Three Simple Workout Ideas

By Leo Babauta

A common request from members is a single workout they can do each day, to take all the guesswork out of the exercise habit.

This is difficult, as there isn’t one workout that will fit the needs of everyone. There are people who:

And so how do you create one workout to fit all those types of people? I can’t, of course. That said, I’ll offer several ideas for workouts — choose any of them and you’ll be fine. You can also make up your own, or find another online. Just choose something and do it!

Workout #1: Bodyweight

This workout (actually two workouts) is good if you don’t have access to workout equipment, or want something simple you can do anywhere.

Alternated between Workout A and Workout B, and do some walking/running or yoga 1-2 times a week instead of these workouts.

Workout A:
3 sets of each (rest 1 min between sets)

How many reps you do of each exercise depends on your level. Do a few pushups/lunges less than the maximum you can do. With planks, start with a challenging and then increase it a little each workout.

Workout B:
3 sets of each (rest 1 min between sets)

Advanced exercisers, do burpees instead of squats. If you can’t do a chinup, try jumping into it, or using a chair to lift yourself to the top position and then lowering yourself down.

Workout #2: Walking Intervals

This workout is for those who are fairly new to exercise, or who like getting outdoors or walking with a friend.

Go for a walk each day. If that’s easy, add some speedwalking intervals of 1 minute, followed by 1 minute of normal walking, and repeat as many times as you are comfortable with.

Over time, feel free to increase the speed of the walking, and/or the length of the speedy intervals. If you’re already walking pretty fast and can’t walk faster, you can add a jog to your speed intervals.

Do some pushups and/or burpees at the end of the workout if you’re feeling good.

Workout #3: Weights

This is for those who have lifted weights before and know how to do proper form. If you want to lift but don’t know the form, getting a trainer to teach you form is highly recommended.

Alternate these workouts, doing only 3 days per week, with at least a day of rest in between (Mon Wed Fri, for example, or Tues Thurs Sat). On your rest days, walk/jog, do yoga, or use the rowing machine.

Workout A:
3 sets of each (rest 2-3 min between sets)

Workout B:
3 sets of each (rest 2-3 min between sets)

I recommend starting lighter than you can lift, and progressing each week by either adding 1-2 reps, or adding 5 lbs. if you’re at the top of the rep range.