15 February 2012

Scaling Down #3 - Free Weight Workout

Each year hordes of people make a New Year's resolution to lose weight. In January, gyms are overcrowded with well-meaning people on treadmills desperate to lose a few pounds. By February, most have given up. In 2010, I was able to lose 45 pounds without the help of a trainer, special program, crazy diet, or supplements. We here at the What want to help you stay fit and healthy in a simple and natural way.

Free Weight Workout

While joining a gym can be beneficial, often times the fresh out of college crowd is fresh out of extra cash. Therefore, an at-home workout can be the best option for someone our age looking to slim down or stay in shape. In the first Scaling Down feature, I wrote about losing a significant amount of weight on my own, and much of that was thanks to the workout program I developed for myself.

For this program, we will refer to the handy Wikipedia guide for weight training exercises. If you are unsure of how to correctly perform any of the suggested exercises, skip them. Incorrect performance of exercise techniques can lead to serious injury and damage to muscle tissue, so let's avoid that. With that out of the way, let's plan out this workout in three parts: schedule, equipment, and routine.

Setting and following a schedule for your workout is potentially the single most important aspect of a health plan. Once you get set into a regular routine, it will be easier to maintain healthy exercise habits over the long term. Perhaps the most key part of the schedule is the first day. Studies show that skipping a Monday workout can tank your whole week, if not your entire workout regimen. Therefore, it is recommended that this routine be done each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This week is the perfect opportunity for many to start such a program. If you have off for President's Day, you have no excuse not to get to work on building a better body.
TIP: Once you get into this routine, try complimenting it with the T-Day Workout!

Simple and not too expensive.
Before you try to write off this workout using lack of equipment as an excuse, check out the image to the left. You can get started with $20 worth of equipment, which, in most cases, is cheaper than a one-month gym membership. I began with the eight pound weights and used an old aerobic step I found as a bench. To save money on weight benches, check out this site for suggestions of in-home substitutes. Once you get into a routine, try upping your weight. I eventually jumped to twenty-pound dumbbells, and bought a pair of gloves to stabilize my wrists and protect my hands from callousing.
TIP: If the prices for this stuff is too expensive at your local sporting goods store, try Target or Walmart for more affordable options!

The key to this routine is balance. I try to cover as many muscle groups as possible, while giving a little extra attention where I need it most. Everyone has different needs and goals, so determine what yours are before beginning. My goal for my overall fitness plan is to drop to a healthier weight of around 175-185 pounds, develop a little bit of muscle tone, and beef up my super-scrawny forearms. Knowing your goal and having it to work toward will help you maintain your routine. With all of that being said, here is the routine:
Dumbbell Squat
TIP: As you get comfortable in your routine, spice it up! I like to mix in leg raises, tricep dips, and military presses.

The first few times you do this workout, it will take awhile and it will hurt the next day. But keep with it, and gradually the amount of pain will wane and you will find yourself finishing in less time. After a few weeks, add in the T-Day Workout and a Sunday run, and you will be amazed at the results! Good luck, and let us know how the workout works for you!

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