bird dog exercise

You’ve decided it’s time to get healthy, start working out, lose some fat and tone your muscles. But where do you start?

You decide to check online to find a video with a “CrossFitter” who lifts crazy amounts of weight, looking super strong, that you’re pretty sure those powerlifting moves would break your lower back!

Feeling a little inept, you find a yoga instructor doing inspirational arm balances that make them look strong and elegant and decide to give it a try. After a few short moves, you crash on your head and injure your elbow.   

A bit defeated, you decide to push through to find something that might suit you better. The enviable fitness model does the coolest multi-purpose moves you’ve ever seen, but leaves you confused about what do at the gym, especially when your coordination is slightly lacking in comparison.

Exercise can seem so complicated, right?  The couch just seems much safer and simpler.

Truth be told, most people will likely not have the muscle capacity of the CrossFitter who spends their life training for competition,  the naturally flexibility of most yogis, nor most of the fancy moves shown on Instagram that are close to entirely useless and intended more for likes and views than improving your health. (You can check out my other blog on Personal Trainer vs YouTube Workouts for more on this topic.)

Keep it Simple

If you want to start working out it is always best to stick to the tried and true basics. In fact, you don’t even need a gym to get going. Which is great news if, like many, you’re intimidated by the gym.

Any beginner can see great changes in your energy, strength, endurance and physique with classic moves that are proven to shape your body in as little as 20-30 minutes a day! The key is consistency.

Below are three exercise routines for beginners to help you burn fat, build muscle, and get fit anywhere. The first two are strength training workouts, while the the third is focused on cardio exercises that will burn serious calories without any machinesto create a more well-rounded workout routine.

Items You Will Need to Workout

  • Equipment: 1-2 resistance bands, a jump rope, and a set of dumbbells or something similar (heavy bags of food or water often work well). I would strongly suggest a set of resistance bands with a door anchor (see equipment suggestions at the end of this article). This will allow you to perform some specific exercises much more easily. Otherwise you will need to find a very sturdy pole or place to wrap the band around that cannot fall when you pull on the band. If you prefer, these workouts can also be done in a gym with the same equipment.
  • Water Bottle/Water – Never workout without water! Hydration is key to energy and performance and helps to prevent nausea when you’re just getting started.
  • Log Book/Workout Journal – It is very helpful and motivating to keep a workout log. In it, write down exactly what exercises you did, how many reps, how much weight, and how many rounds. Within a few weeks, you should be able to increase at least one of those areas. Writing it down will help you to keep pushing yourself as well as let you see how much stronger you’re getting!
  • A willing and patient ATTITUDE! Good attitude is everything. Start your program believing you can do this! I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who feel miserable their first session or two. But if you push past the initial discomfort and realize that’s normal, you’ll feel better within a few weeks at most. Give your body time to adapt and know that it won’t always feel so hard. Also remember that real change takes time. After your first session you’ll feel accomplished. After your first few workouts, you’ll likely feel more energetic. After a few weeks, you’ll feel stronger, and by 4-6 weeks you should start to notice some difference in how your clothes fit. Just keep approaching it with a can-do, positive attitude. I promise, it’ll pay off if you tell your negative thoughts to go away, and stick with it with a grateful attitude for what your body can do.

How to Structure Your Workouts

There are a variety of ways you can use and perform these workouts, but the structure below will give you a good starting point. Feel free to add or adapt to your fitness level.

General rules for how to perform each workout:

  1. Go through each set of exercises in a circuit,  doing each exercise one after the other with no rest in between.
  2. After the circuit is complete, rest for 1 minute. Then repeat 2-3 times, or as many rounds as time allows and you have the energy for.
    • You could also perform these exercises for time. Do each exercise for 30 seconds, then move to the next. On your second and third round, see if you can beat your amount of reps in the allotted 30 seconds.
    • Be sure to use the strictest form possible. Don’t sacrifice quality form for more reps or you could risk injury and lose some of the benefits from the exercise. If you’re not sure about your form, look up some YouTube videos or online magazines for reference, and compare your form in a mirror. If you’re still unsure, contact me for help.

Beginner Example Workout Plan

  • Week 1-2:
    • Tues/Thurs/Sat: Strength Workout #1
    • Friday or Sunday: Walk, Swim, Yoga, or other easy activity
  • Week 3-4:
    •  Tues/Thurs/Sat: Strength Workout #2
    • Friday or Sunday: Walk, Swim, Yoga, or other easy activity
  • Week 5-6:
    • Tues/Thurs/Sat: Cardio Workout
    • Friday or Sunday: Walk, Swim, Yoga, or other easy activity

Intermediate Example Workout Plan

  • Week 1-2
    • Tues/Sat: Strength Workout #1
    • Wed: Cardio Workout
    • Sunday: Optional Cardio Workout OR swim, elliptical, or walk for 30 minutes
  • Week 3-4
    • Tues/Sat: Strength Workout #2
    • Wed: Cardio Workout
    • Sunday: Optional Cardio Workout OR swim, elliptical, or walk for 30 minutes
  • Week 5-6
    • Tues: Strength Workout #1
    • Wed/Sat: Cardio Workout
    • Thurs: Strength Workout #2

If the series seems like too much to do for the first time, I would recommend adjusting the workout by picking just one of these workouts and repeat it three times for your first one or two weeks. Once that’s familiar and comfortable and the initial soreness has worn off, then move on to the next workout, and so on. Once all three have become more familiar, then rotate between them throughout the week.

Weekly Workout Routine

Strength-Training Workout #1

  1. Push-ups – 10x
  2. Resistance Band Back Rows – 15x
  3. Single Leg Bridge – 10x each
  4. Resistance Band or Dumbbell Squats – 15x
  5. Resistance Band Shoulder Press – 15x
  6. Reverse Lunge with DB Bicep Curl – 10x each leg

Strength Training Workout #2

  1. Dumbbell Chest Press – 15x
  2. Resistance Band Tricep push-down – 15x
  3. Loop band side steps – 12 each way
  4. Kettlebell or DB Sumo Squat – 15 x
  5. Bent over DB back row – 15 x
  6. Forward lunge with shoulder press – 10 each leg

Cardio

  1. Jump Rope (or Jumping Jacks) – 30 sec
  2. Mountain climbers – 30 sec
  3. Skaters – 30 sec
  4. High knees – 30 sec
  5. Jump squats – 20 sec
  6. Butt kickers – 30 sec

Need something more specific to your goal or can’t perform some of these? I can create a custom plan for you. Contact me to get started with an online personal training plan.

Equipment List

I recommend ProSource and use their equipment at my gym for clients. These items don’t take up much room and can be stored easily in your home. Use code HOLLY10 for 10% off your purchase.

Tube Resistance Bands Set with Attached Handles – $25.99

Loop Resistance Bands Set – $9.99

Vinyl Coated Cast Iron Kettlebells – $27.99

Neoprene Dumbbells – $35.99

Speed Jump Rope – $7.99

Extra Thick Yoga and Pilates Mat 1/2 inch – $18.99

Tip: Most beginners, depending on gender and strength, will do well starting with 6 – 10 lb dumbbells and a 15 – 20 lb kettlebell.  Using the resistance bands, you can build up to a higher resistance and stronger workouts and the possibilities are endless!

Remember, stick with this, push yourself, and change will come. You can do it!

Try it out and let me know what you think! Was anything too hard? Too easy? What else have you found you can successfully perform at home for a great workout? Comment below to let me know!

About Author

Holly

OWNER & FOUNDER, RENEWAL FITNESS COACHING I am passionate about empowering YOU with a renewed sense of strength and self-confidence by teaching safe, accurate fitness and nutrition methods from a holistic approach to reach your goals. With extremely personalized programs for each unique person, I also incorporate the spiritual and emotional aspects of life every chance I get in order to address the deep struggles that are often overlooked and prevent lasting success.

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