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30-Day Quick Start Exercise Guide for Beginners - Your First Day


Updated May 16, 2014

Starting a new exercise program is easy with this Quick Start Exercise Guide, which will take you through the first 30 days of exercise. Your journey starts now with a few preparations and your first workout.

Step 1: Record Your Measurements - If your goal is to lose weight, record a few basic vital statistics to track your progress.

Step 2: Get Your Doctor's Clearance - If you have any injuries, illnesses or conditions or are on any medications, talk to your doctor to make sure it's okay to exercise.

Step 3: Prepare for Your Workouts - Your cardio workouts are designed to be done on any cardio machine. If you prefer other activities (e.g., running, cycling, fitness videos, group fitness classes), choose another option as a substitute. For the strength workouts, you'll need various weighted dumbbells (e.g., 3-12 lbs), an exercise ball and a mat. If you're new to strength training, familiarize yourself with the basics and how to choose your weight.

Step 4: Your First Workout

Choose any cardio machine (treadmill, elliptical, bike, stairmaster, rowing machine, etc.), set it on a manual mode and find your warm up pace. For the bulk of the workout, you'll change the settings (incline, speed, resistance, ramps, etc.) every few minutes to work at a moderate level, ending with a cool down and using this Perceived Exertion Chart to work at the suggested intensity levels.

  • 5 min - Warm up at an easy-moderate pace Perceived Exertion Level: 4
  • 5 min - Baseline: Increase speed, incline and/or resistance so that you're just out of your comfort zone, but able to talk. Perceived Exertion: 5
  • 2 min - Increase your incline, resistance and/or ramps until you working a little harder than baseline. Perceived Exertion: 6
  • 3 min - Reduce your incline, resistance, ramps or speed back to baseline. Perceived Exertion: 5
  • 1 min - Increase your incline, resistance and/or ramps until you working a little harder than baseline. Perceived Exertion: 6
  • 4 min - Reduce incline, resistance, ramps and/or speed back to a moderate level. Perceived Exertion: 4
Total Workout Time: 20 Minutes

View the full Basic Cardio Workout.

Flexibility Exercises:

Do the following stretches after your cardio:

Next: Quick Start Guide for Beginners - Your First Week

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