20 week getting started plan

Heart HealthWhether you’re just starting up introducing exercise into your life, or getting back into exercise after a pregnancy or time away from exercise, this 20 week plan should help you get back into making exercise an every day part of your life.

Weeks 1-5

Start off with Cardio 3 times a week.  One short session, one medium, one long.

Walk first for 5 weeks, steadily increasing the time you walk for to 30 minutes for a short walk, 45 for a medium walk, 60 minute for a long walk (See plan below: time in minutes).

Wk: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
1:      10,        20,       30
2:      15,        25,       35
3:      20,       30,       40
4:      25,       35,        45
5:      30,       45,       60.

If you are coming back to exercise after having a baby, you have the option to push your baby in a stroller.  Or (if you don’t have a baby or want to get a bit of me time away from the new baby)… you can walk on your own (maybe with music?), or with a friend or a group of friends.

Another option is to do your cardio in the gym: the bike or rower.  But I’d suggest getting out there and walking (leading onto running if you want to)  as a much better way to get fit. 😀  You get to take in the fresh air and get you (and your baby if you have one/want to take them) out and about and seeing the world!

Week 6-10

Your exercise weeks should look like this from now on:

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5
30,  Strength,  45,  Strength/swimming,  60.

Keep up the times you walk for and try to increase your walking pace.

For your short and medium cardio days, introduce walk/running where you run for 1 minute and walk for 2.  Or ‘Run until you feel tired, walk until you feel ready to run again’. Keep the hour cardio as walking or try running some or all of it.

When you are trying to go from walking to running, increase the time you run for each time you go out: (2 mins repeats the next time, then 4, then 5, then 7, then 10, then 12, 15, 17, 20, 25, 30).

By week 10 aim to run 30 minutes without stopping.

In week 6 introduce 2 more days of exercise: Strength workouts which should be 45-60 minutes long:
Options include: Pilates, DVD workout, Circuits, Body Pump, Spin, Gym classes.

Go swimming once a week instead of a strength workout if you want.  Remember and take between 1-3 days rest a week.  Rest is important.

Weeks 11-15

Aim to run for 30 minutes on your short cardio day.

On your medium cardio day, aim to run 20 mins, walk for 5 mins, run for 20 mins.  Over 5 weeks reduce the walking time until you can run for 45 minutes non stop.  Take it steady and don’t try and run too fast!

On your long cardio day, use it as a day to walk for an hour or more, or aim to run/walk for an hour.

Continue strength / DVD workouts: Pilates, DVD workout, Circuits, Body Pump, Spin, Gym classes / swimming.

Weeks 16-20

A family walk is an easy way to make exercise a part of your life and set an example for your kids.Aim to run all cardio days.  If you want to do one walk a week, do a walk instead of a run.  This could be with the family or with friends if you want.  Make exercise a part of your life and part of your family life.  Have fun!

Continue with your strength work 2 days a week.  If you want to swap a strength work out for a swim, do. (45-60 minutes).  Remember to have 1-3 days rest a week.

What else?

Want to mix things up a bit?  Try new gym classes to change it about a bit.  You never know, you might love Body Pump, Kettlebell workouts, Circuits, Bootcamp or Spin.  See what your local leisure centre has on offer.

Why not enter a fun run or race?  It’ll give you a goal to aim for and keep motivation levels up.  Why not enter with a friend so that you both keep each other motivated?  Santa Dash anyone? 🙂

Aim to maintain 5 days of exercise and 2 rest days a week. Option to swap your short or medium cardio run for a bike/spin workout.

Print out your 20 week training plan for you!

Here’s the Excel version of the plan.  All you need to do is download it and update your: name and the date of the Monday you want to start your exercise.  Then you can print it out and stick it on your fridge (or wherever!)

Start now (or when you’re ready) and you will be able to do it.  You’ll gain countless benefits which will lead to a healthier and happier you.  You just need to make time and fit it all in!  🙂  Let me know how you get on!

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