How to Get the Perfect Workout Once You're in the Gym

So you made it to the gym. Kudos!! Now what? If you’re anything like me, there have been days when you get to the gym and have very little sense of direction about where to begin! Follow these 3 simple steps to stop wasting your time and become more fluent on the fitness floor!

1. Decide WHAT, WHEN, and HOW

Perfect workout

Start by pulling out your calendar.

Be realistic.

Decide on what days you can commit, and how much time you will have. This will help determine the intensity in which you will need to exercise. For example, if you can exercise 2-3 days of the week, I recommended that you spend 60-90 minutes at each session. On the other hand, if you plan to exercise 5-7 days a week, then 20-30 minutes a day will suffice!

In addition, if you are doing resistance training, you will need to know how you will split the load throughout the week. For example, if you are training nearly every day, you may target only one large muscle group per day, whereas if you were training only twice a week, you may want to opt for total-body workouts. There is no perfect "split," but here are a some of my scheduling recommendations:

5-DAY Split:

  • DAY 1 – Lower Body
  • DAY 2 – Upper Body (Push)
  • DAY 3 – Core & Cardio
  • DAY 4 – Lower Body (PlyoMetrics)
  • DAY 5 - Upper Body (Pull)

3-DAY Split:

  • DAY 1 – Total body w/ emphasis on Lower Body (more time spent on lower)
  • DAY 2 – HIIT (high intensity interval training, total body)
  • DAY 3 – Total Body strength w/ emphasis on Upper Body

2. Choose Your Equipment

Choose cardio equipment (or choose none) and 5-7 resistance-training exercises. Have them handy.

It is important that you find some kind of cardio exercise that you enjoy. Cardio doesn’t always have to be on a machine. Cardio can be done by doing jumping jacks, jumping rope, running, etc. The important thing, especially during a warm up, is that your heart rate is elevated so that blood is efficiently pumped throughout your body (priming your muscles for the workload). After a 7-10 minute warm up, consisting of moderate exercise, it is then safe to spend a few minutes stretching.

After a few minutes of stretching and once your body has returned to a normal heart rate, you are now ready to strength train!

But what to do?

At the end of this article, I have included an "Exercise Bank" (e.g. Word bank on a Vocabulary test). When planning your next workout, have the list handy. Go to the bank and pick 5-7 exercises for your desired muscle group.

For weights, sets and reps, stick with the basics: 3 sets of 10 is a good place to start. When you’re not sure how much weight to use, consider how many reps you are doing. If you can do more than the desired repetitions, then the weight you’ve chosen is too light. If you cannot physically perform the number of repetitions desired then its too heavy.

3. Execute

  • Warm up/Stretch.
  • Perform your chosen list of exercises.
  • Cool Down/Stretch.

Exercise Bank

The exercise bank contains names of exercises that are generally common knowledge and easy to find online. If necessary, use the internet as a resource to help you master the technique of each exercise.

Upper Body

  • Push up (push)
  • Pull up (pull)
  • Flat bench press (push)
  • Seated shoulder press with dumbbells (push)
  • Incline Press (push)
  • Single arm Dumbbell row (pull)
  • Bent over Row (pull)
  • Lat Pull down (pull)
  • Seated Row (pull)
  • Lateral Raise (push)
  • Front Raise (push)
  • Bicep Curl w/ Dumbbells (pull)
  • Cable Tricep Extension (push)
  • Flat bench Chest Fly (push)
  • Reverse Fly (pull)

Lower Body

  • Walking lunge
  • Reverse Lunge
  • Seated Leg Press
  • Hack squat
  • Back Squat
  • Front Squat
  • Leg curl
  • Leg extension
  • Seated Calf Raises
  • Standing Calf Raises
  • Glute Kick backs
  • Glute Bridges
  • Sumo Squat
  • Hip adduction
  • Hip abduction
  • Jump squat
  • Bulgarian squat
  • Romanian Deadlift
  • Good morning


  • Alternating V-ups
  • V-ups
  • Russian Twists
  • Decline sit up
  • Oblique crunch
  • Cable twist
  • High plank
  • Low plank
  • Froggers
  • Burpees
  • Sit ups
  • Full body crunch
  • Straight leg lifts
  • Captains chair leg lifts
  • Reverse crunch


Happy lifting :)