Whether or not you want to lose a spare tire or merely drop a few pounds, a simple gym workout routine can lead to a healthier, happier you. Before starting any exercise program, consult your doctor to determine exactly how much weight you want to lose, and how many times per week you are able to commit to the routine. A program to lose pure body fat will be high in cardiovascular exercise and low in muscular strength/endurance exercise; a program to increase the size or capability of body muscles will have little cardio but plenty of weight training; and a program to do both will naturally have a high amount of both. Whatever your goals are, it is just as (if not more) important to match your workout routine with proper diet. High cardio workouts require complex carbohydrates and lots of water, while strength workouts need protein and iron to fuel muscle growth.

Make sure that you have the proper equipment necessary for a gym workout routine. Several pairs of running shorts and/or track pants with adjustable waistlines, waterproof cloth, and good ventilation are needed. A shirt is needed that is both tight enough to draw sweat from the body but lose enough to allow cool air in. A pair of shoes that are comfortable, durable, and provide good cushioning are the most important item, especially for high cardio routines. While expensive running shoes do provide excellent support, it is not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of shoes; in most cases the cheaper versions (around twenty to thirty dollars) provide all the support needed for basic workouts. If the gym has no water fountain, bring a water bottle. Also bring towels and soap if you plan to use the showers.

Begin every day's routine with five to ten minutes of stretching. Just like a rubber band will break rather than bend if frozen, the body's muscles are inelastic after extended rest and must be warmed up. Give special attention to the hamstring and thigh muscles, as you will flex them most in both weight and cardio routines. Stretch the arms and shoulders, the groin, and any hip or chest muscles in the exercise workout routine.

For cardio routines, running has long been an easy and practical workout, but running stresses leg joints. If joint pain is a problem, consider swimming, biking, or using an elliptical machine. At least sixty minutes of cardio exercise each day is necessary for losing steady quantities of body fat.

Strength routines rely on a day's rest to let muscles regrow. Allow enough time for your body to recuperate and pay attention to any pains or tension. Never push yourself past your body's limits. Free weights, such as dumbbells, give a large degree of flexibility in your workout. Machine weights, such as rowers and inclined pulls, are designed to eliminate stress on the bone structure. Decide which you prefer, and slowly increase the repetitions or weight in your workout until you have the desired effect.