Whether fitness newbie or seasoned expert, having the right workout ideas and gym tips can totally transform a mediocre, monotonous workout routine into an exciting, fun experience that will motivate you to stay active and reach your fitness goals. As a long time personal trainer, I’ve seen probably thousands of people walk through health clubs doing the same boring routine day after day and never making any real progress. Some of them look confused as to what they should be doing and many, while extremely self-disciplined and motivated, seem very bored with their routine.

That’s where having appropriate gym tips come into play. Most people either get their workout ideas from reading magazines, watching others, or dusting old high school and college athletic training tactics. While these are all valid and even logical sources of information, how can you apply it to your specific fitness goals and create a plan appropriate for you? What if you’ve gained 30 pounds since high school or suffered a back or knee injury that needs to be addressed? High school basketball drills and fancy magazine exercises may not be realistic.  You don’t have to be a fitness novice to know that putting together a challenging new workout plan for each week while juggling a career, home, and family can be challenging for even the most experienced fitness participant or athlete. 

I’ve created a simple method for determining where to look for gym tips and workout ideas that will work for you. Before diving into the most advanced exercises or looking through scores of information that seems totally irrelevant to you personally, you must first determine your knowledge base and potential limitations and from there create a map to your goals.

Rate yourself from 1 to 10 in the following three categories. First, cardiovascular conditioning, how much do you know about the various methods of cardiovascular exercise and how to apply it directly to reach your goals? Second, muscular strength and endurance, do you have the knowledge to strength train with proper form and technique? Third, nutrition, how much do you really know about healthy eating? 

Gym Tips and Workout Ideas for those scoring 1-3 in two of three categories.

If you are new to working out or have just joined a health club after a long time away, I recommend purchasing at least 4 sessions with a personal trainer. A good personal trainer will give you a personalized exercise prescription which hopefully includes basic nutrition tips, cardiovascular instruction, and strength training. 

Although the expense of training is often a major deterrent to new health club members, it should be considered an investment in your health and insurance that the money you paid for your membership will go to good use. Getting in shape is a journey; consider your introductory sessions to be a personalized map to assist you in finding your way.

If even after my compelling argument, you choose not to spend money on personal training, I have placed some getting started videos created by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) on my blog. The videos describe how to get in shape and give you some workout ideas to help you get learn some exercise basics.

Gym Tips and Workout Ideas for those scoring 4-6 in two of three categories

Scoring between 4-6 on a variety of categories puts you right in the middle of the pack. You don’t necessarily know everything there is to know about fitness, but you aren’t a beginner either. If this is you, you probably enjoy working out but maybe your lifestyle doesn’t allow you the time to plan meals or exercise as often as you wish.

No matter what circumstances are determining your score, I feel the right direction can help many people in this category go from good to great as it relates to their fitness plan. The first step in doing this is determining exactly what your goals are. Weight loss, more intense workouts, more creative workouts, building strength and getting lean are goals I often hear from people who have been working out for a long time but have yet to reach their goals.

Once you’ve determined your goals, I recommend finding a few trustworthy resources that focus solely on the goals you have chosen for yourself. Ideally, these resources will educate you in the following areas: nutrition, cardio, strength training, and flexibility. These four areas are the key to long term health and goal achievement.

It’s important to use only 1-3 trusted resources that apply directly to the goal you are trying to achieve.  I find that people often refer to so many resources that they go in 5 directions at once and end up going in circles. When you allow 1 or 2 reputable resources to guide you, you’ll be more clear one single goal. Once you’ve achieved that goal you can move to the next. This system will help you clearly identify what does and doesn’t work for you.

Gym Tips and Workout Ideas for those scoring 7-10 in two of three categories.

If you scored between 7-10 in all three categories, you’ve most likely been training your entire life as an athlete, runner, or general fitness enthusiast. Many of the people I work with are in this category; they are very driven, motivated, and hungry for the information that will allow them to continually challenge themselves day after day, year after year.

If this is you, the basic fitness information that’s flooded the market doesn’t really have much meaning. You are looking to fill the void that comes from monotonous, repetitive workouts that never change. Let me tell you, I can totally relate. My blog is dedicated to giving you instruction and tips that you can use to create challenging and fun workout routines.

I’ve also put together a series of questions on my blog that may help you further identify which gym tips and workout ideas will work for you. Answers to these questions can be used by people of all fitness levels to assist in finding the right direction and insight into your personal challenges and goals.  

Jes Reynolds is a fitness professional who has been studying health & fitness for over 12 years. In addition to actively participating in health, fitness and athletics, Jessica received a B.S. Kinesiology from Michigan State Univeristy. Her combined education and experience working with all types of individuals, from the physically or mentally handicapped to the elite athlete, allows her to understand both the scientific and behavioral aspects of weight loss, fitness and athletics.