Oh how I wish I had the knowledge I have now when I first started my journey into fitness. Would have saved myself so much time and pain. In my 9 years as a personal trainer I have seen many people start their foray into fitness and fall flat on their face because their idea of getting healthy meant switching to fat free milk, running around the block a couple times a week and maybe sitting on a couple machines in the gym and doing some movements that somewhat resemble a person lifting weights. In addition to this I have seen just as many people who have been working out, sometimes for years, and not only not maximizing their efforts, but in fact reinforcing awful movement patterns to the point where working out is actually detrimental to their health. So while this section is intended for beginners I am sure most everyone will benefit from viewing this and touching up their fundamentals.

This video covers some of the most common beginner mistakes I made and have seen over the years when it comes to starting a resistance training program.

Ok- so now that we know some of the pitfalls to avoid how do we proceed?  

As mentioned in the video you must first meet the following conditions before you start to stress your body physically by working out, running, performing any strenuous activity that will raise inflammation.

  1. You must get adequate sleep. Never go less than 6 hours try to get 8.
  2. You must have a relatively good diet. No highly processed carbs, avoid sugar and transfats. This also means including what may be considered a large amount of healthy fats to some people.
  3. You must first obtain an acceptable level of mobility. Address you imbalances.

So after these conditions have been met you're ready to start your journey into fitness. I typically recommend a full body routine 2-3 times weekly for the first 6-8 weeks. After this you can move on to a different beginner or intermediate program, but 3 days a week can get the job done just fine if you decide to keep it there.

Here's the absolute beginners routine outline:

Mobility must be the main focus the first 12 weeks. If you can form strong neurological connections to optimal movement patterns now you will set yourself up for much greater success in the future. I recommend 15 minutes of mobilty work every day at least during the phase, with a minimum of one day devoted to only mobility and no exercise for 30-45 minutes.

Cardio should be low-mid intensity 1-5 x a week. preferably in the form of a hike, bike ride, or extra long walk with the dog. should be 30-120 minutes depending on fitness level and activity. If your goal is fat loss keep it at 3-5 days and add an additional 1-3 days a week of fasted morning cardio. This should be done for 20-40 minutes before you consume any food, shortly after waking. 

Resistance training should revolve around functional full body movements and focus on control. Before you start to workout with weights you need to be able to have adequate movement capacity. In other words if you can't do 10 body squats in a row with good form, below parallel, why in the heck would you add more stress to that system in the form of more weight and/or instability? Here's the program I prefer for beginning clients to establish a solid base of mobility.

  • Squats 3x10
  • Deadlifts 2x8
  • Overhead Press 2x10
  • Chest Press 2x10
  • Row 3x10
  • Pulldown 3x12
  • Planks and other core exercises that focus on activating the transverse abdominals
  • Corrective exercise- the type and volume is based on the individual 
  • We may add in some arm work and shoulder flyes, about 3 sets of each