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Help me set a weights workout regime


Distinguished Member
I am looking at starting weights at the gym soon (next week when my subscription resumes) primarily with the aim of losing fat and dropping my body fat %tage. At the moment I am only doing cardio, about 2-3 sessions on the exercise bike a week and slowly picking up running (when the weather gets better!).

Diet wise I can definitely improve but it isn't all too bad. I'm trying intermittent fasting two days a week as well. I do track my food intake using MyFitnessPal and manage to stick around 1500-1700 calories most days. Some days I go over but bring it back down with exercise.

My aim isn't to be huge but would like some muscle definition, I guess that will come over time as the fat burns off. My body is a bit odd in that most the fat stores itself on the stomach/chest. I know you cant spot train areas but this is the main downer for me and want to cut it out. Ideally Id like to be around the 70-75kg mark although its more about appearance than weight, if its all muscle, I wont complain. :D

Quick stats are:
- Weight: 85kg
- Height: 5' 7.5"
- Body Fat %tage: ~28% - This is based on what my scale tells me. Got some calipers somewhere that I'll dig out.

Now on to the bit about the actual weight training. At the moment it is non-existent. I had my gym membership on pause for a bit for a couple of reasons and don't have any kit at home. The gym I go to is a local council one but pretty well equipped. They have various weights machines (Chest Press, assisted pull up/dips, Pull down, Rear Row, Shoulder Press and some leg machines). Then they have the more dedicated stuff like bench press, free weights etc.

If I am honest, I have rarely ever been into the more dedicated section. Mainly because it seems intimidating and I feel somewhat embarrassed to go in there, Ill probably make myself look like an idiot! It also gets pretty full on the weekdays.

What I would like to do is start with the slightly 'easier' area with the various ready made machines and also go on weekends when it is quieter. Maybe as I increase my strength, make my way into the area with the free weights and the like? Saturday and Sunday are definitely good days for me, because it is more empty, but the only concern I have is about giving myself a rest day. I suppose I could target different body areas on each day and maybe mix in a weekday as well.

Based on 3, maybe 4, days at the gym, what would be the best body groupings to work on? Also I'd be grateful if you could advise on what kind of exercises to do on those days/for that body area.

Apologies for the long post. Any advice would be much appreciated.


Prominent Member
i would look at an all over routine to get started , 2 days a week just to get your self used to it ,Start with a moderately light weight and only add weight to an exercise when the sets feel relatively easy.

Don't rush into weight additions. First and foremost you want to develop consistency and an understanding of exercise form. Once you hit a nice stride, then slowly add weight.

without seeing your gym try these

Set Reps
Squats 2 10
Bench Press 2 10
Stiff Leg Deadlift 2 10
Barbell Row 2 10
Military Press 2 10
Skullcrushers 2 10
Dumbbell Curls 2 10
Seated Calf Raises 2 10
Sit Ups 2 10


If I am honest, I have rarely ever been into the more dedicated section. Mainly because it seems intimidating and I feel somewhat embarrassed to go in there, Ill probably make myself look like an idiot! It also gets pretty full on the weekdays.

Seriously don't let this worry you.
People go to the gym for various reasons. Those who want fitness and stamina may not use larger weights, where those who want bulk may use larger weights but only do 3 or 4 reps and only a couple of sets. Then there are those who go in to recover from injury who may lift extremely light weights.
No one knows why you are there, so don't feel intimidated or embarrassed.
Free weights require totally different techniques to machines as you have to learn form and balance. The quicker you do this the better.

I am fairly strong on certain body areas (arms), but lift less than a kid on some other areas (like chest). Its just one of those things. It doesn't bother me as I know that I have pains in my elbow and forearm when I try to bench press so cant go to heavy. I just do what I can.

The most important thing is good form. You see some people who appear to be dancing with the weights rather than using them. Take your time and make sure you do good form. Don't over stretch as you can cause injury.

To lose fat I would do cardio (about 30 minutes per day) and then go onto weights.
I do this 5 times per week and have gone from 15s (23% fat) to 13s8lb (18% fat) just this year.
The key thing is a good diet. I eat lots of protein and clean carbs and limit saturated fat to as low as I can. I have cut out the beer too. I also keep check of my calories and try to keep around 1500-2000 per day.
On a weekend I will have a treat of a beer or 3 and maybe a chocolate bar as I believe that you are more likely to stick to a diet if you allow treats. just remember to resume the diet on Monday.

There is no fast remedy, just keep at it and burn off more calories than you consume then you will lose fat.
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Distinguished Member
Thanks. I suppose the best thing will be to get stuck in. Just need to nail down a routine I suppose with the best exercises to do.

silent ninja

Prominent Member
Starting Strength or Strong Lifts. They both have enormous resources online. The Stronglifts website is excellent.

Run them on a small calorie deficit. You'll be fine. Your fat should come down and you'll 'tone' up as your muscle definition starts to show. I would aim to lose 1lb/week on average. Initially you will lose more. Don't cut too fast as you'll simply be losing muscle. I started sort of similar stats to you: 84kg 5'9.5 last June and right now I'm 73kg and looking a million times better (I actually look leaner and bigger at the same time) -- I stopped my fat loss a couple of months ago btw. Losing weight on it's own will often leave you looking skinny fat so it is very important to do resistance training.

I wouldn't be afraid of hitting the free weights. There are so many excellent Youtube videos that explain the main lifts. The Stronglifts website has instruction in detail on everything. I would consider buying the book Starting Strength for it's wealth of useful beginner information relating to the four fundamental lifts: squat, deadlift, bench and overhead press (I would add rows/pullups to that list to finish). Start off with an empty bar and crack on. The learning curve will last for years so there's no sense in not starting straight away!

Machines have their place but for a beginner I think they are detrimental because you do not work your stabliser muscles. Just ask any guy that's moved from a Smith machine squat/bench to a barbell. The only machines I occasionally use are lat pulldown, seated row and pec machine. The best machine is the cable machine. Most of the rest are pretty superfluous and you'll hit all the muscles with the major lifts.
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Distinguished Member
Apologies for the lack of reply. My house purchase completed so been busy painting rather than hitting the weights!

I decided to start off with this:
Bodybuilding.com - Best Beginner Weight-Training Guide With Easy-To-Follow Workout!

Slightly modified because my gym didnt have all the machine but had most. Will see how I feel in the morning. I think I will start with this for a week or two and slowly start substituting in free weights.


Prominent Member
Hit the free weights straight away mate don't waste time on the machines, don't feel nervous about using them everyone starts somewhere! Loads of videos online that will show you the basics, google scoobys workshop and have a look on their he gives great advice.


Distinguished Member
Still using majority machines but I have started substituting some of the things for dumbells. Just looking at various dumbbell exercises online now and seems there is so much do be done. Looks like I will be hogging a bench next time Im at the gym.

It might be down to muscle memory but biceps are definitely taking shape after about 2 weeks.

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