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  • Nikki Cagle


Me in 2006, 2007, and 2008, showing my weightloss journey over three years.
Weightloss Journey For Beginners

The other day I told someone who I had just met that I have lost nearly 80 pounds since my heaviest. Her reaction is one that still gets me, every time. She jolted her head back, eyes wide, and said, "I don't believe you. You're so FIT." Slightly embarrassed, but equally as proud, I say, as I always do, "It was a process." From start-to-finish, my fitness "process" has been 20 years in the making. I should really say, "from start-to-today" because it's a process that will never, ever end. BUT, it does evolve. The workouts I do today are a far cry from the workouts I did 20 years ago {I say that literally—as my workouts today actually make me want to cry sometimes...}. But that doesn't make the workouts I did 20 years ago any less important, OR strenuous. Because back then, when I was 80 pounds heavier, a 1 mile run was debilitating, a 20 minute yoga session was draining and any amount of time with Jillian Michaels evoked pure hatred.

Despite how I look {and most importantly—feel} today, I too had to start somewhere. So I hit up the fitness aisle at Target, stocked up on every DVD I could find, grabbed a pair of 3 lb. hand weights, and pressed play—every day. If you're a beginner and you don't know where to start {or you're rusty and don't know where to RE-start}, do what the new-age kids do—hop on Amazon, prime ship (or instant video play) every program on this list, add a pair of 3 lb. hand weights to your cart and press play. EVERY DAY.


Despite running around the soccer field for years as a teen, I still couldn't run a mile without getting winded. Hell, I couldn't run half a mile without feeling like I was going to die. I never ever thought I would run a half-marathon and I would frequently say I hated and dreaded running. Well, consider me a changed woman, because a good run is now my therapy of choice, and I can bust out four miles at a mild pace while zoning out on replays of my favorite CW shows—all without the dread.

This was in a world pre-Pinterest {I know... the shock, the horror, the boredom!}, but now there are a ton of "Couch to 5K" pins to get your started. Still, my go-to trainer for runs, near and far, is Hal Higdon. Hal Higdon 5K Training for the Novice Hal Higdon 5K Training for the Intermediate Hal Higdon 5K Training for the Walker {"Who says you have to run to finish a 5K?"}


"I don't feel like I get a real workout when I'm doing yoga." Yea, been there, said that, didn't feel it. Well, Bob Harper officially convinced me in his Biggest Loser Weightloss Yoga. "Try this weightloss yoga—you'll feel it!" Truth be told, I still "feel it" today because that workout still gets me! It was the first workout that was finally able to get me to fall in love with yoga & get all sorts of namaste. Plus, anyone who has worked out the First Lady is the M A N, in my book.

Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga {Bonus: no prime shipping needed—there's an instant download option!}

Jillian Michaels Yoga Meltdown {Follow the modifier if you're a yoga newbie}

Denise Austin Shrink Your Fat Zones Pilates {A little old-school style, but the stretching and strength will make you feel long and lean!}


There are many ways to bust a cardio sweat, other than running. Most of these offer a quickie workout and a modifier to lead you through if you consider yourself a super-novice. The best part is that you can increase to the more advanced level within the beginner-esque workouts to make them last longer and carry you through, month after month, and even year after year!

Biggest Loser Boot Camp {Another Bob led workout}


In the beginning I was a cardio-whore. All I wanted to do was come up red-faced and dripping in sweat. I thought it was way more important to shed pounds than to tone and bulk up. But I was so wrong because I quickly learned that incorporating weights and strength training 2-3 days a week would not only enhance my cardio workouts, they would make me burn more calories in a shorter amount of time! Balancing between cardio and strength is key.

Kathy Smith Kettlebell {although this video isn't that old, it has a 90s workout feel that I secretly love. Where's a leotard when you need one?!}

Jackie Warner Power Circuit Training {who doesn't remember and love gym owner-turned-reality star Jackie Warner?! I used to dream of working out at Sky Sport.}

Jackie Warner One-on-One Training {I completely credit Jackie for jump-starting my abs. Cause, just look...}

Workout Sets

Working out at home makes you your own workout boss—you have to set your schedule, push yourself, and imagine that Jillian is yelling directly at you through the TV. Sometimes it's tough to find the energy and dedication to press play every day—that's why workout sets that come complete with set schedules help to keep you on track. Start with something small, like a 30-day set. Who can't commit to one measly month!? Then up the ante with the infamous BeachBody set: P90x.

P90x {long after P90x reigned DVDs across the world, Tony Horton got a word from the wise and realized you didn't need 93 minutes of yoga to get a true workout. So, if you don't have an hour+ a day to dedicate to Tony, pick up P90x3 for a condensed but equally as tough version! }

Amazon is calling your name, and Tony, Jillian, Bob & the gang are waiting for their fresh meat...

Up Next: The process continues with fitness frenemies for the advanced worker-outer!

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