Linda Melone
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How to create a minimalist workout plan

I‘m excited my blog won #1 Fitness Over 50 best blog! Thank you for being a reader.

We’re in the process of transitioning from an electric stove to a gas stove. 

That single, harmless sounding sentence contains six months worth of price shopping, no-show workmen, and enough angst to take us to the end of 2017 and halfway into 2018.

Let me explain.

This may take awhile, so grab yourself some popcorn, cancel all appointments for the day,  and pull up a lawn chair.

First, let’s address the most obvious question in any logical mind: This sounds reminiscent of last week’s tirade about an “almost lightning strike” that was another over-dramatized event over pretty much nothing.

I assure you, it’s worse than any actual lightning strike because at least the lightning itself could’ve cooked something.

Without a stove, I’m stuck with rubbing two sticks together, using the electric fireplace, or eating Chinese takeout the rest of my life.

None of these options float my boat.

But let me be clear, it’s not as if I’m some gourmet chef. I consider heating up two mugs of water for tea “entertaining.”

I just like cooking with gas when I do.

If you’re a fan of home improvement shows where people upgrade from a straw hut to a mansion worthy of royalty – all within seven days – while flirting with a pair of hot twin brothers, you may also be thinking: sounds like fun to me.

Then there’s also the “hilarious” banter and dancing in the kitchen followed by hammering down drywall like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

That is… until you discover an old photograph stuck in a wall, which unleashes an evil spirit that ends up haunting your house and you have to move out anyway.

But I digress.

In general, home improvement shows are about as reality based as Star Wars.

In real life, you face weeks of waiting, shopping, dealing with workmen with butt cleavage and everything taking three times longer to complete than promised.

Switching from an electric stove to a gas model is not simply a matter of buying a different stove.

Not even close.

Buying the stove itself was the easiest part. It’s been in a box in our living room for about six weeks now so I can personally vouch for that.

We needed to first hire someone to install the gas lines. Estimates ranged from $400 to $2,400 for the same job.

And no, I’m not exaggerating by a single dollar.

So after three estimates, weeks of waiting, and two shoebox size holes in the wall to run the lines, we finished step ONE.

It’s the only time I’ve ever been happy to say the words, “I have gas.”

Then there’s the installation of the stove itself.

Again, each estimate varied ridiculously, and one told us we now need a cabinet maker to tear down the front of the counter to fit in the stove.

Oh, I forgot to mention the problem with the downdraft. I’ll leave that up to your imagination based on what I’ve already said.

As it stands now, by the time you read these words the stove may actually be installed. But that may just be crazy talk.

Stay tuned.

Since this is a fitness blog — now an award-winning one, by the way! – here’s where I connect these two seemingly distant topics.

Your workout plan should NOT look like this

The common thread: simplicity.

You should not need to consult 15 different books, seven personal trainers, a boatload of articles and sources to replace a stove OR put together a simple workout routine.

The exception may be if you’re an Olympic athlete. In that case yes, you’ll want a team to help you structure a nutrition plan and workout that enable you to stand on that center podium.

Let’s assume you just want a basic plan on which you can build.

Here’s how to distill it down to the bare bones…

1. Resistance training: 2 to 3x a week

The American College of Sports Medicine defines resistance training as: A form of physical activity that is designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance.

This may be your own body weight (push-ups, pull-ups, planks, etc.), or the use of dumbbells, kettlebells, fitness tubing, sandbags, barbells, buckets of water or cans of soup.

Whatever it takes, as long as you include all major muscle groups (chest, back, shoulders, arms, legs, glutes, core) and work beyond your comfort zone a bit.

Reps: 12 to 15 for two to three sets

2. Cardio/aerobic training: 5+ days a week

Strive for five to six days a week of 30 minutes of activity. You don’t need to do a full half hour at once; you get the same heart health benefits in three, 10-minute mini bouts of cardio.

If you don’t have time to do a structured walking workout, for example, park 10 minutes from work and you can count the walk each way for ⅔ of your workout. Just add another 10 minutes at some point and you’re golden.

You can also mix cardio and resistance training, but you’ll need to keep moving to maintain a cardio level heart rate.

(Ideally, you want to get in one or two interval workouts as well. But I said I’d keep this simple so I’ll leave it at that.)

3. Stretching/flexibility: 7 days a week

Everyday. Yes, I said it. Stretching while watching TV or otherwise sitting around is the perfect time to get it done before you know it.

You don’t have to stretch every muscle every day, but if back pain is an issue, for example, a few daily stretches — takes maybe two, three minutes — makes a HUGE difference. My back muscles give me grief unless I do a few targeted stretches every night.

Specific recommendations depend on many factors*, but that’s the gist of a solid, overall fitness regime.


How does your routine compare? Do you fall short in one or more areas and why? Let me know in the comments section below… 

–> If you like this post, please be sure to sign up to have it delivered straight to your inbox (see above) and share it with your friends! I’ll be forever grateful. 

Other posts you may enjoy:

How to get better results by taking a break

How to burn more calories all day long

How to use a foam roller 101

Your Ageless Body Coach,

*Looking for a custom plan? Check out my Total Body Firm-Up Plan or email me at

About the Author Linda Melone

Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.

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Leave a Comment:

Tammy Gill says

Yes! Now I finally understand. Thank you for making sure I got it!

You are awesome!

    Linda Melone says

    lol! Thanks, Tammy 🙂

Sylvia says

Please share your back stretch routine (or share the link if you’ve already written about achy breaky backs). I need to make a HUGE difference in my low back pain. Thanks in advance.

    Linda Melone says

    Hi Sylvia! I’ve written a couple of general stretching posts but not anything specific for back pain — although I could’ve sworn I had at some point. So let me work on that. In the meantime, here’s a post about exercises that help and hurt when you have low back pain:

    Linda Melone says

    I’ll work on it! 🙂

Patricia Scott says

Linda, Hope this isn’t a repost since we’ve talked about this before. I do kettlebells 2 x a week, dumbells 4x, cardio 4 to 5 times a week. If a class is cancelled I do weights at home, walk briskly 2-7 miles, or pull a 270 pound wagon. I use a weighted hula hoop and speed jumprope for warm ups.
I am trying to improve my rest days and journaling.

    Linda Melone says

    Awesome, Pat! So what’s in the wagon that weighs 270 lbs.? :))

Carmel says

Yes! This is exactly not only specifically what I needed but the whole simplicity thing in order for me to get the proverbial fitness ball rolling ‘and’ develop a strong habit to take me into the autumn and winter of my life! Linda, thank you! Yes, I fall short but this is something I can memorize and create easily. Thanks bunches! Staying tuned for more real life escapades of yours!

    Linda Melone says

    Carmel, that’s great! By the way, the stove is IN as of today. Just made my first cup of green tea with it. Now we just need someone to repair the holes where the cabinet drawers used to live. Sigh…

Theresa J Hilken says

Fabulous stories – love them!

    Linda Melone says

    Thanks, Theresa!

Sylvia says

Hi Linda,
Walking is out of the question for me for cardio. So without any equipment at home as in elliptical, bike or rowing machine what else can I do to get my heart rate up. Thanks

    Linda Melone says

    Great, question, Sylvia! It’s tough for me to answer because I don’t know your limitations. But if you can do step-ups, even on a short step, that could be one. Otherwise, moving quickly through a regular workout routine is another. If you can only use your upper body, some gyms have what’s called a UBE, for upper body ergometer, which is like a treadmill for your arms.

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