One of the number one questions I get as a trainer is “What’s a good workout?”
Plain and simple.
Yet, the answer isn’t so simple at all.
I could come up with a million different answers to that question depending on your fitness level, goals, resources, and abilities. What works for one client may not work for another, as everyone is SO different. They need different exercises, different intensities, and even different speaking cues to motivate them in workouts. Fitness is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.
This seemingly simple question is also one of the most annoying ones you can get as a trainer. I mean HELLOOOO…that’s what we do for a living so why would I be giving out that individualized information for free? (okay, rant done)
But here at The Wellness Rookie, I do things a little differently. I’m all about giving out the good stuff if it means getting you a little closer to smashing your health & fitness goals…And this question is no different. So I’ve come up with a simple way to begin writing your own workouts; ones that will hit all the right places and give you the most bang for your buck.
...No trainer needed.
But before we dive in, one thing to remember is that nothing can replace a one-on-one experience with a certified personal trainer. I’ve always been a firm believer that even personal trainers need trainers. They are too valuable to merely substitute with something found on the Internet and expect the same results. The real change happens with the human connection involved and the accountability that comes with it.
So where do we start?
First off, you have to set realistic expectations. For example, if you haven’t worked out in 6 months, there’s no way you’re going to bust out 300 burpees...Get real, chica. Know your limitations, get familiar with your current level of fitness, but definitely don’t lose that optimism.
After setting realistic goals, we can get into what it takes to build a solid workout starting with the foundations. A good workout will target your entire body while getting your heart rate up. A simple way to do just that is with circuit training. Circuits are usually 3-5 exercises performed back-to-back for 3-4 rounds with minimal rest in between each exercise until the entire circuit is finished. This allows for your heart rate to toggle up and down, and in turn, burn some major cals.
One you have the format down, it's time to dive into the bread and butter of the actual exercises; what ones you should be doing and when.
I believe a solid workout doesn’t have to be complicated. To keep things simple, I've created my own process I call The Founding Four. It's based on the notion that there are 4 foundations to a simple, total body workout; lower body, upper body, core and cardio. Each of your circuits should have an exercise that falls under one of these four categories. It should start with the one that involves the most muscle groups (hint hint: it's lower body) and finish with the one that requires the least. It’s done in that way so the moves that require the most energy are performed first.
It’s then followed by an upper body move, then a core exercise. This format allows you to do exercises that work opposing muscle groups so you can hit everything while not tiring out anything to the point of fatigue. Finally, we finish with a cardio move. Cardio is meant to be done last as you will burn more calories if you end with it than if you start with it.
Your circuits should look like this:
- Lower Body Exercise
- Upper Body Exercise
- Core Exercise
- Cardio Exercise
Repeat 3-4 Rounds
- Lower Body
- Upper Body
Repeat 3-4 Rounds
This is the exact method and format I use on myself and most of my clients. It allows for a no-fuss, full-body workout that hits all the sweet spots while saving you a headache that comes with complicated workouts.
So give it a try next time you’re wondering what in the heck to do for your next sweat sesh. I promise it won’t disappoint.
As always, sweat simple and sweat often. What are your favorite workouts? Let me know in the comments below!