Beginner Workout Advice

Does this sound familiar ?

You want to get fit, lose weight, tone up and feel great.  You know that exercising will get you good results so you decide to go full on with a workout – either at the local gym or maybe a dvd you have been given or had lying around. 

The result goes like this – you start all keen but it is not long before the workout feels very hard and you spend the last 20 minutes feeling like you are having a heart attack.  The next day the stiffness starts – if its in the legs, you are in for a long day, everytime you want to go from standing to sitting and the other way it hurts.

The thing is it doesn’t have to be like this – Helping people start a fitness programme is one of my passions.  I often find the idea behind what is thought that is needed to be done and in reality what needs to be done is very different.

When you are starting out you need a workout that is designed for a beginner.  A common mistake is to attempt a more advanced workout and ‘just do your best’.  But this will never work out that well for you.

If you haven’t been exercising then your body is not going to be very efficient at it.  It will get by, but there will be negative consequences, usually lots of aching for a few days and a dread of the next workout.

This is not the best plan for a beginner – if you think about it logically, you wouldn’t ask cousin Hanna who hasn’t baked a cake before to make the wedding cake for the upcoming family celebration – it doesn’t make any sense.

Therefore what we need to do is teach the body what we want it to do but in a much friendlier and sustainable fashion.  A bit like sending the non baking Hanna on a cake making course first, and give her time to learn how to make the cake in advance to actually doing it.

A beginners workout should challenge the body but not torchere it.  Moderation is key, show the body appropriate exercises and let it get an idea, but don’t do too much.

It is easy to overdo it when starting out so it is a bit of a balancing act between challenging the body and taking it too far.

The best beginners workout will challenge the strength of the upper and lower body as well as introduce a some cardio.

It doesn’t take the body long to get familiar with the exercise, within 2 weeks you will notice a definite difference and you should be making changes to your beginner workout to allow you to progress.

Top Tips for a Successful Beginners Workout

Keep an eye on your form

It is very important as a beginner to maintain good technique as you will be protecting yourself from injury and also any extra stiffness from overworking certain muscle groups. rather than putting the stress where it is intended to go.

2 - 3 sets of each exercise is enough

Only perform 2 or 3 sets of each exercise - this is all you need when starting out. Save the 4 or 5 sets for when your body needs the extra stimulation later down the road.

Work the whole body

For best results work the whole body in a balanced fashion - you need a structured routine that is designed to challenge all your muscle groups. This is important for 2 reasons, the first is that it will create maximum fat burning effect. And the second is that it will even out any weaknesses or imbalances, therefore minimising the risk of injury and poor posture problems.

Keep it light

If you are using any weights, keep them very light, it is not necessary to tax the muscles with heavy weights. Just performing the movements is enough.

20 - 30 Minutes at a time

Workout for 20 - 30 minutes at a time - Beginner workouts only need to be short to be effective. You will achieve far better results with shorter more effective sessions than longer less targeted workouts.

Exercise 4 - 5 times a week

Your workouts will be shorter at this stage so you can afford to make them quite frequent. For best results it is best to be sending your body a friendly frequent reminder.

Keep it steady

Don’t try to do too much too soon - You body can only respond at a certain rate, especially at the beginning so take it steady and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

Enjoy the journey

Many people want to hurry to the part where they can smash intense workouts and do X number of this and that. But they are missing out on so much - fitness is an ever evolving journey and one that should be enjoyed at all stages. The start is a tough time so be proud of what you are doing, relax, enjoy it and reward yourself when you hit milestones. You can do it.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Marion Robertsonreply
February 01, 2019 at 09:02 PM

any tips on how to lessen DOMS

February 04, 2019 at 03:02 PM

If you are experiencing a lot of soreness you may be doing a little too much to soon. It is best to try to work at a level that is appropriate to your fitness level. Although if you are a beginner sometimes it is unavoidable to get a little DOMS as your muscles are not conditioned for the exercises just yet.
To help the soreness settle it is good to do some gentle activity like cycling if the legs are sore and then some gentle stretches – this will increase the blood supply and help repair the damaged tissue.

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