Overweight Beginner Easy Exercise Guide

If you’re an overweight beginner and considering exercising…that’s awesome! It’s a step in the right direction toward a healthier life.

There’s a current social movement that is aiming for body positivity for all body types. It’s coming from a place of understanding that everyone is different and should be loved and accepted as such.

Accepting your body and loving yourself is great for self esteem and mental well being.

However, you have to draw the line somewhere. When your current lifestyle starts affecting your health, then it’s time for a change.

My goal with this article is to help you succeed and reach your fitness goals as an overweight beginner.  

Here’s what’s coming up. 

How To Get Started
Start Where You Are
Do What You Can
Types Of Exercises
Overweight Beginner Exercises
Bottom Line

Disclaimer: Before you begin any exercise program, talk to a health care provider to ensure your safety. Also, stop exercising if you feel pain during the movement.

How To Get Started 

overweight beginner

Step 1: Deal with Fear and Insecurity 

When you start something new, fear is often lurking in your mind, wanting to make you quit. This can be especially true when exercising as an overweight beginner.

Insecurities can spring up from past experiences and negative thoughts. Both fear and insecurity will raise doubts of your abilities and say, “you are inadequate.” But you are capable.

Challenging fear with courage will help you tap into and your true potential. Practicing self-gratitude can help too. Dealing with your mindset first will position you for success down the road. 

Step 2: Today is the Day

Be proud that you made the decision to get healthier and take action today. Not tomorrow or the next. You may come up with every excuse in the book, but don’t let those stand in the way of today’s goals.

An old Chinese proverb says, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So don’t procrastinate on your chance to get going today. 

Step 3: Plan and Track

Keep track of your activities to build positive habits. Look at the bigger picture, but only to plan your course.

Staring at the mountain for too long can become overwhelming, but having a plan of action will make it easier to move forward with small steps.

That’s the key as an overweight beginner. Plan out your workout for the day and the entire week. Talk to a personal trainer, read online, or watch a credible video to learn how to plan a workout. 

Get a fitness tracker to see the progress you’ll make. You can also keep a workout log. Studies show that tracking workouts is more effective in losing weight.

Step 4: Create a Support System 

Two is better than one, and a cord of three strands isn’t easily broken.

To be at your best, gather a support system of friends, family, coworkers, or an online community. They’ll be a shoulder to lean on when times get tough and you feel like quitting. 

Workout with a buddy or in a group if you can. It’s more fun and you’ll have the benefits of accountability too.

The temptation as an overweight beginner will be to taper off when you’re feeling it. Having that human connection will keep you motivated.

Start Where You Are 

Let’s be honest. How many people get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week?

How about 2 days of strength training plus stretching exercises? Those are recommended numbers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Getting those numbers can be hard for any person to reach.  But if you’re an overweight beginner or even obese, it can seem like an even bigger challenge. That’s more reason to ease into it. 

Think back to when you first started driving. My left turns were awful. But I got better because I practiced. My desire to get a driver’s license gave me determination to stick with it.

If you don’t drive then think of a new skill you learned. Was it hard at first, but easier over time? Did you have a desire to push through it? 

Exercising is the same way. Workout based on your level and enjoy it, so it doesn’t become a burden, even as an overweight beginner.

People imagine the torment of working out so it feels like a chore more than a good time. Workouts can be great for real!  

Do What You Can 

Maybe you can’t do the recommended amount of exercise per week yet. That’s ok, just do what you can. Aim for 15 minutes a day and make progress from there.

Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa in the movie Creed said, “One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time”

Remember, it’s about adopting exercise as a lifestyle, not just as a “to-do” thing. Small decisions on a daily basis make things easier to manage.  Making smarter choices will also build better habits. 

Smarter choices start by doing what you enjoy. Try a few different exercises to see what you prefer.

Maybe that means reducing sitting time as much as possible, or going for a walk in your favorite park, or watching the latest TV series on a treadmill.

These are easy to get into for an overweight beginner. Some physical activity is still better than none, and trial and error is a great learning experience to discover what is best for you.

Types Of Exercise

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic vs. Flexibility 

Aerobic means “with oxygen.” Aerobic exercises are moderately intense and their result is an increase in your heart rate and breathing.

This is excellent for an overweight beginner! It promotes more oxygen in your blood, improves high blood pressure, and decreases the risk of many diseases. 

Anaerobic means “without oxygen.” Anaerobic exercises use bursts of energy to perform intense activity for a short time.

These can also be incorporated in your exercise routine to help build muscle and lose weight.

A lot of these are next level categories, so they require more breathing control, balance, and muscle strength. However, they are not impossible with practice and determination. 

Flexibility is an important part of life since stiff body parts make moving difficult.

Stretching can be great to keep a healthy range of motion and prevent injury through fluid movements. Stretching feels so good because it releases endorphins and tension!

Walking (Aerobic)

Arguably the best way to start physical activity for an overweight beginner. It’s equipment free and can be done anywhere you’d like.

Walking promotes weight loss, lowers high blood pressure, and puts less stress on your joints because it’s so low-impact. Walking is even beneficial as cardio on rest days.

You can also go walk on a treadmill if you’d prefer. Once you get comfortable with walking longer distances, you can go to the next level: jogging. 

Hiking (Aerobic)

It’s like walking but on natural terrain. You can experience the self-reflective calm and beauty of nature.

This can be challenging for beginners, because of changes in elevation.

When elevation changes, it requires more output form your leg muscles, heart, and lungs.  Once you get the hang of regular walking, try hiking. 

Stationary Bike (Aerobic)

Traditional bikes have a seat, but stationary bikes have a backrest. These can be perfect for beginners who don’t have abdominal core strength to be upright for too long. Seating bikes are also less stressful on the lower spine. 

Weight Training (Anaerobic) 

This can be a great way to add resistance to your workouts to gain muscle and lose weight. There’s six kinds.

  • Functional Training helps you with everyday activities like pulling, pushing, rotating, and hinging at the joints. 
  • Calisthenics uses body weight as resistance. 
  • Circuit Training adds speed and endurance by doing multiple exercises one after the other. 
  • Bodybuilding intends to build muscles to look aesthetic and diet to be as lean as possible.
  • Isometric Weight Training involves holding an exercise for a short time. 
  • Powerlifting uses maximum strength through heavy lifts.

Dancing (Aerobic) 

Got a favorite tune? Then blast the headphones or speakers and get moving. 

Dancing is fun and increases your energy, improves your mood, and makes you smile.

Health wise it works your balance, coordination, and flexibility. This is a slick way to sneak in a good workout as an overweight beginner.

Water Movements (Aerobic) 

Being in water is relaxing and easy on the joints. Water even makes you weigh less, so freely moving your arms and legs is easier.

If you feel pain moving your limbs outside of water, then in the water will feel great. You can swim, sign up for water aerobic classes, or buy a buoyancy belt and do some aqua jogging!

For more essential exercises, check out my article on The Daily Fitness Routine: 15 Key Exercises.

Overweight Beginner Exercises

Try these beginner movements in your next workout!

1. Arm Circles 

  • Stand with feet slightly apart and arms relaxed at your side.
  • Raise your arms to shoulder height and make small circles going in the clockwise direction. Repeat for 10 seconds and switch directions. 
  • Repeat the exercise for 1 minute and breathe evenly. 
  • These will loosen up your shoulders and promote blood circulation in your arms. 

2. Arm Crossovers

  • Stand with feet slightly apart and arms relaxed at your side.
  • Bring your arms in front of your body, crossing them over to bear hug yourself.
  • Repeat the process so that each arm gets a chance to be the top arm in your bear hug. Breathe evenly. 
  • You can alternate each arm and repeat the exercise for 1 minute. 
  • These will loosen up your shoulders and stretch your upper and mid back muscles. 

3. Body Weight Step Up

  • You need a sturdy box to step on. Some stairs, concrete steps, or a curb outside works fine too. 
  • Step up to the box/ step/curb with your right foot and follow with your left. Exhale. 
  • Inhale and step down with your right foot and follow with your left. 
  • Alternate your leading foot each time.
  • Repeat the exercise for 1 minute.
  • This is a good cardio and coordination exercise.

4. Box Squat

  • You need a sturdy box, bench, or chair to sit on. 
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Arms in front, elbows bent, with hands in a neutral grip position.
  • Inhale and sit down on the box, bench, or chair, but do not relax while seated. 
  • As soon as your bottom hits the seat, exhale and blast up back into your starting position. 
  • The lower your seat, the more difficult the exercise. 
  • Repeat exercise for 1 minute. 
  • This is a good movement and great for your leg muscles and core. 

5. Heel Raises

  • This exercise can be done seated or standing. Hold onto a chair if you need to. 
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with knees slightly bent and arms at your side.
  • Stand up on your toes for 1 second to 3 seconds.
  • Put your feet back down.
  • Repeat exercise for 1 minute while breathing evenly. 
  • These are great for your calf muscles and leg blood circulation.

6. Hip Bridge

  • Lay down on the floor for this one. 
  • Bend your knees and keep your feet flat. 
  • Exhale as you lift your hips as high as you can while keeping your arms on the ground. 
  • Flex your butt at the top of the movement.
  • Relax at the bottom and return to your starting position.
  • Repeat this exercise for 1 minute.
  • This movement is great to stretch your quads and abs, and strengthen your core and glutes. 

7. Hip Swirls 

  • Stand with your feet close and arms extended at your side palms up.
  • “Outline a square” with your right leg.
  • Lift your right knee, swirl it to the right and bring your foot back down. 
  • Do the same for your left leg. 
  • Repeat this movement for 1 minute while breathing evenly. 
  • This is great to get range of motion with your knee and hip joints.

8. Knee Drive 

  • Stand with your feet apart and knees slightly bent.
  • Arms at your side or braced against a chair or wall. Inhale. 
  • Exhale as you lift your right leg up and forward, driving your knee as high as it can go.
  • At the same time your left arm will move up and make an L shape.
  • Repeat the process with your left leg and right arm.
  • Continue the exercise for 1 minute. 
  • This exercise is good for balance, coordination, and power.

9. Lateral Steps 

  • Stand with your feet together and arms relaxed at your side.
  • Step to the side with your right foot, but keep your other foot planted.
  • Return your right foot back to the starting position. 
  • Now step to the side with your left foot, but keep your other foot planted.
  • Return your left foot back to the starting position. 
  • Repeat this movement for 2 min while breathing evenly. 
  • This exercise is great for cardio and mobility.

10. Leg Kicks

  • Stand with your feet slightly apart.
  • You can have your arms up in a defensive position or hold onto something for support.
  • Exhale, lift your right leg and do a forward kick. 
  • Repeat with your left leg and continue exercise for 1 minute. 
  • This movement is excellent for balance, leg strength, and power. 

11. Modified Push Ups

  • Get into a pushup position but rest your knees.
  • Make sure arms are shoulder width apart with back straight and angled. 
  • Position your hands under your chest and inhale.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor as much as you can. Exhale.
  • Return back to the top of the position. 
  • Repeat for 1 min.
  • This exercise is good for upper body strength as it works out the front of your shoulders, chest, and triceps. 

12. Plank

  • Get on the floor on your elbows and balls of your feet.
  • Flex your core and hold this position for as long as you can.
  • Rest when you need to by bringing your knees down.
  • Repeat position for 2 min while breathing evenly. 
  • This exercise is great for your abs and for building mental focus. 

13. Side Bends 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms relaxed at your side. 
  • Lift your right arm over your head and gently reach and bend to the left. 
  • You’ll feel a nice stretch on your right side.
  • Now repeat the process for your left arm.
  • Repeat this movement for 1 min while breathing evenly. 
  • This is great for elongating your spine and oblique muscles. 

14. Side Leg Lifts

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and arms relaxed at your side. Inhale. 
  • Exhale and gently lift your right leg to the side as high as you can. 
  • Bring your leg back down and repeat the process with your left leg. 
  • Repeat this movement for 1 min. 
  • This exercise works the side of your glute muscles known as the gluteus minimus.

15. Step Back Jacks 

  • These are like jumping jacks minus the jumping.
  • Start with your feet slightly apart and arms relaxed at your side.  
  • Step back with your right foot and raise both arms up. 
  • Bring your foot into its original position and put your arms down. 
  • Now step back with your left foot and raise your arms. 
  • Bring your foot into its original position and put your arms down. 
  • Repeat this for 1 min while breathing evenly. 
  • This movement is good cardio and coordination. 

Bottom Line 

When coupled with healthy diet choices, exercise is proven to help you lose weight. 

First face your fears and find support with your friends or family. Then start where you are and do what you can do. 

Happy lifting! 


Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!