Exercise

12-week fitness plan

Want to improve your health? Need to lose weight? This activity plan for beginners, combining running and strength and flexibility workouts, will get you into the habit of regular exercise in 12 weeks.

The plan is structured but flexible enough to allow you to fit the exercise sessions around your other weekly commitments.

Before starting each week, plot in your calendar what days and times you'll be exercising. This will help you stick to the plan. Don't forget to factor in 1 rest day per week (on a day of your choosing).

All you need to get started is any type of MP3 or digital media player, or smartphone, and a pair of running shoes.

Get ready by downloading the Couch to 5K running, 5K+ and Strength and Flex podcasts and print the 10-minute workout series.

Week 1

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 1 (workout duration: 20 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 1 (36 minutes)
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 1
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 1
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 1
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 1
Include a rest day


Week 2

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 2 (20 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 2 (37 minutes)
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 2
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 2
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 2
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 2
Include a rest day


Week 3

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 3 (20 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 3 (36 minutes)
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 3
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 3
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 3
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 3
Include a rest day


Week 4

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 4 (16 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 4 (45 minutes)
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 4
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 4
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 4
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 4
Include a rest day


Week  5

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 5, workout 1 (16 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 5 (44 minutes)
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 5, workout 2 (16 minutes)
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 5
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 5, workout 3 (25 minutes)
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 5
Include a rest day


Week 6

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 6 (workout 1, 29 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute cardio workout
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 6 (workout 2, 28 minutes)
Day 4: 10-minute abs workout
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 6 (workout 3, 30 minutes)
Day 6: 10-minute firm butt workout 
Include a rest day


Week 7

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 7 (30 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute full body toning workout
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 7 (30 minutes)
Day 4: 10-minute upper arms workout 
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 7 (30 minutes)
Day 6: 10-minute firm bums, legs and tums workout 
Include a rest day


Week 8

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 8 (33 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute cardio workout
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 8 
Day 4: 10-minute upper arms workout
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 8 
Day 6: 10-minute abs workout
Include a rest day


Week 9

Day 1: Couch to 5K – run 9 (35 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute bums legs and tums workout 
Day 3: Couch to 5K – run 9 
Day 4: 10-minute firm butt workout
Day 5: Couch to 5K – run 9 
Day 6: 10-minute full body toning workout 
Include a rest day


Week 10

Day 1: 5K+ Stepping stone (30 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute legs, bums and tums workout
Day 3: Stepping stone
Day 4: 10-minute full body toning workout
Day 5: Stepping stone
Day 6: 10-minute firm butt workout
Include a rest day


Week 11

Day 1: 5K+ Stamina (35 minutes)
Day 2: 10-minute cardio workout
Day 3: 5K+ Stamina 
Day 4: 10-minute upper arms workout
Day 5: 5K+ Stamina
Day 6: 10-minute abs workout
Include a rest day


Week 12

Day 1: 5K+ Speed (16 minutes)
Day 2: Strength and Flex – level 5 (no intro version)
Day 3: 5K+ Speed 
Day 4: Strength and Flex – level 5 
Day 5: 5K+ Speed
Day 6: Strength and Flex – level 5 
Include a rest day

Well done on completing the 12-week plan! You can continue using 5K+ and Strength and Flex level 5 (no intro version) to keep your activity levels up.

Page last reviewed: 30/07/2018
Next review due: 30/07/2021