Simplifying Exercise for Beginners

exercise for beginners

Making Exercise Just a Little Less Intimidating

Workout structure and duration are two of the most common workout principles we get asked about and for good reason.

Exercise programs have gotten more and more complex throughout the years, but it doesn’t have to be. From super-sets on top of pyramid sets with varying resting interval profiles, it seems like a Ph.D. is required to actually understand what the heck to do with your typical online program. If it’s not that, the program is telling you to work out for 60 minutes to get any noticeable effects…talk about intimidating.

Breaking Down Exercise for Beginners

Honestly, does all of this workout clutter actually produce noticeable results? Do you really have to do [insert your least favorite exercise] for 60 minutes to get results (exaggeration of course)?

So for the beginners out there that are worried about exercise duration and creating a highly complex workout because “That’s what everyone else is doing”, let’s dive into some recent research that is helping to paint a different light on this issue.

Maybe it can help make fitness for beginners less confusing and intimidating, or at least we can make it more manageable and sustainable.

Do You Have Complexity Issues?

dumbbellsThose complex programs we described above might not seem that complex to you but to the newbie, they can be perplexing and frankly intimidating.

While these workouts do help many individuals reach results it has also been found in a 2014 study that simple workouts (pre-exhaustion workouts were used in the study) performed at a high intensity can achieve the same results as more complex workouts with varying rest sets and intervals after the course of the 12-week study.

Both were equally effective, meaning for those just starting out on their fitness journey it is okay to have a simple workout; just perform it at a high intensity and you will still achieve results!

The study mentioned that the complex sets and resting intervals are merely a personal preference, so if you like them then keep them but they aren’t required.

For the beginners out there, keep it simple but keep your workout at a high intensity in order to see the maximum results! [Note: “high-intensity” in the study was described as exercising when “effort is maximized”]

There Goes That Old Excuse

You know the excuse I’m talking about, “Well I would really love to work out but I only have 15 minutes…so I’ll just grab a beer and watch some TV.”

I may break your heart but you can’t use that excuse anymore. Get this, a recent 2014 study found that a little exercise (running was the form of exercise in this study) can go a long way in improving your heart health and decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Short bursts of running, even if they totaled less than one hour over the course of an entire week, was just as effective at decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease as long duration running was (3 hours a week); both decreased the risk by 45%.

Both were effective at decreasing the overall risk of mortality by up to 30% compared to individuals who didn’t run, with runners living on average three years longer than non-runners. Yup…exercise matters! The most important factor was that the participants ran on a persistent basis in order to significantly improve their cardiovascular health!

This in no way means that you should exercise less. In fact, you should make sure to exercise at a persistent basis throughout the week.

What this means is that now you always have time to exercise whether it’s 10 minutes or 20 minutes, a little exercise every day throughout the week can be very beneficial to your overall health.

There goes that old, quite honestly, “crappy” excuse!


With me being the nerd that I am, I realize that one or two studies don’t make something a fact, but it does help point us in the right direction towards exercising smarter and more efficiently.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not a call for everyone to exercise less or drop their workout routines. Many people enjoy longer workouts or more specialized routines – myself included.

Instead, I’m telling those who are trying to take charge of their health that exercise doesn’t have to be intimidating. In fact, it can be an enjoyable, sustainable practice that doesn’t require a big portion of your day. Just remember when it comes to fitness for beginners and starting out that:

  1. A little goes a long way as you are beginning
  2. Drop the excuses and just start – you will pick the rest up as you go

You got this!

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Founder at DIY Active
Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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