Starting into a workout routine can be very intimidating. There are so many things to consider, and you want to be sure that your time spent exercising is maximally beneficial. Here's a list of 10 beginner friendly workouts, plus a quick rundown on how to get yourself off on the right foot. PS If you need more help putting an effective program together, we also have a 4 Week Program for Beginners!
1 Low Impact Beginner Cardio Workout - Feel Good Recovery Cardio - The moves in this 26 minute workout are all low impact and easily modified to be easier or more difficult. It uses exercises that build range of motion, cardio endurance, coordination, control of your own body and flexibility. It's also a great starting point for burning fat and building cardiovascular endurance.
2 Low Impact Cardio and Abs Workout As you can tell by the many low impact routines on this list, they are a great place to start when you're new to exercising, and they give your body a chance to adapt and get ready for more intense training. This is a core and cardio combo that helps you build a strong base while working up a sweat (with no jumping at all).
3 27 Minute Butt, Thigh, and Abs Pilates Workout Pilates workouts like this one are a great way for beginners to improve core strength and to start to build a mind body connection, which are both imperative to being able to safely push yourself during harder workouts. Need an easier Pilates routine? Try this one.
4 Low Impact Cardio Workout for Beginners - Recovery Cardio Workout with no Jumping - This is one of my favorite low impact routines. Even though I love HIIT & strength, I love doing this workout on days where I don't feel up to something more brutal. It focuses on range of motion and gentle cardio that makes you feel wonderful. Warm up and cool down are both included. Want to start with something shorter? Try this 10 minute cardio routine.
5 No Equipment Upper Body Workout with Warm Up and Cool Down - Using only bodyweight, this antagonistic routine is a great way to learn how to engage your muscles and perfect form before you start to add more weight. Honestly, it can be very difficult to anyone, as long as they're pushing themselves, but because you're working against your own strength, the difficulty is scalable. Once you're comfortable with form, strength training is an excellent way to burn fat, build muscle, and get fit.
6 Upper Body Strength & Cardio Interval Workout (with Low Impact Mods) - Speaking of lifting, here's a great strength training workout that will help build muscle and boost your metabolism, even while resting. Adjust as you need to, always focusing on form.
7 10 Minute Butt and Thigh Workout At Home - No Equipment - These 10 minutes pack a punch, and are a great place to start to get comfortable with basic bodyweight exercises for the lower body. There is no warm up or cool down on this video; make sure you always do both for every workout session.
8 At Home Cardio Workout to Burn Fat and Tone (High & Low Impact Modifications) - Once you feel like you need more of a cardiovascular challenge, try our cardio workouts that show both low and high impact mods; do the harder version for as long as you can before switching to the easier version.
9 Fitness Blender's 5 Day Challenge - Strong and Lean - Day 1 This week long challenge takes out all of the guesswork by laying out an entire week's worth of workouts. These workouts are intense, but both low impact and advanced modifications are shown.
10 3 Day Flexibility Challenge Day 1: Fluid Full Body Stretches for Flexibility & Stress Relief - Blow off stress, increase flexibility and range of motion with this gentle 3 day challenge that focuses on feeling good.
What now? How do you start and what do you need to know before you jump in?
Do some research upfront - Not all training is smart training and there's a lot of bad information out there. Make sure that you are choosing reliable resources for your information and make sure you pick an approach that trains the body comprehensively, in a way that is balanced, and focused on good health.
Pace yourself, and start slowly if you need to - The most common mistake I see beginners make is being way too aggressive in their training, way too soon. Take time to build a strong base for yourself; if you go 110% right out of the gate, you're likely to end up hurting yourself or burning yourself out on a commitment that needs to be lifelong. Getting fit takes time and hard work - try to become comfortable with that concept; tell yourself that you're in this for the long haul and so there is no reason to rush along your training in a way that puts your health or new good habits at risk.
Make it work for you - Similar to the point above, you have to realize that this is YOUR journey. It doesn't matter how fit someone else is, or where you think you should be, you have to be willing to start where your body needs you to start, and make modifications as you need to so that nothing ends up being a roadblock to progress. Come across an exercise interval that's too hard? Jog in place until it's over. Really struggling and need a break even though the interval is not over? Take a couple seconds to rest & recoup before you push yourself again. Don't be afraid to work hard, but also know that's it's your responsibility to make it work for you.
Commit - There will be good days and bad, setbacks and successes, but you have to commit to showing up and working hard. You won't always feel like it, and it's okay to miss workouts occasionally, but for the most part, you want to focus on building & sticking to the habit.
Keep self talk positive - There's no reason to talk down about yourself, no matter how unfit you might be. There is no shame in any starting place. In short; don't say anything to yourself that you wouldn't say to your best friend.
Keep goals positive & action focused - Instead of "I will lose 10 lbs", say "I will workout for 30 minutes 4 times a week". Instead of "I will tone my flabby arms" say "I will gain strength and be able to lift things that I couldn't before". Try to focus less on end result, and more on the actions that you are responsible for (that will likely ultimately lead you to your goal more effectively, anyways).
Don't be afraid to push yourself, but listen to your body - Sweating, feeling out of breath, burning muscles - all of these things can be part of a great workout. It's important to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, but there are also some things that you shouldn't just push through (real pain, chest pain inability to catch breath, etc). Stay tuned in during your workouts to walk the line between challenging yourself, and respecting the messages that your body is sending you. Watch: How to "listen to your body"
Don't make yourself hate exercise - There are so many different types of training and so many variables that one can adjust to their liking; find something that you enjoy, that makes you feel good. You don't have to spend hours in the gym, you don't even need a gym membership! You don't need fancy equipment or supplements, you just need smart workouts, good nutrition, and motivation.
Keep an eye on nutrition - Nutrition is just as important as exercise, and the two really benefit one another. Focus on eating a diet that is as fresh and nutrient dense as possible, avoiding fad diets and processed food as much as possible.
Know that any effort put towards your health is always worth it!