Q: I’ve never lifted weights - how can I get started? What's a good overall fitness routine?

Expert Jennifer Cook, Executive Editor, Good Housekeeping tells us how to get the most out of your workouts.

weight lifting routine

Jenny says: Start with light weights (three or five pounds), then move up to eight or 10 pounds as you get stronger. How can you tell when to make the switch? If you can complete two sets of 10 repetitions with good form, you should life a heavier weight. For an easy but “all-inclusive” circuit that targets trouble spots – abs, butt, upper arms, hips – go to goodhousekeeping.com/eights-women.


If your program hits all the key goals outlined in the 7 Years Younger plan – firming, calorie-burning, cardio fitness, balance training – you can keep doing it. But why not try some of these moves? If you don’t mix it up – you always walk the same route, swim laps at one speed, or have a single strength-training routine – your muscles adapt and become so efficient that they burn fewer calories while you work out. Change it up – and you may also boost your fitness (and weight loss!)


Tracking your pulse is another way to determine how hard you should be working during a cardio session. Until recently, target heart rate, the pulse rate that promotes heart fitness, has been based on a unisex formula that turns out to be too high for women. To find your female-friendly peak heart rate, calculate 88 percent of your age and subtract that from 206. Then aim to work out at 65 to 85 percent of that number. We’ve done the math for you at goodhousekeeping.com/target-pulse.