(NOTE: This post is Part 2 of a series that begins with Low Tech Home Workout – Part 1: Getting Ready)
Hopefully you have got your workout shoes ready, because we are going to hit the ground running (or at least walking at a brisk pace!) This post is going to help you get started with a beginner fitness plan. In the past if exercise to you was getting up to find the remote, or if you have been away from a consistent fitness program for 6 months or longer, then this plan is for you.
In the last post we discussed getting ready for a full body home work out. The three things that you needed are:
- the right motivation,
- a few pieces of gear, and
- a little bit of knowledge.
We covered the first two items in detail in that post, and now we are going to focus on providing you with the knowledge necessary to start your home based workout. Our goals for this program are simple:
- To establish fitness as a routine, and
- To build your heart, lungs, bones and connective tissues so that they can support the higher intensity physical activity to follow.
Although this program will result in all the benefits of exercise that are mentioned here, this is not a specific plan for fat burning, muscle building or a couch-to-5k sort of plan. This plan is to establish a fitness base. Once you have done this you can try all types of new, high intensity activities to reach your fitness goals, but now is the time to build that base with the basics.
The duration for this part of the plan is 6-8 weeks, after which you will be ready to go wild! This plan is a 5 day program; 3 days of which are for a HR-based cardiovascular workout and 2 days are for a full body resistance workout. Each workout should be easily done within one hour.
Weekly Workout Schedule:
- Day 1 – Cardiovascular
- Day 2 – Resistance
- Day 3 – Cardiovascular
- Day 4 – Rest
- Day 5 – Resistance
- Day 6 – Cardiovascular
- Day 7 – Rest
The cardiovascular workout follows The Maffetone Method to establish a heart rate goal. The point of the workout is to stay as close to the HR goal (without going over) for the duration of the workout. Any activity can be used as long as the intensity can be steadily maintained; some good ideas for beginners are:
- Elliptical Trainer
- Cross Country Skiing
Cardiovascular Workout Guidelines:
- Warm-up – 10-12 minutes (slowly work up to your goal heart rate, walking is a great choice)
- Heart Rate Zone Training (any exercise) – 20 minutes (work up to 30 minutes duration)
- Cool Down – 5 minutes
- Stretching – 10 minutes
The resistance workout emphasizes the basic moves and core stabilization. The times listed for core moves are starting points and you should feel free to increase them as you are able. Exercises with repetitions should use a 4/2 count. For example: body weight squats – count to 4 while lowering, and count to 2 on the way up (with minimal rest between reps). Sample Resistance Workout:
To begin, run through each set two times. Perform each exercise for the listed amount of time, giving yourself 1 minute between each exercise. You can increase the intensity of the workout by adding another set, or increasing the time of each exercise, or you can reduce the rest time between exercises.
Recommendations to minimize risk of injury:
- Always consult your physician before starting any exercise program.
- Start out slowly – it takes 6 weeks to rebuild your bones, and up to 9 months to remodel ligaments. Working out too hard, too fast is the best way to damage joints and give you chronic pain. Once you have achieved a certain level of fitness, high intensity workouts are a great way to burn fat and create big strength gains.
- Warm up appropriately – your body needs 12-15 minutes of warm up before you are ready to push it to 100%.
- Stretch only AFTER your workout.
- Workout with a buddy. They can provide motivation and you can make sure each other stay safe.