Welcome back for Part 3 of our series on free printable workout routines! Fitness should be accessible to everyone and there are a ton of great resources online that don’t cost any money, but offer great exercise programs.
One of these resources is Darebee.com, which have been using on and off for years now. If you have been following this series from the beginning, you are familiar with the two reviews I’ve already written on 30 Days of Strength and Baseline.
For those unfamiliar, Darebee offers a variety of programs, meal plans, and individual themed workouts, all for free! The site does ask that if you enjoy the workouts you consider making a small donation, but this is not required by any means.
For the month of February, I wanted to test a program that was appropriate for someone who was just starting their fitness journey. I love to build from the ground up, so I was immediately drawn to the title, “Foundation Light“.
Darebee describes it as the perfect program for those with joint issues, those recovering from an injury, and those who are overweight. What stood out to me most was the part about joint issues. As I documented in my last review, I have always had trouble with shoulder weakness, so I thought it would be a perfect program for me to try.
Therefore, without further delay, let’s find out more about Foundation Light!
Foundation Light – What Is It And What Does It Involve?
Foundation Light is a no-equipment, bodyweight only exercise program that is focused on light cardio, strength, and stretching exercises. It is completely low-impact, with most movements being accomplished from the standing position.
Unlike Baseline, it is also more of a total body workout, targeting the muscles of the arms, torso, and legs. Some exercises include side leg raises, wall squats, arm raises, marches, leg extensions, flutter kicks, and some very basic martial arts movements.
As far as the difficulty is concerned, Darebee rates this program at a 1 out of 5, making it a great starting point for a fitness journey. Each day consists of anywhere from 1 to 6 exercises means to be completed in 3, 5, or 7 sets, depending on your fitness level. For the sake of time and testing, I stayed at 3 sets per day.
For my February experiences with Foundation Light, I honestly have to say it got a little messed up. I was sick for nearly a week in the middle of the month and toward the end, I strained my back (though not as a result of the workouts themselves!) and unfortunately couldn’t finish the program because of that.
Because I got behind though, I was able to experiment with doing more than one of the workouts in a day. In fact, after my bout with illness, I was doing 3 workouts a day. The reason I am telling you this is because I was still able to accomplish them in about 30 minutes.
Depending on your level (I took no break in between my sets), you could conceivably finish each day of the program in about 10 minutes or fewer!
Additionally, if you are looking to sync up your program with a meal plan, Darebee suggests using their Modern Hero Mealplan.
Troubleshooting – Dealing With Problems and Modifying
Each of the workouts in Foundation Light are illustrated and I had no trouble following along with what to do. Remember that if you are still unsure though, Darebee supplies a full Instruction Manual to explain each of the various moves found on their website.
To add even more clarity if the illustrations aren’t speaking to you, the site also provides a huge video library of their exercises, so you can get a better visual of how moves are performed. As before, these videos are also available on their YouTube channel. I will post a few video examples of moves from Foundation Light at the end of this section.
Also, feel free to visit their Get Started page to learn more about navigating their site as a whole.
As far as modifications are concerned, I really didn’t come across many moves that needed to be made simpler or lower in difficulty. In fact, for moves such as the half wall squats, I upped the challenge by doing regular squats. For those who are more adept at exercise, there is definitely opportunity to make things more challenging.
The biggest chance for more challenge can come from adding a great piece of equipment to the exercises that I recently reviewed. They are Sportneer’s Ankle/Wrist Weights, which would add varying degrees of resistance that would make even a beginner workout extremely effective. Check out the linked review to get all the details!
Now, as I promised, check out some of Darebee’s videos that explain some moves in Foundation Light:
Side Leg Raises:
Side Arm Raises:
What Did I Like About The Program?
Foundation Light is a really great starter program, as I have stated before. If you are just getting into fitness, it is for you! That being said, even as a veteran to fitness, there were a lot of aspects that I truly enjoyed while giving it a test.
First and foremost, the fact that it is completely free is something that I can’t say enough about. You rarely get such quality from a free product, but Darebee has found a way to do just that. Couple the quality workouts with a simple to use and completely customizable meal plan, and you have a winner in my book!
I also liked how clear the illustrations were in this particular 30 day challenge. It is very difficult to get lost while exercising with the pictures and even if you do, that handy video library comes into play.
One thing I definitely appreciated over the Baseline program I did the previous month was the more total body focus I mentioned before. If I am going to be working out for a short period of time (10 minutes in many cases for this program), I definitely want to make sure that my whole body is covered to get the most out of my time. This program does that.
Speaking of the time, I really enjoyed (as I am sure many of you will) the fact that I could be done so quickly and effectively. As a husband and father of two young kids, working a full-time job, and running this website part-time, there is a lot on my plate.
I just don’t have all the time in the world to work out, so being able to get up, get done, and get on my way was important.
Additionally, being able to easily up the difficulty by either making a few changes to certain moves or adding equipment is nice for those who need a little more challenge.
The variety of the workouts also assured me that I would never get bored with doing the same thing over and over again. Being somewhat ADHD, it is extremely important that I vary what I am doing to keep up my adherence.
Lastly, I’m sure many older exercisers and those with joint issues will be glad to see that it is low-impact, thus reducing the chance of getting injured while going through Foundation Light.
What Did I Not Like About The Program?
There wasn’t much to Foundation Light that I found unlikable. It really was a well-balanced and fun routine to get into and is great for the beginner.
The only thing I could maybe nitpick on is that for myself and my fitness level, I found there to be a little too much challenge lacking. It is definitely not a program for someone looking to get shredded or melt fat by the bucket load.
However, I can’t necessarily count that against the program. Its intent is not to be super challenging, but to ease someone into a fitness routine. So many fitness programs are all about high intensity training that gets results fast. While that is great for some, for others, that is just a motivation to stop if the work gets too hard, too quickly.
I talk about that extensively in an article I wrote about smart goal setting that might be worth your while to read.
The important thing I have to remember about Foundation Light is that it is the bottom of the mountain, not the summit!
The Verdict – Build That Foundation
The Foundation Light program is on the of the best free printable workout routines for those who are just beginning their fitness journey. It is the perfect way to ease into a healthier lifestyle, providing just the right amount of challenge and giving you the ability to achieve.
Now, it’s your turn! What do you think of Foundation Light? Is it a good starting point for you or do you think it isn’t challenging enough?
If you do happen to try it out, please let me know how it goes! I’d love to hear your feedback and experience. If you have any questions, please ask away in the comments section!
If you do enjoy the program, please consider donating to Darebee so they can keep providing free fitness resources.
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That’s all for now! Until next time, God bless and happy workouts!