Fitness for Beginners
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Everyone starts off as a beginner at some point. You might as well make today Day One! This week, a question comes from a gentleman who was once fairly active, former military, but has not done anything in about five years other than an occasional weight lifting session at his gym. The question is, "How do I get back into working out again without killing myself after a five year hiatus?"
However, the same answer can apply to this very common question from teenagers who are wanting to serve as well: "I am interested in serving in the military, but overweight, out of shape, and need to learn how to train. Where do I start?
What I recommend for situations like these is to start off easy and actually treat yourself like a beginner. That means, start with the basic of walking / biking / and add jogging if appropriate. Then build a foundation of strength and muscle stamina with calisthenics and dumbbells.
So many times people start off Day One with a 3-4 mile run because "that is what they used to do." This philosophy can also be seen in the weight room with people lifting heavier weights than they should at first. Depending on your goals and your chosen method of exercise, I would start off doing the following:
TREAT YOURSELF LIKE A BEGINNER (at least for a few weeks)
Week 1: Add ONLY stretching to your fitness routine. Walking and biking is fine too, but do not run or lift weights during Week 1 IF you are a beginner. Stretching should be done twice daily for about 10-15 minutes each session. Warm up your body and joints with a fast walk, jumping jacks, and jump rope for about 2-3 minutes. Once warm and just about to break a sweat, start stretching your arms, legs, lower back and abdominal region.
Just Add Water -- This week of hydrating will help you prepare for a week of additional caloric burning and keep you cooler during your first exercise day in Week 2. For every 100 lbs of body weight drink a half gallon of water a day. I weigh 200 lbs roughly and I drink at least a gallon a day. This helps curb hunger, but also helps the body burn fat more efficiently. In fact, it takes two things to burn fat as your energy source: WATER + OXYGEN = FAT BURNING. The oxygen comes from either the aerobic exercise of walking or running or anaerobic exercise of calisthenics and weight lifting.
Week 2: If running is your ultimate goal, try a safe running program for free Beginner Running Plan.
This is a safe way to build up from not running in a while. In fact, it may even be wiser to run a few minutes and walk a few minutes until you get accustomed to the demands on your heart, lungs, and legs. Do not forget to stretch after each run as well.
If you choose weightlifting, I would recommend using Week 2 as a calisthenics base week. Do pushups, crunches, lower back exercises, or try some pullups or assisted pullups. You can add lightweight dumbbells of bicep curls, triceps extensions, and military press with repetitions up to 10-15 times. For your legs, do not do weight squats or half squats if your knees are previously injured. This easy-paced week will help alleviate the pain of working joints and large muscle groups for the first time in several years.
FREE 45 Day Plan EBOOK
These exercises are all pictured in the FREE 45 Day Beginner Plan eBook (link below) and will help you go from zero to sixty in a easy progression that will more than likely keep you free from injury.
- Free 45 Day Beginner Plan
- Lean Down Food Plan
Good luck and keep the questions coming. Hope the ideas come in handy. For more ideas check out the Article Section of my StewSmithFitness.com Website.
Stew Smith CSCS - If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of Beginner, Intermediate, and Basic Military & PT Test Prep Guides
Beginner / Intermediate Fitness Guides
The Beginner / Intermediate Guide to Fitness
Reclaim Your Life Erin O'Neill Story (beginner / intermediate)
Veterans Fitness Baby Boomer and a Flat Stomach
Circuit Training 101 Beginner / Intermediate Guide to the Gym
The Busy Executive Workout Routine
NEW: Calisthenics and Cardio (only) (Spring / Summer Cycle)
Tactical Fitness (40+) Phase 1, Phase 2
Army PFT Workout (Prep For Rucking, OPAT, ACFT)
USMC IST and PFT
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Boot Camp Workout
The PFT Bible: Pushups, Sit-ups, 1.5 Mile Run (Army, Navy, AF, CG PFT)
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