Whether you’re brand-new to fitness or are coming back to exercise after a long break, the first hurdle to cross is just getting started in the first place. It may sound like a simple thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
One major reason this often becomes such a hurdle is because we tend to overthink what the starting line of a fitness journey “should” be or look like. You may find yourself asking questions such as:
- “How do I start working out?”
- “How long should I work out as a beginner?”
- “How long does it take to get in shape?”
- “How do I start working out at home?”
- “What’s the best type of exercise?”
This inner dialogue can make something that sounded as simple as “just getting started” feel overwhelming. While in general our recommendation is to just move in whatever way you can, even if all those questions go unanswered, if you’re hoping to stay consistent and make progress, sometimes outsourcing answers is going to be the best path.
Those questions (and more) are solved for in the three-week Bodyweight Strength program led by Coach Kemma, Life Time’s newest digital training program offering available in the Life Time Digital app. It’s specifically designed to be the kick-start to fitness that anybody can do with confidence, no matter their exercise background. And all you have to do is follow the plan that’s laid out for you.
Who is Coach Kemma?
Kemma Cunningham, known by many as “Coach Kemma” (pronounced Kee-muh), is a 5-star elite performer and class experience lead at Life Time in Bridgewater, N.J. She’s an ACE-certified group fitness instructor and health coach, a personal trainer, and a busy wife and mother to her 12-year-old daughter.
Coach Kemma is well-known for her magnetic energy and ability to bring out confidence, motivation, and a spark in those she works with, whether they’re brand-new to exercise or seasoned in their fitness routines — or anywhere in between. You can usually find her at the club leading a variety of studio and cycle formats, including Barbell Strength, EDG cycle, and AMP cycle. You can listen to her powerful message about making a life change to pursue health in her appearance on the Life Time Talks podcast here: “Living in Your Light with Coach Kemma.”
And now, you can also find her digitally leading you step-by-step through three weeks of Bodyweight Strength training.
What is the Bodyweight Strength program?
Coach Kemma describes this app-based program as being for “someone looking to start their fitness journey who doesn’t want to overcomplicate things.”
It guides you through a 30-minute, low-impact strength workout three times per week for three weeks. Each workout starts with a few activation movements to warm up and ends with a few stretches to help you cool down.
The Bodyweight Strength program does not involve any fitness equipment and only requires a small towel and a chair for stability. Since a bustling athletic club and top-of-the line machines can sometimes be intimidating for the newbie exerciser, the program was put together so it could be done anywhere — whether that’s a quiet corner of the workout floor at the club or in the comfort of your home.
The goal of the program is to get you started and lead you to a long-term relationship with working out. “It truly is for those who want to start with one small win that will lead them to bigger wins,” Coach Kemma says.
What if I’m intimidated by exercise?
If you feel overwhelmed by exercise or like you’re far from fit, know that Coach Kemma has been there: “I didn’t always work in fitness. I had a long journey to eventually finding my passion for fitness and to making it my career.”
Earlier in her career she was a pharmaceutical rep, a stay-at-home mom, and even did extra side work with making several minor appearances on soap operas. During that time of her life, Coach Kemma shares that she had lost touch with regular exercise and didn’t feel fully like herself.
She decided to take action with a single small step in the right direction. “For me, it started with one session on a treadmill, then one class — and then it just exploded for me,” Coach Kemma recalls. “This is really what started my whole health and fitness journey: small steps that added up.”
“That first step you take is to spark something in you to add momentum to keep going.”
— Coach Kemma
This low-impact program is designed to be that small step and spark for participants. Coach Kemma shares, “There’s no such thing as failing, you’re just learning. The only way to fail is to completely stop. There are plenty of things in my fitness journey that I thought I had failed, but little did I know those were just lessons to be taught.”
Why is the focus on strength training instead of cardio?
When just starting out with exercise, it’s common for many to overdue cardio since it tends to feel like a more familiar exercise — and to neglect strength training and weights, often due to not knowing exactly what to do.
Getting into a regular and consistent strength-training routine is one of the most transformative and powerful things you can do for both your physical and mental health. (Read more here: “9 Strength Training Benefits for Health, Fitness, and Anti-Aging.”)
That’s not to say cardiovascular training isn’t important — it absolutely is. But getting confident on the workout floor with resistance training is a top priority that most people are looking for guidance with, especially when they’re just starting out or are coming back after a long break from exercise.
What comes with the Bodyweight Strength program — and how does it work?
Bodyweight Strength is a fully digital program and is delivered through the Life Time Digital app. Each workout outlines exactly what exercises to do and in what order, with a short demonstration video and timer for each movement.
The program also comes with a downloadable program guide to make sure you feel confident with exercise terminology and what you’ll be focused on during the program. You’ll have access to helpful videos from Coach Kemma and a coaching team who’s available via email to help answer your questions and champion you along the way.
How can I get started with the Bodyweight Strength program?
Bodyweight Strength is complimentary for Life Time members. If you’re a Life Time member, open the Life Time Digital app and under “Featured Coaching Programs,” click “View All.” From there, you’ll be able to choose the Bodyweight Strength program to enroll in.
If you’re not yet a Life Time member, you have the option to join as a Life Time Digital member, and then can access the program by following the same steps above.
Get to Know Coach Kemma
1. What does your personal workout routine look like?
I teach nine classes per week which keeps me busy and active, and then I also try to do other efforts for myself personally. I aim to include both strength and cardio daily, in addition to running up and down the aisles to keep my class participants motivated. One thing I’m looking to add in is more yoga to slow me down, specifically taking the SURRENDER yin and guided SOL yoga formats.
2. Do you have any daily habits you never waver on?
Absolutely. Every single morning, I drink 16 ounces of water as soon as I wake up; I keep it right on my bedside table. I recently have felt a big difference by adding in essential amino acids from Life Time’s Amino Recovery powder and electrolytes to my water. I also make sure that before ever picking up my phone, I visualize my day and set an intention for it with positive affirmations.
3. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
A really good water bottle. I hate plastic and only use glass or stainless steel. It’s so important to me that the water bottle is portable yet large enough to help me hit my daily hydration target with a reasonable number of refills daily.
4. What do you think is the underrated secret to living a healthy lifestyle?
Without a doubt, it’s to take small steps. For example, incorporate more daily movement by parking your car a little further away or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. While small, it honestly does have to be a daily practice. Just remember to keep moving. Just keep moving. Do something.
5. What are your best tips for someone before their very first workout?
Just pick one thing to accomplish and do it well. It doesn’t have to be crazy.
I always like to tell this story: I have one class participant in her 50s who was very apprehensive to come to AMP cycle at first. She approached me at the club and shared that she wanted to try it and that it sounds liked fun, but that she was scared. I had to remind her that just talking to me about it was step one. Step two was joining class just to sit in the very back row and move her legs.
Before she knew it, she was spending three songs during class up out of the bike saddle and pedaling to the beat. It’s now six months later and she’s consistently in the front row and her endurance is all the way up.
6. Is there anything else you want to share about the Bodyweight Strength program or exercise in general?
I’m just so happy that I’ve found a passion that can help others, but truly, it helps me too. This is all reciprocal. By doing this program and working on yourself, it’s feeding me and helping me become the best version of myself too.