January 6, 2016 by Virginia James
This is something I constantly get asked about: How do I organize my workouts throughout the week?
I have a few rules I go by in terms of my weekly routine.
- Always aim for 3-5 days/week of weight training, and 5-6 days of cardio. If I get extremely sick or have a major emergency, I allow myself to skip one day.
- Save my ‘rest days’ for Sundays and Mondays
- Always incorporate at least 10 minutes of cardio in the morning, and weight training in the evening.
- Even on rest days, I like to try and keep myself active. This is called ‘active rest’. I like to go for a nice walk, do some light yoga stretches, or even get up to clean my apartment. Nothing drastic, but let’s not get lazy here either. We need to keep up our habit of being active 🙂
So here’s what my schedule roughly looks like:
|Rest||Rest||Full Body||Lower Body||Upper Body||Core & Back||
NOTE: Schedule varies every week -I have to keep my muscles in shock -repeating the exact same routine will cause a plateau.
On any given day, let’s say for upper body day, I always switch up my routine every week so as to keep my muscles shocked. If you repeat the same routine week by week, your muscles will adapt to it, and you won’t see too much progress. We want to avoid the plateau by doing this. Sometimes, I’ll even switch ‘core + back’ day to Tuesdays, just to keep that shock factor. If you need ideas, check out my workout logs I’ll be posting HERE.
Often times, I’ll write my routine down on paper and save it for maybe a month later, I’d increase # reps, sets, or weight.
Yes, I try to do cardio twice per day. Why? Studies show that running once in the morning, and again in the evening helps your body to burn fat for longer periods of time throughout the day -even hours after your workout!
My morning runs are simple and quick -just a little something to kick -start my metabolism for the day and wake me up! Usually 10 minutes minimum but I’ve gone up to 20 minutes on days when I get up extra early, or just happen to have more time -like on weekends.
Prior to every workout, I hop on the treadmill or go to the park -no questions asked. In the evening, I try to do anywhere from 10-30 minutes to get the heart pumping, and the body warmed up for the body weight or weight training for the day.
My usual Evening Cardio routine is: 4 minutes warm-up (speed 2-3.5), 10 minutes alternating between jogging, running and sprinting (speeds 4-8), Then cooling down for the last 5 minutes (speed 4, and dwindle down to speed 2).
After the evening cardio, I hit the mat, and do my body weight or weight training for the day -with Cardio and weight training together -my workout should take less than an hour.
“I don’t have time to workout twice a day!”
I thought that exact same thing prior to starting this schedule up. But it’s not about having the time… it’s about making the time. I’m away from home 10 hours per day due to work, and I have managed to keep my weekends relaxed in terms of workouts. How did I do this? – All I did was set my alarm 15 minutes earlier than usual – this gave me enough time to get up and do my 10 minute cardio session- which is actually a nice energy booster! It gives me enough energy to come home to my workouts after work, and charge right through them.
I am not a professional trainer, and this routine is meant to help me in my personal fitness goals, but you could use it as a skeleton routine, and make any changes that fit into your personal schedule.
Whoever said ‘No Pain, No Gain‘ is an idiot -if you’re working out and it starts to hurt, go see a doctor! You shouldn’t think it’s okay to torture yourself.
The main reason some people feel pain or hurt themselves while working out is because they are not using proper form while doing some of the exercises. Always make sure you straighten/lengthen your spine while doing the workouts; for more specific tips check out this page on Proper Form.
Ever see gym fails online of people fainting while weight training?
This actually happens more often than it should. And it could EASILY be prevented simply by breathing and keeping yourself hydrated. When you do any exercise, we sometimes feel that holding our breath will help. It doesn’t! Holding your breath prevents oxygen from circulating to your brain, and can therefore cause light-headedness, vertigo, and fainting. So while doing your workouts, make sure to breathe!