How to Get Started Exercising....

Updated on June 08, 2012
M.O. asks from Channahon, IL
13 answers I'm 36 and hardly exercised ever. I played sports until Junior year of high school when I had to get a job, but since then, its been downhill. I stayed pretty thin for a long time but now its caught up to me after having 3 babies and I am at least 40 pounds overweight. I was trying to teach my son to ride a bike yesterday and was exhausted running beside him. I am so out of shape!!!! I have a good diet plan in place but am ready to begin a real exercise program. For the summer, I am going to stick with walking and the normal summer activities. But, my youngest starts preschool in August, 3 days a week. I want to get a membership to the xSport Fitness by his preschool and exercise there while he's at school. I have no idea what machine to use, what to set a treadmill or stairstepper at, or how to begin? Do you know of a plan for people really out of shape and with no clue? Is there a book or website that can help me get started? I need specifics,....walk 10 minutes on level 3, increase to level 6....., lift 10 lbs on this machine or that 10 times, etc.....Any help or advice would be so appreciated. I feel like if I go, it won't do any good if I just wing it. I really want to know what to do before I get there. Thanks fo

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answers from Rockford on

You said you have a good diet plan in place, which eating right AND exercising is really the only way to get the weight off & keep it off. I've lost 58 lbs. with a diet plan & exercising, and it took me a little over a year. I keep the weight off by running & cardio exercises I do in my home. With that said, when you join a gym, they usually have a dietician & personal trainers available to get you started. They will go through each machine with you & develop a 'workout plan' for you. IF they don't offer this in the membership, it would be worth paying a personal trainer to develop a workout plan instead of winging it. Good luck to you, it's hard work, BUT, the benefits are SO very worth it health wise & energy wise!! :-))

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answers from Norfolk on

I lost 30 pounds using a treadmill. I lost an additional 25 pounds because of healthy diet alone. Begin slowly, so that you don't burn out. Keep your goal in mind always. I look and feel like a different person. I used to wear a size 14 jean, and am now wearing a size 4. YOU CAN DO IT! I'm 52, so you ought to have an advantage of having a faster metabolism. Good luck, and be patient!

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answers from Norfolk on

A gym is great if you actually go.
Many people get a membership and stop going after 6 or 8 weeks.
Gyms love this because they still have your money whether you go or not.
Walking is great and can be done in most weather or you can walk a mall before the stores open if the weather is bad.
Walk around the block, use lots of stairs, park farthest away in the parking lot and you can add steps to your day.
Aim for a mile a day.
It will be hard at first but will get easier/faster within a few weeks.
If the kids are riding bikes, then you can ride with them.
Gradually increase distance/time you spend walking.
Just keep moving!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Nobody knows what to do before they even get started. If you want to do research, go to But this is one thing that involves putting one foot in front of the other - not hours of reading books.

I'm with A L. Join the Y. It's for the whole family. The kids love it.

They even have family zumba nights and kid fit excercise classes.

The whole family can use the pool all summer.

I go to the excercise classes. Instead of watching the clock, the hour flys by and I feel so energized afterward! I do Zumba and yoga.

The machines are intimidating at 1st. That's why I used to just go to the stationary bikes, stairclimber, and treadmill. But the Y will give you free sessions with a personal trainer that will teach you how to use the machines and help design a plan just for you.

They have a kiosk you sign into called mobile fit that helps you track your goals.

If you have cable or Netflix, look for some workout shows and try it at home. I have fit tv. I dvr bellydance, yoga, zumba, kickbox, brazilian butt workout. I try a little of this and that until I find what I like.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Do you have a Y close to you? What I like about the place is one, they have childcare IF you need it AND moreover, children's classes. Also, of course they have adult classes. I prefer a group class (as oppose to a solitary gym workout) by being in a group, I stay more motivated to complete the exercise and push myself more than I would if I were alone.
not to mention, when you sign up at the Y, you often get 3 FREE personal training sessions.. that way, you get accustomed to their gym and learn how to use the machines.
More than anything, I think when you begin an exercise program, working out in a group seems to be more beneficial.. (at least for me)
The Y also offers various classes from aerobics, Zumba, spin to Yoga...
The more you use your family pass, the cheaper it is..

If you do decide on a gym... I would just make sure they offer some sort of group classes.. just doing a gym workout can get kinda boring.. at least for me it did..

good luck :)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Just a thought . . .
I too need to exercise. I love walking in a pool. Where I go, 33 lengths of the pool is a mile (16.5 laps). I carry 5 lb weights with me to help exercise my arms, or I will use the water resistance weights. It helps.

I also will say that I like my exercise to accomplish something. So Saturday I spent 5 hours in my garden pulling weeds, digging dirt getting ready to plant corn and squash and lillies. I have already planted watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes and chard. I have a wii exercise app that my wife and I use. I lost 2.6 pounds in the garden, inspite of all the water I drank and several rest periods. I was really happy losing the 2.6 lbs. I'm down 8.5 pounds in two weeks. My goal was 10 lbs in 4 weeks.

Like I said, just a thought . . .

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from New York on

Call the gym and see what they offer for new members. A lot of the ones around here have a personal trainer who works with you for free for a session or two to figure out a routine that suits your needs.

On another note please make sure that you want to work out 3 mornings a week while your child is in school. Gyms love when new members show up all excited with great plans of being there x days a week. They make it fun so you tell all your friends how great they are and your friends join too. Then after a couple weeks you get bored and find other things to do like running errands etc. They have your money, they have some of your friend's money, and you aren't there using their equipment. It's a win for them.

If you really want to work out try getting some light weights and an exercise band or two and working out at home. That coupled with walking should help a lot. If you are still sticking with that routine by August then you can join the gym knowing that it's money well spent; that you will stick with it.



answers from Chicago on

Start with walking and do what you can. As far as machines most places have people there who can show you what to do. But again start slow. If you do too much too soon you risk injury and soreness to the point where you won't go back. The important thing is to find something that you like to do. That way you will stick with it. If you have the money, it is worth it to hire a trainer for a couple sessions to show you some great exercises for areas you'd really want to work.
Good Luck!


answers from New York on

First of all, let me say Xsport is AWESOME. I was a member here until I gave birth to my son a year ago.
Second of all, you can bring your son for the childcare there also on the days he is not in school. My girls always LOVED going to the gym with me.
Third of all - DO THE CLASSES!!! I did them, even when preggo, and I am not a super thin in shape girl! I decided to get over being embarrassed and just do the classes, and they helped tremendously, really pushed me!!
I did strength training, aerobic step and spin classes. They'll kick your butt, you'll meet people and you'll have fun!!!



answers from Chicago on

Hi - I know everyone has something they love doing as far as exercising goes. But if you want to get started at home, I would start with the Jillian Michaels beginner DVDs - she has a Beginner Frontside and a Beginner Backside. They are very basic DVDs. Once you give them a good shot for a couple of weeks you can move up to her 30 Day Shred and Ripped in 30 and after that her other more intense ones. Bob Harper DVDs are pretty tough too and I would not start with those because you lose motivation pretty quickly. I highly recommend the Jillian Beginner workouts. After the Jillian Beginner ones you could also try out Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training. The whole thing is broken up into small circuits and you can choose to do just a few and work your way up to the whole DVD.
Good luck and congratulations on starting out.



answers from Boston on

The thing that works best for me is to have a workout buddy or group. I started training for a 5k last spring with a group of ladies. I never would have finished the c25k program without them! If you join a gym that offers classes, make it a challenge to try at least one new thing this within x months. Once you do that, take another and another. Classes are good for motivation because you have someone else helping keep you on track. I really enjoyed doing zumba and kickboxing classes. I was intimidated to try both initially, but really enjoyed it once I went. Having a buddy to start out a class is always a plus too!

Other than that, just find something that you like to do and start doing it.

Good luck!



answers from Houston on

Oh gosh! I wish I knew you - I would work out with you! I've been weight training and running for a few years and I love going to the gym! I love dragging my friends in with me for a work out.

Go buy a really cute workout outfit, one that makes you feel awesome. Put it on the first thing in the morning one day but don't go to the gym. Then take it off and put on your regular clothes. Do that for a few days and then one day, you will be so used to putting your work out clothes on, you'll actually want to go to the gym! I know that sounds really lame but believe me, it works.

Once you get to the gym IGNORE all the uber fit skinny minnie women or muscular meatheads you see. You are there for YOU. So let them stare. Believe me, most people have more respect for those at the gym who seem serious about getting in a good workout than coming in looking hot and hip.

Most gyms have an orientation of some sort, where someone takes you around the machines to see how to use them. Most gyms don't want people injuring themselves so they offer this to new members. (be careful, they may want to rope you into paying for a personal trainer).

Go to or a similar site, like muscle and fitness. I get the magazines and they always have a machine section and all the different workouts you can get from each machine, from easy level to maximum strength. Plus, you will see all kinds of training schedules for novices up to die hard juice heads.

Most weight training schedules go like this: Sun - back, Mon - treadmill, Tue - legs, Wed - eliptical, Thu - chest and abs, Fri - stairmaster, Sat arms and shoulders, alternating a muscle group with cardio each day. Don't over do it for the first 2 or 3 weeks - just get to the gym and work your way up. If you stick with it, in a year, you'll be surprised at how long you can go on the treadmill or how much iron you'll be pumping! good luck to you and Let us know how your progress is going.



answers from Savannah on

I would look into the classes that are offered with your gym membership. That way you have a scheduled time where you are commited to going and you will have others to support you through the struggles of motivation. Also, the question of what to do is taken care of for you ... just do what the instructor says!

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