You got the equipment -- now you're ready to get started with your Total Gym and to start seeing results. If you've invested in one of the Total Gym's products that promise to train and tone most of the muscles of your body, what you have is essentially a piece of strength training equipment, with the option of adding some cardio as well. Strength training is an essential part of a healthy exercise routine, and by using the equipment wisely, you may be surprised to see results very quickly.
Results from Strength Training
The surprising thing about strength training is that people tend to see results almost right away. When you first start doing resistance exercises, as you do with the Total Gym, you'll very likely see results within the first few weeks. During that initial period, your body is undergoing neural adaptations that cause the muscles you're using to "relearn" how to be stronger and bigger. After that initial period, you'll likely continue building muscle, but it will be less noticeable compared to the changes you saw during the first few weeks. Still, it's important to stick with one routine for at least a few months to really see what that type of workout can do for you, reminds personal trainer Jonathan Ross, writing for the American Council on Exercise.
The Time Factor
As with all workout routines, the results you'll see will be due, at least in part, to the amount of effort you put in. If you're using the Total Gym five days a week for 30 minutes a day, you're naturally going to see changes to your body faster than if you only used it twice a week for a few minutes at a time. In the world of fitness, several factors affect your training results, including frequency, intensity, time and type of exercise. Working out more frequently and for a longer period matters. So does the intensity of the workout. If you're not using an amount of resistance that causes your muscles to feel fatigued toward the end of the set, you're probably not putting in enough effort and you should increase the resistance on the machine.
Finally, the types of exercise you do also matter. Over time, your body becomes adapted to the demands you're putting upon it, and will make adaptations that can result in seeing fewer positive results. The Total Gym offers a myriad of exercises, so about every four weeks, change your routine and do different exercises. That will help you continue to see changes to your body. Also, keep in mind that every body is different. Some people will tend to gain muscle or shed fat faster than others -- so compare your progress only to yourself and not to someone with a totally different body type.
When you want to see changes to your body, strength training is just one component. Aerobic exercise is key not just to burning calories, but to increasing the amount of oxygen your body can use -- which can lead to positive body changes such as breathing and moving around more easily. If your goal is to lose weight, you'll need to either take advantage of the cardio exercise suggestions offered with your Total Gym, or start walking, swimming, cycling or doing other types of cardio. And if you're not counting calories and working to stay within a certain calorie goal, you won't see results as quickly, because your new muscles will be hidden by fat. In short, use the Total Gym for your strength workouts, but to see real results, also do cardio and eat a healthy diet. With that program, you should see very significant results and change your body within a few months.
- Ask the Trainer: Total Gym Review
- American Council on Exercise: 4 Strength Training Mistakes
- ExRx.net: Restimulating Progress by Changing Exercises
- LA Personal Trainer: Exercise F.I.T.T. Principles
- American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual, 4th Edition