This is my first foray into a new category on my site I’m calling Beyond Smoothies. After six years of focusing on smoothies, it’s time I write about other areas of health and wellness.
Beyond Smoothies is for anyone interested in the complete picture of health and wellness. If you are only interested in smoothies, no worries, the 250+ smoothie recipes and related articles aren’t going anywhere.
Are you not exercising as much as you know you should be? I haven’t been.
As my life has gotten busier and busier I’ve gotten away from a regular workout routine. Time to change that.
I’m posting my workout online for a few reasons.
- Motivation – for both you and me :) I’m motivated to share my workout strategies and hopefully motivate you to start and/or stick with your workout routine.
- Accountability – by putting this out there I’m almost guaranteed to see it through. If you set a goal and make it public you are much more likely to accomplish it.
- I like the idea of documenting my plan and progress online for future reference and to point others to.
What’s your motivation? Want to look good in a bathing suit (I do), attract a mate, feel more confident, or perhaps improve athletic performance? It’s important to consider your motivation and keep reminding yourself. This will only increase your odds of success!
A quick disclaimer before I get into my workout. I’m not a doctor and don’t play one on the internet. Please consult a medical professional before embarking on a new exercise routine.
My Custom Workout Plan
This workout regimen is extremely custom. I cannot stress enough that you should customize your workout based on your current health, health goals, age, past/current injuries, athletic ability, etc.
I turned 40 in late 2017 and am thinking long term health and fitness. I want to be able to move my body without pain in my later years. Therefore, my protocol isn’t as aggressive as it was in my 20’s and 30’s. I encourage you to think long term as well.
I don’t have access to a gym and much equipment, which also shaped the below plan. I have my trusty kettlebell, a few dumbbells, and a few other basic implements. I’m relying on body weight exercises more than anything.
It’s almost always a bad idea to go from 0 to 100 in any endeavor. Before starting this 10 week workout I spent a couple of weeks doing most of the movements below. This helps to prevent injury, extreme soreness, and to prime your body and mind for success.
Here’s my custom workout plan that I will start on Monday (2/26/18) and follow for 10 weeks. You can start your workout routine anytime!
Monday (legs): kettlebell swings, squats, lunges, wall sits, and yoga bridge pose.
Tuesday (upper body): Chest – pushups (with several variations including banded resistance), standing chest fly, and floor fly. Back – pull-ups, rows, and flys. Shoulders – dumbbell press, side flys, and front flys.
Wednesday (balance and core): yoga balance poses, Vew-Do balance board, and balance disc. Core/abs – planks (regular and side), leg lifts, crunches, various exercise ball movements.
Thursday (primal movements): bear crawl, crab walk, gorilla, alligator crawl, walking lunge (with arms pointed straight up), and inchworm. If linked, click for a YouTube video demonstration. I couldn’t find a good example of gorilla. If you decide to incorporate primal or animal movements into your workouts, checkout other videos on YouTube and pick the movements that resonate with you.
Friday (HIIT – high-intensity interval training): sprints! 10 sets of 40-50 yard sprints with roughly 30 seconds of rest in between. Exercise bike “sprinting” is a good alternative to actually running.
Weekend: hike, walk, swim – get outside.
It’s extremely important to warm up before intense or even moderate exercise. I like to break a sweat before I start an actual workout. My warm up routine involves some light rebounding, jogging, and jumping jacks followed by movements that loosen up my joints and muscles such as shoulder swings and back rotations. I don’t actually stretch and prefer to save that for after my workout when I’m as loose and limber as I’ll ever be.
I get down on my yoga mat and do some light stretching. I’ll stretch the muscle groups that I worked and my hips.
My Meal Plan
Naturally, I’ll follow my workouts with a smoothie. I plan on keeping the ingredients natural and avoiding protein powders and supplements. My smoothies will be high in calories. The Natural Protein Smoothie from my gain weight with smoothies article is what I’ll typically consume.
My overall diet won’t change except for an increase in calories for fuel and recovery. The dietary guidelines I’ve been following for several years can be found here. That said, I do plan on incorporating more organ meats, in particular liver into my diet for more vitamin A – the body building nutrient.
I’ll also practice intermittent fasting, ensure I get proper sleep, and visualize the results and body I desire.
What about you?
Have any questions or thoughts on my workout plan? Have a workout routine you’ve found success with that you’d like to share with others? Embarking on your own workout plan and want to make it public to increase your chances of successfully sticking with it? Please leave a comment below.
At the conclusion of each week I posted my progress and ended this article with some parting thoughts.
Week 1: I did it :) I stuck to the plan and exercised every day! My focus the first 2 weeks is compliance, form, and avoiding injury. My right elbow has never been the same since breaking my arm in 8th grade. I experience tendonitis if I overdo it. Same with my right knee, which I had scoped to remove damaged cartilage in my 20’s. There’s plenty of time to ramp up the intensity in future weeks.
As far as the actual workouts, squats are still very difficult if you go really slow, my balance isn’t what is use to be, primal movements are fun, and sprints when not in excellent shape can leave you feeling slightly sick afterwards.
Week 2: Despite a hectic week I managed to get all of my workouts in. I’m hoping the soreness lessons after this week, which has been my experience in the past. It typically takes my body about 2 weeks to adapt to stress like this.
Ran up and down a fairly steep hill 6 times where I regularly hike for my sprint workout. This has proven to be the toughest aspect of my workout plan. It’s quick, but leaves you winded and feeling a little queasy afterwards.
Week 3: As I anticipated and hoped, my body has adapted to my workouts such that I’m not nearly as sore the next day. Some people believe it takes 21 days to form a new habit and that’s right where I’m at. Now that I’ve settled into this new routine it’s time to ratchet up the intensity. Each workout will see increased weight and reps as I continue to push my body to the ultimate goal – looking good in a bathing suit :)
Week 4: Another week in the books. My body has definitely adapted to my workouts. My joints and “problem areas” are not nearly as sore following a workout. I was able to increase the intensity by adding weight and reducing rest in-between sets. The routine itself has become a habit making it much easier to workout on days I don’t feel like it. Lastly, the sprint workout is still by far the most difficult. Onto week 5.
Week 5: I made it to the halfway point without missing a workout or sustaining an injury! Most of my workouts are performed right after work and I really look forward to them. Lifting heavy weights reduces work stress like nothing else! Incremental intensity increases continue to make each workout challenging.
Week 6: This week flew by as I was super busy at work. Ended up combining balance and core and primal movements into one workout on Thursday, which actually worked out quite well. I may combine those workouts going forward so that I get a day off on Wednesday. Sprints are still tough, especially with the cold weather.
Week 7: I’m noticing my strength gains when doing work around the house and lifting heavy things. Feels good! The workouts continue getting easier to comply with. However, they’re just as difficult as week 1 as I keep increasing the intensity. Coming down the homestretch!
Week 8: The weeks are flying by! Amazing how much less sore my joints and ligaments are now that I’ve completed 8 weeks. I thought my aches and pains were due to wear and tear and age. I guess the old adage “use it or lose it” is true. Two weeks left and I’m looking forward to finishing strong.
Week 9: The finish line is in sight! Another challenging week of workouts. I continue to crush it :) I’m almost to the end of my 10 week goal, however, I’ll definitely continue these workouts in some capacity for the foreseeable future. As the weather changes I’ll get outside more for walks, hikes, and runs. Also looking forward to playing basketball. It feels so good to move my body!
Week 10: I did it! Friday (5/4/18) was the last workout to complete my 10 weeks of working out goal. Feeling great about accomplishing this goal and how my body feels and looks. However, this is just the beginning. My regular workout routine is back!
Here are some parting thoughts after completing my workout goal.
- Setting goals is so important! Both big and small. If you aren’t setting and striving towards goals, you’re just drifting. It’s like driving without a destination.
- In order to stick with and achieve your goals it helps to make them public (like I did), have a reward at the end, and/or a “pain” if you don’t reach your goal. A “pain” might be donating money to a politician you despise. This “pain” has been studied and proven to be very effective. Also, trying to accomplish a goal with a friend or a group of people helps you stay on track as you support each other.
- Slow and steady wins the race. This cliche is a truth. Whether beginning a new workout routine or a new diet, starting slow and making small incremental progress leads to better sustained results. People who try to revamp their diet overnight invariably fail. Take baby steps, which also helps prevent injury or harm depending on your goal.
- For this specific workout goal of mine. The first several weeks were the most challenging. I often didn’t feel like working out and my body was sore in various places. Shortly after the midway point it got easier – less soreness and less challenging finding the motivation to workout. This is not uncommon. When starting something new we’re usually full of energy and enthusiasm, which fizzles after a week or two. Push through and you’ll eventually find your sweet spot.
- Lastly, I had forgotten how much I enjoyed working out. The actual workout and how good I feel afterwards. The health benefits are a bonus. Resurrecting this practice took time, effort, and discipline – like most good things in life.