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I don’t know about you, but I just recently started working out again after a very long absence from the gym.  Between health issues, some laziness, and what I felt was a lack of time, I just kind of quit working out.  I didn’t realize how weak I had gotten until I had my daughter and felt the exhaustion of trying to keep up with her as a toddler.  So, back to the gym I went with a new beginner workout routine. 

Exercise Schedule

Here is my current exercise schedule.  Below is the routine I do for each one.  Anyone should be able to complete these exercises even if you are just getting started.

Monday – Arms, Core, Cardio

Tuesday – Legs, Cardio

Wednesday – Core (At home.) Otherwise, off.

Thursday – Arms, Cardio

Friday – Legs, Core, Cardio

Saturday – Off (But I try to get in some activity with the family.)

Sunday – Off


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A quick note about the routines:  you will need to test out different weights to know your starting point.  Start with a lower weight and try to do 12.  If you can get through them really easily, then you need to move up your weight.  If you can’t get through half of them, then you need to move your weight down.  You should be able to start of somewhat easily with each one getting gradually harder.  The last 2 or 3 should take greater effort.  

Also, it is not unusual to start off at a higher weight where you push through the last few and then go down 5 or 10 lbs for the next set.  If you can’t get through a second set of 12 then go down a few pounds for that set.  Use an app or a notebook to keep a record of your workouts so you know where to begin each time.

Arm Routine

Do 3 sets, 12 reps each of the following exercises:

Lat Pull-Downs 

Chest Fly 

Shoulder Press  

Bicep Curl (I like using free weights for this but you can use the machine.)

Tricep Extension (Again, I use free weights but you can use the machine.)

Leg Routine

Do 3 sets, 12 reps of each of the following exercises:

Leg Extension

Seated Leg Curl

Squats (Start with the 12 but do more if you can.  I currently do 3 sets of 20+.)

Pelvic Thrusts

Leg Abduction (I usually use the seated machine but I like this machine as well.)

Leg Adduction (Again, I usually use the seated machine but I this machine as well.)


Do as many as you can of the following exercises.  Once you know how many you can do, try to extend it by 5 more each time.


Reverse Crunches

Planks (Aim for 3 sets at 1 minute each.)

Balance on One Foot – For this, you will stand on one foot with your eyes closed and try to last a minute.  I thought this was the silliest thing when it was suggested I do it but, oh my, it is much harder than it seems.  You will gradually work your way up to standing on one foot while slowly turning your head from side to side.  Your balance will really be tested.


Aim for 45-60 minutes.

You can do anything you would like for cardio as long as it gets your heart rate up and into the fat-burning zone.  I usually just walk on a treadmill but have also incorporated the elliptical and bike on occasion.  I also wear a Fitbit, which I highly recommend, to monitor my steps and my heart rate.  To find your target fat-burning heart rate, use the following calucation:

The fat-burning zone is between 60% and 70% of your max heart rate.

220 – (your age) = Max BPM Heart Rate

Max BMP x (.60) = 60% of Max

Max BMP x (.70) = 70% of Max

Those two numbers will be your target range.

So, using a 28 year old as an example:

220 – 28  = 192 Max Heart Rate

192 x (.60) = 115

192 x (.70) = 134

Therefore, a 28-year-old’s target fat-burning heart rate would be between 115 and 134 bpm.

In closing, I realize that this can be time consuming.  I have been blessed with a job working from home and a moderately inexpensive gym that has child care.  You may need to find your own way of working this in.  It can be done but it may take more effort.  Just know that it is worth it.  If you can find the time or even tweak this routine a little to fit your schedule, it will be so worth it.  

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  1. I truly love your content. This article is amazing. I am sure I will be going through it several times.

    1. Melanie says:

      Thank you, Sophie!

  2. thanks for the great insight and tips.

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