Working out seems like it takes a lot of work. Start out easy before moving to more intense routines to ease you into getting fit.
You've decided to start working out, either to lose weight, gain strength, or both. Taking the first step is always the hardest. You have to figure out what kind of exercises to do, carve out some time every week, and set your goals.
But once you get going, you'll begin to see results, feel better, and move more easily.
Consider a six-week workout for beginners to ease you into an exercise routine before you get more intense.
Ahead of Your Workouts
Always discuss your workout options with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen. Your doctor can suggest ways to exercise while pointing you to resources for the best workouts for beginners.
Eat a meal two to three hours before your workout. Make sure it balances carbs and protein, like having pasta with meatballs or a chicken breast sandwich made with whole grain bread. A side salad completes the well-balanced meal.
Following your workout for beginners, have a light snack like yogurt or an energy bar to help your body replenish some nutrients.
Drink two to three glasses of water with your meal to hydrate ahead of your workout. Then drink 8 ounces of water 30 minutes before exercising. During your workout, drink a glass of water every 10 to 20 minutes of exercise. Consume another glass of water within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.
A general rule is around eight glasses of water daily without working out for your overall health. If it's hot outside, drink 10 to 12 glasses of water to fight off dehydration.
An Overall Look at Your Beginner's Workout
We're going to show you a relatively intense workout every other day with some light walking or yoga on alternating days in between workouts.
Stretches to Do Before Every Workout
It's important to stretch all parts of your body before starting any workout for beginners. Stretching improves your body's range of motion and flexibility. It's important not to "bounce" or stretch too much.
Quads. Raise your left foot behind your thigh by bending your knee with your right hand against a wall or holding onto a chair for balance. Grab your foot with your left hand and pull gently as you feel a light stretch along the front of your leg. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Switch legs.
Hamstrings. Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Move your left foot forward and lean forward a bit at the hips. Then bend your other knee slightly as you lower your body until you feel a stretch along the back of your legs. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and feel free to use a wall for support and balance. Switch legs and repeat.
Upper back. From a seated position, tuck your chin down against your chest, then stretch your arms out in front of you until you feel tight in your upper back. Contract your abs and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Sides. From a seated position, clasp your hands together and extend your arms above your head. Lean gently to one side to feel some tightness. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Triceps. Place one hand against a shoulder blade on the same side of your body. Use your other hand to gently pull the arm back until you feel some tightness. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before repeating with the other arm.
Shoulders. Extend one arm straight across your upper chest and use the opposite hand to pull it until you feel tight. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat with the other arm.
Biceps. Sit up straight before extending both arms out from either side of your body, having them slighting back. Rotate your thumbs until they point back towards the wall and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Week 1 Exercises for a Beginner's Workout
We suggest starting out with 10 to 15 minutes for three days during the first week if you're new to working out or need some time to acclimate to an exercise program. Monitor your progress by tracking vital metrics like your heart rate, blood pressure, and weight.
During the first week, you should get an idea of your fitness level. Don't push yourself too hard. Get a feel for what feels comfortable and go from there. You should work out at your own pace.
Start by stretching for 5 to 10 minutes, as we outlined above.
Begin with light cardio on your chosen cardio machine, either a treadmill, stationary bicycle, rowing machine, or stair climber. You can always do the exercises outside by actually jogging, biking, rowing, or climbing stairs. Do this for 10 minutes. These cardio workouts for beginners also exercise your lower body.
A good gauge of your workout is to work up a decent sweat, feel your heart rate go up, and breathe more rapidly without gasping for air.
Take a brief break for 5 to 10 minutes to drink some water.
Switch to your upper body with some light dumbells for 10 minutes. Lift one arm while holding a 2- or 5-pound weight by slowly extending your arm fully above your head. Repeat 10 times if you can. Switch to the other arm. Then do the same to the side and the front until your arm is parallel to the floor.
If free weights or dumbells aren't the best choices for you, resistance bands can help your arms increase strength because the resistance comes from the physics of the bands rather than the gravity of the weights. Resistance bands let you pull up and to the sides using the same motions as you do free weights.
Cool down from your workout for beginners by doing some light stretching.
The following day, take it a bit easier by walking for 10 minutes or doing some light yoga stretches to improve flexibility.
Then repeat the workout routine alternating every other day.
On the seventh day, rest completely as you finish week one! Don't forget to reward yourself for your hard work. Watch your favorite show, have a fun game night with your family, go out and have fun, or do whatever you want to make you feel good.
Week 2 Exercises
By now, you should have a good idea of your fitness level. If you don't feel ready to move forward with slightly more intensity, continue with the same workout for beginners you had last week.
This time, elevate your cardio a bit. On your cardio machine, increase the resistance or go for 15 minutes instead of 10. If you're outside, consider walking up a hill as part of your routine.
Rather than do 10 reps for your weight training, increase it to 15 reps to see how you do.
On the day after, walk for 15 minutes or perform the same yoga stretches from last week.
Week 3 Exercises
As before, only move forward if you feel like you can.
For a cardio routine, either increase the resistance to another level or train for 20 minutes instead of 15 at the same level as before. Move up to 20 reps on your weight or resistance bands.
Continue to walk or stretch on the next day as part of your workout for beginners, this time for 15 minutes, alternating an intense workout with gentle movements while completely resting on the seventh day. By now, you should have your routines down. How is your progress? Do you feel stronger or more rested at night?
Week 4 Exercises
Try the same routine in week four as you did last week. The idea is to let you feel how much easier the same exercises are this week compared to the last week. You should start to see some definite progress by now. How is your heart rate? How are your energy levels? Do you feel better?
Week 5 Exercises
This time, increase your cardio resistance to another notch on the machine and train for 20 minutes. For the resistance bands or weights, do the same 20 reps, only this time increase the weights by a few pounds or use bands that offer more resistance.
On the next day, walk or perform yoga stretches for 20 minutes. How are you feeling? Can you notice a difference?
Week 6 Exercises
Now try pushing yourself a little further if you feel like you can. Work out for 30 minutes of cardio on the same resistance level as last week. Keep the weights the same because you increased your cardio workout—alternate intense days with easier days this week.
How are you feeling now? Six weeks ago, you probably didn't know how much better you would feel at this point.
We hope you've had a good experience with this workout for beginners, and we hope you continue on your path to better health!