Getting started in fitness can be pretty scary, but also very exciting. 

As you start reading all the different ways you can exercise, diet and see results, it’s super easy to get ahead of yourself and want to do more right out of the gate. After a certain point, doing more will not necessarily translate to better or faster results, especially not to permanent or sustainable ones. 

When building your beginner routine, establishing attainable goals and creating a consistent and sustainable routine should be the focus. The best thing you could possibly do for yourself when starting on your fitness journey is to find a way to stay consistent. Program adherence is by far the most important piece when it comes to fitness. So, pick a workout plan, training style and frequency that you can live with, at least for the next 6 months, then re-evaluate. Before jumping to some “go-to” workouts, I want to make sure you’re exercising in the best way possible.

Quick Notes for Developing Your Personalized Workout Plan

I am not at all a big fan of isolated Nautilus style equipment for the general public looking to exercise, especially for beginners developing their first workout routine. It’s not functional, not very metabolic and is closer to mirroring a bodybuilding routine that requires a larger time investment per workout than anything else. But if you must use them, here is a good focus split so you don’t try to spend your whole day at the gym using every piece.

Please note, for all other exercises, you will have to find the progression or regressed version of the exercise you’re most comfortable with in accordance with your skill set. Everyone starts at a different comfort level in their fitness journey and finding the right balance of reps and sets is key to building a sustainable fitness routine. The goal is to activate the muscle and challenge yourself. Stimulate, don’t annihilate, so you’ll have to find the right version of “squat” for you depending where you are in your fitness journey. 

That said, always, ALWAYS warm-up prior to exercising. If you don’t want to do a traditional warm-up, an additional set at 40-50% intensity could be used as a warm up when isolating muscle groups. When you’re first starting off, never push yourself to the point of failure. I would say sticking to 3 working sets x 12-15 reps (you should feel like you could go to 17/18 reps) while controlling all momentum is a good start while you’re getting your body used to exercise and gauging the proper recovery time needed.

Below are some example “go-to” workouts that place efficiency and effectiveness high on the Return on Investment scale for time invested.

Beginner Workout 1

Sets:  3 Working Sets

Reps: 12 -15

Rest:  45 seconds in between

Notes: Complete each exercise before moving on

  1. Chest Press Machine  
  2. Shoulder Press Machine 
  3. Lat Pull Down Machine 
  4. Lat Row Machine
  5. Leg Press
  6. Leg Extension
  7. Leg Curl 
  8. Cardio. 15 – 20 minutes walking on a treadmill incline, without holding on if able

Beginner Workout 2

Sets:  3 Working Sets

Reps:  12 -15

Rest:  45 seconds in between sets

Notes: Complete all same numbered exercises in sequence before repeating sets and moving to the  next number.

  1. Circuit 
    •  Squat
    •  Glute Bridge
    • Walking or stationary Lunges
  2. Stair Master 10 minutes
  3. Circuit 
    • Cable Row
    • Push ups
    • Reverse Fly 
    • Lateral raises
  4. Stationary Bike 15 minutes 

Beginner Workout 3

Sets:  3 Working Sets

Reps:  15 -20

Rest:  45 seconds in between sets

Notes: Complete all same numbered exercises in sequence before repeating sets and moving to the next number.

  1. Circuit
    • Glute Bridge, feet on box
    • Goblet Squat to box (sit)
    • Pushups (off knees + box if needed)
    • Plank (30-60 sec or 80% of what you can do)
  2. Push Sled on turf (Challenging weight, 50 feet each set)
  3. Circuit
    • Medicine ball “wall ball” shoulder press/throw
    • Medicine ball slams
    • Russian Twists with Medicine ball (slow and controlled)
  4. Pull Sled on Turf (Challenging weight, 50 feet each set)

Beginner Workout 4

Sets:  5 Working Sets

Reps:  8 – 12 

Rest:  60 seconds in between sets

Notes: Complete all sets of each exercise before moving to the next number.

  1. Bench Press
  2. Kettle Bell or Barbell deadlifts (depending on skill set) 
  3. Squat 
  4. Dumbbell row with your chest against the incline bench
  5. Stairmaster or Elliptical – 12.5 minutes
  6. Stationary bike or treadmill 12.5-minute intervals

Starting with these beginner workout routines will provide you with a strong foundation to grow and experiment along your fitness journey. Keep it simple! Track your goals and adjust your workout routine gradually as you progress and you’ll see great results! If you’re interested in learning about diet and weight loss to go along with your workout knowledge check out our latest eBook.