If you want to get into shape, but don't know where to start, the following is a review of some of the fundamentals of a successful weight-training routine.

Please note, however, that this information is rudimentary and one should always seek more information by reading, asking questions and experimenting with various techniques. Also, consult your doctor before beginning any workout program.

Find a Gym

On your gym hunt, opt for one that's clean and has up-to-date equipment, as well as a friendly and helpful staff. You don't want to spend time in a stinky environment that looks like a dump.

Since lack of proximity is an excuse many guys use not to train, make sure your gym is located near your place of work or your home.

Set Goals

Don't set unrealistic goals as you'll only be disappointed down the road. Start small and progressively build strength and muscle at your own pace.

Your primary goal should be to increase muscle strength and mass for your entire body. Once you've reached muscle maturity, then you can begin building specific parts of your body and "cutting up." Always remember to build your muscles first and sculpt them after.It's a simple principle; you won't get cut unless you have some muscle mass to sculpt. Got it?

Listen to Your Body

Always pay attention to your body. If you're feeling weak, tired or nauseous, skip your workout that day and come back stronger the next day. A half-assed workout is useless.

Don't get us wrong; a bruised shin, for example, shouldn't deter you from going to the gym. There are always other body parts to work on. Only skip your workouts if you're feeling sick or your body isn't strong enough to take on the poundage.

Get a Training Partner

For extra motivation, get yourself a reliable training partner. He will act as a great motivator, so long as he's at a similar or higher level of expertise. This way, your workouts will become more competitive and you'll progress much faster.

As well, it's always good to get a spot while lifting heavier weights (for safety purposes).

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Make Sure to Stretch

Before you start pumping iron, it's important to warm up your muscles. Get the blood flowing with a few minutes of light cardio and stretch all the main muscle groups — especially those you'll be training that day. Don't bounce. Instead, hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Stretching will make your muscles more responsive, reduce the risk of injury and soreness, and improve flexibility.

Continue Breathing

Breathing is critical for good weightlifting technique and it supplies oxygen to muscle cells, which is necessary for muscle growth and contraction.It's simple; exhale when you're lifting (contracting) and inhale as you're lowering the weight. Generally, you should be following a 1-2-3 tempo going up and coming down.

At what frequency should beginners train each muscle group? Well, as a rule of thumb, one should wait 48 hours before training the same body part again.

As for training cycles, it really depends on your availability and the goals you want to achieve.

We generally recommend the following training cycles:

Day 1
Chest, Biceps & Abs
Shoulders & Triceps
Chest, Biceps & Triceps
Day 2
Back & Triceps
Back
Legs
Day 3
Off
Off
Off
Day 4
Shoulders & Legs
Chest & Biceps
Back & Shoulders
Day 5
Off
Legs
Off

Do Different Sets and Reps

You'll need to carry out sets and reps of various exercises. Repetitions signify the number of times you carry out a specific exercise in a row. Sets are the block of repetitions of one specific exercise.For example, if you carry out 4 sets of 15 repetitions on the bench press, this means that you'll perform 4 blocks of 15 presses in a row.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

You can lift all the weights in the world, but if you don't have a proper diet, you'll never see results. It's critical that you maintain a well-balanced diet. You need the right distribution of calories from protein, carbohydrates and fat (avoiding saturated fat). You also need to include all essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.

The right mix of nutrients will vary from one individual to another depending on factors such as weight, metabolism and fitness goals. As a rule of thumb, eat smaller portions more frequently. Eat protein and carbohydrates four to seven times a day and drink plenty of water.

Consider (Some) Supplements

For beginners, the only type of supplement I would recommend is protein. Protein powders are a surprisingly cheap way to attain lean muscle mass. The cost per gram of protein is relatively cheap when compared to chicken, tuna and other protein-rich foods.Protein shakes also provide a simple and quick way to fill up between meals.

Do Aerobics and Cardio

Now that you've come to terms with the fundamentals of weightlifting, you should also complete at least two or three cardiovascular sessions a week. Cardio will help you burn fat, relieve stress and keep your heart healthy.

Get Enough Rest

Once you've pumped iron and replenished your muscles with protein, your body will need to rest. Make sure to get a good night's sleep and don't overdo it with other physical activities.It's during this rest period that your muscles will absorb the essential amino acids from the protein, rebuild and finally get bigger.

Keep a Training Log

To really make your workout efficient, keep a training journal. Write down the specifics of your training routine and always track your sets and reps after every workout. This will help you visualize your progress and help you get that physique you've always wanted.