Last week I discussed the best options when it comes to using free weights or machines if you are a first time gym-goer, but there are lots of other options at the gym to help you get in shape.
Cardio is ideal if you want to get your fitness up and help burn a few calories but, be under no illusion, cardio will not shape your body to give you tone and definition. This can only be achieved via strength training, a cardio programme and a calorie-controlled diet.
There are some great cardio workouts, from uphill walks on the treadmill to interval sprints, rowing machines and steppers, but remember this point: it is not possible to spot reduce, so working the stepper for legs etc will not tone up a specific body part. It will help to work the muscle but is better for cardio endurance.
Classes can be an ideal way to to get a good fitness level, especially classes using weights like kettlebells or dumbbells.
If you are new to the gym, classes are a great way to go for a number of reasons. It's a controlled environment with a trainer who will pick up on bad technique, so you will have less likelihood of developing injuries.
Always be sure to let the instructor know of any injuries you may have so they can stop you doing any exercise that may aggravate it.
A class environment also keeps you focused. It's easy not to push yourself to your full extent when you train on your own, but in a class environment, it's easier to feel spurred on to keep going.
This is why spin classes can be so effective for people wanting to develop their cardio fitness as they push you harder.
GLUTE BRIDGE ON SWISS BALL
1/ Start by lying on your back with your heels on the Swiss ball and your arms straight by your side.
2/ Raise your hips up in a bridge position and off the floor, forming a straight line, and hold briefly before returning to start position and repeating.
1/ Start in a slightly bent over position, with your knees slightly bent but your back flat, holding a kettlebell with both hands.
2/ Gently swing the kettlebell to one side, up towards shoulder-height twisting your torso at your obliques, and gently swing it back to the other side, repeating the movement.
OBLIQUE BACK EXTENSION ON BOSU
1/ Start by laying down with your abs over the Bosu and your hands at the side of your head. Keep your legs straight with your toes touching the ground, balancing you.
2/ Lift your chest up and off the Bosu, twisting the body to one side. Lower back down to start position and repeat on the other side.