Back to the Gym: A One Hour Routine

Monday 2 January 2017 by

Gym, Workout, Fitness, Routine, HIIT, Weights, Cardio, Health, Wellbeing

It’s a well-worn cliché that we have all overindulged this festive season. Even if you haven’t, you probably skipped the gym a bit in favour of parties, family and friends. In fact, that’s exactly what I did. I took the extra helpings of turkey and chowed down on boxes of biscuits and barely moved from the sofa for a good week or so. It was blissful. But that does mean that the first session back at the gym sucks that bit harder. There is a way to get through it though… It’s all about picking the right workout to ease you back in. For me, that’s a blend of weights and cardio, but with nothing too taxing.


If there’s one thing my personal trainer has given me, it’s a good all-rounder session. For my first session back at the gym, I went back to one of the very first routines she gave me. I’m comfortable with the machines, I know I can do it with my eyes closed, and I don’t have to fight it out with others for the free weights as much. It’s an ideal easing-back-in workout, and takes about half an hour, including a short warm-up on the treadmill.

Leg press – 2 x 5 warm-up sets, 3 x 10 sets. Start with a slightly lower weight for the warm-up sets, and then bump it up for the main reps. Remember to hold the position for a few seconds at the top of the movement each time, and breathe out on the lift.

Hamstring curl – 2 x 5 warm-up sets, 3 x 10 sets. Again, use a lower weight in the warm-up, and hold the position for a few seconds. Make sure your feet aren’t curled, but your ankles sit straight with your knees.

Chest press machine – 2 x 5 warm-up sets, 3 x 10 sets. I absolutely love this machine! Don’t ask me why but I love it and always try to add a couple of extra reps in at a higher weight just to see what happens. Make sure the bars are at shoulder height so you get a nice flat arm on the extension.

Pulley machine – 2 x 5 warm-up sets, 3 x 10 sets. Back straight, shoulders set, this one is a good one to try to put a bit of speed in to your routine, and see how fast you can go. Just don’t compromise posture for speed, and remember to hold the position each time.

Lateral dumbbell raises (small plates) – 3 x 10 sets. You don’t need warm ups for this, but you do need free weights. Pick a weight you’re comfortable with and you can easily keep going on – it’s better to go up in weight halfway through than it is to go down, in my opinion.

Alternating dumbbell curls – 3 x 10 sets. These suck – I hate them. But they are brilliant for toning arms, so make sure you’re giving each arm equal attention (I count one rep as a curl on each arm – so actually two movements).

Overhead dumbbell extension – 3 x 10 sets. Get a good, even stance on this, and know that it’s the last bit of the workout. Give it some welly!


Weights are done, now it’s time to do a bit of cardio. My weapon of choice in the gym is the bike. I often watch a TV programme whilst I’m sat there! Try at least 15 minutes of HIIT (high intensity interval training) – go for 30-45 seconds of maximum effort (bump up the resistance as well), and 30-45 seconds of rest (I try to keep my legs turning slowly at a low resistance for this so I don’t seize up or suffer from lactic acid build up). Then 5-10 minutes for cool down before jumping off and finding a mat to stretch out.

And there you have your 1-hour, nice and easy, back to the gym workout routine!

Have you gone back to the gym yet? What routines do you use to get back in there?

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1 Comment

  1. Gemma

    Ah good on you, sounds like you had a really good session. Do you always do it that way around – with the weights first and then the cardio?
    I’m going to kettlebells tomorrow for my first exercise back. I’ve had tonsillitis over Christmas so haven’t been able to do much exercise, or much anything really. It’s going to be tough!

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