I’ve heard this a lot.

“I don’t know what to do when I get to the gym and I don’t want to look stupid,
so I just get on the treadmill for 45 minutes then leave.”

I hear you. You want to get in shape. You want to get strong. You want to be ready for summer.
But you don’t know what to do. You’re worried other people at the gym will look at and judge you. 

Being a first-time gym-goer can be scary and daunting. And more often than not, your intimidation results in you either hiding on cardio equipment while reading a magazine, or simply not going at all.

That’s why I wanted to write this simple guide to help you design your own workout so you know exactly what to do when you’re going to the gym. In order for you to succeed, you have to have a plan.

You’ll set yourself up for success if you know what you’re doing before you get there. 

To plug in a full body workout, we want to categorize large muscle groups and small muscle groups. 

Large muscle groups:
Chest, Back and Legs.

Small Muscle groups:
Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps

Then, add on abs as an accessory to round everything off. 

You can also get in a lot of core work by doing full body exercises.
In other words, you don’t have to do crunches to get strong abdominals. 

More on that later…

When you’re first starting out, it’s important to keep it 


You don’t need to sign up for the ’30 DAY XTREME SHRED’ program that requires you to balance on your head and juggle flaming kettlebells with your feet in order to get in shape. Just no. 

Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s learn how to structure a workout. Since you’re just starting out, we’re going to keep things simple by structuring a full-body ‘circuit.’ A circuit is several exercises performed in order, and you complete all exercises before starting the next round. 

We want to start off with the large muscle groups. Therefore the first exercise can be picked as either a chest, back or leg exercise. Let’s choose a chest exercise first, back second, and legs third. 

Chest exercises include:

  1. Pushups (regressions are knee pushups, incline pushups and band assisted pushups)
  2. Dumbbell chest press or incline chest press
  3. Dumbbell chest flies.

    (Once you master these we can talk about benching with the barbell and other chest exercises) 

Next up are back exercises. Back exercises include

  1. Dumbbell bent rows or dumbbell single arm bent rows
  2. Barbell bent rows
  3. pull-ups, (regressions include assisted pull-ups (with a superband or the machine) or negative (reverse) pull-ups
  4. Cable Rows,
  5. Cable lat pulldowns. 

Leg Exercises. There are so many leg exercises, so for the first round lets keep the options simple by choosing between a

  1. Goblet Squat
  2. Dumbbell Deadlift.

    (Once you master these we’ll talk about getting under that barbell to develop more strength.)

Last, choose an ab exercise. You know, for fun. 😉 Try out

  1. Deadbugs (youtube video here)
  2. Mountain climbers or
  3. Russian twists.

    ​Be sure to keep your back flat if you’re doing an ab exercise on your back. 

Once you plug in the 4 exercises, that makes a circuit. Aim to perform 10-12 reps per exercise, and rest 90 seconds in between rounds. Perform between 3-5 rounds of the circuit. 


Depending on how you feel after that, you can either call it a day, or you can plug and play another circuit with different exercises. If you choose to do a second circuit, you can do chest and back again, or since you targeted those muscles already, you can choose shoulder or arm exercises like a dumbbell overhead press, bicep curls and tricep dips!

If you’re doing a second circuit, you can also choose a single leg or stabilizing exercise like lunges or single leg Romanian deadlifts. 

Same rep-ranges apply. 

Alright. So now that you know how to structure a workout, make a plan for yourself. Get a piece of paper and write down which days you can go to the gym this week. Let’s say you can go on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. 

Write it down, then underneath write:


Then plug in the exercises you want to do! Remember- start out SIMPLE. Start out with what you feel comfortable with and you’ll get more confident in time. Remember to warm up and cool down too. 

As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or message me. 


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