When I first started going to the gym I didn’t really know what I was doing. I focused mainly on cardio and ab exercises. Although in the beginning I saw a big progress with my running and strength, I didn’t know what to do from there. I knew my plan was getting boring, very repetitive and not challenging for my body as I used to do the same couple of the same exercises every time, therefore my progress started to decline and I shortly stopped seeing results.
It was time to make my workouts a bit more structured so could make the most of my workouts. So I went to the internet for answers but all I could find was people telling me that I needed to divide my days into body parts: biceps and back on day, triceps and chest the other day, glutes another, etc. Everything I found was bodybuilding training plans where the main goal was to isolate one or two muscles (or muscle groups) and fatigue them as much as possible.
I didn’t like this approach at all and I personally found it unuseful and boring. I just wanted to get fit which for me meant having an overall strong body (not just strong biceps or triceps haha), being able to run and cycle for a longer period of time (cardiovascular endurance) and be mobile and flexible with my body (be able to do push ups, pull ups, planks, handstand, etc).
A few years ago, this combination of weight lifting, body weight exercises (agility) and endurance was not talked about much, however nowadays we can see that happening in Crossfit which is something I am very eager to try!
Anyway! That was a little background on my gym story.
Today wanted share with you my training/workout plan. I know there are women out there who feel exactly how I felt before, we don’t want to bodybuilding stuff, but we still want to be strong and fit. Here is how I split my workout days in order to have an active lifestyle that allows me to work on everything I love.
❊ Cardio + circuit (Monday) – I usually run on this day. After my many injuries, I completely stopped running for a very long time. One day I decided to run and realised how SLOW I am! I felt so unfit, so I am starting to slowly get back into it. I usually run for about 30-45mins on a constant pace (whatever feels comfortable that day). I end the workout with a little ab circuit (4 or 5 exercises), some planks and a long stretch.
❊ Functional – HIIT (Tuesday) – in this day I create my own HIIT workout which involves a high intensity exercise (such as burpees, squat jumps, jumping lunges, etc), followed by a moderate intensity exercise (such as push ups, ab exercises, planks, exercises with weights, etc). I always make sure I choose exercises to work my entire body (not just ab exercises or arms) so I can get a full body workout. I choose about 8-10 exercises and do 4 rounds in total. This is a quick and effective workout.
❊ Yoga (Thursday) – I love going to yoga on Thursdays in the evening. I don’t usually go to the gym that day as I don’t like to be fatigued for the class. It is a 1 hour class which involves loads of techniques from meditate and relaxation to vinyasas, flows and balance poses.
❊ Upper Body + Stability (Friday) – I love lifting weights but recently I’ve been focusing on more functional exercises, therefore on this upper body day I mainly (although not exclusively) do body weight exercises such as push ups, tricep exercises, shoulder presses and a lot of planks and plank variations to work on core stability as well as arms.
❊ Cardio + circuit (Saturday) – I love cycling, so I always have at least one spinning day, usually cycle about 20km and then finish off with a short ab circuit and a long stretch.
❊ Strength Lifting Day (Sunday) – I focus on lifting heavy. I do Olympic cleans, squats and stiff deadlifts as well as heavy lunges, some lunge jumps and accessory exercises with elastic bands. This is my favourite day, as I love lifting big weights and working on big muscle groups. Doing Olympic lifts allows me to not only work on my leg muscles but my whole body, as I need my abs and back for stability, as well as my arms and shoulders. And I also do some jumps and elastic band work just to incorporate some body weight and power moves!
This is how I split my training days in order to work on everything I love and maintain full body strength, mobility as well as endurance. I am very flexible with my programme, sometimes instead of running I will cycle or the other way around. Sometimes I might decided to have two HIIT days just because I thought of some really cool exercises I want to try…it really is based on how I am feeling, these are just guidelines.
I hope you found something in this post that serves you. I know I would have found post this helpful a few years ago. I am planning on doing a lot more fitness related posts as it is something I am very passionate about. I appreciate sometimes I can get a little bit too technical, as I am doing a sports degree and I am used to having to explain everything to the detail, but I will try my best to make it accessible and easy to understand. Let me know in the comments your thoughts and if you have any questions. Thank you for reading! Lots of love,