You may be an aging guy who has reached a point in life where you want to dedicate yourself to becoming fit. Or, you may be a guy who wants to get fit but utterly hates the idea of exercise. Perhaps you are someone who has started a journey toward fitness but you didn’t have success. Maybe you are one of those guys who has joined a gym on January 2nd and by February 2nd, you are done. But, now you’d like to give it another go.
It’s absolutely vital to start a fitness program well. If you start poorly, it will be miserable, you’ll see little to no progress, and you’ll quit.
My aim in this article is to provide guidance to help; you get set up for a successful start in your journey to fitness.
Workout Plans for Beginners
There is no lack of workout plans available on the internet. I Googled “workout plans for beginners” and 150,000,000 results popped up. So, if you do the same, you should be able to find a workout plan that suits you and your goals. It’s super important that you start with specific fitness goals and a specific plan or you’ll flame out just like so many other guys of all ages, especially older dudes like us.
I’m going to offer some tips to help set you up for success.
- Check with your doctor. See if he has any suggestions or precautions.
- Find a plan that is going to be do-able for you. Make sure the plan includes recording your progress every day. That can be done on printed copy or online. (I prefer online. I can do it on my phone after each set.)
- A basic recommendation I make is, do weight training 3 days a week and cardio 3 days a week. It doesn’t have to be massive amounts of time. Weight training could be done in 45 to 60 minutes and HIIT cardio for 20 minutes.
- Set specific goals and put them in writing (see my post on fitness goals and motivation at:
- Enlist the help of someone for motivation and accountability. This could be a workout partner, a personal coach or someone you know, respect and trust.
- At the time of this writing we are still in COVID-19 lock down. A friend of mine and I are about to start an 8-week training program using resistance bands. We’re going to meet each day on Zoom. When we can, we’ll do the workout at the same time. When we can’t do that, we will at least touch base for encouragement and accountability.
- Use a workout program that has your exercises planned and in writing so you can record your actual results on either hard copy or electronically. This includes your cardio sessions.
- Watch videos on the correct way to perform various exercises. (There are many, many available on YouTube)
- Remember, proper nutrition is even more important to fitness than exercise. You can see my previous posts for more information:
- Balance: I Google “balance exercises for older men” and there were 87,000,000 results. If you’re older than 60 you probably have noticed that your balance isn’t what it used to be. In fact, if you are one of those unfortunate guys that has begun to fall down, there is good news. You can regain our balance. Over the decades we spend so much time sitting on our butts and so little time doing things that require balance, it just slowly begins to deteriorate. Like so many other things with our bodies, it’s a “use-it-or-lose-it” proposition. You can do some balance exercises almost anytime. Do them while you’re watching TV.
- Flexibility: Just like balance, flexibility is a “use-it-or-lose-it” proposition. 154,000,000 results from Googling “stretching exercises for older men”. Good stretching exercises done regularly can help you become more flexible than you’ve been for many years. TV time is also a good time for stretching.
- Last but not least, use Moderation. Don’t try to regain your youthful fitness in one session. In the first few weeks, especially, it is better to err on the side of being too moderate than overdoing it. Your body will not respond well to overdoing exercise. You risk getting sick or injured. Either of those will set you back on your fitness journey.
Weight Training Routines for Seniors
Google offers up 63,000,000 results for “weight training routines for seniors”. Depending on your current level of fitness, you may wish to select a workout routine designed specifically for old folks like us. I’ve been working out regularly over recent years so I prefer a workout that is more challenging and produce greater results. If you are more of a beginner, remember hat you would rather err on the side of being more moderate. You can always go for routines that are more challenging later when yo are physically and mentally ready for it.
Cardio Workout Routines
As with resistance training, what kind of cardio workouts you choose should be the ones that will best support your fitness goals. Is your goal primarily about fat loss or overall cardiovascular health?
If fat loss is your goal, you’ll be able to best measure your progress by measuring your percentage of body fat. You can get this done at most health clubs. Or, you can buy skinfold calipers. They are inexpensive. Remember, if you are gaining lean muscle mass while losing fat your overall weight might not be going down much. Your goals should be tied to percentages of lean muscle and fat rather than weight.
For measuring heart health, the best indicator is your heart rate at rest. For most adults that is somewhere between 60 and 100 beats per minute. You should ask your doctor for what is best for you. I know guys my age who have heart rates well above 100. If they didn’t know from their doctors they were OK, they might freak out to see much higher beats per minute.
Whether you prefer doing cardio on a machine at home or in the gym, or, if you prefer running, bicycling, hiking or some other outdoor form of cardio, any of them can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Home Workout Plans
If you are someone who prefers to workout at home, there are innumerable plans out there. You can perform routines that require no equipment. Most of the resistance exercises are using body weight. Or, you can buy inexpensive equipment to provide resistance. You can purchase a set of resistance bands that provide up to 150 pounds of resistance for $25 to $45 for the set. There are sets with more and less resistance. For most guys over 60 150 pounds is probably good for most exercises. A combination of body weight resistance and resistance bands can give you all the versatility you need to work every muscle group.
There are several brands of adjustable dumbbells that are amazingly versatile. Depending on how much total weight you would like, you can spend between $150 and several hundred dollars for a set.
Weight benches start as low as $70. Pull up bars that you can mount in a doorway start as low as $30.
And, of course, for those who desire and can afford it, you can build a home gym with as much equipment as you desire.
Gym Workout Plans
Many gyms/health clubs these days offer their own workout plans. They can be accessed through their mobile app providing lots of information and support. One of the things I like about the ones I’ve used is they even calculate the rest time between sets. Those plans are also tailored to the equipment they have so all the exercises are able to be performed just as intended.
Of course deciding between working out at home or in a gym or a combination of both is personal. I am much more motivated to work out when at a gym than I am at home, but, I have enough equipment at home to get a good workout when necessary.
If you are going to be successful in your fitness journey, you have to have a good START:
- Check with your doctor
- Find a workout plan good for YOU
- Set specific, written goals
- Someone for motivation and accountability
- Proper Nutrition
- Routine for Seniors right for you?
- Cardio routine
- Home and/or Gym workout plan
- Reward yourself for achieving milestones
Bodybuilding.com has over 2,500 workout plans designed by experts. They have over 3,500 exercise videos, and much more. I’ve used bodybuilding.com for years. The workouts are so easy to use. You have everything you need on your phone. You choose a workout and your phone becomes your guide and keeps record of your progress. If you’d like to take a look, you can click on this link: https://www.bodybuilding.com/workout-plans/
Disclosure: If you click on the link and make any purchases from my website I get a commission at no added expense to you.
I hope you’ve found this helpful for getting a good START. I welcome your comments or questions below.