Monday, July 7, 2014

Move It Monday : Planning Your Workouts

Plan to succeed!

Yesterday, after I finished my workout and I was getting ready to go home, I was approached by another gym member. He had probably seen me training and he mentioned that he had noticed that I followed a structured plan. He was wondering what kind of sport I did etc.

Indeed, I do use (and abuse) of my geek side at the gym as well. So let me share with you how it works for me.

Move It Monday : Planning Your Workouts

Let's face it: I do not have time to go to gym 5 times a week. I have a (more than) full-time corporate job that frequently drains the best side of me. Still, I do train at least 5 times a week with weights and I go for a long run on Fridays. My secret? Planning!

Plan beforehand

First of all, you have to know what you want to achieve with your training. Are you training because you want to perform better in your favorite sport? Do want to get fit(ter)? Would like to acquire extra muscle mass? Or simply want to start some physical activity to release stress?

Mostly, I use fitness dairy to keep track of planning and progress. I used to count exclusively on mobile applications, but after going low on battery and after various connection issues at the gym, I changed to the good and old paper and pen style.

Combine body parts wisely

Based on your personal choice, you can start drawing a plan that works for you. In my case, I want to develop certain body parts. To get the best results, I prefer to balance my lower body and upper body workouts throughout the week. In addition, I am adding an extra exercise for the these specific body parts in a different day from the one I fully train them. Finally, I take my Friday run into consideration and avoid training legs the day before.

It is almost like a puzzle that I would not be able to figure out on the spot. But because I take time to put my plan together, I do not waste any minute of my workout. When I get to the gym, it is time to work!

When choosing the order of the exercises, I have the positioning of the machines in mind. If I have to cross all my way in the gym and back just for one exercise and again, it is much easier if instead, I use the close machines back-to-back first and afterwards, move ahead.

Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

Have a flexible plan

It is true that if you can only workout in the evening like me, chances are the room will be packed by the time you get there. I am quite flexible with my training. I am there to relax and enjoy it, not to freak out! So when it seems that everything I need is in use, I have the following choices: waiting, asking to workout in between or doing something else.

Waiting is almost never an option to me. I see standing there a waist of time (and hormones), so it is mostly a no-no. Only when it is really my very last exercise of the day and I do not have any other alternative, I wait.

I need to feel very comfortable to ask someone to workout with them between sets. Not all guys like that (and I sincerely understand it) and I find it annoying myself. It opens room for chit-chat which is absolutely not my thing. I used to do it more in other gym I used to go though. So it leaves me with doing something else.

Don't waste time

Most of the times you can find an alternative for an exercise that uses only dumbbells or barbells. So why cooling down or skipping a body part if you can do something else? Whenever it happens I make a note. For the next time, I choose if I go to the original exercise I had in mind, or if I pick the alternative one again.

Another option is using the interval between sets to work another body part. Active rests are excellent mainly if you want to burn some extra fat without doing the traditional cardio. You will sweat like there is no tomorrow!

Get enough rest

I keep my workouts around one hour. There are those who advise never exceeding it for various (hormonal) reasons, but in my case it is a matter of not exhausting myself. I want to go as heavy as I possibly can and it is not possible after hours. Productive will decrease and before you realize, your pauses are much longer than your sets. Muscles grow at rest. If I get home at 9PM, until I eat, get things ready for the next day and eat again; it will be at least midnight. I wake up around 6AM. I would be a mess the following day in the office and at the gym.

Listen to your body. Some people are fine with 6 hours sleep while others need a minimum of 8. There is no good or bad, unless you force yourself into something that is not for you.

Planning Tips for Your Workouts

In short, these are the tips I personally use to plan my weekly training:
  • Plan beforehand
  • Combine body part wisely
  • Have a flexible plan
  • Don't waste time
  • Get enough rest

Do you plan your exercises in advance? Or do you prefer to follow your mood? How long do your training sessions last?

Wishing you an awesome week!

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