How Much Exercise Do You Really Need to Get in Shape?


woman exercising with music


How much exercise do you *actually* need to get in shape?

Twenty minutes three times a week? Half an hour a day?

And how much is too much? Do you really need to sweat it out for an hour or more every day?

Let’s go over the (sometimes) mysterious amount of exercise that is ideal. Ideal for your health and wellness. Ideal for getting into shape.

Starting with the minimum.




Of course, you’re going to have to start from where you are right now. If you’re not already exercising regularly, there is no need to go overboard.

In fact, trying to do too much too soon may actually derail your motivation, and become a reason you just throw in the towel.

So, let’s say you’re not that active (yet). What if I were to recommend “ten to twenty minutes every other day at a level you think you can do?” How does that sound as a starting point?

Pretty do-able, right?!

If you’re not training for a competition, you can absolutely get into great shape starting with this plan.

It’s going to take a bit longer, I’m not gonna lie. But that time is going to pass anyway, so by the time Fall rolls around, wouldn’t you want to be proud of your improved strength and fitness?

Yes, I thought so!



notebook planner


Of course, there isn’t one answer for everyone. The main rule is to start where you are. Take note of your fitness level and your goals and plan to increase and improve slowly.
There really is no quick fix (at least no quick fix that will give you long-term, lasting results).
Always consider what is reasonably sustainable for you, based on:
  • What is your long-term fitness goal?
  • What else is going on in your life (i.e. how much time do you really have)?
  • What is your current state of fitness?
But don’t stop there! As you create a sustainable exercise habit, it will start getting easier.
So, don’t forget to make it a bit more challenging as you go. Every week, see if you can do something to push yourself a bit farther than you were before. If you’re strength training, maybe you can do one more rep or grab the next heavier weight. If you’re doing cardio, maybe you can go a bit longer, farther, and/or faster.
A great motivational tool is to log your workouts. A simple notepad or workbook (or app) will work! Just enter your reps, sets, and/or times each time you workout. This will not only help you to keep motivated to continue, but it will also help you see where you can squeeze in that extra challenge as you progress.
After several weeks you can stop and evaluate. Keep going the way you are, ramp it up, or change it completely.
Eventually, you will find yourself getting stronger, and more fit!
While exercise is very, very good for your health, wellness and longevity, it’s not the only thing to consider. What you eat is going to have as much or more of an impact on your overall fitness.
Some of my favorite super-simple tips that give you the biggest “bang for your buck” are:
  • Eat more veggies
  • Swap the soda for soda water with fruit
  • Cut your treats and sweets in half (and hide half) before indulging
  • Reduce the serving size of your main meals (try using a smaller plate)
  • Eat slower and savor it more by chewing each bite of food more thoroughly
  • Carry around healthy (unsweetened fiber-rich) snacks like nuts, fruit and berries


strawberries blackberries raspberries



You don’t need to exercise like crazy to get into shape. I promise!
But you do need to do the following:
  • Start where you are, and don’t go overboard.
  • If you’re a beginner, that might mean 10 – 20 minutes every other day at an easy level.
  • Log your workout progress to track improvements and keep motivated.
  • Slowly increase the difficulty every week as you get stronger and more fit.
  • Don’t forget to eat your veggies, reduce your serving sizes (especially treats), as appropriate to meet your caloric needs, and carry around healthy snacks.
  • Talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise or nutrition program.
  • Make an appointment to chat with me (your health coach) on how I can support you getting into better shape.

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