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Sculpt The Body of Your Dreams | WholeLifestyleNutrition.comToday I am super excited to introduce to you all A 30 day Dumbbell Challenge!  In order to achieve your ideal health, I strongly believe that you have to eat real food for success and you also need to incorporate a great exercise routine.

I would also like to announce that we are reformatting this 30-day dumbbell challenge to ALSO be a FREE 8-week dumbbell challenge! You pick the program that works best for your needs, 30 days or 8 weeks!

There is so much conflicting information on which exercises to do, which are best for you…cardio, weights, CrossFit training, interval training, Pilates, Yoga the list goes on.

Bottom line is you have to enjoy your workouts to stick to them and you have to have variety.

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For me, I love Pilates!  I love to incorporate Pilate exercises with a dumbbell routine.   I believe in order to achieve your ultimate fitness health, you must include weight training into your daily exercise program.

How Does Weight Training Help?


What exactly do I mean by “weight training?”  Let me explain a few things first.  Don’t let “weight training” scare you!  I have never been a gym person.  I have always enjoyed getting my exercise in the outdoors.   I mean really, would I rather run on a treadmill staring at a blank wall or TV (I am so not a TV person), or be outside for an evening brisk stroll Sculpt The Body of Your Dreams | WholeLifestyleNutrition.comlistening to the birds or my girls as they bike along side me often?

When the weather doesn’t permit me to be outdoors, I bring my exercise routine indoors.  I do not have an expensive indoor gym.  I have a few great exercise videos that I love and a few key pieces of equipment.  I will share a few of my favorite videos and exercise books at the end of this post.

A few years back when I was working toward my fitness goals, I was speed walking, biking, running and rollerblading.  I had hit a plateau and had stayed there for several months.

I have an amazing fitness friend who is also a personal trainer and she kept saying to me “Halle, you have to add weights to your routine!”  Maybe she was right.  I have always read that muscle burns more calories for a longer period of time.  In one of my favorite books Smart Girls Do Dumbbells, It is stated that

” Muscle is a twenty-four-hour furnace, allowing you to burn more calories even at rest.  Muscle is the body’s major metabolic booster.  The famous “yo-yo” dieting syndrome is a result of muscle loss, if you diet without exercising, you lose muscle along with fat and the loss of muscle tissue translates into a slowdown, sometimes a shutdown of your metabolism.  Eating less will help you lose weight, but building muscle will help you keep it off.

~Judith Sherman-Wolin

Hmmmm…. so I began adding weights to my exercise routine and I was amazed at the results!


An exercise ball and weights are needed for this challenge.


Now as I stated above, I do not have an expensive gym in my house.  I have a few great videos and an inexpensive dumbbell set, an exercise mat, an exercise ball, a few kettle bells and some exercise bands.  Again, an exercise ball and weights of choice are needed for this challenge.  All of these items can be found at any superstore such as Walmart or Target and I have also listed these items below this post through amazon.

When buying an exercise ball be sure to buy the right size for you.  Buy the following size ball for your height.

55 cm – 4’11” – 5’4″
65 cm – 5’5″ – 5’11”
75 cm – 6’0″ – 6′ 7″

If you are just starting out with weights, buy yourself 3, 5 or 8 pound dumbbells, or better yet, buy yourself an inexpensive dumbbell set that you can build on.  It doesn’t seem like a lot of weight but we will be doing these exercise in 2-3 sets with 10-12 reps in each set.  It is better to start out with a smaller amount of weight and increase the weight as you progress.  You can tell if you have the right amount of weight if at the end of the repetitions, the last two specifically, they should be a bit challenging to do but you still can complete the repetition with good form.  Remember if you feel pain you should stop and as always consult a physician before starting any exercise program.


So here is how this challenge is going to work.  


  • This challenge can be started at anytime.  Always start with day 1, day 2, day3…day 30 and so on.  Once you start the challenge, continue on it for 30 consecutive days.
  • For your next  30 days, I have pre done daily posts with the exercises that you need to do for your specific day.  
  • A library of workouts can be found under the “coaching” tab at the top of this website under “Free 30 Day Dumbbell Challenge“.  
  • I will include an animated image (courtesy of an amazing free site & showing you how to do the exercise.  
  • The only equipment needed is an exercise ball and dumbbells.
  • You will get 7 workouts a week showing you how to do the exercises (one workout will be a light workout or rest day.)  
  • So if I work your chest and arms, then I will not work them the next few days and so forth.  I will work different muscles throughout this program.
  • Support can be found at any time in the posts below the animated exercises in the comment section that reads “Join The Conversation”.  Every comment will be answered.  Share your support, successes, challenges, questions, and feedback in this section.
  • Incorporate this exercise program into your daily exercise routine and you will be amazed how tone and fit you can get in 30 days!  
  • Don’t have an exercise routine?  Start out with this 30 day challenge and you will see results!  
  • Once your 30 Day Dumbbell Challenge is done, challenge yourself again for another 30 days but increase your weights to intensify your workouts!

Before You Get Started


It is important to note that not all exercises are suitable for everyone.  Before attempting a new exercise take into account factors such as flexibility, strength, and overall health to determine whether or not a particular exercise is appropriate for you.


This, like any exercise, is inherently dangerous and can result in personal injury.  Any injury sustained from proper or improper use of this exercise program is solely the responsibility of the exerciser.


Whole Lifestyle Nutrition and its partners disclaim any liability from injury sustained from the use of this exercise program and suggest that you consult your professional healthcare provider before attempting any exercise or exercise program.


Are you up for the challenge?


I will have a section under the “Coaching” tab called “Free 30 Day Dumbbell Challenge” where you can go back and view past workouts.  Please note in these pictures you will see a workout bench.  You do not have to use a workout bench if you do not have one.  Most of these exercises can be done right on your exercise ball.  I use my ball as a bench, and a chair.  No expensive equipment needed.  How easy is that?

Follow the chart below with the number of sets and reps that you should do.  As always, listen to your bodies language.  If you feel pain, stop.  I do these exercises in circuit format.  Here is an example of how I completed my workout.

Sculpt The Body of Your Dreams |

Day 1  (Muscle Areas Worked: Arms, Chest, Back, Shoulders, Abs)


My first circuit was as follows.

I followed the intermediate level.

First Set:

  • 12 reps of Biceps Curl
  • 12 reps Triceps Kickback, both sides (I used the exercise ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Bench Press (I used the ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Kneeling One Arm Row, both sides (I used the ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Lateral Raise
  • 12 reps of Dumbbell side bend

**I did this set with no breaks in between.  After you finish this set, take a 2-4 minute break and then repeat the circuit and start your second set.

Second Set:

  • 12 reps of Biceps Curl
  • 12 reps Triceps Kickback, both sides (I used the exercise ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Bench Press (I used the ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Kneeling One Arm Row, both sides (I used the ball as my bench)
  • 12 reps of Lateral Raise
  • 12 reps of Dumbbell side bend


Exercises for Day 1


Biceps Curl

Biceps Curl
  • Stand up and hold one dumbbell with each hand down the side of your body, palms facing each other.
  • Raise both dumbbells until they reach your shoulders’ height and slowly lower them back down after a short pause.
  • Try NOT to jerk your upper body in an effort to help you lift the weights.

Triceps Kickback

Triceps Kickback
  • Put your knee and hand on a bench and grab a dumbbell with your other hand, palm facing your body, upper arm parallel to your body.
  • Push the dumbbell back by extending your elbow and allow it to slowly return after a short pause.
  • Keep your upper arm still throughout.

Bench Press

Bench Press
  • Lie down on your back on a bench and hold 2 dumbbells at chest level along your body, palms facing your feet.
  • Raise the dumbbells straight up until your elbows are close to being locked and lower them back slowly after a short pause.
  • Breathe out when raising the dumbbells and breathe in when lowering them back.

Kneeling One Arm Row

Kneeling One Arm Row
  • Put your knee and hand on a bench and grab a dumbbell with your other hand.
  • Lift the dumbbell straight up without moving anything else than your arm and lower it back down after a short pause.
  • Breathe out when raising the dumbbell and in when returning to starting position.

Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise
  • Stand up and hold one dumbbell with each hand in front of your hips, palms facing each other.
  • Raise the dumbbells to your sides until your arms are close to being parallel to the ground and lower them back down after a short pause.
  • Try to maintain the angles in your elbows still throughout.

Dumbbell Side Bend

Dumbbell Side Bend
  • Hold a dumbbell with one hand along the side of your body.
  • Tilt your upper body to the side that holds the dumbbell and bring it back after a short pause. Complete your set and change sides.
  • Be careful not to tilt your upper body too far sideways where it may be difficult to bring it back.

Exercise Images courtesy of

My Recommendations For Exercise Equipment & Books



Want This Whole Challenge In One Spot?

Click here if you’d like to see the full 30-days dumbbell challenge in one spot!

As always feel free to share your successes and/or questions in the comment section below!


Final Comment


PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Your support keeps this blog running and is greatly appreciated. AMAZON DISCLOSURE: The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to,,,,, or DISCLAIMER: The content on the blog Whole Lifestyle Nutrition is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. I am not a medical professional and the information contained on this blog should not be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease or health illness. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented here.

Join the Conversation

70 thoughts on “DAY 1 ~ Sculpt The Body Of Your Dreams With This FREE 30 Day Dumbbell Challenge!”

  1. Elizabeth R Sobieck says:

    My problem is not that I don’t enjoy a good workout, it’s finding the time! I’d love to do it during nap time, but I’m almost always cleaning up from breakfast and lunch, then getting ready for supper (I run an in-home daycare).

  2. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    You can do this Elizabeth in about 20-30 minutes. I do mine right before I take a shower in the morning. Can you manage to get up a half hour earlier to fit in this challenge?

  3. Donna Clements says:

    I would really like to participate, but I have somehow got a nerve that is being pressed on and may not. I. Am. Jealous.

  4. Michelle Fegley says:

    Im in! Are you doing this everyday, or skipping a day in between?

  5. Virginia Casas Chowdary says:

    Is this free for all 30 days?

  6. Kendra Good says:

    I’m in! I’ve been wanting to do an exercise program like this for a long time. Now this is my motivation. Thank you!

  7. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Donna try it out, start with the beginners section and see how you feel

  8. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Michelle I will be doing it everyday and working different section of the body on different days. So if I work your shoulders and arms, then I won’t work them the next few days and so forth….you will be working all of your muscles :) I will have one day of the week that will be light.

  9. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Virginia, yes it is FREE!

  10. Michelle Fegley says:

    Ok great sounds good!!

  11. Ines McKean says:

    Thanks for sharing this, just the kick I needed :-) Was wondering about the lack of leg work but you’ve since clarified that with your recent comment.

  12. Shannon Harlow says:

    Can you do this with a kettle bell or do you have to have dumbells?

  13. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    I would use dumbbells Shannon, but some of them you could use the kettle bell too. This morning I used my 10 pound weights for all of these exercises and probably will use my 12 pound ones tomorrow. They usually are under $20 and sometimes under $10 depending on the weight of them.

  14. Lisa Hostetler says:

    What the heck — I’m in. 😉

  15. Carol Gallucci Jarrett says:

    This is exactly what I need! I’m in!

  16. Robin Long says:

    Just what I need…some group motivation

  17. Ed Good says:

    I already have the body of my dreams 😉

  18. Linda Myers says:

    You did it again Halle! Way to come up with a great idea. You are a great motivator.

  19. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Thanks Linda :) Are you joining the challenge?

  20. Mary Messenger says:

    Halle I feel like I have my own personal trainer in my workout space. I’m only using 3lb weights because I haven’t exercised in quite a while. Thanks for sharing all of this with all of us.

  21. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Oh Mary, I am so glad to hear that!! 3# is great Mary! I would rather you start with just a little weight and not hurt yourself and work your way up to more weight as you progress. If you like this 30 day challenge then you can repeat the work out for 30 more days and increase your weight at that time. Let us know if you have any questions along the way.

  22. Whole Lifestyle Nutrition says:

    Hey everyone….I changed the guidelines to this post and this challenge so it can be started at ANYTIME, not a “specific” 30 days. Check out this post again, it has been revised :) Has anyone started yet? I know Mary has and I see that Robin was rounding up some friends to do it with her ;), anyone else on their way?

  23. janegunsul says:

    Ok you inspired me – I am going to start day 1 today!  Thanks so much for putting this together!  I know when I work out with weights I do feel better, I just get lazy.  Thanks for the motivation!!!

    1. hallecottis says:

      janegunsul Yeah!!  Do keep us posted Jane, I am glad you are in on this 30 day challenge!

  24. MissyEtling says:

    So, at Halle’s urging I am trying her 30-day challenge. I am pretty much doing the ‘ADVANCE’ version of her challenge – my personal goal before this was to be in the best shape of my life this year at 40. I did all this workout using 5 & 8 lb weights, 3 circuits – 20 reps. My best personal advice it that form is more important than the weight you are using. It is better to use a 3 lb weight with proper form than a 10 lb weight with bad form. I probably could have used a heavier weight for many of these routines, but I prefer to increase reps over weight. It took me about 40 minutes to do this 3 times through. One other tip is don’t hesitate to use different weights for different routines or to start with one weight and switch out to a lower weight to finish. For maximum results be certain and squeeze your muscles at the top of the bicep curl and tricep kickback. Most people will use a lower weight on the tricep exercises then on the bicep exercises. 

    1. hallecottis says:

      MissyEtling These are all great tips Missy, thank you!  One other note or tip since we are talking about them.  Next week we really dive into using the exercise ball with the weights.  It is important to keep your core tight in the ball exercises for maximum results as well.  On a personal note, we are turning 40 together this year :)  As my sister Hilary says, lets look fabulous for our fortieth! :)

  25. glutenfreejudee says:

    Wow! This is great and it looks do-able. I’m going to try it. Thanks

    1. hallecottis says:

      glutenfreejudee It is do-able and can be done in the privacy of your own home. :)  Let us know what you think along the way!

  26. DebbySchulzMantell says:

    I just started this today. I usually bike, kayak or walk with poles for my excercise but I have hit a plateau so I think this might be just what I need. Went yesterday to buy weights and my ball. Luckily I did…raining here today so now I have an indoor alternative. My plan is to keep up with my cardio but also do this as well. Hopefully this will help move the scale. Thanks for offering this Halle! I will keep you posted to my progress.

    1. hallecottis says:

      DebbySchulzMantell Welcome Debby! Sounds like you are quite active which is great!  I am excited to see you challenge yourself through this program and to see your results.  I look forward to your updates :)

  27. rccandles says:

    I’m in! Started today……I’m feeling a little sore tonight, but a “good” sore. And I feel sleepy……I’m hoping for the benefits of good sleep from doing a regular exercise program.

    1. hallecottis says:

      rccandles Congrats on completing day 1 and it doesn’t surprise me that you are a bit more sleepy.  I always sleep better when I have a regular exercise routine too!

  28. messages4katherine says:

    Found you on Pinterest and have been looking for something to help tone my arms.  I hate the gym – and that’s kept me from trying anything there.  This seems do-able in the privacy of my own home.  Thanks.  Day 1 went well.

    1. hallecottis says:

      messages4katherine Welcome…I am getting a lot of new folks from Pinterest :)  I am with you on working out in the privacy of your own home and best part about this is you can do this challenge with only a exercise ball and some dumbbells.  Let us know if you should have any questions along the way.

  29. BethReapHutchins says:

    I found you on Pinterest too. I’m challenging an entire group of friends to do this with me starting this Wed, Aug 1st. I’ve copied the links for each day and I’m going to post them to our facebook group daily (so there aren’t any excuses). Thank you for providing this great starter workout for free – I can’t wait to share it!I can’t find the link for day 30, though. Is there one?

    1. hallecottis says:

      BethReapHutchins Yes, day 30 comes out tomorrow…I have been writing this program as I complete the exercises and the program and tomorrow is my last day of the challenge so It will post at 7am.  The challenge will remain up and will be available throughout the year and maybe indefinitely :)  You are going to love this!  I can totally see a change, and started to notice more definition in my muscle tone by week 3.  I am glad you have a group of gals to do it with you.  Please feel free to keep us posted in the comment section along your challenge and let us know if you should need anything!  Welcome!  We also offer a ton of healthy recipes if you feel like tackling the diet part of a healthy lifestyle with this challenge.  You can view them here.  Again, Welcome to you and your group!

      1. BethReapHutchins says:

        hallecottis Whoops – I never paid attention to the dates of the postings… Of COURSE it comes out tomorrow! Yay!! I can’t wait to start it! And yes, I’ll be sure to chime in from time to time to let you know how it’s going with everyone. Thank you again for posting all this for us!

        1. hallecottis says:

          BethReapHutchins You are so welcome :)

        2. hallecottis says:

          BethReapHutchins Hey Beth, I hope your first day went well with your group yesterday!  I have put all the workouts in one spot for you all :)  Here it is…

        3. BethReapHutchins says:

          hallecottis Oh my gosh, Halle, THAT IS AWESOME!!! Thank you! Haven’t heard a lot of feedback from my group yet, but I’ll give it another day. They’ll all start whining about how sore they are soon, mark my words!! (I know I am! Sore, that is, in a good way!) You’re the best, girlie! I’ll be sure to recommend your blog and get you some more followers :o)

  30. Gonna Do It says:

    So excited!  I just completed my first set and feel great!  This is such a super workout and I love the direction! 
    Thanks Halle!

  31. shannawilliamson says:

    I’m going to start this tomorrow!! Thx!!!

  32. JodiAldridgeTodd says:

    30 days until my wedding – day 1 down!  Love, love, love the animated gifs.  That makes it so easy!  Thank you!

    1. hallecottis says:

      JodiAldridgeTodd Congrats on getting married, I am sure you will look fabulous!!  Glad you are enjoying the workouts :)

  33. IBuckyKing says:

    im going to start this today..Thak you :)

  34. swami says:

    Day 1 done !!!!!!! Hurray !!!!

  35. kalieta says:

    This is just what I needed!The only thing is that where I am right now they don’t sell exercise balls. Do you know what I could use instead? And there is no internet shopping in the area either!

  36. Tam6van says:

    I was looking for this exact kind of challenge! Day one complete. Only did 2 sets. It was great:)!

    1. hallecottis says:

      Tam6van Two sets is great!  Keep it up!!

  37. Nicole says:

    This is perfect starting tomorrow thank you!

  38. Julie says:

    Just started,excited!

  39. MaryMZ says:

    Started today! Hope this helps my stalled weight loss. I need to lose around 70 lbs. Thank You for posting this workout!

  40. Jessica says:

    I am so excited to have found this. I usually do these workouts with a PT but lately money has been tight so I’m thrilled to be able to continue my routine at home. Thank you so much for sharing this 30-day challenge with all of us!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Welcome, let us know if you should have any questions along the way.

  41. Anne says:

    Just found this exercise program on Pinterest. Hope it will stay up on the site because I like to start tomorrow morning! 1/3/2014
    Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Welcome. It isn’t going anywhere, I have had it on my site for a year and a half…very popular :)

  42. Kay Jemison says:

    This is just what I needed! Not sure where I signed up for your newsletter, but sure am glad I did! Thank you very much for doing this!!!

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      You are so welcome :)

  43. dawn says:

    I am in. just wondering how the kneeling arm rows and tricep kickbacks on an excercise ball?

  44. Betsie says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for sharing this. I just finished day 1 and look forward to doing something a little different tomorrow. Just what I needed.

  45. Jessica says:

    Starting this tomorrow im extremely excited :-)

  46. Margarita says:

    Thank you so much for a convenient workout plan. In 2005, I lost 70lbs doing low carb and working out. I had kept most of the weight off until about 2010 when I started a new relationship and gained about 30lbs. I’m starting the challenge tonight. In addition, to diet, do you recommend cardio? If so, how many days a week and before or after the challenge? Thank you in advance!!!

  47. Leilani says:

    I’ve always seen the 30 day _____ challenge and had to see if there was a dumbbell one. I looked and found this one :) I started this today after my dog and I went for our morning walk. Thank you for this. This is more of a 30 day challenge I like.

  48. Michelle says:

    Love this 30 day challenge. Just completed day one and looking forward to the other 29 days. I needed to incorporate weights into my workout routine and this is a great start. Thank you so much.

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      You are so welcome! :)

  49. Aneta says:

    Bookmarked this site a while back and started day 1 today! :)Thanks for the great instructions!

  50. Started day one today! I started off as intermediate but felt I could handle more so I did 3 sets at 12-15 reps.
    After I finished I did 10 minutes on the treadmill. 1 minute running, 30 seconds fast walking…
    So glad I found this plan! I wanted to do some weight training at home and this looks great! Thanks!

  51. Kari says:

    Starting this tomorrow! Have an excercise ball and starting out with 3lb weights. I recently had back surgery 5 months ago and figured this would be good and help me lose weight and get fit better than running and or biking. Biking still hurts my back. So I’m hoping I can do all of these, what do you think good idea?

    1. Halle Cottis says:

      Be careful on some of the exercises, especially when you are using the ball. Try using a chair to start and if you feel pain, stop! I think 3 lb is a great start! :)

  52. Samraat says:

    Are protein shakes good for these exercises?. And can I use these exercises to gain weight too?. Too much curious and desperate to gain weight. So if you could help me with this.

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