When I first started to document my fitness & healthy living journey on Instagram earlier this year, one of the #1 questions I would get on every progress picture was “What does your XYZ workout look like?” This is SUCH a broad question… NO three weeks are ever the same. I am constantly changing my exercises, the amount of cardio I do, which cardio I do, how many days I train abs, etc. There are so many factors so I can’t exactly answer this easily. That being said, I figured it would be beneficial to show a sample week of my workouts.
First and foremost, I spend 99% of my weight training in the free weight area because I believe working with dumbbells, plates, bars, etc. give you an overall better workout. Not only are you working a specific muscle/group of muscles BUT you are also working your core and stabilizer muscles (hello burning more calories). I realize to most women this area can be super intimidating and it’s typically only filled with men BUT I promise you, do yourself a favor and just GET OVER IT!!! If you are new to the gym and free weights, definitely start with the machines until you get comfortable with weight training. As days & weeks pass, make it a point to add in at least one free weight exercise to your routine and eventually you will feel more and more comfortable in the “boy” only area. One thing you can do if you are feeling self conscious amongst the grunting man folk, is grab some dumbbells and a pre weighted bar and take them into the Group X room or stretching area and do some exercises there! Most of the time when there are no classes going on, you will have the room to yourself! You can do ALL kinds of exercises, working just about every muscle group. Once you become a bad ass and have your form down, you won’t even think twice about hitting the free weight area!
Another important thing to remember… do NOT be afraid of lifting heavy weights. I repeat… do NOT be afraid! I ditched my baby 5, 8, 10, and 12 pound dumbbells (except for a couple of exercises) almost immediately into starting with weight training. I push myself to go as heavy as I can nearly every training session. My basic principle on “how heavy?” is it should be challenging for you by the 7-8th rep. If you can knock out 12-15 reps with NO problem at all, you are lifting too light. Muscle is HARD to build so please do not think you will get big and bulky like a body builder. Fat and muscle are TWO completely different tissues… in order to “tone” (I hate that word), you must FIRST lose the layer/s of fat that cover your muscle. Why not speed that process along and use some muscle to help burn that fat? Makes much more sense to me…. and again, I promise you won’t get big. I swear. I don’t care how fast you think you build muscle.
All that being said, here is a little sample week of my lifting schedule. If you are not familiar with a certain exercise or movement, I have also included a link to www.bodybuilding.com to show proper form for most of these exercises. They offer a TON of sample programs, exercises, tutorials, etc. for all levels of fitness.
WARM UP & STRETCH: 5-7 minutes of jump rope, light jog/run, cardio equipment at low to moderate pace, etc. and then 2-3 minute stretching.
- barbell (BB.com video) OR smith squats (BB.com video)
- leg extensions (BB.com video)
- walking lunge (BB.com video)
- standing calf raises (BB.com video)
- leg press (BB.com video)
TUESDAY: ARMS (superset biceps & triceps)
- bicep– standing barbell curl (BB.com video) / tricep– rope extensions/pull downs (BB.com video)
- bicep- alternating dumbbell curl (BB.com video) / tricep- skull crushers (BB.com video) for 10-12 reps & then close grip bench (BB.com video) for 10 -12 reps
- bicep- alternating hammer curls (BB.com video) / tricep- overhead tricep extension (BB.com video)
- bicep- concentration curls (BB.com video) / tricep- dips (BB.com video OR BB.com video)
WEDNESDAY: ACTIVE REST DAY
No weight lifting, but I will make sure to do something active such as a long walk outside, a hike, paddle boarding, etc. The key here for me is to give my muscles a break but still not let my body be stagnant.
- seated shoulder press (BB.com video)
- upright row (BB.com video)
- seated bent over delt raise (BB.com video)
- lateral raise (BB.com video)
- plate front raises (BB.com video)
- CARDIO- HIIT 20-30 minutes
FRIDAY: GLUTES/LEGS (I include a booty only day in my training as well)
- high step ups (BB.com video)
- barbell glute bridge (BB.com video)
- stiff leg deadlifts (BB.com video) or single leg dead lifts (BB.com video)
- Bulgarian split squats (BB.com video)
- lying leg curls (BB.com video)
SATURDAY: COMPLETE REST DAY
- chin ups OR pull ups- assisted or unassisted ** It took me 8 weeks to to ANY on my own ** (BB.com video)
- wide grip lat pull down (BB.com video)
- seated cable row (BB.com video)
- single arm dumbbell row (BB.com video)
- hyperextensions (BB.com video)
- CARDIO- HIIT 20-30 minutes
I currently don’t really have a set day where I will do abs. I try to work in an ab routine in 1-2 days a week. Most weeks, abs will usually be worked in as supersets with shoulders or back, after shoulders or back, OR I use one day for cardio and abs only.
- hip raises (BB.com video)
- Russian Twists (BB.com video)
- planks (BB.com video)
- leg raises (BB.com video)
- cable crunch (BB.com video)
COOL DOWN, STRETCH, & ROLL
- 5-7 minutes cool down & stretching mainly whatever muscle group was worked but try to hit every area
- at night I always foam roll my entire body for at least 10 minutes (BB.com workouts)
** A few things to note regarding my weight training**
- I change my routines every 2-3 weeks
- I ALWAYS try to go as HEAVY with weight as I possibly can but NEVER sacrifice form
- I mainly do 10-12 reps per exercise (some are more like when training glutes where I will go to 15-20 reps)
- sometimes I do supersets, sometimes I do drop sets, and other times I just do the last set till failure
- SLOW & controlled movements to prevent injury and for muscle concentration