How to create a workout split/routine for your goals

Friday, August 18, 2017

I get a lot of questions about my personal workout routine (or, "split"). And while I love sharing what I do to stay in shape, it's important to note that it's not the same for everyone! My goals are not your goals. So, don't compare my journey with yours! That's why I highly advise you to do personalized workout programs, so that me (or any trainer) can personalize your split specific to YOUR goals. There is no "one size fits all" approach to fitness. That's why personal trainers are so important. With that being said, I do have some advice from things that I have learned over the years, and as a certified personal trainer. So read on 😎

This might not be what y'all want to hear, but it's not going to be easy, and you're going to fall down. Results are made when you get back up.

I hate to break people up into groups, but I have broken down the most common "types" of people who reach out to me with fitness related questions to reduce confusion. If you don't fit into any of these categories, shoot me an email and lets chat! 

You're just starting your fitness journey:
YAY! You've made the first step of committing to your health--good job! Now for the fun part, actually doing it 😉 One of the most important pieces of advice that I can give someone who is starting out their fitness journey is to be easy on yourself. You're not going to see results overnight (no matter what some tea bag is telling you), and the key to success is consistency. Be consistent and the results will come! Alright, let's get to the details. Below you'll find outlines of my advice on how to tackle your own workout routine based on your goals. 

You're just starting your fitness journey and your goal is to lose weight:
First 4-6 weeks: 
Cardio: Start slow, by adding 15-20 mins low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio 4-5 days/week with no more than 2 consecutive rest days. 
Resistance training: 2x/week, 1 upper body day, 1 lower body day. Choose 6-8 exercises and keep your number of sets low and number of repetitions high (i.e. 1-2 sets of 12-15 reps) and weight/resistance low. Should take 20-30 minutes. Also, note: Just because you see someone doing an exercise, doesn't mean you need to try it! Start with the basics, like chest press, shoulder press, lateral and front raises, chest flys, squats, lunges, etc..
After 4-6 weeks:
Cardio: increase your cardio by 5 minutes every two weeks and see how you feel and what works for YOUR body! You can also start incorporating 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) per week if you're ready. Click here to learn more about HIIT.
Resistance training: At this time you should also increase resistance training to 3x/week, separating days in to chest/triceps/shoulders ("push"), back/biceps ("pull") and legs. Keep your sets between 2-3 and repetitions between 10-12.

You want to "tone":
First, let me define "tone". To tone means to build muscle. So you will need resistance training in your routine. You will not get muscle definition by doing strictly cardio. You will just become a smaller version of yourself. 
Cardio: This will vary depending on where you are in your journey. For most people, you want to limit cardio to 1 hour/WEEK, and you can split that up how ever you want to! 
Resistance training: VERY important. You should be lifting weights at least 3 days if not 4-5 days/week. Split options include: 3 days/week push, pull, legs; 4 days/week shoulders, back+bis, chest+tris, legs; 5 days/week quads+calves, shoulders+tris, back+bis, chest, glutes+hamstrings. (These are just suggestions and will vary based on your personal goals!) Also, try adding in some plyometrics in between sets to get and keep that heart rate up!

You've been exercising for awhile and hit a plateau: 
The most important thing to do here is switch things up. Your body loves to be challenged!
Cardio: If you hit a plateau while trying to gain muscle, cut out cardio, or only it it once a week for maybe 20 mins. If you hit a plateau while trying to lose weight, switch up your cardio. If you were consistently running, try hitting the stair master or spin class, or adding 1-2 HIIT sessions a week. 
Resistance training: go back to the basic movements. Squats, deadlifts, leg press, lunges, chest press, shoulder press, front/lateral raises, etc.. Try using some resistance bands in between sets to challenge your muscles differently. If you have been using only machines, use free weights or vice versa; if you've been using mainly cables, incorporate free weights or vice versa. You can also decrease the weight you're using and increase the number of repetitions or vice versa.  

Again, all of this information can vary from person to person, but hopefully you found this useful and can apply it to your life! If you're interested in a personalized workout plan, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I would love to get to know you and help you crush your goals! Having a personal trainer and coach is SO important for staying on track 😊 

I also feel the need to say that nutrition is just as important as an exercise routine. You need to make sure you are eating enough/appropriately for your goals! But thats a blog post for another day. As always, email me if you have any questions, comments or concerns!

Have a great weekend, friends!

PS- always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program. 

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