Category Archives: Beginner Exercises

Beginner exercises at Fitness Republic

Ran across this excellent website the other day that in my opinion is one of the best out there for finding good exercises for beginners. The site Beginner exercises at Fitness Republic list over 95 beginner exercises that you can pick from and has them arranged in a number of different ways such as by body area, muscle group or equipment needed (although most of the routines require no equipment or maybe some basics like a mat or exercise ball, resistance band or steps.

Looking over some of the exercises the beginners level seems to focus a lot on building a good foundation. There’s a lot of moves for the core and improving flexibility and strength. I also notice quite a few moves that concentrate on that pesky area behind the upper arm, you know where all that loose skin seems to want to hide!

There’s just too much stuff on this site to go over in a short review like this. There are tools to help you build your own personal workout, there are fitness videos, meal and weight trackers, logs for your workouts and much, much more.

Exercise Balls – Great For Beginners

Exercise balls

I don’t think there is a gym anywhere in America that you enter where you won’t find at least one exercise ball. I’ve been in gyms that didn’t have a jump rope or maybe was missing the resistance bands but NEVER have a seen one without the exercise ball and there’s a few good reasons why.

  1. They’re Fun!That’s right, I don’t think that there is a more child-like piece of equipment in the gym. There are literally hundreds of different exercises that you can do with them and you ‘re bound to find one of them that’s easily within your range of difficulty if you search or just ask one of the gym staff if you’re at the gym.
  2. They help maintain good form and improve posture. I can’t stress this enough to newbies. Form and posture is MUCH more important than amount of weight or number of reps when you’re just starting out. Why? Well for one thing it sets the foundation for more advanced exercises and moves. If you learn the correct way in the beginning you’re more likely to continue to use correct form when the routines and workouts become more physical and demanding. Secondly proper form ensures that you are working the targeted muscle groups. When you cheat a little by changing your posture or form even just slightly you may be bringing different muscles into play that the exercise was not designed to engage. Lastly and most importantly, SAFETY! Using an exercise ball stabilizes your core, helps maintain the natural curvature in your back when doing floor exercises and actually forces you to constantly adjust you posture just to stay balanced.
  3. Versatility. As I mentioned there are hundreds of different exercises created for the ball. A great place to start is with this Complete Guide to Ball Exercises. There you will find workouts of varying degrees of difficulty for just about everyone.

5 Good Reasons Why You May Want to Get a Personal Fitness Trainer

According to Craig Kastning a personal fitness trainer based in Chicago IL, there are a few really good reasons someone may want to consider adding a bit of personal training to their fitness routine.

Craig thinks that especially for people who have ignored their fitness goals for a lengthy period working with a trainer can be the fastest and easiest method to make the drastic lifestyle change required to lose weight, change your diet and fit fitness into your daily routine.

What are some of Craigs reasons for suggesting a fitness trainer?

1.  Maybe you’ve been working out for a while now but lately your results have been small or even no results at all. This is common, sometimes when we do the same exercises day after day we reach a plateau that is hard to break through. A trainer can take a look a what we’ve been doing and make some changes and maybe even look at how changing our diet may make a difference.

2.   Accountability – It’s easy to skip a day or two of working out and before you know it a day or two has turned into a week or two and then a month or two. Take it from me, it can happen to anybody. If you schedule a fitness trainer on a pay per session deal then you’re much more likely to show up at the gym at least on the days that you’re paying for. Sometimes that’s all the incentive you may need to get back on a regular daily schedule.

3. Step up your game. Is your workout still challenging? Does it still have intensity? If not then it could be time to step it up a little. A trainer can help you take it to the next level.

4. Physical limitations or current health conditions. Some people may have physical limitations that might restrict their movement or limit their accessibility to some of the equipment found in the gym. Trainers are taught how to assist people who have limited mobility, health issues or are recovering from an injury.

5.  Nutrition planning. Fitness trainers do more than assist you with your workouts, most are well-trained in nutrition and can offer tips for making healthy food choices and give you pointers on calories, supplements and portions.

These are just 5 of the reasons that Craig lists, you can read the entire list here.

If you’d like to read about my experience with a personal trainer you can read my post Should I Get a Personal Trainer.

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How little exercise is enough?

A recent article in US Today suggest that as little as 15 minutes a day has significant health benefits. The article reports on an eight year study done on over 114,000 subjects and the results have been repeated by several other smaller studies around the world.
Fifteen minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, like a brisk walk was shown to reduce the  participants risk of death by 14 percent and added three years to their expected life span.

More is better
Of course it’s still recommended that adults do at least 30 minutes of exercise 4 – 6 days a week but this should motivate those who may feel that if they don’t have the time or are otherwise unable to do 30 minutes than there is no need to even start.
Sure more may be better but even half of whats recommended is still beneficial.

Should I get a Personal Trainer | Fitness Over 50

Fitness trainer Billy Blanks shows a female wo...

Image via Wikipedia

Benefits of a Personal Fitness Trainer if You’re Over 50

I’ve been hitting the gym for a few years now and until recently had never really considered using a personal trainer.  I don’t know if it’s the male pride thing or that I think that I can just simply figure it all out or what. You know kinda like the man who gets lost on an out of town trip yet refuses to stop and ask one of the locals for directions.

Well I finally decided to try one out. The new gym that I joined a few months ago offers one free session with a trainer with membership and to be honest I didn’t even think about it but they called me one Saturday and I decided what the heck and made an appointment.

The benefits I walked away with from just one session?

  1. Motivation and Accountability.  OK, I’m somewhat of a gym regular so this isn’t a real big issue with me, but it so happened that the day that I had set the appointment for I just wasn’t feeling it and probably would’ve skipped going to work out had it not been for the commitment I had made to someone else. I understand that for the trainer time is money and If I didn’t show up he might not get paid (even though this was a free lesson for me)
  2. Personalized workout plan based on my own fitness goals. As someone over 50 that has managed to lose almost 20 pounds over the last 5 years or so my main goal now is to maintain or possibly increase my lean muscle mass as I age. This is important to keep my metabolism high and fight sarcopenia. The trainer pointed out that I was basically doing the same routine that I had done to lose the weight and that some of that might be counter productive to my new goals. He suggested a few easy changes that should help me get to where I want to be.
  3. Technique and safety. I had mostly picked up all my technique from watching other people in the gym who looked like they knew what they were doing. I mean they looked like whatever they were doing was working for them so why wouldn’t it work for me right? Well it tuned out that my trainer says that 80% of the people in there hadn’t a clue of the proper and SAFE way to lift weights. They were basically doing what I had done! Just copying someone else’s bad moves. He showed me how I could get a lot more resistance (and effectiveness) out of using a lot less weight IF I used proper form. This would also decrease the likelihood of injury which can be a major concern for someone trying to get fit over 50.
  4. Variety. Lastly I was glad to add some new exercises to my routine so that it wouldn’t be so routine. (ok, bad joke but you get the point) He gave me list of different exercises that I could do every day for 2 weeks and never repeat the same one unless I wanted to.

So bottom line? Will I continue to use the trainer? Probably. But not on  a regular basis. I think it’s good to get a little professional advice occasionally no matter what your current fitness or fitness knowledge is. We can all learn a little something but for me I like flying solo so I’ll just make a plan to gt one session a month. Call it a tune up. I discussed this with the trainer and he was all right with it, thought it was a good idea considering I already have a consistent record of working out going on.

My suggestion to you would be to find a gym in your area that offers a free trail or maybe a single session purchase and give it a shot. I found it worthwhile even if I would have had to pay for it!

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Two simple beginner exercises that will burn the fat off

Here are two really great beginner exercises from Men’s Health (don’t worry, they’re good exercises for women too) that can be done at home that will really raise your basil metabolic rate (BMR) therefore burning extra calories long after the exercises are over.
The routine is based on using simple, easy to do moves in what’s called a “count down” sequence. 15 reps of each then 14 reps without stopping and so on until you reach 1 rep.
This will probably be too challenging for some but the great thing is it’s scalable and you can start at fewer if you choose, the author of the article suggest eight.
The article contains instructions on how to do the routines, both written and excellent video (although I would wager nobody over 50 doesn’t remember doing squat thrust). Oops, I guess I gave away one of the exercises. Told you it was a simple one that you could do at home. Now click on the link below to find out what the other one is.