The hardest part about beginning a fitness regimen when you're starting from ground zero? Knowing where to start. That said, if you've never set hand on a weight before, you're at an advantage. You can practice proper form, which can lend itself to optimal muscle memory, a lesser chance of injury, and faster gains. So, book an appointment with a personal trainer to walk you through the basic mechanics, speed, and stance of the essentials (pushup, curl, squat, deadlift, bench press, and the like—then give this workout a go.

Directions

Frequency: Perform the workout 3 days a week for 4 weeks, resting at least one day between each session.

How to do it: Perform the exercise pairs (marked A and B) as alternating sets, resting 60 seconds between sets. You'll complete one set of exercise A and rest; then one set of B and rest again; and repeat until you've completed all sets for that pair.

On your very first training day, perform only one set for each exercise. Progress to two or more sets (as the set prescriptions below dictate) from your second workout on. On the weighted exercises, choose a load that allows you to complete a few more reps than the prescribed number (you may need to adjust this load between sets as you discover your strength levels). For instance, if an exercise calls for 12 reps, choose a load you estimate you can perform 15 reps with before having to stop (but complete only 12).