When people talk about mental health, a question I hear asked a lot is “have you tried exercise?”. I’ll be honest, in the midst of my deepest depression to date, I couldn’t get out of bed most of the time so exercise seemed impossible.
I remember when the doctor told me to “just” go for a walk around the area/park/building every day and see how much better I would feel. If you’re able to do so, it can be really easy to forget how hard this seemingly “simple” task might be for others and that’s the feeling I got from the GP.
Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is that exercise boosts your feel good brain chemicals and may leave you feeling happier, calmer and/or less anxious. It can help you sleep better and help to boost your energy overall. Whether you can make it happen or not, is something only you know.
Today I’m giving you 2 different gym workouts to try – I don’t workout at home anymore but when I did, I would either use free Fitness Blender videos or T25 by Beachbody. If you would rather see the workouts as an infographic, scroll to the bottom of the post!
Gym Workout 1 (easier)
- Warm up: 5 minutes on elliptical (level 5 incline and level 5 resistance) followed by 5 minute intervals on an upright exercise bike (1 minute under 60rpm; 1 minute over 90rpm and keep swapping for 5 minutes – resistance level 3-6 to suit you)
- Squat – Bicep Curl – Stand – Press; 2 x 12 reps: This move requires dumbbells and can be done with or without a plyo box – I started with 2kg dumbbells. You start by doing a classic squat (onto the plyo box if using), then bicep curling whilst in squat position, move to standing with arms still curled, then into the dumbbell press.
- Plyo push-ups; 2 x 12 reps: this is pretty simple. Using the plyo box, balancing on your knees rather than your feet, keeping your ass tucked in and your shoulders back, you do push-ups. The further out your knees are from the box, the harder the push-ups will be.
- TRX Inverted Row; 2 x 12 reps: I don’t think every gym has a TRX area but if not, you can do an alternative Inverted Row pretty much anywhere as long as you can find something to support your weight with enough space to allow for the movement. Click here for more information.
- Leg Curl machine; 2 x 12 reps: I started using this machine on 11kg I think but choose a weight to suit your ability.
- Hip Abduction; 2 x 12 reps: This is pushing the legs from the middle outwards. Choose a weight that works for you.
- Hip Adduction; 2 x 12 reps: This is pushing the legs from the outside to the middle. Choose a weight that works from you
- Stretch to cool down
Gym Workout 2 (harder)
- Warm up: 10-15 minutes on the elliptical (level 5 incline and level 5 resistance) or the rowing machine (level 5 resistance); it’s a good idea to alternate on each gym day.
- Assisted Pull Up; 3 x 12 reps: This is a machine based work out – please ask a member of staff to help you if it’s your first time using it. My starting weight is 45.5kg on this machine.
- SUPER SET – Leg curl machine then Jump lunge; 3 x 12 reps each: So, I’m introducing super sets in this workout routine. Start on the leg curl machine, do your 1st set of reps and then standing in front of the leg curl machine (so nobody steals it and messes up your set) start your jump lunges. Repeat for 3 sets.
- SUPER SET – Leg extension machine then Jump squats; 3 x 12 reps of each: Again, start on the leg extension machine and do your first set of reps, go in front of the machine and do your first set of jump squat reps and repeat until you’ve done 3 sets.
- Bicep curl; 3 x 15 reps: I do this using the pulley frame and use the bar attachment on 11kg weight. You want it on the lowest position on the frame then you pick up the bar from the floor and start with your arms locked at your side in a 90 degree angle and curl upwards to your chest. Repeat.
- Tricep rope pull; 3 x 15 reps: On the same frame, take off the bar and replace with the rope attachment and change to the high pulley position. Grab the rope with both hands on either side, palms facing each other. Again, start with arms holding the rope at around a 90 degree angle, and pull down towards your hips. Repeat.
- Pectoral fly machine; 3 x 12 reps: The machine is self-explanatory but ask a member of staff to help you if you’ve never used it before.
- Shoulder press with dumbbells: A simple movement starting by holding the dumbbells up whilst your arms are bent at your shoulders (should look almost like a U shape with your head in the middle) and pushing up until your arms are straight. It’s a great idea to look in the mirror when you’re doing this so you can see your form.
- Upright exercise bike; 10-15 minutes: This is the end of your workout, the last bit of cardio before you cool down. Resistance level 5.
- Stretch to cool down
If you’re not sure about any of these moves, a quick search on Google or YouTube will enlighten you. You can also find stretches and cool down stretches the same way. Again, speak to a member of staff before using any equipment you’re not familiar with and you want a weight that is a challenge but not outright painful.
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