A Week's Worth of Fitness Workouts for Absolute Beginners

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Getty Images/Chris Craymer

This week, your schedule is the same as last week, but with a few small changes—you have a week's worth of workouts you can do. You'll be doing cardio workouts and strength training workouts. These small changes allow you to progress slowly, building more endurance and strength. You'll also learn more about different aspects of your exercise program. 

As always, please modify the workouts to fit your fitness level, schedule, and goals and listen to your body.

If you feel extra sore or tired, take a rest day. If you feel you're not being challenged, increase the intensity, duration or frequency to work harder.

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.

Focus on…F.I.T.T.

This week, your focus is in the F.I.T.T. principle, which guides us in setting up workout programs. Using this principle, you can manipulate different aspects of your workout to make changes, progress to higher levels and keep things interesting. Below are the principles of F.I.T.T. and how we change them throughout the program:

  • Frequency - How often you exercise. This week, you're doing cardio 3 times and strength training 3 times, which follows the basic exercise guidelines for getting started and improving your health. We will progress throughout this program by gradually adding more frequent exercise.
  • Intensity - How hard you exercise. During the first few weeks, you'll focus on moderate intensity, or about a Level 5-6 on the Perceived Exertion Scale. As you progress, you will gradually change the intensity levels of your workouts with interval training and other techniques.
  • Time - How long you exercise. Your workouts started at about 10-20 minutes. Each week, we'll gradually add time to your workouts to build endurance and help you burn more calories.
  • Type - The type of exercise you're doing (e.g., running, walking, etc.). It's important to start out with activities you enjoy, but it's also important to cross-train and mix things up to keep both your body and mind engaged. Later in the program, you'll choose new activities to add to your routine.

When you workout at a sufficient intensity, time and frequency, you'll start to see changes in your weight, body fat, endurance and strength. When your body adjusts to your current FITT levels, it's time to manipulate one of more of them. This program will help you learn how to do that.

Day 1: Cardio, Strength, and Stretch

Your cardio workout this week builds on last week's basic workout with an added 5 minutes. Your strength workout is the same, but you'll do 2 sets of each exercise with a brief rest in between. You'll end with a relaxing 5-minute stretch. The workout session will be longer today with the extra cardio time and strength training sets, so plan accordingly and modify the workout as needed to fit your fitness level and goals.

Day 2: Walking and Stretch

Today you'll do your walking workout, but with an added 5 minutes. You'll finish up with the seated stretch for the back, neck and shoulders.

  • Workout 1: Find at least 15 minutes for a brisk walk today.
  • Workout 2: Seated Stretch
    Type: Flexibility
    Length: 5-10 Minutes
    Level: Beginner
    Equipment Required: None.
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Day 3: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

Your new cardio workout today involves interval training with any machine or activity of your choice. As before, your strength workout stays the same except that you'll do 2 sets of each exercise with a brief rest in between. Finish up with a relaxing stretch.

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:

  • Play an active game, like Wii Fit Plus
  • Do some crunches or pushups while you watch TV
  • Turn off the TV early and stretch for a few minutes before bed
  • Walk the dog for an extra 5 minutes

Day 5: Walking and Stretch

  • Workout 1: Find at least 15 minutes for a brisk walk today.

    Workout 2: Seated Stretch
    Type: Flexibility
    Length: 5-10 Minutes
    Level: Beginner
    Equipment Required: None.
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Day 6: Cardio, Strength and Stretch

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