Beginner Workout For The New Year
This morning I was on Houston’s FOX 26 Morning Show to talk about fitness tips and workouts for beginners. Tomorrow is New Years Day and I know many of you are going to start a new workout routine – or commit to getting (or staying) fit this year, which is great! Here are some of my top tips for starting a new workout routine as well as a sample workout to try over the next few weeks. I’ll post an update with new exercises in the next couple of weeks if you’d like to follow along!
It’s true – diet is a big (if not the biggest) part of weight loss but working out is important too and it gets your body and mind set up for a healthy lifestyle and that’s what it’s all about. This should be your new way of living and not just a temporary “diet” or weight loss plan. It starts with a healthy mindset and making small changes you can adopt for a long time. Start by making small changes with your diet like eliminated fast food, sodas and processed foods. It’s an acquired taste but after you do it for a few weeks you won’t crave those foods and once you start to see results you won’t want to go back. For workouts- keep it simple. You don’t need a fancy gym membership, but if it motivates you to get up and workout then do it. All you need is a few simple pieces of equipment and you can workout at home. You can do a little bit each day at home and get your family involved. If they don’t want to do it with you – find some friends online or join a Facebook group or # on IG for motivation. I have a new fitness guide called Get Fit Done and we have a Facebook Group you can join to connect with others trying to get fit! I use a dry erase board on my refrigerator and plan out my workouts each Sunday. That tends to keep me on track and then I either add a big red check mark or a red X depending on if I completed it or not.
What should you do to workout when you are getting started? Aim for 30 minutes 4-5 times a week with the strength training every other day (so your body has time to recover). If you want to commit to the same time every day that’s even better. Make it a habit and part of your routine that’s non-negotiable. Do 15-20 min of “cardio” first to warm up your body (things like walking, biking, etc.). This doesn’t have to be crazy fast (don’t overdo it or you’ll burn yourself out) but you do need to break a sweat. Then, do a little strength training. Why strength training? The more muscle you have – the more calories you burn and strong muscles prevent injuries. You may not notice those toned muscles for awhile though if you have a lot of body fat. But once it all comes together with your healthier diet then you will notice slimmer body parts with stronger, toned muscles. I always tell clients that if you just want a smaller version of yourself, focus on diet and cardio. But, if you want to change your shape and muscle tone…you have to do some strength training.
You aren’t going to see results right away. Consistency is key. Just go about it like it’s your new lifestyle and focus on how you feel after your workout (you will never regret it!) and how deep inside you are helping your heart and organs. Focus on that at first instead of the scale. Then before you know it you will notice a change in your appearance and the way your clothes fit.
When you are starting out you want things that are simple yet you get the most bang for your buck and burn the most calories. You also don’t want to spend an hour a day or you may get overwhelmed and discouraged. I like exercises that work more than 1 body part at a time (like the ones below). Invest in 1-2 sets of weights. As you get more advanced you can do more body weight exercises but I really like weights for beginners because they make your body work harder and it’s easier to focus on your form.
Aim for 12-15 reps of each and repeat the whole set 2-3 times (probably 2 when you are first starting out). You’ll need 1 set of medium weights, a chair, bench or couch (that won’t move) and a mat or grass.
Chair squat to shoulder press: Start in front of a sturdy chair, bench or couch. Keep feet about hip-distance apart and bend your knees like you are about to sit in the chair. Hold your weights at your shoulders. Then, as you straighten your legs to stand, press your arms overhead for a shoulder press. Keep most of the weight in your heels and don’t let you knees shift forward past your toes.
Knee push-up: Start on a mat, carpet or grass and come down to your knees. Walk your hands out slightly wider than your shoulders (or the edge of your mat). Keep a flat back and as you bend your elbows, lower your chest down so your elbows and shoulders are level. Exhale and press yourself back to the top. Make sure your hips don’t stick up but that also you don’t arch your back (keep your back flat).
Bent over row to kickback: Grab 2 weights and then bend your knees and then with a flat back, bend over until your back is almost parallel with the floor. Straighten your arms and let them hang down then while keeping your elbows close to your sides, pinch your elbows up behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Then, when you are at the top part of that exercise, do a tricep kickback (kick your weights back and straighten your arms). Then, reverse the process coming back to the top of the row and then extend the arms down by your legs.
Wall sit with bicep curl: This is a great one if you have knee injuries. Find a flat sturdy wall and place your back up against it. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself down like you are “sitting” with your knees over your ankles (make sure you can see your toes). Hold this position for 30 seconds or more (work up to it). If you want to make it harder you can hold 2 weights and do bicep curls while sitting.
Plank: I like forearm planks because they work your shoulders and core. Come down to your mat and make sure your elbows are right under your shoulders. Lift your knees up and make sure you have a nice flat back. Press your heels back towards your mat. Hold as long as you can and build up to 60 seconds. It’s normal to shake – your body is working hard!
After 2 weeks, change up these exercises a little (I will post another beginner routine here on my blog). Also, if your weights start to get to easy (you feel you could do 20+ reps) swap them for slightly heavier. Or start with your heaviest set and complete as many reps as you can with good form, then swap them for lighter weights right after to finish the set (12-15 reps total).
You may be sore the first few weeks and that’s normal. Stretch a little after each workout when you are warm. It’s ok to workout when you are a little sore. Don’t use that excuse not to do your next workout. It can help with soreness.