Many people begin exercise programs to achieve some kind of adaptation or change in their bodies or health.

For some, the change they wish to see is in their lipid profile (cholesterol).  For others, they wish to gain muscle size, whilst others may wish to gain fat.  Each of these workouts calls for a different program.

But for many newbies to exercise, knowing where and how to start is a major challenge…

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A common exercise mistake for those either new or returning to an exercise program is doing too much too soon.  When the body is not accustomed to exercise, making a small change by adding exercise three days per week for 30-45 minutes will be enough to start to see changes and, more importantly, prepare the body for the bigger changes down the road.

A common misconception is that if you aren’t working out at your  maximum frequency of 5 days per week, then you aren’t doing enough to see change.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

When beginning an exercise program, it is important to give your body time to adjust to all the changes being made.  Tendons and ligaments will take more time to adjust, so increasing the intensity (weight) of your resistance workouts too quickly can lead to serious injury.

Much the same, too much stress too quickly can put too much strain on the heart, muscles and joints of the body, increasing likelihood of burnout, fatigue, stress fractures and even decreases immunity to disease.  Therefore it is incredibly important to begin your exercise routine with a strong foundational workout.

A good foundation workout will touch on every major muscle group in the body and focus especially on balance and core.

It will focus on using lower loads and higher repetition schemes.  In addition, the rest periods should be brief, but long enough to allow for some recovery of the muscle before beginning the next set. You can repeat your foundation workout  three days per week, with at least one rest day in between days.

In addition, your cardiovascular workouts should begin at a lower intensity (65-70% maximum heart rate for novice exercisers) for 20-30 minutes (you can start with even less if you have not been active in years or in a long time).  With cardio, focus on increasing duration before intensity as you progress in the beginning.

Following these rules, you are sure to be well on your way to building a strong foundation for a successful exercise program, no matter what your end goal is.  This workout below encompasses these rules and creates a fun and inviting workout for anyone looking to begin an exercise program.

foundation workout_2

The Workout

After a 5-10 minute warm up, complete 2-3 sets of 15-20 reps each of the following exercises, with 20-30 seconds of rest in between.  If you are new to exercise, each of these exercises can also be modified to meet your needs.

1.  Plank

2.  Reverse lunge to balance

3.  Standing cable row

4.  Ball push up

5.  Side plank

6.  Ball squat

7.  Standing dumbbell biceps curl

8.  Standing cable triceps extension

Be sure to give yourself a 5-10 minute cool down of stretches and light dynamic movement like slow walking or cycling before calling it a day.

If you are new to exercise, remember to ease yourself in by using this program 2-3 times per week.  If you want a strong foundation for your exercise program, this workout is the one for you!  Now get out there and get moving!

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