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How to Kickstart a Workout Routine for Beginners 

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Learning something new in life is exhilarating, but it can also be scary, especially when it comes to starting a workout routine for beginners

The fear of the unknown can keep you stuck if you don’t have strategies to push yourself forward. We come up with all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t begin.

  • It’s too hard.
  • I don’t have enough time.
  • I’m just not an active person.

This post’s objective is to figure out how we get you from someone who doesn’t work out to someone who kickstarts their workout routine. 

So, let’s begin.


How Should a Beginner Start Working Out?

I want to start with a quote by the late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. The quote explains his philosophy on teaching young kids. But I think it relates to anyone starting anything new.

“I love inspiring kids, providing them with tools that are gonna help them, and there are two vehicles, two ways to do it is through information and inspiration. Nothing moves without one of those two things.”

~ Kobe Bryant

People are reluctant to start new things, not because they suck but because they lack information or inspiration.

Three phases:

  1. Exploring Phase
  2. Planning Phase
  3. Understanding Your Mindset Phase

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When You’re a Beginner to Working Out

1. What do you enjoy?  

Get out there and do some flirting; see what’s out there. This part feels like dating with no strings attached. You get to find out who you are. Who knows, you might love Zumba class even though you hate dancing. You might like hiking when you thought you hated camping and the outdoors. You might discover that those dumbbells you were so scared of are your new best friend. The world is your oyster. No commitment. Go explore!

2. What inspires you?

Everyone needs a little hope in their life. Can you imagine a world without hope? Scary. Back to the Kobe Byrant quote: find what inspires you. Does the fit friend who just finished a marathon inspire you? Go hang out with her more. Does a well-known local group class instructor inspire you? Show up to the front row of the class and ask questions afterward. Focusing on what inspires you is an excellent strategy to help you through the beginning months. 

3. How will you make working out a priority?

It sounds like a simple question, but it can be complicated. (I have struggled with this!) Later in the article, I go over three tips I use personally to help me prioritize any habit change. It’s easier than you think.

If you haven’t started thinking about these questions, keep them in the back of your mind over the next couple of days. Let the answers come to you effortlessly, and then jot down your answers in your journal. 

3 Easy Steps to Create a Workout Routine for Beginners 

Planning is my favorite part, and I used to get stuck here a lot, so be mindful of this. Most of this should take you a few hours, and you can refine and tweak as you go. The trick is to find that perfect medium of setting your start date far enough to give you a chance to prepare and close enough that you ride the momentum of your motivation.

Step 1: Access where you are

Begin by evaluating your current situation. Where are you physically, mentally, and emotionally? Kickstarting a workout routine is a great time to get your annual checkup with your physician as well. 

If you want to lose weight, get your body measurements, weight, and body fat percentage. I also have a FREE fitness worksheet planner that will help you with this. Check it out!

Step 2: Set goals

First, visualize your dream outcome. Figure out what you want, and then write out your goal in one sentence using SMART goals. Goals give you direction.

In the beginning, your goal might be to make it to the gym. That’s all you need to do, and you can mark that accomplished for the day. Then, you can slowly build on the small wins and create more momentum. You keep building until you reach the longer-term goals. Have fun in this phase! 

Step 3: Prepare your environment

You want to set up your environment to aid in your success as much as possible. Don’t negotiate this. Look at your current lifestyle, are there foods you shouldn’t be eating? Is the gym you signed up for five years ago an hour away and unrealistic for you to get there? Are there unsupportive friends and family criticizing you all day, knowing you already don’t feel great about this area of your life? Set boundaries with the things that will no longer serve you. 

Michael Hyatt, author of Best Year Ever (audible), takes it a step further and plans out obstacles that he calls triggers. Write out a perceived obstacle and plan your reaction in advance.

3 Tips to Make Working Out a Priority for Beginners

Sometimes, we understand concepts in theory but don’t know how to prioritize the different areas of our lives. (Me!) Prioritizing a new habit change takes effort, dedication, and energy, especially a hard one. 

To ensure success, make sure you are not overwhelmed in other areas of your life. For instance, if you just started a new demanding job and it requires most of your energy to get up to speed, then wait for your work to become stable before building on your exercise habit. Sometimes, we want to take on more, but taking on too much can also hinder us. 

Tip 1:

Think about your workout goal first thing every morning. If thinking about it feels elusive, write down your goal every morning. I used to knock this tip. I wrote it off as weird I couldn’t see myself do something so gung-ho. But I take it back; it works!

Tip 2:

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (audible), recommends focusing on one goal at a time. Make it so that all you need to accomplish that day is your workout. That’s it. Everything else becomes secondary. Chances are, everything else you need to do will get done. Put all your energy into just completing this one task for yourself. 

Tip 3:

Brian Tracy, the author of Eat That Frog (audible), recommends first accomplishing the most challenging task. Make your workout the first thing you do every morning. I’m sure you’ve heard about all the benefits of exercising in the morning, it’s true! You get your most important task out of the way, feel accomplished afterward, and ride off the extra boost of endorphins (your feel-good hormones) for the rest of the day. You’ll be hooked soon! 

How Long Should Beginners Work Out? 

It’s better to work incrementally in steps when starting a new habit. Your body may not be prepared, even if you are gung-ho mentally. Prematurely advancing your workouts can cause you to risk injury.

Start by asking yourself: what do you think you can actually give? Take baby steps, work on making it to the gym first, and then slowly add to your schedule. Getting one workout is better than none, so if you can only get to the gym one day a week, then start with that. But you’ll see faster results if you are more consistent. An average of 3x per week is needed to see significant results, and 6x per week is optimal for the best results. 

An Example Schedule:

Month 1

Week 1: Workout 2x on Tuesday and Thursday for 20 minutes each

Week 2: Workout 2x for 30 minutes each

Week 3: Workout 2x for 30 minutes + 1x group class 

Week 4: Workout 2x for 40 minutes + 1x group class 

Month 2

Week 5: Workout 2x for 50 minutes + 1x group class 

Week 6: Workout 2x for 1 hour + 1x group class 

Week 7: Workout 3x for 1 hour + 1x group class 

Week 8: Workout 3x 1hour + 1x group class + 1x day of 15 min of outdoor running 

The key here is to build gradually; as you become stronger, you’ll be able to do more. Eventually, it will snowball on its own, and you’ll know what to do from there.

How Do You Start Working Out When You Are Out of Shape?

Everyone starts somewhere. Don’t worry if you are out of shape. All beginners are virtually out of shape. Be kind to yourself. Focus on the positive aspect that you want to change. You are taking steps like reading this article and then creating a plan to achieve what you want for yourself. Pat yourself on the back!

17 Reasons To Motivate You to Start a Workout Routine

Okay, maybe it’s a little preachy, and these are all obvious, but sometimes we need reminders for things to click. 

  • Improves your self-esteem and confidence
  • You will want to eat healthier as well
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves and regulates your mood
  • Your skin glows
  • Health preventative
  • You can make it your social time or your private time
  • Lose weight or gain weight
  • Mental clarity
  • Solve some of your minor aches and pains
  • Improves sleep 
  • It strengthens your bones, and you become physically stronger
  • Lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Improves digestion
  • You feel good in your clothes
  • Boosts your energy
  • Releases endorphins (your happy hormones)

Take Away on Starting a Workout Routine for Beginners

I’m excited that you are kickstarting your workout routine. You’re going to love this new life. Get ready for better energy, better sleep, and better work performance. Exercise is a true keystone habit that sets off better habits like wildfire throughout your life.

Building a habit of working out can be challenging initially, but you’ve done hard things before, so I know you can handle it. Remember the three phases: explore, plan, and understand your mindset. I broke it down into phases, but remember, they are not sequential and will definitely overlap. Good luck, have fun, and keep me posted!

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Picture of Susan Pham, mbgFNC
Hi, welcome! I'm Susan, the creator and writer of Manifestaire. My mission is to help you explore the powers of your being so you can create a magical life you love! Here, you can find articles on manifestation, spirituality, metaphysics, yoga, wellness, and so much more.
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