Exercise tips for beginners – The top 10

We alone start as beginners, and I started my journey some 30 years ago. I have joined many gyms and launched many new fads and initially looked for exercise tips for beginners.

I have been coached and coached myself, yet the questions I am always asking or even hear being asked is?

What are the top 10 exercise tips for beginners?

In my experience, you have to overcome many hurdles. Some of them are in your mind, some physical, some financial and some emotional. However, the main points are if you are reading this, you have started your journey and are looking for tips.

I congratulate you for taking this initial step. It is in my book the largest one you have to make. The nest is when you start a fitness routine.

If you’re wondering how to start a new fitness regime, I would suggest that you read the below essential top 10 tips so that you reach your goals as fast as possible.

Appreciate who you are today but progress daily toward who you want to be tomorrow.

Remember that no journey worth doing will take you 7,14,30 or even 90 days to complete.

I would suggest using fitness plans as stepping stones in your fitness journey.

With progression tomorrows you WILL always be the fitter you ( slightly sorer some days – but yes fitter)

1-Follow doctors orders

Ok, I guess you have read it so many times.

“Seek medical advice before any new exercise routine.”

However, this single piece of advice is critical to a beginner – It takes a few minutes for an initial assessment.

It could save your life or even highlight unknown problems which could impede you from reaching your goals.

I will insist on my thing, and that is to go and seek medical advice.

No excuses.

I was diagnosed with asthma at the age of 25 and always wondered why my fitness was less than everyone else.

I still caught every cold or bug as a child. Yet, now I get a flu jab, have preventative medication and even relievers for when an attack comes.

Without medical advice, I would still be dreading the colder months and wishing my lungs did not suck.

My motto – “of all the things to suck at I suck at breathing “

Make A plan, commit and be consistent.

Whoa getting serious I hear you say and yes I am.


Commit to exercising a minimum of 3 days a week.

This schedule allows for rest days a week, and you can train at any time of the day.

Please do not worry if you exercise pre-breakfast, post breakfast, evening or weekends.

As a beginner, you need to get started and worry about tweaking your routine as you get fitter.

Any physical transformation needs complete dedication from you, and you to need to quiet the little voices in your head.


Set a plan – make it visible ( stick it on your fridge, bathroom mirror or even as I do on the back of my front door.

When will your rest days be? Stick to your plan.

If life gets in the way, jump back on your routine as soon as possible afterwards.

If you have a Holiday planned, investigate the local gyms or plan to bring equipment with you ( try kettlebells or suspension systems ).

Find ways to fit walking into each day, take the stairs, not the lift/Elevator.

Once you have a plan you need to decide on a type of exercise – This is a very personnel choice, and you could ask for guidance from you doctor on where to start or even head to a local gym.

I suggest looking for one that has a free trial or one-month r trial – squeeze the personnel trainers for guidance or even ask friendly patron of the gym.

There are so many types I can suggest, but telling you to start with Olympic lifting or running would be dependant on your overall goals.

If you are still unsure I would suggest starting with walking – Build this up till you can walk for 30 minutes, add some hills and head on over to my beginners running routine.

If running is not for you after you have built up a good base, why not head on over to a kettlebells class or even CrossFit.

I am not a big fan of the Globo gym idea, but many people swear by them, and I would suggest you experience it at least once ( it may be for you ).

Once you have an idea of a routine, you wish to try stick with it for three months minimum before switching to a new type.

I have built myself a home gym and include various types of exercise into a single routine – this ensures I am functionally ready for anything my children can throw at me ( I hope at least)

2-Make your workout worth it

You must ensure you get the maximum benefits out of each exercise. Remember, around 80% of the results that come from just 20% of your workout.

The good old 80/20 split – It has been considered that ensuring the 20% is of high Intensity as possible to get maximum benefit.

Remember, Intensity is unique to each person and mean maximum effort.

In theory, this means that an hour’s session will only show 12 minutes of beneficial exercise contributing to the bulk of your results.

Make the minutes count – Chat with friends after the workout, selfies are for the end of a session not during and sweating and being out of breath is the norm.

3- Eat healthily

If you are starting a new fitness routine, remember your body need fuel. Eating a well-balanced diet will provide this fuel.

Food can be split in to good and bad but remember it is slightly more complicated.

Think about merely living off Lettuce, an excellent healthy d price food but with little to no nutritional value.

Good food equals a better ability to grow muscles and progress faster.

Inadequate food will restrict the great work you complete toward your fitness goal.

Start each day the right way – you have heard it, I am sure.

“Breakfast like a king.”

Start each day with a healthy breakfast. It is particularly essential for your exercise days. Skipping breakfast on these days will leave you feeling lightheaded or lethargic.

Ensuring you start each day with high fibre and protein will reap rewards day in day out.

Do not choose those brightly coloured cereals loaded with sugar instead aim for one that will keep you feeling full for many hours.

Try oatmeal or other whole-grain cereals which are high in fibre and add some fruit for sweetness or even some protein powder.

Contrary to widespread debate, carbohydrates are essential for your body and are its primary source of energy.

However, you have to Consume the right kind. Ensure your diet come from Grains, Fruit and vegetables, not sweets and processed foods.

Remember – Fewer ingredients on the label equals better for you.

Protein is an essential ingredient for helping your body repair and builds muscles.

Ensuring you get the right amount of each will ensure you have a source of energy when carbohydrates have been consumed.

Healthy Adults require approximately 0.8 grams of protein per day for every kilogram (0.36 grams for every Lb) of their body weight.

These facts are suggested within reports by Harvard Health Blog.

When you start a fitness routine or if you are older, you may need even more.

Sources of Protein

  • red meat, e.g. beef and lamb
  • poultry, e.g., chicken and turkey
  • legumes, e.g., beans, nuts and lentils
  • fish, e.g. salmon and tuna
  • dairy, e.g. milk, yoghurt, cottage cheese
  • and last but not the least eggs

If you have a sweet tooth, aim for fruit for a delicious option and ensure you eat plenty of vegetables.

Ensure you “eat the rainbow” by choosing fruits and veggies in different colours.

This choice does not mean eating a well-known sweet brand!

Generally speaking, a different colour relates to a different combination of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are released when chewed.

4-Fill up before exercise

It is essential to achieve the right balance of pre-workout snacks that combine carbohydrates with protein.

These elements can make you feel more energised and prepared for the demands you are about to place on your body.

A few personnel favourites I have listed below.


Full of potassium and magnesium, which are essential nutrients to get daily.

A single banana can help replenish these minerals while providing much-needed natural sugars.

Tip – a serving of peanut butter will increase your protein levels.

Berries, grapes, and oranges

These brightly coloured fruits are all full of vitamins and minerals.

These fruits will release a quick energy boost, and help you stay hydrated. ( two birds with one stone)

Tip – add a serving of yoghurt for increased protein.


Nuts are a great source of essential healthy fats and another great source of energy for your workout.

Tip – Pair them with fresh or dried fruit to increase carbohydrate intake.

Peanut butter

The love or hate food of many people but if you can stomach it, spread it all over for a protein and carbohydrate boost.


Look for single-serving packets which an easily stored in a gym bag.

Have you tried spreading them to the below?

  • a slice of whole-grain bread or breadsticks
  • an apple
  • a banana
  • crackers

If you don’t like peanut butter id suggest trying almond butter or soy butter both I find slightly sweeter.

5-Calorie intake – Eat enough

If you’re attempting to lose weight or tone up, you may be tempted to reduce calories from your diet significantly.

However please note cutting calorie may be the first step toward weight loss, but it is possible to go too far.

Weight loss diets and routines should never leave you feeling ill, lacking in energy or tired.

Those are signs that you may not be getting the calories you need.

If you are performing high-intensity workouts you may not need to restrict your calories, Aim for healthy options and

Listen to your body; it will give you signs.

According to many sources, a diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 daily calories is suitable for most women, trying to lose weight safely.

Subsequently, a diet with 1,500 to 1,800 daily calories is appropriate for most men who are trying to shed excess weight.

If you are completing high-intensity exercises or your goal is not focused around weight loss, .you may need to eat extra calories.

As you start or change a fitness journey, watch your body composition.

Is body too thin?

Body not progressing as you feel you should?

Is body tired and irritable?

If so, you may need to increase your calories.

If you are unsure start with the recommended calories for men or women and adjust by 200 – 400 hundred calories each few months and see what works.

Do not increase or reduce the calories too much unless you have spoken to a doctor or dietitian.

It is recommended that men consume 2,500 calories, and women 2,000 a day.

Balance is key

you will probably reveal foods which give you the most energy and some which don’t.

Listen to your body, balance what feels right with what’s good for you and more importantly, what you enjoy eating.


Make breakfast part of your routine.

Choose complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, healthy fats. Include varied colours of fruits and veggies.

Stock up with healthy snacks.

Achieving your goals can only be achieved by eating a healthy diet.

Remember regularly eating a cheeseburger with a 2-person serving of French fries, won’t do your body any favours.

You should make sure that you eat small regular meals, and remember Balance your nutritional needs and avoid diets fads.

 Change Your Eating Habits

Ensure that you eat correctly as well as eating healthily.

Eating includes eating at the right times of the day. Not skipping breakfast is essential to reduce snacking mid-morning.

You should not eat too late in the evening also due to not needing the energy and your body storing it as fat,

6-Plan out your routine

Make sure that you know when you’re going to be working out and when you can look forward to some rest bite.

Remember – Be realistic about how much time you can make free – Do not schedule a long workout if it will be challenging to stick to, Aim for a short, intense workout instead.

Once made stick to your schedule as much as possible. This will ensure you don’t slide into the habit of skipping the gym and make your targets achievable.

7-Do not be put off

It’s easy to look at a well-defined bodybuilder and suddenly panic. Don’t worry women come in all shapes and sizes as men do – Bodybuilders are different shapes to cross-fitters to runners or swimmers.

It is difficult for women to bulk like a male bodybuilder.

Don’t forget many women are stronger than most men but physically building huge muscles require male dominate hormones, you achieve your goal; you need a plan and will to work.

8-Keep It Simple stupid

Remember – Why did you start on your fitness journey?

Write it down

To prevent injury and ensure progress with your training, you should make sure that you familiarise yourself with the basics first.

I have set out a few beginner workouts and a beginners section on this site to assist you as best I can.

Start with some shorter sessions or even single exercises and then expand your plan.

9- Prepare

Make sure that you have a p plan of how you would like your workout to go.

Come up with some realistic goals,

Therefore, if you want to have 6-pack abs, work your abs or if you would like to lose weight and tone up, make sure that the time frame that you set yourself is achievable.

Without a plan, your journey has no destination


Getting 6-pack abs, bulging biceps, and huge strong legs require that you are lifting weights.

If you are carrying a few pounds or Kilos more than is ideal, you need to make sure that you fit in ways to burn off the fat.

Either by doing regular cardio or High-intensity workouts or reducing your calories.

This fat loss will allow your muscle will start to show through.

10 -Visualise

It is very beneficial to have a visual inspiration for your goal. This visualisation will keep you motivated as you lose weight.

Why not perform a Google image search?

Print off any images that represent your goal and post them

These images will ensure that you are motivated and moving every day towards a visual goal.


As a beginner you will be bombarded with information but if you remember the basics listed above you will not go far wrong.

  1. Follow doctors orders
  2. Make Your Workout Worth It
  3. Eat Healthily
  4. Fill up before exercise – Breakfast is king
  5. Calorie intake – Eat enough
  6. Plan Out Your Routine – Stick it up
  7. Do not be put Off – Plan for you, not others
  8. Keep It Simple stupid
  9. Prepare each workout
  10. Visualise your goal – Print those images

At the end of the day, work hard daily towards your goals, and you will be better tomorrow than you are today.

If you have any further tips you wish to share, please share below.

Author Profile

Owner and author at shortandintense.com , 25 years as a quality and health and safety professional with an in-depth knowledge of functional and corrective exercises. IHoS registered,lead auditor, personal trainer and human movement specialist.

8 thoughts on “Exercise tips for beginners – The top 10”

  1. Exercise and healthy food help people live healthy life. Exercising regularly lowers a person’s risk of developing some diseases, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. But Change in Eating Habits is so important for all, I mostly support this part of this article. Exercise can help keep your body at a healthy weight, but without a change in eating habits, nothing is possible.

    • I totally agree Cecilia, It is very difficult to outwork a bad diet – I always like to think of bad eating habits is like putting the wrong grade of fuel in your car,it will work but not as efficiently – High octane Fuel like fruit, Nuts and Vegetables are key for maximising your efforts and recovering quicker

  2. Exercise helps people lose weight and lower the risk of some diseases. Exercising regularly lowers a person’s risk of developing some diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Exercise also can help keep your body at a healthy weight. Exercise can help a person age well. Judging from your review I must these are really great tips for beginners.

  3. Hello Brian thanks for sharing this informative review, it’s really helpful. I would say exercise is so essential to everyone,  doing various exercise helps in various way in the human body. But before doing these exercises we should follow all the various procedures if we look at the  list of things we must do as stated in this review we will get the accurate results  we desire. 

    • Hi Diddy? 

      You are so correct – Everybody if different thankfully – Image a world were every open was the same. YUCK. 

      Have a look around the site or my socials for further tips and suggestions.

  4. Hi!  Thanks for this article.  It has an excellent set of tips for a beginner.  I definitely agree that people should seek medical advice before starting and to eat healthy.  I’ve known people who nearly died because they were doing too much too soon and NOT eating enough.  He gave himself a concusion nearly passing out one day.  What if he that had happened driving or going down stairs?  

    I’ve also heard that you should remove obsticals to your goal.  Like, if you’re going to start jogging first thing in the morning, lay out your workout clothes and gear the night before and put it where you’ll put it on immediately. People are apparently less apt to be lazy the easier they make achieving their goals. If you have to get up and then go to the closet, drawers and then find your sneakers, you’re less likely to do it.  They also recommend making it HARDER for you do to bad habits, which makes it easier to quit those habits.  Say, if you’re addicted to your phone and want to cut down on screen time before bed, they suggest putting it across the room. You’re less likely to get up to go check it.

    Thanks again for the suggestions!

    • Evening Jade, 

      Thanks for the details comment – Goal setting is crucial to your long term progression. It not only shows you the way forwards but motivates your from where you have been. 

      I will take your tip on the phone and place it across the room – The added bonus ill have to get up to answer my emails – Bonus steps Woot 🙂 


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