Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty when it comes to exercise: what exactly should you do to start seeing better results. Remember, these are general guidelines and they might not apply to everyone, but this exercise program will give you an excellent starting point for making the most of your time at the gym.


Although hiring a personal trainer would be your best option, you can successfully implement this program on your own. Note: Always consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.


Start with a warm up on a treadmill, stair stepper, or stationary bike — anything that gets your heart pumping hard enough for you to break a sweat. Walk, run or sprint for eight to 10 minutes, depending on your level of conditioning. Do what’s comfortable to begin, and work up from there.


Weight Training

After your warm-up, it’s time to lift weights. Studies have proven that weight training is far more effective at burning fat than cardiovascular activity alone. The best starter program is a circuit that includes a leg press, leg curl, arm row and chest press, followed by a pull-up machine, in that order.


Don’t be scared or embarrassed if you don’t know how to perform a particular exercise. Ask a friend or one of the gym trainers to show you how it’s done.


Do just one set that includes five to eight repetitions each of these exercises. Each time you work out, increase the number of sets until you reach about five or six sets. Again, perform no more than eight repetitions for any single set. Be careful not to use too much weight in the beginning — you should be able to comfortably perform up to eight repetitions. The goal is to work toward the heaviest weight you can use and still perform the five to eight repetitions.


Complete one time through the circuit, and rest at the end if you need to. However, as time goes on, your goal should be to decrease your rest time until you don’t rest at all between each set of exercises. Your mission for this program is to perform the reps on this circuit as many times as possible, as quickly as possible, without rushing through the exercises and always maintaining proper form. Ideally, this workout should take about 25 to 40 minutes.


Beginning an exercise program is the hardest part, so ease into it. Though you do need to push yourself, every time you go to the gym you should expect to perform the circuit in less time than your previous workout. You want to beat your previous time, as well as consistently add weight to the machine so that you can only perform five to eight repetitions.


Perform this program only three days per week, in order to give yourself a rest in between workouts so your body can recover. Too many people hit the gym every day and never see any results because their bodies are too stressed and don’t have the opportunity to recover, which inhibits their results.


Don’t be put off by the idea that lifting weights will make you big and bulky, even if you’re a woman. Although you may be lifting a fairly heavy amount of weight, this workout is not giving your body enough time under that stress to actually build more muscle, which is what makes it an ideal fat-burning workout.


Cardio Exercise

The next phase of your workout should consist of cardio exercise. This means walking, running, sprinting or whatever your heart desires (ha-ha, no pun intended). Perform cardio three times a week for no more than 30 minutes. You cardio junkies are probably screaming, “No! How can I lose fat doing only 30 minutes of cardio three times a week!?" Remember, weight training is far more beneficial for shedding those pounds than cardio training, but cardio is an essential supplementary exercise.


The goal with your cardio program is to perform as much as you can in as little time as possible. Say you start off by doing 30 minutes on the treadmill, jogging 2.2 miles, after which you are exhausted. You think, “Wow, I could never do any more than that.” Wrong! You will do more the next time you work out — your second time out, your goal is to do 2.3 miles on the treadmill in 30 minutes or less. And you want to keep on beating that distance each consecutive time.


It is far more important when trying to lose fat to work at a higher intensity than to go for a longer time. So increase the intensity and sweat, sweat, sweat, if you really want to drop those sizes and tighten that toosh.


This program is simple and will make all the difference in your results. In a perfect world, you would perform free-weight exercises rather than machine training, but these machine exercises are a great place for a beginner to start. They’re also simple enough that you can start achieving great results immediately.


I’m excited for you and the results you will achieve with this exercise program. Please write me at [email protected] to tell me about your success stories.


Scott White is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist located in Scottsdale, Arizona. For more information about nutrition and fitness, you can reach Scott at 480-628-1607, [email protected], or www.personalpowetraining.net