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Easy to Follow Cardio Fitness Program For Beginner

I was always intrigued by fitness. When I became an adult, I remember my mom going to the gym for what was probably 2 years when I was a teenager and that was what I thought I needed to do. The only way to be healthy and follow a fitness program for beginner was in a gym setting. Oh was I wrong.

When I was 18, I signed up for a women’s gym after school and went for a few months and stopped. I started at another gym after I moved and stopped again after a few months.

The idea I had of fitness was very limited, so if I didn’t like the gym, what was I supposed to do? I also tried boot camp classes, which I really like, but it was so hard to get there I might have gone 3 times in total. I really wanted to try running so I got a Couch to 5k app, but I never finished it. My in-laws had me join a softball league, which was a lot of fun, was I ever good… haha, no but I liked it.

I am telling you all this, because as much as you can be motivated to start a fitness program for yourself, it is a lot more important to find something you like. You might need to try out a few things, and that’s okay. The gym is not for everyone. I still don’t like lifting weights or doing Hiit workouts, but I discovered over the years that I love endurance training. If you only reason to start is to lose weight, think again.

black and white typewriter on green textile

Why are goals important?

The easiest way to quit any fitness program for beginner, especially when you are starting and if you never found your passion in fitness. It will be by not having a clear goals. Even further, by not having a real awareness to why you are doing this. 

When you do write down your goals and come up with a plan of action, you are 20% more likely to finish what you started. You need to have a clear understanding of why you are doing this, because the day it will be hard and you don’t want to continue, you will have to dig deep.

I will use weight loss here as an example, but it can be anything. Ensure that any goals you have are clear. Remember, losing weight isn’t clear. Instead, use losing 20 pounds.


For example, your long term goal could be to lose 40 pounds. Remember to also set for yourself short term goals, because even if it might take you a while to lose 40 pounds, a short goal of exercising 3 times per week will be just as important to make sure you are motivated and on track. Even if you want to lose 40 pounds, when you lose 5 or 10 or 15, it is still an accomplishment you should be celebrating. 

Keep yourself motivated, make sure you can cross off all your goals when you get there. I know smaller goals might not seem like much, but they are just as important!

Exercise to do

On a piece of paper, start by writing down, with no judgment, a list of long term goals.  (3 months and more in the future)


  • Lose x amount of pound
  • Being able to touch my toes
  • Run a 5K
  • Lift 50lbs

Below your long term goals, write list of at least 5 short goals for each. 


Long term goals: Run a 5K

Short term goals: (3 months and less)

  1. Run 3x per week for 1 month
  2. Run for 5 mins without stopping
  3. Run for 10 mins without stopping
  4. Run/walk a 5K
  5. Run 1K 3x per week
woman carrying barbells during a fitness program for beginner

Why starting a fitness program matters?

It is one thing to want to start, have short and long term goals, but you need to know why you are doing all this. To be healthy might not be enough. 

Next to your list of long term and short term goals, write down the following answers. 

  1. Why does this matter to you? 
  2. When you cross it off, how will it make you feel? 
  3. What makes you want to have this goal completed? 

Don’t forget, you are allowed to be selfish here. Also, you are allowed to want this for any number of reasons. If you don’t feel good the way you are and want to change that, it’s okay. 

I know there is a big trend in loving who you are, but it doesn’t mean that you aren’t allowed to want more for yourself. The only thing that matters is what you want. Don’t listen to anyone else. 

Finding out why you are doing this, and really understanding the true reason you want to make this change for yourself will have a bigger impact. This is what will keep you going every day.

What will keep you motivated when you don’t want to work out? Dig deep! What is your big why?

Fitness Evaluation

First thing, before you start any fitness program for beginners or any program that changes your health. Always speak to your healthcare professional to ensure that you have the okay to start. I am not a healthcare professional and the information below is solely informational and does not replace any information you have received from your doctor. 

Sedentary – Level 1

First, you will fall into this category if you have not worked out in a while or never worked out at all. The idea of going on 5 walks per week for 30 mins sounds hard. That is a good indication of where you are at. Don’t be discouraged, this is just the evaluation so you can start the best way possible to avoid a setback later. See below for the plan to get you started!

Light Activity – Level 2

Second, when you have been introducing activity for a while back into your life, you are comfortable when your friends and family want to go for a small walk or hike. You might have bigger goals, you start feeling good about yourself and have more energy. 

After passing the sedentary level, you might want to join an aerobic fitness class or even sign up for your first race! Additionally, it doesn’t have to be for competition reasons, but to ensure that you have bigger and bigger challenges ahead to keep you motivated. 

Now it’s time to start a more active workout. You can add anything that will enable your heart rate to increase at a higher level and introduce intervals. 

Some examples of activities

  • Running
  • Elliptical
  • Bicycle
  • Zumba Classes
  • Water aerobic
  • Belly Core
  • HIIT workout

This is where you start to try out and find what you like. Everyone has different interests and there is something out there for each one. 

In this example, I am only referring to cardiovascular exercise, and yes, mobility and weight training are very important in a fitness routine, but one step at a time!

shallow focus photography of person walking on road between grass

Cardio Plan for Beginners

Any good plan will start you building a foundation and good habits. If I were to ask you to run a 5K, you would more likely quit after a few weeks. Not the idea of a good fitness program for beginners. As much as you want to do a lot, please keep in mind it’s not a 30-day program. Furthermore, this will be the stepping stone for you to be healthy and fit for the rest of your life. 

Let’s not do this again in 6 months, because once again you feel bad that you quit and you could not complete it. Let’s do this right and get you on the right track to your success!

To Start set up in your calendar 2 or 3 walks per week for 10 to 15 mins.

Keep doing this, until you are comfortable. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It may take a few weeks for your mind and body to get accustomed to this. 

When you are comfortable with the steps above. Now, it’s like second nature, you can increase the duration of each walk. If you were only walking 2 times per week you can increase to 3 and keep your 10 to 15 mins. If you were walking 3 times per week, increase the time by 1-2 mins each week. 

Your plan may look something like this: 

  • Week 1 – 3 walks 15 mins – Total time 45 mins
  • Week 2 – 3 walks 15 mins – Total time 45 mins
  • Week 3 – 3 walks 15 mins – Total time 45 mins
  • Week 4 – 3 walks 17 mins – Total time 51 mins
  • Week 5 – 3 walks 19 mins – Total time 57 mins
  • Week 6 – 4 walks 15 mins – Total time 60 mins
  • Week 7 – 4 walks 17 mins – Total time 68 mins
  • Week 8 – 4 walks 19 mins – Total time 76 mins

With this in mind, until you reach 5 walks per week for a duration of 30 mins, keep it easier on yourself. When you are comfortable to walk, you switch and start to run, bike or use the elliptical. Again, you want to reach a point where you can easily do 30 mins at a comfortable pace, not sprinting here, more like light jogging 5 days per week. 

I know this might seem like a slow approach, but you have to let your heart and body have a chance to adjust. It takes about 6 weeks to build a new habit. Don’t forget your brain needs time also. 

I would rather you start slow but never quit!

person clicking Apple Watch smartwatch to start a fitness program for beginner

Why does this approach work? 

From a research done by the journal Circulation, it shows that consistent aerobic exercise for 2 years can reverse the effect of a previous lifestyle. 

Building the writing foundation. Why? Finding the approach and activity you like and want to keep doing will be best for your long-term goals and health. Forget the fitness program for beginners that promises you to be super flexible in 30 days or lose 30 pounds in 30 days. If you don’t like what you are doing, you will be very likely to quit after a few weeks.

What changed the game for me, was after my daughter was born. I needed to lose that baby weight. I had a Wii Fit, a yoga mat, a pair of shoes and a bike! That’s what I did. Until I went for dinner at an old friend’s house I hadn’t seen in a while. His boyfriend was talking about the marathon he ran. He didn’t look the part, was not athletic, and didn’t seem in great shape either, but he made me realize that you are allowed to run slowly or even walk during a marathon. I was hooked. I always loved the idea of running, but just never could stick to it. So I went home, found a plan, and learned to run.

My values and foundation changed that day; I had clear long-term goals and a lot of smaller goals with my plan. On the days I didn’t want to go out, I had the idea of running a marathon and that was enough for me to keep me going.

The 5 major components

Aerobic Fitness

Also called cardiorespiratory exercise is a form of exercise that increases the amount of oxygen in your blood and strengthens your heart and lungs. Your body can perform large muscle movements, like the muscles in the legs, core and arms for an extended period. 


  • walking
  • running
  • swimming
  • dancing etc.

Muscular Strength

These major components are most commonly found in lifting weights, going to the gym, and working out in general. Muscle strength is important to ensure that you will be able to support yourself without pain or aches. The functional core muscle, not the 6-packs, if strong will reduce pain in the lower back and release pressure in your pelvis area. 

The idea would be to create a repetition of movement. 

Some exercises include

  • lifting weight
  • resistance bands workout
  • yoga
  • climbing stairs
  • walking uphill
  • cycling
  • callisthenics

Muscular Endurance

It is defined as the ability for a muscle to exert a force repeatedly or to be able to hold a static position for a long period of time. 


  • bodyweight workout
  • yoga
  • callisthenics
group of women doing yoga


Having the ability to move joints through a complete range of motion. Increasing your flexibility will help reduce risk of injury as well as create general movement for your body. 

Some exercises include static stretching, holding a position for x amount of time, or dynamic stretching which moves you from pose to pose. 

Example would be Yin Yoga vs a more standard yoga class

Body Composition

Most will use the BMI chart to ensure their body composition is in the normal range. Even with a normal BMI, you might still experience a higher level of body fat or have a lot of muscles and be considered out of range in your BMI chart. 

Having a proper body fat assessment done will help you determine your general health and body composition. 

Frequently Asked Questions

It is important to find a plan that will work for all aspects of your health. You want to find a program that works your cardio, your muscles, strength, your flexibility and that is sustainable for you. The program should build slowly each week to avoid injury.

  1. Always talk to your health care professional for an assessment of your physical and mental health.
  2. Discover which type of aerobic exercise you like to do, and which cardio you want to do for the long term.
  3. If you have been sedentary, start slow, let your body and mind adjust. Only increase your exercise by 10% every week.
  4. Find an activity that will build up your muscles and provide flexibility to reduce pains and aches.
  1. Find why you want to get in shape, not just “I want to lose weight”, the true reason that will keep you going.
  2. Write down your long term goals for your health and fitness.
  3. Write down 5 short term goals for each of your long term goals.
  4. Find an aerobic activity you like, start slowly.
  5. Increase by 10% every week until you can easily perform 5 days a week 30 mins low-moderate intensity.
  6. Find a strengthening exercise to build up your muscle and flexibility.
  7. Start slowly and only increase when the amount of repetition or workout becomes easy.

The last thing you need to start your fitness program for beginner

I truly believe that the only way you can be successful with general fitness and health is by understanding why you are doing this for yourself. Truly understanding your values and the reasons you will want to be healthier will keep you going day in and day out.

The 30-day challenges are sometimes great for a jumpstart approach, but not sustainable to still be healthy when you are 85 and have been doing daily actions for the past 30, 40 or even 50 years of your life.

All small actions matter, 15 minutes walks per day totals 5,475 minutes at the end of the year. It all adds up. Start adding up your small actions today.

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