Being a PT people ask me a lot of questions and one of the common ones is: “I don’t know what to do for a workout”
I totally understand that people want to get their training routine sorted but without a Personal Trainer to work with, it can be difficult.
Knowing that a program should be written considering a person’s goals, health and history there are many factors that I won’t be able to get across in this blog that would allow me to customise a specific program for you.
Having said that, I want to give you a strategy that will allow you to structure your own workout week.
I want to make it as simple as possible for you, so the first thing to do is answer these questions:
Do you have a goal?
Is what you are currently doing working?
Are you training safely?
Is your current nutrition keeping you healthy?
If you answered no to one of these then you need help! I’ll give you a great guide in understanding what goes into a program so you can build yourself an effective one.
If you don’t have a goal, go ahead and write one out now.
OK, LET’S DO THIS!
Before we begin you need to understand your circumstances and time commitments.
How many days a week you can allocate to exercise
How much time you can allow for your workouts
There is no right or wrong answer. You can train up to 7 days per week and you can train for just 30 minutes a day if you like. Figure out what works best in your schedule.
Once you have that information we can move onto the next step.
Always keep your workouts varied. For example if you can train 7 days per week you can mix it up like this:
Monday – Strength Training 45min
Tuesday – HIIT 30min
Wednesday – Strength Training 60min
Thursday – Cardio 30min
Friday – Strength Training 45min
Saturday – Cardio 60min
Sunday – Mobility / Stretch 30min
Whatever works well into your schedule, you can mix it up by having, for example:
1-4 strength sessions (at least 1, strength training is important)
90min cardio – which can be split up into 3 x 30 minute sessions and,
a Mobility / Stretch day
How to Train Strength
Unless you train with a coach or are advanced, my advice is: Keep it simple.
Have a routine that is a total body workout using these 5 main muscle groups and pick 1 exercise from each. Do the exercise for 8-12 reps x 3 or 4 sets with a 45 second rest in between.
Quads – eg. squats, lunges, box jumps
Glutes and Hamstrings – eg. deadlifts, good mornings, glute bridges, step-ups
Push Muscles (Chest, Triceps and Shoulders) – eg. push-ups, chest press, shoulder press
Pull Muscles (Back, Biceps and Forearms) – eg. lat pull down, chin-ups, rows
Core (Abdominals and lower back) – eg. hanging leg raise, sit-ups, back extensions, planks
Give yourself 48 hours to recover between strength sessions.
An example of a workout:
Time 45 minutes – 60 minutes
Lunges x 12 per leg
Dumbbell Incline Chest Press x 12
Rest 45 seconds then repeat 4 times
Straight Leg Deadlift x 12
Close Grip Lat Pull down x 12
Rest 45 seconds then repeat 4 times
3 x 30 second planks with a 10 second rest between planks
Reps in the 1-5 range build super dense muscle and strength.
Reps in the 6-12 range build a somewhat equal amount of muscular strength and muscular size.
Reps in the 12+ range build muscular endurance.
If you’re looking for a simple answer: do 4 sets of 8-10 reps for each movement you’ve chosen, and see how your body responds. Keep in mind that you cannot neglect your diet! That’s 90% of the battle!
How Much Weight To Lift
As a rule of thumb; lift enough to get through the set, and ensure that you struggle to reach the end!
It will be trial and error when starting out but err on the side of “the weight was too light” versus “the weight was too heavy”. Your priority is to avoid injury!
With body weight work once you get past 20 reps for a particular exercise and you’re not gassed, it’s time to make it more difficult.
Can you do 20 push ups no problem? Try a different variation of push-ups
Can you do 20 bodyweight squats no problem? Hold some weights or do single leg squats.
How Long Should I Exercise?
If I had to throw a figure out there: 45 minutes to an hour.
If you’re doing 15-25 sets of total exercise, you should be able to get everything done within that 45 minute block. Including a 5-10 minute warm-up, and a warm down afterwards, and the workout can go a little bit longer.
Less time, more intensity, better results.
“I don’t have 45 minutes!” You can build some cardio into your weight training. You could try the following:
1 set of squats, rest 45 seconds, then do 1 set of dumbbell presses, wrest 45 seconds, then do your next set of squats, etc.
This is an easy way to get a longer workout done in half the time by having 1 muscle group resting while a different muscle group is working. Brilliant!
How to Train HIIT
One of these workouts will make you want to chuck a tantrum but you must keep in mind that it is very effective in burning fat.
Set up a circuit of 4-6 exercises and you will do one set of each exercise, one after the other, without stopping. After you’ve done one round, you will repeat the lap three or four more times.
Here’s an example:
20 x Bodyweight Squats
40 x Star-jumps
15 x Push-ups
15 x Bent Over Rows
30 x Bicycle Crunches
Keep Track Of Results!
To make sure you are improving it would be wise to record your weights for your strength workouts so that you can compare your results each month or two.
To summarise scheduling your workout week:
Don’t miss the warm up – 5-10 minutes on a bike, rowing machine, star jumps, run up and down stairs, squats, lunges. Swing your arms and legs back, forth and sideways. Get the blood flowing, your muscles warm and your joints mobile.
Pick your exercises from each muscle group – quads, butt and hamstrings, push, pull, and core.
Do 3-5 sets for each exercise.
Pick your reps and how long you’ll rest between sets.
Mix it up by doing alternating sets or hiit circuits.
Keep your workout under and hour.
Stretch and warm down your workout.
Record your strength results
Give yourself permission to not be perfect, the more you train the more you will keep learning and improving.
I hope this has been insightful for you guys! Share this blog to anyone you feel may learn from this!