Fitness routines take years to develop. Like health, they are ever evolving experience. You can use them to enhance your life and get more of what you want. I wanted to share both my strategy and my routines that have evolved over a 20 year period (including a 10 year period in which I never missed a workout) to help you get started or get more out of your current exercise experience. Hundreds of pages of notebooks, testing, failing and tweaking have been distilled in a simple 3 step outline.
Feel free to use this in the way that works best for you. Like all things health, your fitness routine should drive your health goals. Your fitness routine should mimic your personal experience. Like to be light and lose? Try yoga. Love intensity and structure? HIIT might be right for you.
My Fitness Routine
My Fitness Base – As a high-intensity person, I need to create an experience that allows me to relinquish any anxiety that is stuck in my body from work or personal stress. I need to push hard enough to find satisfaction in exercise. I spend 2-4 days in a gym each week. Here is break down of my current routine.
- 30 minutes of cardio at 80% intensity. Spinning is a great way for me to achieve this and not put unneeded stress on my body. Great music required.
- 30 min of core and balance work. Abs, abs, and abs followed by Bosu ball squats, single leg balance exercises and box jumps.
- 1 hr of Olympic style power-lifting and individual muscle dumbell work. These are broken out into two days:
– Day 1: Legs, back and biceps – Both days mix complex exercises and (ones that use multiple muscles like power cleans, squats and overhead press), with single muscle exercise like calf raises.
– Day 2: Chest, shoulder and triceps – Mixing high reps and low weights that graduate to lower reps and higher weights over a 6 weeks period help balance strength and stamina.
My Fitness Variable
While the exercises above create a consistent routine they have gaps that need to be filled. Running is a great way to add more cardio. Hiking provides a great way to exercise and is social with friends. Tennis allows me to express some of the fitness gains above and work on that hard to find quickness. Yoga is a great way to expand my current range and open up more. There are hundreds more, but adding a cross-training variable to your fitness routine is crucial to prevent injury and accelerate your fitness stamina.
My Fitness Rewards
It’s ok to stop here. Most people do. I want a little more. The motivation for all of the steps above is for this fitness rewards. Looking good can be it! Don’t be too bashful to admit it. Feeling more like yourself is another example. Waking up before the sun rises and surfing cold water is my reward. I like the escape. I love the disconnection from technology. I love how it makes me feel. Decide what makes you the happiest here and try it.
In the age of group fitness classes, at home solutions like Peloton and ultra-intensive workouts like Crossfit, one thing has been ignored in the fitness experience – how you want to feel afterwards. Yoga will likely calm your body and mind. HIIT will add structure to your body and create more action. These changes can have a big effect on your experiences and relationships. Keep this in mind and track these changes before and after you exercise.
No matter what path you choose, give it a chance. Change can take time. Stick with it for a few months if you can. This type of commitment won’t just increase your fitness results, but your entire lifestyle. An extra rep in the gym, an extra mile on your run might mean a few more smile lines on your face. All are good things!