Basic fitness knowledge

Glen Carrigan

Glen Carrigan CYQ fitness instructor

A question I’m asked constantly is how do you even begin to get into fitness without the basic knowledge? I agree it can be intimidating walking into a gym without the first idea where to begin, I know it was for me when I was 15 years old. The answer though is using your own motivation, discipline and a desire to learn and change. To that end this post will detail the basic guidelines for cardiovascular exercise to promote fitness first and also for health which you can then build upon. Choose what is applicable to you however I would suggest using the health regimen for a while until you get used to exercise. Once you’ve achieved a decent level of fitness you can change the routine to include more specific training techniques for fat loss, fitness maintenance and other goals.

Guidelines for fitness
Frequency – 3 to 5 times per week
Intensity – vigorous, 55% – 90% maximum heart rate (MHR is 220 minus age)
Time – 20 to 60 minutes per session
Type – Any rhythmic training, continuous movement utilising large muscle groups

Guidelines for health
Frequency – 5 to 7 times per week
Intensity – Moderate 55% – 70% MHR
Time – 30 mins so perhaps 2 sessions of 15 or 3 of 10 switching equipment
Type – Anything similar to brisk walking


The structure of a very simple beginners cardiovascular session is simple and is as follows;
Warm up > 70% MHR reached > 20 – 30mins > cool down >resting HR reached  > Post workout stretches

Example training programme

Monday                               Wednesday                        Friday
WU/S                                       WU/S                                       WU/S
CV/RT 30/30 min              CV/RT 30/30 min             CV/RT 30/30 min
CD/S                                         CD/S                                         CD/S

Key; WU/S – Warm up & stretch, CV – Cardiovascular, CD/S – Cool down &stretch, R/T Resistance training.

This is probably the easiest cardio programme I’ve ever written and only a very basic starting point with a light resistance portion included, it’s a perfect format for a beginner. It’s just an example however it can be adjusted easily. Another element to training can be increasing strength, power, size and muscular endurance, fat loss and depending on your needs you should tailor your  program to those specific goals.

Helpful tips

Stick to a structured diet.
Drink at least 4 litres of water every day.
Try to eliminate consuming carbohydrates after 8pm, snack on protein rich foods they will fill you up, and repair your body without the negative impact of being stored as adipose tissue (fancy word for fat).
Eat and drink constructively post training to recover properly
Get adequate sleep every night don’t stop up drinking or playing xbox you need sleep.
Reduce alcohol/ nicotine intake both have negative implications for the body. Alcohol can impair protein synthesis as well as your immune function, testosterone levels, and intracellular metabolism.
Don’t get stressed – Stress releases cortisol which goes straight to your muscles and breaks them down!


This will work for you if you stick to it however you must keep in mind that not every individual’s body is the same and other factors such as life style and optional supplements will change the way you grow. There is a lot of information there I’ll admit and you still have to structure a nutritional and training routine but sticking to the above general advice will produce results. Remember in the introduction I expressed a need to be motivated to learn well that is the next phase. You need to supplement the above information with your own research in order to advance from the basics and continue to reap the rewards of your continued dedication to fitness. I would encourage you to read up from some good sources (not some magazine trying to flog you supplements) like independent nutritionists articles, physiology journals and reputable websites with qualified individuals writing for them etc.


About glencarrigan

Glen Carrigan is a Neuropsychology Postgraduate Researcher and Senior Research Assistant in Clinical Practice at The University of Central Lancashire. Glen is a public speaker, humanist, science presenter, ex-soldier, and social and political activist with an interest in all things related to equality, science, education, and politics.

Posted on October 28, 2012, in Fitness, Health and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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