The First 100 Days Beginner Program

It’s here!

'Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.' -Arthur Ashe

One of the questions I get asked frequently is how to get into shape when you're an absolute beginner. If you've been sedentary for years, don't have a history of athleticism, don't know your way around a gym, are deconditioned or simply don't know where to begin, this program is for you.

What can you expect? We'll start slowly, with basic exercises and simple routines. Early on, the workouts can be done without any equipment, and as you progress through them you'll build on skills you learned in earlier workouts and add in equipment and intensity. The 'goal' of this program is to build functional strength, familiarize you with traditional exercises, and improve cardiovascular endurance. If you have more specific goals, such as running a 5k or working toward an aesthetic goal, this probably isn't the right program for you. This program contains a lot of variety. I wrote it this way for three reasons: to keep you from getting bored, to build a broad base of skills and generalized fitness, and to allow you to try out different exercise styles so you can start to identify things you enjoy. At the end of these 100 days you'll be stronger and fitter than you are now, you'll have more confidence in yourself, and you'll have an idea of where you want to go from here.


Once you’ve got the program, join the First 100 Days Facebook Group for support and community!

102 thoughts on “The First 100 Days Beginner Program

  1. Congratulations! I’ve been following you for only a little while but am fascinated by your outlook and what you have to say. Is there a way to view a preview or otherwise have an understanding of some of the style of writing, visual orientation, or chapter contents?

  2. Just ordered my copy! I am a new subscriber who has a LOOOONG way to go to achieve any semblance of fitness but your insights and advice have already had an effect on my attitude. Thanks for putting the plan together. I’m looking forward to beginning my journey (again! but, hopefully for the last time!).

    • It can be! I’d modify by doing more rounds or reps, or longer duration. Intensity is key, so these workouts can be beneficial for anyone who puts in the intensity!

  3. Im really excited about this. I was a beginner at crossfit and hurt my back. All I get from the doctors is muscle relaxers and pain meds. I miss it!! Im hoping this will help me along in recovery.

  4. Thanks for this site. Very inspiring. I have been om the paleo/ primeval road for about 6 months now with the help of Mark Sissons and Alison Golding and I have lost 10lbs.
    I am trying to write an ebook about my experiences to try to convert the British. We are far too reserved for new ideas and most people just look at me as though I’m mad (despite the evidence ! )
    Don’t agree with you about jogging tho, my knees are shot because of it..

  5. I am half way through my pregnancy and am t about 250right now. I am looking forward to getting this started after the baby arrives. This is very encouraging for me., especially when i have struggled with my weight my entire life.

    • Not really. Weight loss is about maintaining a calorie deficit, so you can lose weight with any exercise program (or none at all). Any exercise program can facilitate weight loss by increasing calorie expenditure and by helping maintain muscle mass, this program included.

  6. I was wondering if this was still available. Is there a discount code some where that I am not seeing? I follow you on fb on your Go Kaleo page and you are an inspiration, but I need structure on a tight budget, lol.

    • You should be able to! Sorry for missing your email, I’ll see if I can find out where it might have landed. But yes, you should be able to purchase from Canada. :)

  7. Your 100 day program looks interesting and doable for someone that has fallen waaay off the wagon….again. Wondering if it’s possible to do it at home. What equipment would I need?


    • It is possible to do at home! You’d need something ehavy to lift, and that’s it. A set of adjustable dumbbells or a sandbag would be ideal. That’s it though! It’s even possible to modify *most of the workouts to do without any equipment. :)

    • The 100 days includes a modified version of the basic lifting. If you’ve got your cardio dialed in and just want to add in some lifting, get the lifting routine. If you’re starting froms scratch and want the whole kaboodle, get the 100 days.

    • I have tutorial videos for all the exercises on my youtube channel, and the link to my channel is in the program. I’m also always available on FB or by email to help with form or brainstorm ideas for modifications! :)

  8. Hi, I know this question may be to much to answer in this setting, however I thought it was worth a shot. I really want to start a program ( yours looks promising) I am currently working with a more naturally minded doctor who is running a few tests to see if my thyroid and adrenals are working properly. I have suspected for some time now that both are not functioning very well. I have been reading cheeseslave and Matt Stone for a while and although I agree with the whole no dieting concept, I am still uncertain of how to do that in a healthy way and not feel like crap all the time. I’m was trying to do the whole 30 before running into Matt’s work. What I would like to know is will I do further damage to my adrenals by starting your program, or will it do the opposite and help them? Any additional suggestions would be welcome.

  9. Hey Go Kaleo!
    I just ordered the beginners and I have a few questions. What would you suggest one with little kids do for cardio. During the warm month I can walk back and forth in front of our house but during the winter (like right now with 2 feet of snow) a stroller is NOT going to work. would walking indoors work? I do not have a treadmill.
    Also, I have been “diagnosed” with adrenal fatigue. any extra recommendations for dealing with that while starting this new program?


    • I don’t like to speak for Amber (Go Kaleo) but she has an article on how “starvation” symptoms are very, very close to the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, so her answer would likely be “eat the food”. I live in a very cold, snowy climate too and she has recommended dancing as an indoor option for cardio at home and I LOVE IT!! Best advice ever for me! Enjoy!!

  10. Do you have any advice on grocery shopping? Or really, HOW to prepare vegetables. This seems to be my biggest catch every time! I exercise regularly, but when It comes to shopping for more balanced meals (meaning more vegetables) I tend to get overwhelmed and run from the produce isle.

    On a side note, I randomly came across your blog on Pinterest after looking up things about cellulite, and after reading for an hour or so I saw that you are also located in the Bay Area! I just thought that was cool.

    • I can offer my 2 cents here :) I’m from NY and we have a grocery store called Wegmans…I don’t think you have them on the west coast. Anyway, their recipes for veggies are the best! They cook them in store, but also offer the recipes to them on their website. I use their veggie dishes every single Thanksgiving and overwhelmingly my family(who was meat and potato fabulous my entire life) appreciates how good my side dishes are. I try to cook at least 5 different veggies every year. I hope you find some good ones! Oh, and Martha Stewart’s website has some really good recipes too funny enough! They’re a bit harder to wade through though because she now posts other cooks’ recipes too.

  11. I’m in my 50’s, used to be fit, an ankle injury and subsequent surgery derailed my 5 miles and lifting per day. (Also yr ex-smoker – Wo0t!) I am overweight by about 30lb (5′ 6″ – 165lb) but no health problems besides joint pain (no arthritis, a touch of bursitis only) and a healing ankle, before I buy, is this a program that I can use or will I have to adjust?

    • You can definitely use it. It starts out VERY basic and builds up. If you have limited ROM in your joints, there may be an exercise here and there you need to modify, but the program is designed to be modifiable and flexible, so it won’t derail you or keep you from making progress. If you decide to buy, be sure to join the facebook group so you can have access to tutorial videos and support!

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  13. Hi! I want to buy the 100 day beginners program and wanted to ask how active the Facebook support group is. I am new to lifting (besides taking body pump at the Y). I’ve been running the past few months but not consistently, largely due to not having a good support system. I am on the Eating the Food FB page and love how active a group it is and am hoping to find the same level of support for beginners… I am not yet ETF. Thank you!

  14. The “Eating the Food” is beyond busy on Facebook. But there are still quite a few of us on 100 days that are more than happy to chat and answer questions. We’re all in the same boat, and are more than happy to “paddle” with you. We’re only a little ahead of you in the process!

    • Yes, the resistance exercises could definitely be modified for use with bands. If you decide to do it, definitely join the facebook so we can help you with modification ideas. And you can help others too!

    • I would also love to know what type of equipment is needed for the program. All I have now is a 5 lb weight! But am prepared to buy additional stuff, of course :)

      • It’s pretty modifiable, ideally you’d have access to a weight room, but if you’re doing it at home a sandbag or dubbells of different weights would be ideal. Even without any equipment at all, you can still do most of the workouts in the program. :)

  15. I am not a beginner, work out regularly and have a good muscle base but I want to get into powerlifting type routines. Is this a good place to start or should i look for something not so beginner?

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  17. Hi, I’m a phys ed teacher and am very familiar with how to work out, the techniques for various lifts, etc. My problem is making a program for myself and sticking to it. I know what I should do…then i try to do it, overwhelm myself, and quit. I am soon off for the summer and have access to the great outdoors, dumbbells, resistance tubes, and the great outdoors…..would the first 100 be a good place for me to start? I’m in shape….just overweight and want to feel healthier and more consistent. thanks!

  18. I am so interested in this program. The yo-yo is not working, even low carb high fat is making me gain weight. I’ve been trying IF, with, you guessed it, weight gain. Seems nothing works anymore, and i am at my highest weight ever.
    My main issue, is horrible migraines due to problems with my trapezius and neck muscles. I literally feel amazing when I weight lift, then suffer a day in bed 2 days later, with my head exploding, and a knife in my eye. How can I get back to fitness when every time I pick up a weight, my head explodes?Looking for any answers.

    • As for diet, I think you’re realizing what a lot of us have realized – diets don’t work. Finding a moderate and sustainable way of eating, and being flexible and patient with it, is the way to see long-term progress toward your goals.

      Have you tried massage for your neck and shoulder issues?

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  23. I just purchased both your First 100 Days and the Basic Lifting Routine programs, but now, reading them, I’m not sure how they work together. Should they go together? Thanks!

  24. I’m new to your blog, is the 100 Days Program for both women and men? I have a friend that has struggled for years and reading your posts reminds me of so many of the struggles he’s had over the years.

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  26. I srated this today. I am desperately unfit and in a pretty bad place mentally just now and I need to haul my self out of it. I have always really lacked motivation to exercise even though I KNOW the exercises I need aren’t going to do themselves…..I am going to give this my absolute best shot though.

  27. Does the program give instructions for how to do each exercise, such as proper form or anything like that? I’m reading the samples, and already going “what the hell is a burpee?”

    • They range from 15 minutes in the beginning to 30-40 minutes at the end. They also vary by type of workout. Even later in the program, there will be 15 minute workouts, as well as longer ones.

      • So much so that I’ve earned therapist by de facto status! :) Seriously, though, I do have a team of professionals (counselor, psychiatrist, RD, and MD) and have been to an ED treatment facility for my BED (I also have a long history w/ depression). I regularly employ CBT and DBT principles, attend ongoing groups and individual therapy, practice mindfulness and radical acceptance, read ED books and more (I’m kind of a therapy junkie) . . . but I still struggle and abuse food. I workout 3x week doing moderate cardio but prefer weights.

  28. Hi! I found your link through MFP and have been really inspired by your blog. I started with C25K back in March and have reached my main goal of fitting into my clothes again but I want to focus on getting stronger and fitter now. I’m 5’1″ and currently range from 121-124 depending on the day. I’ve really loved jogging these last few months and have been averaging over 100 miles a month since August. The cold has finally hit us and it’s forced me to concentrate on other ways to workout from my home as I don’t have a gym. I work out early morning and currently live in an apartment so a things like burpees are out until February when I move to my new house, I simply don’t like disturbing my neighbors. I’m wondering which would be the best option for me to start. I was thinking the beginner book but I may have gotten beyond that so far. I’ve just started doing exercises using my own bodyweight like squats, lunges, push-ups and am looking to start a weightlifting routine that won’t overwhelm me. My brother lent me his adjustable weights which is all I have until I move in February where we have a weight bench and a barbell. Which of your books would be my best option to start?

  29. My thought is that you would benefit the most from the 100 days program. The variety is staggering, you will probably need to look up “what is that” all the time. There is so much more than squats, lunges and push ups! Welcome, I hope others have helpful comments as well.

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