6 Weeks to Fitness for Absolute Beginners - Week 1

Woman running on treadmill in gym
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Welcome to week one of 6 Weeks to Fitness for Absolute Beginners. In this program, we'll focus on establishing an exercise routine with simple, straightforward workouts that progress slowly from week to week.

The workouts I provide are only suggestions and won't work for everyone, so please modify them as needed to fit your fitness level, schedule and preferences.

The following steps will help you prepare for your workouts:

  1. If you have any injuries, illnesses or conditions, get your doctor's clearance to exercise.
  2. Record your vital statistics if you want to track weight loss progress.
  3. Prepare for your workouts. The cardio workouts are designed to be done on any cardio machine or outside. If machines aren't your thing substitute your own workouts (videos, classes, outdoor exercise, etc.) or choose something else you might enjoy.
  4. Gather your equipment. For the strength workouts, you'll need a variety of equipment including dumbbells, an exercise ball, resistance bands, a medicine ball and a mat. If you're new to strength training, familiarize yourself with the basics and how to choose your weight. New workouts may cause soreness, so we'll start slow to keep that to a minimum, although some soreness is inevitable. If you can't get out of bed the next day, that's a sign you did too much and should modify the workouts the next time around.

    Each week, you'll get an assignment to focus on one aspect of your program. This will help you learn more about your body, your mind and what you may need to improve. You'll also receive a weekly calendar of your workouts and a checklist to fill out at the end of each week.

    If you're ready let's get started!

    Focus On...Monitoring Intensity

    Intensity is one of the most important aspects of your cardio workouts and learning how to monitor it can teach you how your body feels during different activities. There are a variety of ways to monitor intensity including:

    Your goal this week to focus on the intensity of your workouts. During each cardio workout, use one of the methods above to track how you feel and match your Perceived Exertion to the suggested levels. Most workouts will be at a moderate level, which means you're just out of your comfort zone (but not huffing and puffing). Pay attention to that this week to get a sense of your exercise intensity.

    Day 1: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

    Are you ready for your first workouts? It looks like you have a lot on your plate today, but these 3 workouts are short and simple and should take you about 35-45 minutes. You start with a basic 20-minute cardio workout followed by a short, total body strength routine.

    After that is a 5-minute stretch that will leave you relaxed and refreshed.

    • Workout 1: Beginner Cardio
      Type: Cardio
      Length: 20 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Any cardio machine
       
    • Workout 2: Basic Strength
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 10-15 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Light dumbbells, an exercise ball or chair and a mat.
       
    • Workout 3: Basic Stretch
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 5 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: None.
       

    Day 2: Walking and Stretch

    Today, you don't have a structured workout schedule to follow, but a simple walking workout and a seated stretch to relax your shoulders, neck and back.

    • Workout 1: Find at least 10 minutes for a brisk walk today.
    • Workout 2: Seated Stretch
      Type: Flexibility
      Length: 5-10 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: None.
       

    Day 3: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

    Today, your schedule is the same as Day 1, but with a new cardio workout. Today, you'll choose either a 13-minute walking workout or a 10-minute cycling workout, but feel free to combine the workouts if you want something longer. You'll finish things up with your total body strength workout and a relaxing stretch.

    • Workout 1: Beginner Walking or Cycling
      Type: Cardio
      Length: 10-13 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Any cardio machine
       
    • Workout 2: Basic Strength
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 10-15 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Light dumbbells, an exercise ball or chair and a mat.
       
    • Workout 3: Basic Stretch
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 5 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: None.
       

    Day 4: Active Rest

    There's nothing on your schedule today, but try to stay active as much as you can by taking breaks, walking, stretching and moving. Some ideas:

    • Use the stairs at least 3 times today
    • Use your lunch hour to take a 10-minute walk
    • Sit on an exercise ball while you're watching TV
    • Walk the dog for an extra 5 minutes

    Day 5: Walking and Stretch

    • Workout 1: Find at least 10 minutes for a brisk walk today.
    • Workout 2: Seated Stretch
      Type: Flexibility
      Length: 5-10 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: None.
       

    Day 6: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

    • Workout 1: Beginner Cardio
      Type: Cardio
      Length: 20 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Any cardio machine
       
    • Workout 2: Basic Strength
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 10-15 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: Light dumbbells, an exercise ball or chair and a mat.
       
    • Workout 3: Basic Stretch
      Type: Strength Training
      Length: 5 Minutes
      Level: Beginner
      Equipment Required: None.
       

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