FREE Beginner Exercise routines are coming your way – here’s why.
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Last week, I told you about my Lifestyle Overhaul – the 15 steps I’m taking to reach the best health of my life. The reason I’ve decided to embark on a lifestyle overhaul is that at this moment, I’m the unhealthiest I’ve ever been.
Once upon a time, I was a hyperactive personal trainer who had my own fitness business, two children, and ran sprint triathlons.
And then, life happened. I had a third child, I started homeschooling my oldest, and I became the most inactive I’ve ever been in my whole life. Interrupted sleep, late nights, and the general busyness of life keeps getting in the way of me watching out for my own health.
Unfortunately, if I don’t watch out for my own health, eventually I’ll be in no shape to take care of my family, so a lifestyle change is well overdue. I’ve decided to start my 15-step journey with exercise, because I need to get off the couch and get active again (and also because I enjoy exercise).
So, it’s confession time. Here’s why this change is desperately needed:
- At 5’7 and 180 lbs, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been. Being fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of overweight people are more active and healthier than their skinny counterparts. Unfortunately, for me, being fat increases the symptoms of two of three chronic health conditions that I manage very well when I’m carrying around a little less weight. When I’m bigger than I should be, my asthma is worse, and my arthritis flares up much more frequently. Add to that the fact that I have hypothyroidism and my meds are currently off (being slowly brought back up, though), and I’m sluggish and have no energy. Not exercising doesn’t help.
- I’m overweight because like so many others, I’m an emotional eater, and I’m using food to cope with stress. Food has become a drug rather than simply nourishment, and this has to end. When I exercise regularly, I’m less likely to overeat.
- Hubby and I are planning a big adventure that will require us to be in the best shape of our lives. So I better get started.
Because I’ve been inactive for quite a while, I’m starting from scratch. Because I’m a former personal trainer, I’m able to write my own exercise routines, and I’d love it if you joined me in my journey to get off the couch and get active. I’m starting from the very basics – simple exercises that require no equipment. I’ll be sharing my workouts here. Each week there will be a new exercise routine for you.
In addition to resistance training three times per week, I’ll also be doing the following:
- Couch to 5K program
- Swimming 2-3 x/week.
To motivate myself to workout, I intend on signing up for a sprint triathlon in the summer. I’ll start from the very basics until my running is up to par, and then I’ll be adding cycling into the mix once the season starts.
Here is my ultra beginner’s bodyweight workout routine. You can also click here for a printable version.
From Ultra Beginner to Ultra Active with No Gym and No Equipment
Warm Up: 5 minutes Animal Flow Warm up OR the following warm up exercises that can be found in the Core Performance book. If you do the warm up below, do just 1 set of 5-10 repetitions of each exercise.
Hip Cross Overs – Lie on the floor with knees bent and heels on the floor. Arms should be stretched at shoulder level. Lower your legs, together, to one side, while maintaining shoulders glued to the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Backward Lunge with Twist – Begin standing. Take a step back, lunging, with back knee very close to the ground but not touching it. Ensure front knee does not lean past your toes. Turn your upper body over the front leg. Arm closest to front leg is stretched down; arm on the side of back leg is stretched upwards.
Hand Walk – Begin standing, then lower your hands towards the floor, bending at the hips. Start “walking” your hands forward while your feet remain planted on the ground, until you reach a push up position. Now start walking your toes in very tiny steps towards your hands, until you are bent at the waist again. Go straight into the next repetition without standing up.
Lateral Lunge – Start standing with feet hip-width apart. Take a step to the side with one leg. The leg that steps out bends at the knee, while the stationary leg stretches into a straight line. Ensure the knee of the bent leg does not go past your toes (sticking your butt out helps).
Inverted Hamstring – Start standing with feet hip to shoulder-width apart. Lean forward at the waist while lifting one leg off the floor in a straight line. Return to starting position and repeat on other side (you may alternate sides or do all repetitions on one side and then switch).
Drop Lunge – Start standing, with feet shoulder-width apart. Move one leg back and cross it behind your stationary leg, then drop down.
Do 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions, with no rest between exercises. Rest 1 minute between sets.
Squats: Start standing with feet shoulder width apart. Pretend you are about to sit in a chair that’s just out of reach for your bottom. Ensure to keep back straight and neck neutral (look forward). You may put your hands in front of you to aid with balance. If this is too difficult, start with an actual chair and sit and stand, using the same technique. Once you feel more confident, remove the chair.
Knee push-ups: Start with knees and hands on the floor. Lower your whole upper body towards the floor, then pus yourself back to the starting position.
Knee push ups too advanced? Try wall push ups instead:
Wall Push-Ups (this is an alternative to knee push-ups – you do not need to do both; try one or the other) – Stand in front of a wall. Lean into the wall with hands at shoulder level. Lower your whole body toward the wall, then push yourself away.
Hip Bridge – Lie down on the floor with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift hips off the floor so only your shoulders are still touching. Lower your hips down again, but do not touch the floor before starting the next repetition.
Prone Shoulder Lifts – Lie down face first on the floor, with arms bent at a 90 degree angle at shoulder level. Lift arms off the floor and squeeze shoulder blades together, then return to start position.
Mountain Climbers – Start in a push up position. Drive your knees towards your hands while keeping your hips level throughout the entire movement.
Superman – Lie face first on the floor with arms stretched above your head. Lift the opposite arm and opposite leg straight up, then switch sides. Imagine your hips are glued to the floor while doing this movement.
Plank – You may do this movement from the knees or from the toes. Start from knees and move to toes once you are comfortable with the knee plank. Hold this position for as long as you are able. Aim for 20 seconds the first time, and a full minute before you move on to the next progression. Ensure your whole body is one straight line (e.g., don’t let your bum sag or stick up above the rest of your body).
Side Plank – You can do this exercise from the knees or from the toes. Start with knees and move to toes once comfortable with the knee plank. Hold your body in this position for as long as you are able, ensuring your body is one straight line.
Finish with a full body stretch.
I also follow up my stretching with some quick meditation and my morning prayers.
Let me know if you decide to join me on the journey!
Click here for the second bodyweight workout and here for the third bodyweight workout. Please keep in mind that these workouts are meant to be progressive, so if you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with Workout #1 (on this page), and move on from there.