I see it all the time, men stepping foot into the gym, meandering around in hopes a workout routine will miraculously pop up in their heads. Or women strolling past the dumbbell rack and hitting the cardio machines since that’s all they know: just do cardio and lots of it.
I get it, the treadmill, elliptical, etc. can feel safe and the weight workouts we’ve been doing for the last 8 months feel comfortable to us. Hey, who wants to look like the guy at the gym that has no clue what he’s doing? It’s embarrassing right? Don’t you think the gym can feel intimating, overwhelming and scary when we don’t have a routine or even know how to do a push up properly?
Do you know every single person in that gym probably feels the exact same way we do? I can promise you, people aren’t watching us as much as we think they are. They’re too busy preoccupied with their own workout and body to even care if we did a perfect set of crunches.
Oh gosh, that reminds me…I was at the gym last week and there was this guy that was walking past the mirrors and pulled his shirt up to act like he was wiping his mouth and he was totally checking out his abs. If that’s not confirmation that people are more or less consumed with their own stuff I don’t know what is.
Moving along, so how do we create a workout routine that’s beneficial and safe for us? Sure, there’s several YouTube videos, Pintrest lists and Insanity vids to go around, but how can you find something well rounded for you and suitable for YOU? Let’s start with the basics:
If we want to feel good, look our best, feel strong and touch on every muscle group this is where we need to start:
Moderate to heavy strength training two to three days a week
High-intensity interval training one to two days a week
Moderate-intensity cardio one to two days a week
You can also combine some of these if you’re short on time. (Ex: a strength session with moderate cardio afterwards)
I know for the beginners it might feel like a lot but I promise this routine will not include several hours in the gym, okay? Let me preface with this, if you’ve never lifted a weight in your life I highly suggest finding a qualified trainer to make sure your form is on point. Otherwise, injury is likely to happen and your goals won’t be optimized to their fullest potential. A solid foundation is a must. If you can’t afford a trainer I would definitely opt to “Like” Girls Gone Strong on FB or check out their website. They are awesome, I know some of them personally and their stuff is legit.
Let me also make note that exercise is just one of the pieces of the puzzle to health and wellness. A proper diet consisting of whole foods like veggies, fruit, lean meats, healthy fats and lots of water is crucial. So is some sunshine daily, quality sleep (7-9 hours) and a positive mindset.
Why does the above routine work so well? I find in the several years I’ve been doing this, this combo has been effective for a few reasons. One-it prevents overtraining and burnout. Two-it’s a well-rounded and balanced program. Three-it sets us up for success!
You’re probably wondering, so what does that look like? I’m going to break it down for you.
Let’s begin with the moderate to heavy strength training:
Ideally, I like my clients to incorporate the heavy to moderate weights 2-3 times a week. This doesn’t mean you have to go in a kill it every time and run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Nope! When heavier lifting is taking place, our bodies need more recovery time between sets. Now, heavier lifting is all relative because someone that’s just starting out, our body weight can be just enough to be effective. If you’re more of an advanced lifter, I’d probably bet you were able to throw around quite a bit of heavy iron. Just make sure to start with what’s comfortable for YOU! Some examples of heavier lifting routines can look this:
1. Push-pull movements (lat pull downs, push ups, bent over rows, chest press, seated rows and incline DB chest press)
2. I LOVE training legs so I normally save this day for itself. Movements such as (walking lunges, squats, plyometrics, deadlifts, hamstring curls, KB swings, seated leg extensions) are all great exercises to get that metabolic rate up and burning well into the next day.
3. Another effective upper body workout can include 3 muscle groups that are performed in a circuit fashion and working the biceps, triceps and shoulders. However, you can always rotate out and do some pull movements with some bicep curls or chest press with tricep extensions. There’s so much to choose from and I try to hit every muscle group during the week if I can.
Remember your heavier movements and the exercises that work the larger muscle groups are going to burn more calories. Ex: a sled push vs. lateral shoulder raises is much more effective for a higher caloric burn.
HIIT training: (High Intensity Interval Training)
When the goal is fat loss, in addition to diet, this is one of my must haves. It’s not always fun and can really be uncomfortable in the moment, but it’s a terrific exercise for weight loss and a leaner body composition. I have my clients incorporate HIIT sessions no more than 2 times a week. HIIT is short in time, effective in shedding body fat and worth every sprint. Ideally, I like for people to do these after a weight workout or stand alone. I play games when I’m on a machine to make the time go by faster. (I swear this helps) Examples could include:
Treadmill sprints-20 seconds on, 20 seconds off and you can play around with this too. Harder would be less recovery time, more work time. Easier is the opposite.
Moderate intensity cardio:
This is what I like to call the calm between the storms. Meaning, this should be our lower impact exercises, a way to rejuvenate after a hard workout the day before or leading up to a challenging workout tomorrow. When I say moderate I’m talking about something like a walk, easy elliptical or bike. A workout that will keep your heart rate elevated but not to the point of exhaustion.
What does your current workout routine look like? I would love to see what you’re doing so feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can also get on my exclusive newsletter list at www.kimschaper.com. I’m always sending high quality tips on nutrition, workouts, mindset and more!