Beginner Gym Workout Routine for Weight Loss

Author: Lee Bell

February 28th 2018

In this beginner gym routine we take you through everything you need to know to drop body fat, lose weight and develop lean muscle

If you’re new to the gym and it can hard to know where to start.

Even knowing which exercises will help you achieve your goals is confusing.

Well don’t panic.

In only a few short weeks you will shred body fat. You’ll tone up problem areas and develop lean muscle in all the right places too.

If you’re ready to make some drastic changes to the way you look and feel, let’s get started.

What does this program cover?

Goal:Weight loss, muscle conditioning
Aimed at:Beginner levels
Program duration:4-8 weeks
Workout duration:30-45 minutes
Equipment needed:Dumbbells, resistance machines

Beginner Weight Loss Starts Here

Whether you’re here because you just want to lose weight, or you’re wanting to drop fat, get fitter or completely transform the way you look, there’s one thing for sure – exercise and diet are key.

In this beginner gym workout routine we talk you through every detail you need to achieve your goals.

If you’ve struggled in the past to lose weight, or this is your first time and you don’t know where to start, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

We’ve put aside all of the science and jargon too. This is a guide that’s not only easy to follow, but easy to understand too.

You’re here to get fit and lose weight, not to pass a biology class, right?

Why is diet important for weight loss?

When it comes to changing the way your body looks, calories are king.

If you eat more than your body needs, it’ll store the excess energy in your fat cells.

And although you can’t control where your body chooses to do this, it’s common for women to store that extra fat in their hips and butt, whereas for men it’s more belly and chest.

The magic happens though when you burn off more than you put in your body. Your brain senses that there isn’t enough energy coming in, so opens the door to your fat cells and let’s all of that lovely stored goodness out to make up the difference.

If calories coming in is lower than calories going out you’ll lose fat.

It’s that simple.

If you’re unsure how to work out exactly how many calories you should be eating each day, check out our calorie calculator at the bottom of this article.

Eat healthily… but don’t be too restrictive

Achieving a calorie deficit is a surefire way of achieving sustainable weight loss.

Now you know this.

But you also still need to make the right food choices too  – particularly now you’ll be hitting the gym and need the right nutrients to get you through your workouts.

Here’s a rough guide of what you should be aiming for with your nutrient intake…

  • Go for 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight
  • Aim to consume 0.4 grams per pound of body weight in fats
  • The rest of your calories can be taken up by carbs

This gives you plenty of opportunity to make informed decisions about the foods that make up your calories.

What about actual food choices?

That’s really up to you.

Lean meats, lots of fruits and vegetables and plenty of grains will make up the bulk of your diet.

One thing the research shows us though is that being too restrictive on your diet makes it tough to follow. You’re less likely to be successful in losing weight and you can begin to form negative associations with food.

Having a more flexible approach to your diet works best when you’re trying to lose weight.

If you’ve got calories to spare then by all means have a cookie or some ice cream.

It’ll boost adherence and make you feel just that little bit more content.

As long as the bulk of your diet is healthy you can definitely fit in some ‘cheat’ foods if you like.

  • The key to an effective weight loss plan is to focus on your diet. Controlling your calories and following a healthy, but flexible approach to food will increase your chances of success.

Related article: Best Fat Burner Supplements for fast weight loss

Exercise for Beginner Weight Loss

In principle, you don’t need a beginner gym workout plan to lose weight.

As long as you control your diet and achieve a calorie deficit you’ll lose fat.

The problem is though that your progress will be much slower.

Exercise and physical activity is an important part of healthy weight loss because it provides two very important benefits:

  • Increases the number of calories you expend – this can help you achieve a deficit.
  • Maintains lean muscle while dieting – important for keeping your metabolism high on lower calories.

The energy expenditure bit should be pretty obvious by now. If the key to dropping fat is to burn more calories than you take in, any activity will increase the number you burn.

It helps to tip the scale in favor of fat loss.

And what’s more…

If you burn lots of calories through exercise, you can eat just that little bit more of the food you enjoy and still come in at a calorie deficit.

The metabolism part relates to muscle mass.

When you diet for weight loss without exercise you can often lose muscle mass too. And because muscle is a metabolic tissue, this can lead to a nosedive for your daily energy burn.

And that’s the opposite of what you’re after.

Circuit training male athlete performing push-ups on a bench behind a barbell

Key Point: A well-structured beginner gym workout routine helps with weight loss by boosting calories burned and maintaining lean mass while dieting.

How to Structure Your Weight Loss Gym Workout Routine

The biggest step forward is recognizing that you’re a beginner.

Many people think that if they choose a more challenging and advanced program that they’ll shred the pounds much quicker.

It doesn’t work like that though.

And while you might be okay for a session or two, those advanced programs quickly start to take their toll. They leave you exhausted, low on energy, sore and much more likely to get injured.

A beginner gym workout routine undoubtedly leads to weight loss.

It’s pitched at a level that compliments your lower-calorie diet and allows you to target all of your muscles without excessive soreness. Or the need for days and days of recovery.

Beginner guidelines for the gym

You might not know this, but the best approach for weight loss is combining cardio with strength training.

We don’t mean aggressive or complex workouts. But lifting weights will definitely help you achieve your goals.

Why strength training for fat loss?

The days of endless cardio are well and truly over.

Strength training is an efficient fat burner and leads to not only a leaner body, but one with shape, tone and curves too.

  • You can use strength training to enhance your body shape
  • More muscle means a higher metabolism
  • Your can get a cardio effect from weight lifting
  • Strength training boosts metabolic, vascular and cognitive health

Regular strength workouts lead to better results

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggest that beginners complete 2-3 strength training workouts per week.

This gives you enough of a stimulus to build toned muscle, but also allows you recovery time too.

Each workout should include between 6-10 exercises that together cover all of the major muscle groups. Using compound exercises helps you achieve this as they work multiple muscle groups at once so let you cover more muscle is less exercises.

Learn the movements before you lift heavy weights

Safety always comes first.

If you’re unsure of any of the exercises in this plan, learn them before you load them.

Using weights with poor technique can lead to injuries, so take the time to nail your form before you start to increase the intensity.

Use full-body workouts for better results

Chances are you’ve got friends who lift weights on a regular basis. And if those friends are bodybuilders they probably use a style of training called muscle splits.

This where you work only one or two muscles each day and over the course of a week, cover all of the major muscles in your body.

It won’t suit you as you’ll need a good 4-5 workouts per week to follow a plan like that.

It’s too tough at this stage.

But by using a full-body, beginner gym workout routine you can cover all major muscles in every session.

It causes less soreness, but burns more calories.

There’s also a lot of emerging research to show that full-body workouts build a hell of a lot of muscle too.

Don’t forget your cardio 

You’ll be absolutely shredding fat with some challenging strength workouts during your beginner gym workout routine.

But don’t forget that you do still have cardio in your weight loss tool box.

Minute-by-minute, cardio burns more calories than strength training.

Even 20-30 minutes of jogging, swimming, cycling or rowing can supplement what you do in the weights room and really ramp up your energy expenditure.

Don’t let hours and hours of cardio take over your life though. Use it as a secondary activity and watch the fat melt away.

Gym Workout Plan for Weight Loss and Toning

This program can be used for anything from 4 up to 8 weeks. At that point you’ll need a new stimulus to keep your body progressing so don’t use it for any longer.

The sequel to this beginner gym workout is our 12 week body transformation workout plan – a longer, circuit-based program designed for those that graduated from beginner level and need a new challenge.

Anyway, back to this plan…

Complete your full-body workout 2-3 days per week.

Once you’ve mastered the technique you need to choose weights that tire you within 8-15 reps. As a beginner, this is a perfect rep range to achieve your fat loss and conditioning goals.

Rest 2-3 minutes between sets to keep your heart rate elevated, helping you maximize calorie burn. Any longer and you’ll recover fully.

Aim to complete 20-30 minutes of cardio on separate days, or after your strength training if you have to.

Choose a type of cardio that you enjoy the most. If you don’t like it you’re less likely to fit it into your week.

And remember, use this workout plan for 4-8 weeks and then make sure you change your routine.

Good luck and see you soon.

Number ExerciseRepsSetsRest Time
1Chest press (or) DB bench press8-1532-3 minutes
2Leg press8-1532-3 minutes
3Lat pulldown8-1532-3 minutes
4Shoulder press (or) DB overhead press8-1532-3 minutes
5Lying leg curl8-1532-3 minutes
6Seated row8-1532-3 minutes
7Leg extension8-1532-3 minutes

Calorie Calculator

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