October 8, 2021
A Beginner's Guide to The Gym
WRITTEN BY Tyler Villarreal

Each day people become inspired to take control of their health and fitness. For some, this may look like beginning a daily walking practice. For others, it might look like meal prepping or cutting sugar out of their diet. For most, this looks like stepping into a gym and using exercise as the vehicle for lasting change.

In addition to these people who are inspired to change their lives, there are also several people who quickly become discouraged. New gyms and new environments, in general, can be intimidating. Walking into a facility filled with people you’ve never met before can be quite a daunting task. Throw in the need to move your body in ways that you may not feel comfortable or confident with, and it’s no wonder why so many people end up stopping their pursuit of optimized health and fitness.

There is a light at the end of this discouraging tunnel. An individual’s training age (the amount of time in which they’ve been consistently developing their health and fitness) dictates what they should be doing in the gym. A highly advanced individual needs a wealth of specificity, in various different ways. They’re virtually at their ceiling. A moderately developed individual would thrive with a training program that divides up their upper and lower body pieces through the training week. They have time before they’ve sniffed their ceiling.

A beginner trainee/gym go-er should follow the principles of full-body resistance training. This individual is at their floor of physical potential. Full-body resistance training allows the beginner to create the greatest metabolic and hormonal response, every training session. Beginners typically don’t have the capacity to tap deeply into their nervous system like moderate or advanced trainees can. They can only turn their “light bulb” (central nervous system) on to the dimmest setting.

How would one put together a full-body workout?

The Seven Primal Patterns

To understand how to put together a full-body workout, one must understand the seven primal patterns:





Single Leg



Almost all humans move in these patterns on a daily basis. Whether you’re sitting down on a chair (squatting) or picking something up off the floor (bending), humans move in these ways every day. Often people will combine two patterns together. Think of walking up the stairs. This includes both locomotion and single leg work. Add in some grocery bags, and you’ve added a third pattern, throwing pulling into the equation.

The reason why beginners should train each primal pattern every time they go to the gym is that their greatest need is to develop their motor control. Oftentimes beginner trainees haven’t spent much time squatting, bending over, pushing, or pulling against their body weight. In order to improve these motor patterns, the beginner should practice them every time they train.

As the old moniker goes, “You need to crawl before you can walk.” This means that simplicity is key.

Here’s an example of a full-body workout for a beginner trainee:


5-minute air bike @ increasing effort/minute

A1) Theraband Air Squat  31X1; 10-12 reps x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

A2) Dumbbell Bench Press  22X1; 10-12 reps x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

B1) Elevated Kettlebell Deadlift   31X1; 10-12 reps x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

B2) Dual Dumbbell Prone Row  21X2; 10-12 reps x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

C1) Walking Lunges  20 steps x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

C2) Forearm Plank 30-45 second hold x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

C3) Farmers’ Carry   30m x 3 sets; rest 60-90 seconds

By training each of the primal patterns used on a daily basis, the beginner will not only develop their motor control to a point that allows them to progress in their training complexity, but they will also damage the most muscle tissue, allowing them to develop adaptations in strength and muscle size throughout the body.

The example workout above can be altered and conceptualized in countless ways. The underlying principles behind the design remain consistent, however: Dose the beginner with full-body resistance to elicit the most effective adaptations.

If you’ve been putting together your own workouts for a while, and feel like you’re hitting plateaus and spinning your wheels, it may be time for a change of pace. Autonomous exercising and training can work very well for people, but sometimes it’s more convenient and efficient to entrust someone else with your health and fitness needs. If you’re looking to see what’s next for your health & fitness, schedule a FREE strategy session with a Central Athlete coach today!

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