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Wanna Start Working On Your Fitness? This Workout Plan Is Beginner-Approved

Wellness

Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health.


Soon after you start exercising, you'll begin to feel and see the benefits that physical activity can have on your body and well-being. Regardless, working exercise into your routine takes a lot of determination, and when you're new to it, it can be overwhelming to come up with your own routines.

So, here is a week workout plan for beginners just like you. Before you start, though, consider the following:

For cardio workouts:

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The trick to cardio workouts is finding out what is accessible to you, what fits your personality, and what you feel comfortable fitting into your workout routine. If you don't like running, don't. Stay away from the treadmill. If you don't like cycling, don't cycle. Leave them for someone else. There are several cardio alternatives like the elliptical, rowing machine, climber, pool, and more. So, use those instead of trying to make running and biking happen.

And if you're at home without the previously mentioned exercise equipment, don't sweat it. There are a variety of home cardio exercises you can do, like jumping rope, jumping jacks, jogging in place, burpees, and more.

You have many choices, so take some time to figure out what you do and don't like, then go from there.

For strength workouts, you’ll need some equipment:

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Various weighted dumbbells. Some exercises require heavier weights, while others will need lighter weights or none at all. Try to have a range of dumbbells: a light set (three to five pounds), a medium set (five to 10 pounds), and a heavy set (10 to 20 pounds).

An exercise ball. These giant balls are one of the best tools to strengthen the abs and back and increase stability. They come in different sizes to accommodate your height. When you sit on one, there should be a 90-degree angle at your hip joints and knee joints.

An exercise mat. Yoga mats are thinner and have more gripping ability to hold poses. Thicker mats are best if you choose to do Pilates and abdominal exercises because they cushion the spine while you're lying on your back.

For stretching workouts:

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If there are two things you take from this article, let them be this: stretch before you exercise and stretch after you exercise. It will help during the workout and it will help with recovery after it.

When you don't stretch, your muscles are left tight and this could lead to avoidable injuries occurring. So, in order to ensure that doesn't happen, take five minutes before and after your workout to take proper care of your body. Also, make sure to consult with your doctor before trying these routines if you have any injuries, illnesses, or other conditions.

Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, your workout awaits, below:

Day One: Cardio, Strength, and Stretch

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Modify the workout as needed to fit your fitness level and style. Slow down or stop working out if you feel any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath.

As stated before, your cardio options are endless, including walking, running, aerobics, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

Type: Cardio

Length: 25 minutes

Whichever, exercise you choose, make sure to do it for 25 minutes; and make sure to increase intensity accordingly throughout the 25-minute span.

Type: Strength Training

Length: One set of each exercise, 10-20 minutes

Strength Training Exercises Tips

Choose about 8-10 exercises, targeting the major muscle groups, including the lower body, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs.

Because you're a beginner, you'd want to do one set of 15 reps for each exercise. Choose weights that allow you to complete the reps. It should be hard at the end, but not impossible. If it's impossible you might have to start a lighter weight.

Progress each week by adding a set (until you're up to a total of sets per exercise), using heavier weights or trying new exercises.

Day Two: Recovery, Walking, and Stretching

You worked hard on day one, so give yourself a break on day two. Instead of heading into an intense workout, do some light cardio. Go for a jog, run for a couple of minutes from a light to moderate pace, take a long, brisk walk. Whatever it is that you choose to do, make sure you're up and moving. Because moving more every day contributes to your overall calorie burn.

Workout: 15-minute jog, walk, or light run

Once you're done, don't forget to stretch you back, neck, and shoulders.

Day Three: Cardio, Strength, and Stretch

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Type: Cardio

Length: 21 minutes

Unlike day one, the length of this exercise routine is 21 minutes long; this is mainly because the workout for this day will be a little more intense. For this cardio routine, you will complete a workout that contains basic interval training that will push you, just a bit, out of your comfort zone.

Interval

Beginner Cardio Interval Workout (21 Minutes)

Rate of Perceived Exertion

(RPE)

5 minutes

Warm up at an easy pace. Make sure that you're starting off relatively easy here. Once you're comfortable, increase your intensity by going faster, raising the incline, or increasing your resistance. If you're using at home cardio routines, try to find a hill or simply increase your speed.

Level 3-4 Intensity

(Meaning: You're still comfortable but are breathing a bit harder. And/or you're sweating a little but feel good and can carry on a conversation effortlessly.)

3 minutes

Rest Set: Increase your speed from the warm up and increase incline 1%. Keep a moderate pace. You should feel like you're exercising, but you're also able to have a conversation.

Level 5

(Meaning: You're just above comfortable, you're sweating more, and can still talk easily.)

1 minute

Work Set: Increase incline 1-3% to raise the intensity level. You should feel a slight change in your intensity, breathing a bit faster and just a little uncomfortable. You can raise the incline, if you're not feeling a difference between sets.

Level 6

(Meaning: You can talk, but you're slightly breathless.)

3 minutes

Rest Set: Decrease your speed and incline to lower your heart rate back to a comfortable level. It doesn't have to be the same settings as in the previous rest set.

Level 5

(Meaning: You're just above comfortable, you're sweating more, and can still talk easily.)

1 minute

Work Set: Increase your speed 3-5 increments and increase incline 1-2% to raise the intensity. Feel free to adjust these settings to work at the suggested intensity.

Level 6

(Meaning: You can talk, but you're slightly breathless.)

3 minutes

Rest Set: Decrease your speed and incline to lower your heart rate back to a comfortable level.

Level 5

(Meaning: You're just above comfortable, you're sweating more, and can still talk easily.)

5 minutes

Decrease your speed and incline even more to a very comfortable pace for your cool down.

Level 3-4

(Meaning: You can talk, but you're slightly breathless.)

Once you're ready to move on, just add another work set/rest set to your cardio routine.

Day Four: Active Rest

You don't necessarily have a workout routine today, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be active. Here are a couple of suggestions for your not-so off day:

  • Do some crunches or push-ups while you watch TV.
  • Stretch before bed.
  • Walk leisurely around the neighborhood.
  • Roll around on an exercise ball.
  • Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator.

Day Five: Walking and Stretching

You've worked hard all week and your body is still in recovery from the interval training you introduced on day three. So, just as before, give yourself a break.

Do some light cardio. Go for a jog, run for a couple of minutes from a light to moderate pace, or take a long, brisk walk.

Workout: 15-minute jog, walk, or light run

Once you're done, don't forget to stretch you back, neck, and shoulders.

Day Six: Cardio, Strength, and Stretch

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Same as day one:

As stated before, your cardio options are endless, including walking, running, aerobics, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

Type: Cardio

Length: 25 minutes

Whichever exercise you choose, make sure to do it for 25 minutes; and make sure to increase intensity accordingly throughout the 25-minute span.

Type: Strength Training

Length: One set of each exercise, 10-20 minutes

Strength Training Exercises Tips

Choose about 8-10 exercises, targeting the major muscle groups, including the lower body, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and abs.

Because you're a beginner, you'd want to do one set of 15 reps for each exercise. Choose weights that allow you to complete the reps. It should be hard at the end, but not impossible. If it's impossible, you might have to start with a lighter weight.

Progress each week by adding a set (until you're up to a total of sets per exercise), using heavier weights or trying new exercises.

Day Seven: Rest Up 

You earned it, sis.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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