is also less important when working muscular endurance. There will be less of a focus on perfect form, and neurological fatigue isn’t as much of an issue as it is with the power workout.

Rep range will also dictate the type of exercise that you will include. If the workout includes exercises that sit in the 1-5 reps range, you probably will not include biceps curls. You would opt for power-exercises; perhaps a deadlift or squat variation. Although you may need to perform power training on isolated muscle groups for certain sports–it’s just not the norm for the average client.

Tempo to a degree is also determined by rep range. A power exercise may include a 1-0-1 (1s eccentric – 0s pause – 1s concentric). When trying to improve muscle endurance, there are a number of different tempos that can be useful.  Pausing under tension will increase the stress on the muscle and is a good way to push the client that extra 10%. The most common tempo that’s used is the 3-0-1 for muscle gain during hypertrophy workouts (6-10 reps).

Lastly, you can easily determine what rest intervals are appropriate based on rep range. A power reps range of 1-5 reps will require 2-3 minutes to replenish the creatine phosphate system. Your goal is to train the client efficiently. If the client is fatigued, the training will be counterproductive. Muscle endurance, on the other hand, requires much shorter rest intervals. The goal is to improve the client’s recovery, so that’s the system that you need to stress.

The primary exercises are the focus of the workout. You can expect the client to get their gains primarily from these. Therefore progression is measured based on the client’s performance on the primary exercises.

If they’re getting stronger at the front squat, then watching for progression on the leg extension becomes a moot point. That said, you should still track all the sets and reps of each workout.

To pick the primary exercises, I use a combination of intuition and knowledge. I do an analysis of the client’s body type, and in combination with their goals and assessment, decide on the MOST IMPORTANT exercises. These exercises are exclusively large multi-joint exercise and are usually some variation of the squat, deadlift, lunge, chin up, row, or chest press.

The reason for so much emphasis on the primary exercises in the Focus System is two-fold:

  1. Beginner clients cannot get good at more than 2-4 exercises at one time.  Writing a workout containing 16-20 exercises that you want the client to get better at is not practical. The client will not learn the form effectively and won’t build up the supporting structures to continually progress.
  2. It’s much easier to sell a client on 2 exercises than 20.

Here’s an example using the reps schemes described above:

In a power workout where the client would be working within the 1-5 reps range, two primary exercises might be the sumo deadlift and bench press. In the 12-15 muscle endurance reps range two primary exercises might be the Goblet squat and alternating row.

Step 3: Secondary Exercises

The secondary movements are where you can have the greatest flexibility and the most fun. These can be programmed as supersets or circuits. Although form is important, it is not necessary to be as picky as with the primary exercises.  At this point in the workout, the client will be mentally and physically tired since the primary exercises demand constant focus.

The exercise selection here has the biggest variance. Remember that your purpose with secondary exercises is to support the primary and take the client one step closer to his or her goal. This is where you can include things like single joint movements, abdominal work (rotation, flexion, anti-rotation), and single-leg exercises.

In a power workout where the primary exercises are the sumo deadlift and bench press, you might choose barbell glute bridges and dumbbell skull crushers as secondary exercises. For the muscle endurance workout, the example primary exercises were the goblet squat and alternating row. The secondary exercises could be a single-leg squat and dumbbell cross-body hammer curl.

Step 4: Tertiary Exercises

Tertiary exercises can be built into one of two different spots in the Focus System.  They can either be used as active rest in between sets or after the secondary exercises if there is time left in the workout.  Also, have some prehab exercises on hand if time allows.

When I originally designed the Focus System, the tertiary exercises were purely rehabilitative in nature. I’ve now expanded the term to include prehab.  Some clients will need enough rehabilitation that prehab will have to wait. Rehab does not necessarily mean that the client has an injury; it could be an imbalance that needs to be addressed.

The unique aspect of the tertiary exercise is that it won’t change depending on the type of workout. If the client needs rehab exercises or to fix an imbalance, it doesn’t matter whether they’re training power or muscle endurance.  Prehab exercises vary depending on the different stresses that primary exercises place on the body.

Step 5: Cardio

I am not a big proponent of cardio. Like any aspect of fitness, it has a time and place, but usually sufficient cardio can be programmed into a resistance training routine with appropriate attention to rest intervals. That said, steady state cardio is meditative and can be very beneficial for the mind. For a client with a stressful job, unloading on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical for 30 minutes at a medium pace can be the perfect medicine.

The cardio protocol that you prescribe for your client has to fall in line with their goals. Cardio can be counterproductive if improperly programmed. For example, a hypertrophy workout should not have much, if any, steady state cardio.  You can be good at putting on muscle and cardio at the same time, but you can’t be great at both–something’s gotta give!

A sample cardio protocol for a power program might be 1-2 days/week of HIIT (high- intensity interval training). For muscle endurance training, try a combination of steady state running with hill or interval training.

Step 6: Dynamic Warm Up and Myofascial Release

The dynamic warm up depends on the client’s comfort and skill level in the gym and the nature of the workout. For example, a power workout will likely have more hip and shoulder mobility drills. In addition, since movement efficiency is of the upmost importance, include more myofascial release. The warm up for a muscle endurance workout will include more movement prep work and less individual dynamic stretches. In addition, you might opt to do the myofascial release at the end of the workout.

A beginner client with low efficacy will be reluctant to do a long, dynamic warm-up by without you there. If this is the case, perform the warm up with the client for as long as needed until he or she becomes more confident in the gym. I found that doing the warm up with my client during their initial anatomical adaptation phases was a good guideline.

If the client is more confident then they can handle a warm up with dynamic stretching and myofascial release.  Go through the warm up once with them, provide them with a handout reviewing each exercise, and communicate your expectation that the full warm up be completed before each session so you can maximize your time together.

The System in Action

Here is a sample workout that may be appropriate for an intermediate client with no injuries but bad posture due to a desk job. Their goal is fat loss and to improve core strength.

Please note that this program is not meant to teach you what exercises to include. It wasn’t designed for a specific client. Rather it is meant to illustrate the Focus System. The following section breaks down the workout in order to showcase each of the 6 steps.

Day 1 (full body push)

1. Squat (Primary) 4*8-10 superset no money drill to help with external rotation (tertiary)

2. Bench Press (Primary) 4*8-10 superset lat stretch (tertiary)

3.  Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

4a. Tight Pushup (secondary) 2*15-20

4b. Abs Plank – Fast Hands (secondary) 2*5 superset chest stretch (tertiary)

5. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

6a. Dumbbell skull crushers (secondary) 2* 10-12

6b. Single leg squats (secondary) 2*6-8

7. Scaption (tertiary) 2*8-10

Day 2 (full body pull)

1. Dead Lift (primary) 4*8-10 superset hip stretches (tertiary)

2. Chin up (Primary) 4*8-10 superset chest stretch (tertiary)

3. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

4a. Glute thrust 2*6-8 (secondary)

4b. Side bridge with minor twist 2*12-15 (secondary)

5. Speed interval 1.5min at 80-95%MHR

6a. 1 arm bent over row 2*8-10 (secondary)

6b. Glute ham raise 2*6-8 (secondary)

7. Pallof press 2*25s holds

Cardio guidelines – 2x/week.  One day perform a 30min job at 70-80%MHR.  The second day perform 45s speed intervals at a 6:1 rest : work ratio.

Note:  4*8-10 denotes 4 sets of 8-10 reps. If I have a ‘1.’ before the exercise then all sets are to be completed before moving onto the next exercise. If, for example, I have a 1a and 1b then the exercises are meant to be done in a superset.

The Workout Broken Down

Step 1: Rep Range. The client is working throughout a variety of rep ranges. Since the primary goal is fat loss, the client needs to build up some muscle so have them working within hypertrophy ranges mostly. The workout shifts to becoming more metabolic when the client gets to the secondary exercises. The reps increase and speed intervals are placed throughout.

Step 2:  Primary exercises. I wanted to make both days full body so split the workout into push and pull. In choosing the primary exercises I also wanted the rep range to be in the hypertrophy range so I chose large multi-joint exercises and not power movements. Since the client is intermediate they would be able to handle 4 primary exercises. The squat, bench press, chin up and dead lift are all done by themselves so the client can focus on performing these movements well.

Step 3:  Secondary exercises. This is where the most variance takes place and you can be very creative. In choosing these exercises I wanted to stay true to the push/pull split and put a special focus on core strength. Lastly I included some exercises that will improve the client’s performance within the primary movements. The single leg squat is a good example as it increases knee, ankle, and hip stability.

Step 4:  Tertiary exercises. I opted to include the tertiary exercises within the workout as opposed to doing them at the end. Reason being, this client is an intermediate so will have performed most of these movements before. I also want the workout to be metabolic in nature and the addition of active rest periods in between sets is an added benefit. For this client I would also have a list prepared of tertiary exercises to throw in the workout in an unorganized manner.

Step 5:  Cardio guidelines. Since I wanted the workout to be metabolic in nature I added sprint intervals throughout. In addition, I added two cardio days for the client to perform throughout the week. This is because the primary goal is fat loss.

Step 6:  Dynamic warm up. Again, the client is at the intermediate level so he would be comfortable performing the warm up by himself. I therefore would provide them with the dynamic warm up handout package and show them through it once. Beyond that, their job is to have the warm up completed before they see me.

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Tips On How To Stick To An Exercise Program

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What’s keeping you from exercising?

If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.

While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most people, the biggest barriers are mental. Lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps. Motivation that quickly flames out. Getting easily discouraged and giving up.

Here’s what you can do to break through mental barriers:

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.

Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.

Busting the biggest exercise excuses

Making excuses for not exercising? Whether it’s lack of time, energy, or fear of the gym, there are solutions.

“I hate exercising.”
Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.

“I’m too busy.”
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour or two for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective.

“I’m too tired.”
It may sound counterintuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times.

“I’m too fat,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.”
It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you.

“Exercise is too difficult and painful.”
“No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself until you’re soaked in sweat or every muscle aches to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even playing golf, gardening, or cleaning the house.

“I’m not athletic.”
Still have nightmares from PE? You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Focus on easy ways to be more active, like walking, swimming, or even working more around the house. Anything that gets you moving will work.

How much exercise do you need?

Current recommendations for most adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.

And here’s the really good news: for most people, moderate exercise is the most beneficial for overall health; you don’t need to keep intensifying your workouts. In fact, exercising too strenuously can sometimes lead to diminishing returns on your fitness levels or lead to injuries or other problems. While everyone is different, most people are much better off training for a 5K or 10K rather than a marathon or exercising for 30-45 minutes a day rather than hours at a time.

How hard do I need to exercise?

There’s no need to overdo it. Research has shown that mild to moderate activity is enough to change your life for the better. You don’t have to sweat buckets or run a single step. Moderate activity means:

  1. That you breathe a little heavier than normal, but are not out of breath. For example, you should be able to chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
  2. That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.

Safety tips for beginning exercisers

If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a significant amount of time since you’ve attempted any strenuous physical activity, keep the following health precautions in mind:

  • Health issues? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.
  • Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the muscles you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. If you’re going to run, start with walking, for example. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.
  • Cool down. After your workout, it’s important to take a few minutes to cool down and allow your heart rate to return to its resting rate. A light jog or walk after a run, for example, or some gentle stretches after strength exercises can also help prevent soreness and injuries.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop! If you feel better after a brief rest, you can slowly and gently resume your workout. But don’t try to power through pain. That’s a surefire recipe for injury.

How to make exercise a habit that sticks

There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build lasting habits. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.

Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident

If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.

Start small and build momentum

A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.

Make it automatic with triggers

Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercises rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

Reward yourself

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards exercise brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new fitness goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.

Set yourself up for success

  • Schedule it. You don’t go to important meetings and appointments spontaneously, you schedule them. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda.
  • Make it easy on yourself. Plan your workouts for the time of day when you’re most awake and energetic. If you’re not a morning person, for example, don’t undermine yourself by planning to exercise before work.
  • Remove obstacles. Plan ahead for anything that might get in the way of exercising. Do you tend to run out of time in the morning? Get your workout clothes out the night before so you’re ready to go as soon as you get up. Do you skip your evening workout if you go home first? Keep a gym bag in the car, so you can head out straight from work.
  • Hold yourself accountable. Commit to another person. If you’ve got a workout partner waiting, you’re less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announcing your goals to your social group (either online or in person) can also help keep you on track.

Tips for making exercise more enjoyable

As previously mentioned, you are much more likely to stick with an exercise program that’s fun and rewarding. No amount of willpower is going to keep you going long-term—day in and day out—with a workout you hate.

Think outside the gym

Does the thought of going to the gym fill you with dread? If you find the gym inconvenient, expensive, intimidating, or simply boring, that’s okay. There are many exercise alternatives to weight rooms and cardio equipment.

For many, simply getting outside makes all the difference. You may enjoy running outdoors, where you can enjoy alone time and nature, even if you hate treadmills.

Just about everyone can find a physical activity they enjoy. But you may need to think beyond the standard running, swimming, biking options. Here are a few activities you may find fun:

  1. horseback riding
  2. ballroom dancing
  3. rollerblading
  4. hiking
  5. paddle boarding
  6. kayaking
  1. gymnastics
  2. martial arts
  3. rock climbing
  4. Zumba
  5. Ultimate Frisbee
  6. fencing

Make it a game

Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or tennis, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as running from hordes of zombies!

Pair it with something you enjoy

Think about activities that you enjoy and how you can incorporate them into an exercise routine. Watch TV as you ride a stationary bike, chat with a friend as you walk, take photographs on a scenic hike, walk the golf course instead of using a cart, or dance to music as you do household chores.

Make it social

Exercise can be a fun time to socialize with friends and working out with others can help keep you motivated. For those who enjoy company but dislike competition, a running club, water aerobics, or dance class may be the perfect thing. Others may find that a little healthy competition keeps the workout fun and exciting. You might seek out tennis partners, join an adult soccer league, find a regular pickup basketball game, or join a volleyball team.

Getting the whole family involved

If you have a family, there are many ways to exercise together. What’s more, kids learn by example, and if you exercise as a family you are setting a great example for their future. Family activities might include:

  • Family walks in the evening if weather permits. Infants or young children can ride in a stroller.
  • Blast upbeat music to boogie to while doing chores as a family.
  • Seasonal activities, like skiing or ice skating in the winter and hiking, swimming or bicycling in the summer can both make fun family memories and provide healthy exercise.

Try a mindfulness approach

Instead of zoning out or distracting yourself when you exercise, try to pay attention to your body. By really focusing on how your body feels as you exercise—the rhythm of your breathing, the way your feet strike the ground, your muscles flexing as you move, even the way you feel on the inside—you’ll not only improve your physical condition faster but also interrupt the flow of worries or negative thoughts running through your head, easing stress and anxiety. Exercising in this way can also help your nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD and trauma. Exercises that engage both your arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, rock climbing, skiing, or dancing—are great choices for practicing mindfulness.

Easy ways to “sneak” more movement into your daily life

You don’t have to commit to a structured exercise program in order to be active. Think about physical activity as a lifestyle choice rather than a single task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here and there. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day.

Make chores count. House and yard work can be quite a workout, especially when done at a brisk pace. Scrub, vacuum, sweep, dust, mow, and weed—it all counts.

Look for ways to add extra steps. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Park farther from the entrance, rather than right out front. Get off your train or bus one stop early. The extra walking adds up.

Ditch the car whenever possible. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike instead when the distance is doable.

Move at work. Get up to talk to co-workers, rather than phoning or sending an email or IM. Take a walk during your coffee and lunch breaks. Use the bathroom on another floor. Walk while you’re talking on the phone.

Exercise during commercial breaks. Make your TV less sedentary by exercising every time commercials come on. Options include jumping jacks, sit-ups, or arm exercises using weights.

How getting a dog can boost your fitness

Owning a dog leads to a more active lifestyle. Playing with a dog and taking him for a walk, hike, or run are fun and rewarding ways to fit exercise into your schedule. Studies have shown that dog owners are far more likely to meet their daily exercise requirements than non-owners.

  • One year-long study found that walking an overweight dog helped both the animals and their owners lose weight (11 to 15 pounds). Researchers found that the dogs provided support in similar ways to a human exercise buddy, but with greater consistency and without any negative influence.
  • Public housing residents who walked therapy dogs for up to 20 minutes, five days a week, lost an average of 14.4 pounds in a year, without changing their diets.
  • If you’re not in a position to own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. You’ll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.

For more on how owning a dog can make you healthier and happier, see: The Health Benefits of Dogs (and Cats).

How to stay motivated to exercise

No matter how much you enjoy an exercise routine, you may find that you eventually lose interest in it. That’s the time to shake things up and try something new or alter the way you pursue the exercises that have worked so far.

Tips for staying motivated

Pair your workout with a treat. For example, you can listen to an audiobook or watch your favorite TV show while on the treadmill or stationary bike.

Log your activity. Keep a record of your workouts and fitness progress. Writing things down increases commitment and holds you accountable to your routine. Later on, it will also be encouraging to look back at where you began.

Harness the power of the community. Having others rooting for us and supporting us through exercise ups and downs will help keep motivation strong. There are numerous online fitness communities you can join. You can also try working out with friends either in person or remotely using fitness apps that let you track and compare your progress with each other.

Get inspired. Read a health and fitness magazine or visit an exercise website and get inspired with photos of people being active. Sometimes reading about and looking at images of people who are healthy and fit can motivate you to move your body.

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10 gyms with the most amazing views

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Basement fitness centers be damned. There are some places around the world that make your intentions to lace up the runners and don the spandex a whole lot more inviting.

1. MV Stella Australis, Chile

View on board the Stella Australis

You can run to the end of the world, but in a less frightening way.


Ever wanted to jog around Cape Horn but thought it was impossible? Well, it’s not.

Brand-new ship (well, in cruise ship terms any ship just past her first birthday is still brand-new) Stella Australis plies the glacier-lined route between Punta Arenas (Chile) and Ushuaia (Argentina).

The gym is positioned on the top deck with full-height double-glazed windows providing an ever-changing view of snow-dusted mountains and glaciers amid forest-clad fjords. The double glazing is important, as summer temperatures barely reach double figures in South American Patagonia.

There’s no problem getting warmed up, however, on modern treadmills, steppers and bikes, as albatross soar on the Furious Fifties winds that buffets the land at the “end of the world”.

Cruceros Australis, Ave El Bosque Norte 0440, Santiago, Chile; +56 2 442 3115

2. Andaman Hotel, Langkawi, Malaysia

Gym at Andaman Hotel Langkawi

With all the sounds and smells of the jungle, it’s like watching a live recording of a National Geographic special.


National Geographic film crews know a good location when they see one. So it’s no surprise to find out that the same ancient rainforest that treadmill pounders gaze at from the Andaman Hotel is a favoured habitat for filming wildlife documentaries.

Located on the northwest coast of Langkawi, the region abounds in rare wildlife on land and kaleidoscopic fringing coral reef beyond the beach.

Hotel designers didn’t quite get it right for water babies but for those who find inspiration in lush plush jungle, you won’t be disappointed with French windows allowing heady tropical aromas to waft around the gym.

Andaman Hotel, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi 07000, Malaysia; +60 4 959 1088

3. Sasakwa Lodge, Tanzania

Gym at Sasakwa Lodge in Tanzania

Place yourself in a wildlife documentary when working out here, running alongside zebras and antelope.


Unleash your inner safari man (or woman) when you drop into your own personal piece of African indulgence on a privately held 137,000-hectare concession of Singita Grumeti Reserve.

Incongruously rising above the plains in the style of an Edwardian manor house, the main lodge is surrounded by a handful of secluded cottages, each with its own infinity pool and dreamy heat-haze views all the way to the horizon.

If you can drag yourself beyond poolside tranquilized stupor, the gym is a revelation for such a remote location. Equipped with modern machines, it’s easy to imagine running across the sun-kissed plains, with bounding zebras kicking up their hooves beside you.

Sasakwa Lodge, Singita Grumeti Reserve, Tanzania; +27 21 683 3424

4. Aqua Expeditions, Peru

View of the Amazon from ship

The majesty of the Amazon brimming with life should motivate even the most lethargic passenger.


If cruising little-accessible waters of the Amazon floats your boat, step onto the treadmill aboard luxury river expedition vessel MV Aria, departing from the forest-clad port of Iquitos.

Launched in the spring of 2011, MV Aria plies the upper reaches and tributaries of the Andes-fed Amazon, allowing up to 32 guests to immerse themselves in wildlife and wild landscapes of 20,000 square kilometers of Pacaya Samira Reserve encased in floating luxury.

Hitting the treadmill daily is recommended, given that menus are designed by renowned chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, otherwise known as the jungle chef, for his creative use of Amazonian wild foods.

More an exercise room bathed in natural light from immense picture windows rather than a fully blown gym, there’s no denying the inspirational “in-your-face” view gliding by.

Aqua Expeditions, Calle Iquitos 1167, Punchana Maynas, Loreto, Peru; +51 65 60 1053

5. Chobe Safari Lodge, Uganda

Gym at Chobe Safari Lodge

The perfect place to build up muscle and stamina before exploring the Murchison Falls National Park.


Recently restored to her former 1950s elegance and perched above the bank of the River Nile, water is the main focus of Chobe Safari Lodge.

That is, of course, once you’ve had your fill of the elephants, hippos and buffalo that hang out around this legendary waterway. Attracting wildlife by the safari-load, the three-level swimming pool, spa and gym all overlook the rushing, gushing Nile.

Within the largest National Park in Uganda, Murchison Falls National Parkis not a bad spot for fishos to drop a line once they’ve finished buffing their biceps in the Chobe Health Club and Spa.

Chobe Safari Lodge, MurchisonFallsNational Park, Northwest Uganda; +256 312 259 390

6. Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa, United States

City view of Anchorage

The best way to keep warm indoors while gazing out at the Arctic Circle and the never-ending daylight.


It’s unlikely that master mariner Captain James Cook would recognize much about Anchorage these days. Things have changed a bit since he anchored in the bay, now known as Cook Inlet, beneath a couple of active volcanoes and a mountain affectionately known by locals as Sleeping Lady.

On a clear day Redoubt and Spurr mountains, all 3,000 meters of them, poke out above the clouds, all theatrical summits and look-at-me attitude.

Gazing out from the 15th floor gym to the street below, gym junkies shouldn’t be surprised to see one of the 1,000-odd moose who also call Anchorage home wandering the streets.

Sheraton Anchorage Hotel, 401 East 6th Ave., Anchorage, Alaska, United States; + 907 276 8700

7. Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, United States

View of Pacific Ocean

All the glitz and glamour of Southern California in one room: oceanfront views, chandeliers and beautiful people.

Any hotel that puts step machines front and center behind frameless glass walls that overlook the Pacific Ocean gets my vote.

Add a crystal chandelier to enhance the theatrical movie star opulence, and you’ll be seriously motivated to get your butt camera-ready.

Naturally, equipment is top-of-the-line Precor and Icarian with individual screens and multimedia connectivity. The team at Ritz-Carlton seem to know just how to prop up a narcissistic gym junkie’s habit.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel; 1 Ritz Carlton Drive, Dana Point, California, United States; +949 240 2000

8. Wickaninnish Inn, Canada

Chesterman Beach

Bad weather doesn’t mean lay-about-indoors weather.


The favored destination for storm chasers, those climate-crazy souls who time their holidays to encounter the worst weather, Wickaninnish Inn sits tall, proud and somewhat weather-beaten on a point jutting seaward. Beachcombers and surfer dudes also find their way to wild tumbled Chesterman Beach.

Looking west across the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver Island, 10 years ago the inn built a new wing to capitalize on their beachfront location, thrilling gym junkies no end by placing the workout room center stage.

Wickaninnish Inn, 500 Osprey Lane, Tofino, BC, Canada; +1 250 725 3100

9. Paresa Resort Phuket, Thailand

Phuket beachfront view from gym

Your last chance to tone that beach bod before hitting the party-friendly beaches.


Phuket is home to sea gypsies who live on floating villages earning a living from ever depleting fish stocks, as well as the seething, writhing, pumping tourism hub of Patong Beach which attracts modern-day travelers.

Treadmill joggers who bother to look south from the gym at Paresa can catch a glimpse of the ever-present partying integral to the beachfront strip.

But for my money, the real attraction is the uninterrupted cliff top view from high above the Andaman Sea, particularly at dusk as the blazing tropical sun disappears below the salt-laden horizon.

Paresa Resort, 49 Moo 6, Layi-Nakalay Rd, Kamala, Phuket, Thailand; +66 76 302 000

10. Hotel Icon, Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong skyline from gym

Nothing like exercising in peace high up and away from the gaze of passers-by.


Opened just two months ago, Hotel Icon represents the combined efforts of Hong Kong’s most creative geniuses.

Clearly health-conscious designers who appreciate the benefits of positioning the pool and gym on the rooftop, it’s hard to imagine a more exciting cityscape than Hong Kong’s.

Particularly so at night, when all bets are off when it comes to conserving energy and the city lights up like the a Christmas tree.

Naturally, being a brand-new luxuriously appointed hotel with a heavy focus on glamour, gym equipment is state of the art and open 24 hours.

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Snacking

Eating healthy snacks during the day can help keep the your metabolism going all day and help stop the urge to eat in the evening
Source: Fitness Fit Tips

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Glute Bridges on the Balance Pad

Lie on your back on a mat or on the floor with your heels on a balance pad. Your arms should be relaxed at your sides. To make this exercise more difficult, keep your arms off the floor.

Exhale and push into your heels, lifting your buttocks off of the floor. Your neck and shoulders should remain relaxed. Slowly lower your buttocks down to the floor, keeping your buttocks and core engaged at all times.

Repeat 8-12 times, rest, then repeat the exercise if desired.
Source: Exercises

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Knee Extensions

Stand up straight with an exercise band under one foot. Ensure that you have a good grip on the exercise band and that you have a good amount on tension on the exercise band.

Inhale and lift the foot slowly, resisting against the band, until your hip and knee are at approximately 90 degrees.

Exhale and push your foot back down until it touches the floor. Enure that you maintain good posture throughout the exercise.

Repeat 10-12 times, the switch legs.
Source: Exercises

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Chin to Chest Stretch

Sit upright on a ball or chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Arms are relaxed with your hands resting on your thighs. Tuck your chin gently toward your chest.

Turn your head slightly to the left until you feel a slight stretch. Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Repeat to the right side, holding for 10-15 seconds.

Repeat at least twice to each side.
Source: Exercises

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