Starting A Fitness Routine and Quick Workout Ideas

November 28, 2011

Last Monday was the kickoff of the What Runs U series on WhatRunsLori.com. This is your chance to ask any fitness related question you’d like and get it answered by fitness professionals.

Question: If just starting a new fitness/health routine, where would you start? What would you add in?

Answer from Kris: New beginnings to me means an opportunity to insure we build some simple fundamentals. Hydration, eating habits, sleep, breathing, daily perspective, body comp assessment, goal planning, journaling and a few other rarely mentioned foundation pillars can be key. But often when this question is asked one is looking for more exercise routine information so PLEASE take heed to the before mentioned items as you tackle your next routine. If you do, I assure you, you will get more out of your workouts and achieve your goals much sooner.

If I was to suggest just one additional item to the list, I would have to say TRX (suspension training) would complete any exercise routine. TRX complements every sport, is incredibly versatile, and whether you are at a beginner or advanced fitness level you get a great workout.

Answer from Lori: Starting a fitness routine can be intimating and challenging. The key to starting something new and sticking with it is adding thing you love. Find a type of exercise that you enjoy. If weight lifting isn’t your thing, try taking a group fitness class, as most health clubs offer a huge variety. Try out yoga, Zumba, kickboxing, or a group strength training class. You are far more likely to stick to something you love doing than an exercise routine you hate.

“They” say that a habit is formed after 21 days. For the first month of your new routine, go to the gym at least 5 days a week, make it a habit! This doesn’t mean do crazy amounts of exercise each day, but it does mean get in the routine and habit of going in and doing something. Walk or run on the treadmill for 15 minutes or longer, depending on your fitness level. Try out a new class at the gym. Swim, bike, lift, or just hit up the health club sauna or steam room.

Start where you are. We are all at different fitness levels and pushing yourself too hard too fast can lead to injury, excessive muscle soreness, and maybe even lack of enjoyment if an exercise is just too advanced. Start where you are and work up from there. Start out with walking on the treadmill for 10 minutes. Over the next few weeks increase the incline, speed, and time. There are always more variables to change than you can imagine and your body will adjust quickly. Before you know it, that initial 10 minute treadmill bout will turn into a full on hour of a heart-pumping cycling class.

Hire a trainer. I love working out with a buddy or even better, a personal trainer. Your workouts fly by, you know you’re getting in a solid, rounded workout, you have no other excuse but to show up to the gym, and results are MORE LIKELY TO COME when working out with a fitness professional. Even just taking a few sessions with a trainer can make a world of difference when fighting for results or changing a lifestyle.

Consistency is key and patience is a virtue. Honestly, both consistency and patience, go hand in hand when starting something to gain results. You didn’t gain weight, lose muscle, get out of shape, [insert your complaint here] overnight; Results won’t be seen overnight. Results take time, consistency of working your body, and patience in allowing the adaptations. But, all of these things can be fun when done right, safely, and effectively if all of these tips are considered.

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Question: When short on time, what is a quick exercise one could do?

Answer from Kris: We have all been in that situation where time is pressing and a workout is looking uncertain for the day. We quickly begin thinking how can I squeeze a one or two hour workout into a few minutes. First, committing to the workout no matter what is a big and important step, so congrats on your commitment. My suggested exercise is a dumbbell squat to a hammer curl to an overhead press. This is a three part full body movement exercise that offers great calorie burn, strength conditioning and the opportunity for personal versatility i.e. foot placement, type of curl(s), and/or type of shoulder press.

Dumbbell squat to a hammer curl to an overhead press: Four to five sets @ 20, 15, 12, 10, 8 repetitions with a challenging last rep weight with 60 seconds of abdominal work between sets. This should take you approximately 10 minutes and you will feel like you got your full time in.

Answer from Lori: Since Kris threw in a compound exercise that requires weights, I think I’ll give you an at-home workout when you’re needing a quick exercise.

Body weight exercises work! Pick a few that you love and hate (the ones we hate are probably the ones we need to work on) and put them together in a sequence, then repeat. Time yourself for even more challenge. And always give your workout intensity and challenge yourself! A workout could be five minutes or 90 minutes but if you didn’t add in intensity or challenge yourself, you’ve just wasted your time.

Body weight exercises:

  • FULL BODY
  • run/fast walk
  • burpees
  • mountain climbers
  • jump squats with arm reach overhead
  • UPPER BODY
  • push-ups
  • incline or decline push-ups
  • wide push-ups
  • pull-ups
  • air punches
  • bench dips
  • LOWER BODY
  • squats
  • jump squats
  • squat hold and pulse at bottom
  • lunges
  • jump lunges
  • step ups
  • side kicks
  • front kicks
  • CORE
  • crunches
  • planks
  • side plank

Pick one from each body area and create a workout from there. An example of a CrossFit-type I did yesterday was:

  • TIMED WORKOUT
  • 1 mile run
  • 100 push-ups
  • 100 body weight squats
  • 100 body pulls (using a resistance band, so I cheated with the no body weight)
  • 100 body weight squats
  • 1 mile run

The whole workout took me about 30 minutes. It sounds like a lot and it was, but it was doable, working in sets of 10 or 20 reps.

Just pick a few exercises, pick some numbers to work with, and go!

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Got a question to be answered here? Ask us!

And don’t forget to check out some killer Cyber Monday foodie deals and my recommendations (and favorite things) for living a thriving, healthy life!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

tea-bagginit November 30, 2011 at 7:03 PM

i love that full body, at-home, workout! i’m a big fan of home workouts for the weekends & i’m totally going to incorporate these moves into my next “sequestered sunday”!

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Pure2raw twins November 28, 2011 at 3:05 PM

i have been lacking in the work out department. i have been lazy with everything, in a little rut I guess, today i did some yoga. felt good to move the body and slow the mind. hopefully each day i will get back into my workout groove

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Ela November 28, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Thanks for this advice and motivation–I like that she starts with the ‘foundational pillars’–makes good sense

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

I just got a Groupon deal for TRX – can’t wait to try it! Winter is always my time to shake yup my routine since I don’t like to run in the cold.

Love that “mix and match” body weight workout list. Perfect for those of us who travel a lot!

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amy@healthyhungryhappy.com November 28, 2011 at 9:06 AM

awesome ideas. love crossfit style workouts..short and sweet…actually short and brutal :).

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Sara Grambusch November 28, 2011 at 7:49 AM

Oh I have been wanting to try TRX, I’ll look into it some more!

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Chef Katelyn November 28, 2011 at 7:10 AM

Most necessary. Starting TODAY. Thanks for the motivation g-fran!

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Lori November 28, 2011 at 7:23 AM

Great, Ms. Chef Katelyn! 😉

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