Hi everyone! Today’s post is another installment of my Fitness Fridays series. It was inspired by a question that Hoi Yin Li asked me in my last Fitness Fridays post: what my workout schedule is like. I did reply to her question, but it inspired me to share a post going more in-depth on my workout split.
As a reference, it’s tough for me to be able to fit in 6 or 7 days of working out, so the two schedules I will be talking about below are designed for a 3-5 day/week workout schedule. My workout regime mostly revolves around strength training, but I do try to fit in some cardio, mainly for heart health. Obviously, I don’t claim to be an expert or anything – I work out “for fun”, and this is what I’ve found works best for my goals and lifestyle.
I personally find that the most effective way for me to do strength training is to concentrate on one or two muscle groups during each day and to rotate them during the week so that I’ve worked out all muscle groups by the end of the week. However, that also depends a little on how much time I have to work out during the week, too (more details on that later in the post).
While I would ideally like to have more cardio in my regime, my current fitness goal is to increase muscle tone. In order to do this, I can’t really go below 3 or 4 days of strength training, otherwise I won’t really see any improvement in muscle gain. Since I only work out 4-5 days a week, it means I can only fit in one day of cardio. My solution to doing less cardio is to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) on my cardio day, which is more intense compared to a steady-state cardio routine. HIIT routines are also shorter than steady-state cardio, which allows me to fit in an ab workout afterwards.
Regardless of what workout schedule I follow, I always design it so that I have a rest day every two or three days between workouts. Your body needs that day to recover, so that you can go back to your workouts feeling refreshed. Likewise, I also rotate muscle groups so that I’m not working the same muscles two days in a row. Since I work Mondays-Fridays and I have most free time during the weekend, I almost always work out on both Saturdays and Sundays. I love the idea of Sunday being a rest day, but it just makes more sense in my schedule to work out on my least busiest days. Your schedule might be different. Only YOU know your schedule the best – design it to fit around your lifestyle, and not the other way around, otherwise you’ll never make it into the gym.
Workout Split #1 (30-45 minute sessions):
This is the usual workout split I go with; I prefer this split because it allows me to really focus on the specific areas of my body. Mind-body connection is important in strength training, and I feel like working on too many areas at once doesn’t allow me to get that connection. To be honest, I actually don’t do exercises that specifically target the quads, because I’m naturally very quad-dominant and I don’t really want to develop that area any further. The quads tend to get worked out only during compound movements like deadlifts or squats, and that’s enough for me, but that’s a story for another day.
Tuesday: Glutes & Hamstrings
Wednesday: Shoulders & Triceps
Friday: Back & Chest, Biceps
Saturday: Glutes & Calves
Sunday: Cardio & Abs
While that is my usual workout routine, I also have an alternative workout for when I know I will only be able to work out three times during the week. Sometimes it’s due to other priorities and sometimes just because I’m feeling plain lazy. For these types of weeks, I tend to have a longer workout to make up for the fewer sessions – especially on the weeks when I’m feeling lazy, it’s easier to stay in the gym longer when I’m already there, rather than forcing myself to put on my workout clothes for additional sessions.
For these 3 day/week schedules, I will combine my workouts into upper body or lower body workouts instead of targeting one or two specific muscle groups. After weights, I will also fit in 10-20 minutes of HIIT cardio to make up for not having a separate day dedicated to cardio.
Workout Split #2 (45-60 minute session)
Wednesday: Lower Body (Glutes & Legs) + 10-20 minute cardio
Saturday: Upper Body (Back, chest, shoulders, arms, abs) + 10-20 minute cardio
Sunday: Lower Body (Glutes & Legs) + 10-20 minute cardio
And that’s for how I schedule my workouts! What do you find is your most effective way of getting some exercise into your life?