Fitness

Sample Workout Schedule

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A big part of how well you progress with your fitness training and how big the impact it has on your body composition really comes down to the type of exercises that you do, your consistency with your routine and how challenging it actually is. As it can be tough to figure out the right mix without overtraining and without keeping it too easy, today I’ll be sharing a week’s long workout plan that includes a mix of cardio and weight training.

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • When lifting weights, never sacrifice form for lifting heavier than you should be as it can cause an injury
  • Always begin your workout with 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching and end your workouts with 5 to 10 minutes of static stretching
  • Always complete the weightlifting portion prior to doing cardio
  • If you have to choose between weightlifting and cardio due to time constraints or what have you, always go with weights as this is what will shape your body and have the biggest influence on what you look like
  • If you can, try to separate your cardio and weight training into two sessions (example: cardio in the morning or at lunch time and weights in the early evening)
  • Never let your workouts last for more than 90 minutes at a time as you will go from an anabolic (muscle building) to a catabolic (muscle burning instead of fat burning) state which completely defeats the purpose of working out as you will end up doing more harm than good to your body
  • Always have a pre-workout meal 1-2 hours before working out and a post-workout 30-60 minutes following your workout
  • Always take at least one rest day (non-workout day) per week to allow your body to recover
  • Never workout the same body part two days in a row
  • If you are unsure how to perform any of the exercises listed below, check out http://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/ . This is a great resource and it includes photos of each movement and a description of the proper technique
  • For all exercises listed take a 1 minute break in between sets and be sure to sip water throughout the workout. For supersets, complete all exercises back to back and then take a 1 minute break before repeating.
  • Always consult a medical professional before engaging in any of physical fitness routine or activity and consult a certified fitness trainer before trying any of the workouts and exercises listed here.

Day 1 – Back/Lower Body/Abs

Back:

4 sets of 10 reps bent over barbell row

4 sets of 10 reps reverse grip bent over barbell row

3 sets of 12 reps cable lat pulldown

2 sets of max reps pullup

Back/Lower Body:

3 sets of 10 reps good mornings

3 sets of 10 reps straight leg deadlifts

Abs Superset:

2 sets of 15 reps weighted V-Ups

2 sets of 20 reps bicycle crunches

2 sets of 15 reverse crunches

Day 2 – Chest/Triceps/Cardio

Chest:

4 sets of 10 reps flat bench dumbbell press

4 sets of 10 reps incline bench dumbbell press

4 sets of 10 reps flat bench barbell press

3 sets of max reps pushups

3 sets of 12 reps chest flyes

Triceps:

3 sets of 10 reps skull crusher

3 sets of 10 reps unilateral tricep kickbacks

2 sets of max reps bench dips

2 sets of 15 reps unilateral overhead trip extension

Cardio:

20 – 30 minutes steady state at 60% maximum heart rate (see Day 7 for more details)

Day 3 – Legs

4 sets of 10 reps split squats

4 sets of 10 reps sumo squats

4 sets of 10 reps leg press

3 sets of 12 reps leg extension

3 sets of 12 reps hamstring curl

2 sets of 15 thigh abductor

2 sets of 15 reps calf raises

Day 4 – Rest

Day 5 – Shoulders/Cardio

Shoulders:

4 sets of 10 reps dumbbell shoulder press

4 sets of 10 reps side raise

3 sets of 10 reps rear delt raise

3 sets of 10 reps standing front delt raise

3 sets of 12 reps barbell shrug

2 sets of 15 reps V pull downs

2 sets of 15 reps bent-arm front raise

Cardio:

20 – 30 minutes of steady state at 60% maximum heart rate (see day 7 for more details)

Day 6 – Biceps/Abs

Biceps:

4 sets of 12 reps alternating dumbbell bicep curl

4 sets of 10 reps dumbbell hammer curl

4 sets of 8 reps barbell curl

3 sets of 10 reps reverse grip barbell curl

3 sets of 12 reps preacher curl

2 sets of 12 reps cable bicep curl

Abs:

3 sets of 20 weighted Russian twist

3 sets of 10 reps bottoms up

3 sets of 15 reps decline crunch

2 sets of 20 reps plank twist

Day 7 – Cardio

30 minutes steady state at 60% maximum heart rate.

Examples include: jogging, cycling, elliptical, stairmaster, etc.You always have the option of trying out a class at your local gym to mix things up a bit, for example Zumba, aerobics, kickboxing, dance, yoga, etc.

This is a pretty intense and advanced schedule, but this is what the typical week looks like for those who are lean, have a “nice build” and muscle definition. It just goes to show that there really is no such thing as a quick fix to getting fit or losing weight; clearly it takes a lot of work. Most of the people that we see in magazines are either full time athletes or pro fitness models, so don’t get discourage if you’re not ripped all the time or if this workout schedule is too much for you. Start slow and work your way up from there; there’s no need to go all out on your first try so instead focus on gradually increasing your training as you go along and get stronger.

The weight training portion of this schedule usually takes me 40-60 minutes to complete and as I mentioned in earlier posts, I usually skip the cardio but will be adding it back in over the next few weeks. Another alternative (especially if you have time constraints, as most of us do) is to take a couple exercises for each body part as listed above and combine them into a full body workout. In this case it’s best to have three weight training days per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and then have three separate cardio days per week as well (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday). Your weight training workouts should last about an hour and cardio should remain at 30 minutes each, but I do suggest in this case that you opt for at least one cardio day as interval training instead of steady state.

I know this is a lot, in fact just looking at this makes me feel slightly overwhelmed, but I know how effective this is and I can honestly say that after staying consistent with my routine it really is part of my lifestyle and something that I look forward to each day. See what works best for you and your goals and stay with it. If you new year’s resolution was to finally get the body of your dreams, remember that it won’t happen in a few weeks or months and that it a long term commitment. You’ll get there just keep pushing, keep training and keep growing stronger.

Start It, Finish It

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