Epic Tips For A Safe And Effective Beginners Workout Plan

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: October 23, 2020

CATEGORIES: Physical Fitness

If you’re starting on a beginners workout plan you might be wondering what the best type of exercise to choose is.  Could it be running, walking, lifting weights, going to group fitness classes, or taking up a new sport?  When selecting the best type of exercise to include in a beginners workout plan there are three main things to consider.

  1. What your main goal is
  2. The types of activity you enjoy most
  3. Where you’re at now

If you’re not sure what your goals are just yet, take the FREE quiz here.

(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)

Make sure your beginners workout plan fits in with your goal(s)

The type of exercise you do most often should be relevant to the goal you are striving for. For example, if you have entered a cycling race, then cycling should be the most prominent feature in your beginners workout plan. If you want to enter a bodybuilding competition, then resistance training will take first place. This concept is based on an important fitness principle called “specificity”

Goals such as weight loss, increasing energy levels, and becoming generally stronger and fitter will benefit from a mix of all three training types.  If you want to start a beginners workout plan but you haven’t yet set yourself some goals, find out how to set long-term fitness goals using SMART.

You can also grab a free SMART goals worksheet here.

The most important consideration for a beginners workout plan

The really important factor that needs to be considered in a beginners workout plan is the type of exercise you enjoy most. Running might not suit you if you have dodgy knees. You may not enjoy weight lifting and if you don’t enjoy it then the chances of you actually doing it to achieve a result are pretty slim.

The great news is that the best beginners workout plan is the one that you will enjoy sufficiently so that you repeat it enough times to achieve an overall result!

What type of exercise do you prefer? First, choose something that you love doing. Check that it’s relevant to your goal. If it’s not then consider adjusting your goal to help ensure you enjoy the journey of working towards it. That way you’ll be doing the best type of exercise to work towards your intended outcome, and you’ll have fun along the way. 

Check that your beginners workout plan reflects where you’re currently at

A well-rounded beginners workout plan generally includes cardiovascular (‘huffy puffy’) exercise, resistance training (something that makes your muscles work hard), and ‘mind-body’ exercise – something that relaxes you.  However, if you are brand new to exercise, start with just one of these.

If you currently live a very inactive lifestyle, this might be something as simple as going for a 20-minute walk a few times per week. Generally, it will be best to start with some low impact workouts. If you already walk or cycle regularly but you want to get stronger, start by learning one or two basic resistance exercises that you could add to your plan. 

For example, the squat is one simple bodyweight resistance exercise that can be done anywhere, with no equipment.  You can also download my free bodyweight workout pdf, which includes beginners, intermediate, and advanced versions of each exercise. It’s a great option if you want a beginner workout at home without equipment.

It’s also crucial that your beginners workout plan considers any current and previous injuries you have, and your current health status and family history. Fitness plans also need to fit into your lifestyle well to offer you the best chance of adherence. You can consider getting a personalized workout plan written for you that ensures all of these factors are covered.

5 day workout ideas for beginner workout routines

As I’ve mentioned, workout plans should ideally be personalized. A fitness trainer or coach like me can help you to get all the variables just right, to maximize your potential for amazing results.

However, it’s possible to get started with a great plan that you’ve put together yourself. It’s important to know that a plan includes the combination of different physical activities you would do in a week. A program details exactly what you would do in a session.

Let’s start by looking at some general ideas for a beginners workout PLAN. You may notice that I’m including a combination of resistance, cardio, and mind-body exercise in each option. They all offer important value and overall balance for a fitter, healthier lifestyle whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, or just generally move and feel better.

Each plan offers a couple of days of rest. You can still be active on these days (for example, via incidental exercise), or doing something gentle. Everyone is different in terms of their unique needs. Therefore, use these beginner routines for working out as a guide and tweak them to suit you personally (remember back to the recommendations further up about doing what you personally love!)

Beginners workout plan- shoes, mat, phone and towel

Beginners workout routine option 1

Day 1: 30 minute Full body strength training workout routine at your local gym or using a home workout gym

Day 2: Gentle yoga or stretching workout at your local fitness center, or on YouTube

Day 3: 30 minute Cardio workout program at your local gym or using a home gym

Day 4: 45 minute Circuit training (cardio and strength combo) at home or the gym

Day 5: Brisk 30 minute evening walk with family or friends

[Note that the FIIT home workout app will develop a tailored workout plan for you. It caters for entry-level exercisers through to advanced].

Beginners workout plan option 2

Day 1: 30 minute lower body equipment-free workout program at home or at the park

Day 2: 30 minute “huffy puffy” bike ride

Day 3: 30 minute upper body equipment-free training program at home or at the park

Day 4: Pilates class (either at a fitness center or on YouTube)

Day 5: Dance class at your local fitness center or on YouTube

Beginners workout plan-Elly with yoga mat and drink bottle

Beginners workout plan option 3

Day 1: 30 minute swim session at your local pool

Day 2: 30 minute full body strength workout using your own body weight and small equipment

Day 3: 1 hour trail walk/hike in nature

Day 4: 45 minute basic interval training workout (strength and cardio combo) at home or at the gym

Day 5: Tai chi class

Again, these are just options for beginners workout routines to get you started. Let’s now look at a few basic considerations when it comes to your PROGRAM. This is where you get a little more specific about the variables in your plan.

[Note that the FIIT home workout app will develop a tailored workout plan for you. It caters for entry-level exercisers through to advanced].

Beginner workout programing basics

If you’re new to working out regularly, or you haven’t worked out consistently in a long while, it’s important to consider the variables in your program. HIIT may be a major trend in the fitness industry and your friend might be encouraging you to jump straight on the bench press to see how much you can lift. However, neither of these options is likely to be safe or effective for your beginners workouts.

Muscles and joints take time to get stronger and handle heavy loads so it’s important to gradually build up and look after your body along the way. Similarly, if you jump straight into a HIIT workout without a base level of fitness, you might feel like you’re being tortured. If you feel this way, the chances of you coming back for more are probably slim (especially when you consider the after-effects of pushing your body to levels it’s not ready for).

Beginners workout plan- sports shoes and drink bottle

Beginners workout program variables

  • With cardio workouts, start with steady-state exercise. Build a base level of fitness before trying interval training. You should feel like you are getting your heart rate up and working your muscles, but you shouldn’t be so out of breath that you can’t talk
  • Resistance training is full of terms that you might not properly understand. Basic terms include sets and reps.
  • Start with one set of each exercise. You can add additional sets once you have a basic level of strength established, although you may prefer to adjust other variables.
  • Reps is the short word for repetitions, or how many times you do the exercise. Start with a higher rep range as a beginner, since you’ll be lifting lighter loads, to begin with. Aim for 10-15 repetitions of each exercise to start with. At the end of your set, you should really feel like you’ve been working your muscles, and you should be able to maintain great form throughout. Quality and technique are much more important than quantity!
  • Machine weights alone aren’t a great long term solution for any resistance training plan. However, they can be useful as part of a beginners workout routine, while you’re learning the basic movements and techniques
  • Always breathe continuously and never hold your breath while you are doing resistance training

Remember that you can grab my FREE pdf with beginner-friendly options for a great workout routine at home. (You could also use it as a bodyweight gym workout if you wanted to).

Further advice and tips for your beginners workout routine

Perhaps you want to put together a home workout plan? If so, check out these great options for a home exercise kit, as recommended by the professionals. You can also check out my recommended kit below.

Be consistent in your efforts and know that it’s important to make only small changes to your fitness and lifestyle, to reap big results. It’s also important to realize that you’ll need to consider more than just exercise for any health and fitness goal. Whether you want to burn body fat, train for a specific event, or generally just one up and feel better, a holistic health approach is crucial for success.

My holistic approach includes several important foundational areas such as healthy eating, sleep, stress, and mindset.

For more online fitness advice, have a look through these articles, which have been written to help you get more movement into your life.

Beginners workout plan-Elly full plan in park

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].

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Elly McGuinness

2 Comments

  1. Lindansarmama

    Hi, I believe number three is so important and often will be forgotten and that’s a big reason why people stop, because the training ambition wasn’t hand in hand with the rest of the life. Good tips!

    Reply
    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks for your comment! Yes, totally. Training must be personalized to suit the level the person is currently at. There’s no use trying to do something that works for someone else but won’t necessarily work for you:-)

      Reply

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