Beginner Bodyweight Interval Workout

Beginner Bodyweight Interval WorkoutI’m up early this morning to sneak in a workout (on the blog and in real life) before hitting the road and heading down to New Jersey for Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family. I have been crazy busy lately, so these next couple days of relaxing and eating amazing food are so incredibly needed!

To follow up Monday’s blog post, which was packed with general rules and tips for modifying exercises, I wanted to share a workout that was suitable for beginners (without much modification needed). As you’ll see, this is a workout you can grow with—I give an exercise and then show you how to advance it once you’ve mastered the move. I also show you how to modify it further if it’s still a little too tough for your current fitness level.

While I created this for beginners using basic, functional exercises, I don’t want you to brush it off as easy. If you’re more advanced, just do the harder variations given for each exercise.

Beginner Bodyweight Interval Workout

Set an interval timer for 30 rounds of 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest (I just realized that in the pictorial below, it says 10 seconds rest–ignore that! It’s 15). You’ll go through the following sequence of exercises 6 times. If you’re a true beginner, do the easiest modification given for each exercise (pictures on the left). After you’ve been working out for several weeks/a couple months, go through it again, trying the unmodified exercise (featured, top picture). More advanced? Do the harder versions of each exercise (pictures on the right).Beginner Bodyweight Interval Workout

Squats | With feet slightly wider than hip distance apart, toes pointing forward and weight in your heels, squat down, sending your butt and hips back (not knees forward!). Press through heels to stand back upright.

  • Modification = Squats with a Chair | Use a chair to help you get into your squattin’ grove! Start by sitting down completely in the chair each time. As you gain confidence, try to squat down and just lightly touch your bum to the chair before coming back upright. Once you’ve got it down, take away the safety net (chair) altogether.
  • Advancement = Squat Jumps | Instead of just standing up from your squatting position, explosively press up and jump, landing softly and sinking right back down into a deep squat.

Push Ups from Knees | Good ol’ fashioned push ups with your knees on the ground. Be careful not to stick your butt up into the air when you do these—from your knees to the top of your head should be one straight, diagonal line.

  • Modification = Push Ups against a Wall | Changing your body angle can make push ups easier. Start by doing them against a wall.
  • Advancement = Push Ups from Feet | Make these harder by doing your pushups from a plank position, toes on the ground.

Side-to-Side Lunges | Start standing up with feet shoulder-width apart. Step your right foot out wide to the side (toes still facing forward), and bend that knee, lunging to the right and bringing your left hand to the ground by that opposite foot. Your left leg stays straight as you do this; it’s like you’re sitting in a chair on just that right side. Press off the right foot and come back upright to starting standing position. Repeat to the left.

  • Modification = Don’t Touch the Ground | To make these easier, just don’t bend down as far. Instead of bending the knee to 90 degrees so that your hand can touch the floor by your foot, start with just a small bend with every lunge.
  • Advancement = Add in a Hop | Pick up the pace, switching feet in air between lunges as you add in a little hop side to side.

Thread the Needle in Side Kneeling Forearm Plank (RIGHT) | Start in a forearm side plank position with your knees stacked on the ground. Squeeze the oblique to keep your hips lifted. From here, you’re going to wrap the top arm around your torso, weaving it through the space between the floor and your rib cage. Twist from the waist when you do this so that you face the ground. Return to starting position and repeat.

  • Modification = Hip on Ground | If it’s too hard to hold that hip off the ground, plant the side of your hip on the ground along with that forearm. In this version, really emphasize the twist while you thread the needle so that your obliques are still working.
  • Advancement = Full Side Plank from Feet | To make it harder, thread the needle from a full side plank position: feet stacked on floor, hips and legs lifted so that body is in a straight diagonal line.

Thread the Needle in Side Kneeling Forearm Plank (LEFT)

Beginner Bodyweight Interval WorkoutWEARING | leggings: c/o Cory Vines // tank: Lululemon

Big thanks to my friends at Cory Vines for the leggings I’m wearing in today’s post—aren’t they cute?? I love the colored pattern on the back of the legs and they’re SO comfortable.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow! This workout is a great one to bring with you if you’re traveling for the holiday—no equipment required!


How to Modify Exercises (A Beginner’s Guide)

how-to-modify-exercises-26I’ve been getting a lot of requests for beginner workouts, and I keep thinking of the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I could give you a beginner workout or I could teach you how to modify exercises so that you can turn all the workouts I post into beginner routines. I’m going to do both. Today, I’m going to go over the general rules for how to make exercises easier, and then later in the week I’ll post a beginner workout. Instead of writing off an exercise as “too hard,” use the following rules to modify it.

Change the Angle of Your Body

how-to-modify-plankYou can make an exercise harder or easier by changing the angle of your body. Exercises done in a plank position are the best example of this. Doing a plank with your hands on a chair or wall is a lot easier than doing a plank with your hands on the floor. Dropping your knees down (changing angle!) also makes it easier. Another example of this is boat pose. If your legs are straight, it’s harder; if you change the angle of them by bending your knees, it gets

Reduce the Impact

This is a modification I always stress for clients with knee or other joint issues. Take jumps, hops, leaps and bounces out of the equation. Instead of a jump squat, keep your feet planted on the ground and do a regular squat.


Instead of hopping side to side during alternating lunges, step your feet side to side. Similarly, when doing plank jumps, step your feet out and in rather than jumping them

Reduce the Range of Motion

If you’re doing exercises with a stepper or bench, simply don’t use one as high. Maybe you just step up onto the bottom stair of a staircase rather than onto a tall chair. In addition to using smaller equipment to make the range of motion of an exercise smaller, you can simply not move your body as far during bodyweight exercises.

How to Modify Step Ups (and other general rules for making exercises easier)In a side leg lift, for example, it will be harder if you lift your leg up to hip height. If you only lift it a few inches off the ground, it will be easier. For squats, if you only lower down a couple inches (vs. bringing your booty to the floor), the exercise will be easier. For push ups, if you only lower down a couple inches (vs. bringing your chest to the floor, they’ll be easier.How to Modify Exercises (reduce range of motion plus other beginner tips)

Increase Stability

If doing an exercise on one leg is too hard, make it easier to balance by using both. You can also increase the stability of an exercise with equipment. Stability balls, bosu balls and balance plates all create an unstable environment. To make the exercise easier, use steady surfaces instead (the floor, a chair, etc.).

How to Modify a Crunch (plus other tips)How to Modify a Deadlift

Reduce Speed

Power walk instead of run. Do 10 burpees during an interval of work instead of 15. Spin at a lower RPM. Going slower doesn’t always make things easier (in Lagree Fitness, for example, slow = hard), but for the sake of the workouts I post on P&I, speed typically makes things more intense and challenging.

How to Modify Exercises (A Beginner's Guide)

Reduce Time or Number of Reps

Hold a plank for 30 seconds instead of a minute. Do 10 bicep curls instead of 20. If I ever post an interval workout that looks too hard, just shorten the work interval (if I say do 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest, maybe you change it to 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest).

How to Modify Exercises (a beginner's guide)

Reduce Load/Weight

I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence by including this point; just want to cover all my bases! Use lighter kettlebells, dumbbells or medicine balls. You can modify further by using no added weight at all—just your bodyweight.

How to Modify Exercises (a beginner's guide)

Combine Them!

Let’s combine some of these rules and look at potential modifications for a burpee with a push up at the bottom. As you’ll see, there are so many ways to make each part of it easier that everyone, regardless of fitness level, can do the exercise in some capacity.


  1. Squat down and place hands on ground by feet.
  2. Jump feet back into plank position.
  3. Do a push up in plank position.
  4. Jump feet back up towards hands.
  5. Jump straight up in the air with arms overhead.


  1. Squat down slightly, bringing hands onto the seat of a chair or bench.
  2. Step feet back one at a time into an incline plank position.
  3. Do a push up in this incline plank position or, if it’s too hard, modify by dropping down to your knees for it.
  4. Step feet back up towards chair/bench one at a time.
  5. Stand upright.

Hopefully this post was helpful! Also, if there are specific exercises you aren’t sure how to modify, let me know and I can put together a more detailed tutorial for those moves.


WEARING | leggings: c/o Reebok / sneakers: New Balance / hoodie: New Balance c/o Kohl’s // tank: Athleta



45-Minute Treading Workout

45-Minute Treading Class WorkoutI know this picture makes the workout look totally overcomplicated, but I swear it’s not—bear with me…

Hope you all are enjoying the weekend! I’m off to Btone in a couple hours to take a class before teaching a couple. For all you Boston peeps, Michele’s class is worth waking up early on a Sunday for—kicks my ass EVERY time. Add it to your must-try fitness list.

Anywho, I’ve got a fun cardio workout for all you gym-goes and treadmill owners. The treading class at Hilton Head Health was probably my favorite of the many varied exercise classes I tried there, so I thought it’d be fun to share one of my own creation and talk a little bit more about the fitness aspect of my stay at H3. If you missed my first post about the blogger trip to Hilton Head Health, I talked about the education component, specifically a lecture on portion control I attended.

All throughout the day at H3 there are fitness classes offered, ranging from yoga to TRX to aqua boxing in the pool. Some have capacity limits and require sign-up the day before, but for the majority of them, you can just pop into whichever ones sound appealing. That’s something I really liked about Hilton Head Health’s programming—they don’t force you to do anything you don’t want to. Yes, the majority of guests are there to lose weight, and there is guidance and encouragement to do certain classes, but there’s no drill-sergeant mentality. You make your own decisions about what you want to do.

trx-hilton-head-healthSarah and I at a TRX class at H3

During my stay, I tried a bunch of classes: Pilates for Flexibility, Yoga Flow, TRX Circuit, Muscle Mobility (SMR with lacrosse balls) and Treading (twice). A lot of the guests at H3 are just starting out on their road to health, and the instructors do a great job of teaching to beginners while also offering modifications for those who are more advanced in the class. As someone who’s in the industry, trust me—it’s a sign of a damn good instructor if a group of people ranging from young fitness bloggers to 60+-year-old beginners leaves a class all feeling like it was an awesome experience. So let’s slow clap it out for Camila at Hilton Head Health—her treading class had everyone sweating (and dancing).

45-Minute Treading Workout

This workout is made for the treadmill, but you could easily adapt it to another cardio machine (stationary bike, elliptical, etc.) The numbers used are for a treadmill with a 0-15 incline range, so adjust accordingly if your machine uses a different scale.

All levels can do this workout! You’ll see I use the terms walk, jog, run and sprint to describe the speed you should go—these terms will mean different speeds to different people. If you’re advanced, sprint might mean 10+mph. If you’re a newbie, sprint might mean power walking at 4+mph. Both are great! These terms represent more of an effort scale than a numerical speed value:running exertion speed scale

As you’ll see, the workout is broken up into sections. The numbers always represent incline. For speeds, I use walk, jog, run, sprint. The image at the beginning of this post is super detailed (you can print it out and bring it to the gym with you), but if you’re a treading pro, the following summary might be enough to guide you.

WARM UP | 0:00 – 3:00
At a 0 incline, do a minute of slow walking lunges (set treadmill to .5-1mph for these) then jog for two minutes.

STEADY CLIMB | 3:00 – 13:00
Maintain a steady jog-run pace throughout the 10 minutes. Every minute, you’ll change the resistance up by two points, starting at a 3 and peaking at a 15. You’ll then decrease the incline by four points each minute, returning back to a 3 incline.

Using 30-second intervals, you’ll run, sprint, and then walk (recover). Do this at a 3 incline, then a 6, then a 9.

BREAK | 17:30 – 19:00
Walk it out, grab a drink of water, catch your break. You can jog if you’re ambitious.

ROLLING HILL | 19:00 – 29:30
Maintain a steady jog-run pace the entire time. You’ll change your incline every 60 seconds climbing up to the top, staying at the top for 30 seconds. Incline changes are in increments of three and get less steep with each of the three hills: 6, 9, 12, 15 (first hill); 3, 6, 9, 12 (second hill); 0, 3, 6, 9 (last hill).

BREAK | 29:30 – 31:00
Walk it out, grab a drink of water, catch your break. You can jog if you’re ambitious.

SPEED INTERVALS | 31:00 – 36:30
These are done at a 0 incline. You recover for 30 seconds between each of the five sprints. The first two sprints are 60 seconds long and the last three sprints are 30 seconds long.

BREAK | 36:30 – 38:00
Walk it out, grab a drink of water, catch your break. You can jog if you’re ambitious.

FINAL PUSH | 38:00 – 41:00
Run for a minute each at a 10, 5, and then 0 incline.

COOL DOWN | 41:00 – 45:00
Walk for three minutes, gradually slowing it down. Finish with a minute of those slow walking lunges we started with.

hilton-head-health-blogger-tripAndie from Can You Stay For Dinner?, Beth from Beth’s Journey, Monique from Ambitious Kitchen, Sarah from Sarah Fit and I before our first treading class at H3. Not pictured is Lisa from Snack Girl who joined us for our second treading class the next day. :)

In addition to taking classes, I also got a tennis lesson (I LOVED it!) and went for a couple beautiful runs on the beach by H3. The sand there is hard so it’s perfect for running and even bike riding. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen the view, but it’s just too pretty not to share again:hilton-head-beach hilton-head-beach-sunrise tennis-lesson

Have you ever taken a treading class (or something similar) before? I find running on a treadmill painfully boring alone, but in the group setting it was so fun!