I am definitely one of the girls that gets intimidated in the free-weight zone and uses similar machines each time I go to the gym.
I had to do quite a bit of studying to figure out how I could set-up my workouts, and I thought I might share my learnings here for the readers.
When you start working out, you’re sore. You may not feel like you’re hitting all the right muscles. You dread going to the gym. For me, it’s the combination of three things.
As long as you come up with sports that work best for you, then I think it could be a lot of fun.
Check out this chart below.
This is an Optimum Performance Training Model by National Academy of Sports Medicine.
What this tells you is simply is that stabilization comes first, such as correcting the muscle imbalance and strengthening your cores. Then you should start increasing the amount of strength in your body. The last step is power lifting.
What this teaches you are three things:
- Each day, focus at least 15 minutes on your cores, like planks, body weight squats, walking lunges, hip bridge, kettlebell swings etc. This will help your body exert strength, and it will build endurance for an extended period of time.
- Do some cardio training, walking, tennis, swimming, yoga 2-3 days a week. This will help prevent tissue overload and improve your condition.
- Working out WELL is much more important than doing a lot and more of it. Go at your own pace!
If you don’t have the strength and endurance in your core, you cannot sustain or have the right posture for when you’re working with weights.
Types of workouts include:
- High-intensity interval training: This is short bursts of high intensity exercises followed by low-intensity. I sometimes run in intervals of 4 minutes at 10km/hr, then walk for 6km/hr for about 30-40 minutes in each morning. As I’m sweating and getting the run-in, it feels great. I also enjoy tennis and boxing.
- Strength: This is weightlifting – helping to increase your strength and muscle power.
- Calisthenics: The movements here are what you could call home-training. The lunges, pushups you can do at home using large muscle groups at medium pace.
- Balance: This helps to strengthen the muscle, especially your core muscles, and improve coordination. Think Pilates.
- Flexibility: Ah, this is the dessert of the workout for me. Stretching improves blood circulation, help muscle recovery, range of motion, and prevent injuries.
For me, for instance, I enjoy HIITS and flexibility workouts. Flexibility helps me improve blood circulation and helps to align my bones. I spend many hours sitting a lot at my desk, and I cross my legs often. So I tend to focus my stretching exercises on my back or my pelvis. The HIITs I try to do as soon as I get up in the morning to get my blood pumping for the rest of my day.
Find a mix of the workouts that work the best for you before start strategizing.
My Weekly Routine – 5 Days a Week
Let’s start with how I might work out each week and then go into how each day would look like.
Each workout need not be too long – as long as they hit the right muscles and are adjusted to the energy level you have each day.
|Upper Body||Chest, Shoulders, Triceps||Core||Back,|
|Type||Core||Chest & Shoulder ||Back|
pull downs 15×3
|Lunges 15×3||Wide Squats|
20×3 + 10 and dips
|cable row 15×3||Leg Press|
20 x 3
|Side Squats |
15 x 3
|Inclined Close Grip Press|
|Assisted Pull 15 x3||Kettlebell Swing|
|Parallel Dips |
|Diamond Push-Ups |
|Front Rack Dumbell Step-Up|
on the Machine
15 x 2
|Lying Leg Raises|
on a ball
|Dips with legs extended 15×3|
|Hip Dip (Plank with hips to each side)||Overhead Triceps |
|Lying Leg |
- Stat with stretching that help strengthen your mobility, stability, and activate your core muscle masses you’ll hit that day. When you activate them, you can feel them better when you’re performing the workout.
- First I would warm-up by running for 10 minutes on the running machine just to warm up. The purpose of this is to get the blood pumping and not to tire yourself.
- Then I work on Compound Muscles – the main muscle area you’re hitting that day. Do two or three each. You start with reps with largest range of motion first then do the ones with smaller range.
- Then it’s time for Auxiliary Muscles – the hamstrings, triceps, etc. Again, two or three each. When putting together your workout, start by pulling first then push next to activate different types of muscles.
- Pick cardio of your choice. To lose fat, I do cardio after hitting the weights. Your body burns carbs before burning the fat, and weights use glucose as it’s main energy source. So by hitting the weights first, you will more effectively be able to burn the fat.
- I usually stretch again to help muscle recovery.
I would only spend about 20 minutes or so at the gym. If you’re also working on cardio, then you could spend up to an hour and a half. The important thing is to pace yourself out and to work on different parts of your body. Also, mix it up to keep it fun for you.
You also have to optimize your nutrition to support your energy level, such as taking in enough carbs and protein to build muscle mass.
That’s it for today. Have fun!