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12 Weeks to Weight Loss - Day 1

Day 1


Updated May 28, 2014

Man in a gym running on a treadmill.
Gary Burchell/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Get Started

In the introduction, you learned some of the basics for getting started. Now, it's time to get started, step by step.

Step one: If you haven't already done so, use the following forms to set your goals and get your vital statistics recorded so you can track your progress. You might want to use this 12-Week Exercise & Weight Loss Journal or your own journal to keep track of your workouts and eating.

Step two: Take a deep breath and get ready for your first cardio workout. Just think how good you'll feel when you're done!

Cardio Focus: Intensity

Today's cardio workout involves interval training. This method of training is a great way to burn calories in a short period of time. With interval training, you add short high energy 'spurts' where you raise the intensity and then fully recover, alternating work sets and rest sets for the length of the workout. Interval training helps quickly increase endurance which allows you to workout harder and longer. If you're a beginner, please modify according to your fitness level. If you can only go for 10 minutes then, by all means, go for it. It's all about where you are now, not where you want to be.

Choose one of the options below and get moving.


  • Option 1: Beginners Interval Workout - This 21-minute treadmill workout involves slight increases of speed and/or incline during your work sets. This workout can also be done on any other machine (elliptical trainer, stationary bike, etc.).
  • Option 2: Elliptical Workout for Beginners - This 20-minute elliptical workout involves increasing your resistance/ramps slightly during your work sets.
  • Option 3: Beginner Stationary Bike Workout - This 20-minute workout involves increasing resistance slightly during your work sets.
  • Option 4: - You can find more options at Beginner Cardio Workouts.


  • Option 1: Intermediate Interval Workout - This 30-minute workout involves working for 1 minute at a harder pace and recovering for 3 minutes. This can be done on any cardio machine.
  • Option 2: 45-Minute Boredom Buster Treadmill Workout - For 45 minutes, you'll change speed and incline for a challenging interval workout.
  • Option 3: Make Your Own Workout
    Make your own interval workout: Begin by choosing an activity--walking, running, swimming, cardio machines, etc. then doing the following:
    1. Warm up with about 5-10 minutes of light cardio
    2. Increase the intensity for 2-3 minutes so that you're working at a Perceived Exertion (RPE) at Level 5
    3. For 1 minute, increase intensity (speed walking, running, hill-walking, etc.) to a Level 7-8
    4. Recover at a lower intensity for 2-3 minutes
    5. Alternate high intensity with low intensity for 20 or more minutes if you're a beginner, more if you're intermediate/advanced.

Visit my Workout Center for more cardio workout ideas.

Strength and Flexibility Focus: Flexibility

Do this flexibility workout after you've cooled down from the cardio. Hold each stretch for at least 10-15 seconds (more if you have time). This part of your workout should feel good, so enjoy it.

Nutrition Focus: Food Diary

Starting today, keep track of everything you eat in a food diary. You can use something like DietMinder, print this free food diary or use an online diary. Don't change your habits just yet--eat normally and record what and how much you eat each day. Use a food database to find nutritional content of what you're eating. Record the number of calories you've eaten at the end of each day.


Motivation can be hard to come by when you're starting out with exercise. Check out these easy tips for getting started with exercise.

| Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Full Weekly Calendar |

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