How should you start working out? What is the best workout to do?
Let’s chat, absolute beginner style. The-couch-bears-my-imprint style.
First and foremost, if you’ve been inactive for a while (like 6+ months) or have any health conditions at all, including being 20 or more pounds overweight, you should definitely have your doctor give you a once-over before you start getting active.
How do I start working out?
Walking is a great way to get started. You can do it inside, outside, at work, at the mall, and even in your own home. It doesn’t require any equipment or special videos, yet it offers total body toning and cardio benefits.
Not bad for just some plain old walking, right?
Is walking enough?
Walking is definitely enough to get started. I know there’s no P90X TURBOULTRAWALKBEAST workout, but I promise it’s enough to get started, because:
#1 – you’re working up to harder moves by getting your joints moving again
#2 – you’re building the habit of being active and
#3 – there really aren’t a lot of excuses for not walking.
Build up to 300 minutes a week.
Start with 10 minutes a day (70 minutes a week), and add 5 or 10 minutes a week until you can fit in a total of about 45 minutes a day.
So, you might walk with a plan that goes something like:
Week 1: 10 minutes a day (most days)
Week 2: 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening (most days)
Week 3: 10 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening (most days)
Week 4: 10 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening (most days)
Week 5: 15 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening (most days), or 45 minutes straight whenever it’s convenient for you.
Week 6 and on: work to increase your pace and effort level on your walks – get your arms moving, and try to get yourself slightly out of breath.
When you can walk for 45 minutes at a pace that makes it hard for you to carry on a conversation or sing along with your music, it’s time to upgrade.
Add some intervals.
You can add intervals like:
- jogging for a little bit every so often, then going back to walking
- climbing a hill (real or treadmill)
- increasing the resistance or speed (like on the elliptical, stairmaster, or other cardio equipment)
You can also add intervals by adding in moves every few minutes like:
- 10 jumping jacks or squat jumps
- 10 burpees
- 10 jumping lunges
You can also get cardio intervals (and a fun dance party) at a Zumba Fitness class, believe it or not! And you might not even feel like you’re working out.
Should I lift weights?
At some point, I think everyone should add strength training to their workout program. Lean tissue (a.k.a muscle) burns more calories at rest, which is what keeps your metabolic rate high.
But the specific weights you should lift and exercises you should perform will vary depending on your goals and level of fitness. (Let me know if I can help you figure out what that should be for you.)
Easy Home Strength Moves for Beginners
The basics never go out of style. If you feel ready and you have the go-ahead, try adding 1-3 rounds of 10-20 of each of these moves to your workout, 1-3 times per week. You’ll be surprised at the new definition and firmness you can achieve with just these three basic moves! (And you’ll be building great strength for some tougher exercises.)
Don’t overthink things.
We overthink things because:
- we aren’t sure what the outcome will be like
- change is hard
- we are afraid it won’t work
- we are afraid it will work
When you find yourself overthinking your workouts and talking yourself out of them, just get up and go for a 5-minute walk.
You can do this.
Keep it simple. Remind yourself that you can do this. Because, you can.