Sometimes it is easy to go all week without being active if we don’t have a plan. It can also feel daunting trying to figure out how to get a balance of different activities – cardio, strength training, stretching etc. - in during a busy work week with limited time for exercise. If you are focused on maintaining general wellness and fitness, then this blog post is for you!
I want to share with you some great tips for planning your workouts for the week. As with everything fitness and nutrition, there is no one size fits all strategy for planning weekly workouts. Everyone’s activity plan will look different, but there are some strategies that everyone can use to create a balanced plan.
PUT IT IN WRITING - FREE WORKOUT PLANNER
The first things first, write it down! I’ve provided you with a FREE Printable Weekly Workout Planner, downloadable here!
Print it out or draw your own makeshift version of it. Set aside a few minutes to go over it and write down your weekly plan. Here are the main things for you to consider:
Figure out how much time you have to dedicate during the week to being active.
Be realistic. It is easy to get optimistic and think you will commit 5 hours a week to exercise, but then often waking up early gets hard, you are tired after work, and you end up being busier than you thought.
If you can get 5 hours in, great! But again, be realistic about the amount of time you will be working out. Will it be 3 days a week for 45 minutes each day? Maybe it’s two days a week for an hour? Or possibly five 30 minute workouts and an hour of yoga once a week? What will work for you? Write it down.
I suggest trying to work up to at least 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise every week.
Try to incorporate some form of cardio, strength training and stretching into your week.
If you are focusing on general well-being and not training for a marathon or body building contest, then incorporate these three aspects of fitness into your exercise routine to maintain good health in the long run.
The way these three segments are incorporated will look different for everyone Try to find an activity in each area that you enjoy doing. Cardio may look like running, zumba, interval training, cycling, kickboxing, etc.
You could dedicate one day a week to taking a yoga class or do 10 minutes of mobility and stretching at the end of each session. Lift weights, do bodyweight exercises at home, take a fitness class…It’s up to you! Find what you enjoy.
You can plan these activities on different days or perform multiple on the same day. If you are only working out two days per week, try to incorporate all three into each workout, and make sure you are hitting every body part when strength training.
A sample week on your planner may look like this:
Monday: 15 Minutes of Biking, 30 Minutes Lifting Upper Body, 10 Minutes of Stretching
Tuesday: Cardio Day – 60 min Kickboxing Class
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: 20 Minutes Interval Training, 10 Minutes Stretching
Friday: 30 min Lifting Lower Body then 15 minute walk
Saturday: 30 Minute YouTube Yoga Class at Home
Sunday: Rest Day
You will have performed strength training for all body parts, a variety of cardio activities that are enjoyed by the exerciser, and time dedicated to stretching and mobility.
You can get even more specific about the exercises you are doing.
Here is a sample of simple at home workouts you could do if time is crunched:
Monday: 30 Min of Full Body Strength – 3 sets of each: wall sit, glute bridges, leg raises, incline pushup, incline renegade row
Tuesday: 20 min Youtube home cardio video, 10 minutes stretching
Wednesday: 30 Minute Walk During Lunch Break
Thursday: 30 minute Youtube yoga video
Friday: 20 min cardio workout – 3 sets of each: step ups, jump squats, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, 10 minutes stretching at end
Start wherever is realistic for you and do things that sound fun. Once you build a habit you will be successful!
Incorporate rest days.
Your body needs time to rest, recover and rebuild. I suggest incorporating two rest days into each week. That doesn’t mean you can’t be active on those days. Doing yoga, stretching, and low intensity activities like going for a walk or light swim can all be done on “rest days.” Just limit high intensity and strength training activities to 5 or less days per week.
Set a monthly goal related to activity.
If you find you have a hard time getting activity in during the week, set goals for yourself. Implement the SMART goal strategy when planning.
Make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic and Timely. These goals should be behavior goals, meaning they are a behavior you can do and keep track of every day.
On your sheet, I have provided an area for you to write down your weekly goal, but you can make it a monthly goal if you want to focus on one habit longer, which I highly suggest (as it takes at least 21 days to build a new habit). There is also a spot for you to check off each day when you complete your goal. Here are some examples of activity related SMART Goals:
For the next month, I will go to the gym 4 times each week.
For the next week, I will complete at least 90 minutes of cardio.
For the next month, I will meet with my personal trainer twice a week for strength training.
For the next week, I will take at least one yoga class.
As you can see, it is easy to tell whether you have accomplished these goals for the week/month if you follow the SMART goal strategy. If you don’t go to one yoga class for that week, you don’t check it off and know you haven’t met your goal. If you met with your trainer two times each week and have checked it off every time, then you know you accomplished your monthly goal.
Plan your reward.
Lastly, I also included a REWARD section for you to fill out on your sheet. You should be able to celebrate if you achieve your goal! Try to keep the goal from encouraging unhealthy activities, such as eating unhealthy food.
Some example of rewards for yourself if you meet your monthly goal could be getting a massage, a date night away from the kids, new workout shoes, a glass of wine, go see a new movie, buy yourself flowers at the farmers market, download a new music album you've been wanting, buy a new book, etc.
If you follow these steps and write everything down, then you should have a solid, balanced weekly workout plan.
Comment below what your first workout plan you designed for yourself looks like! I would love to hear! I would appreciate if you shared the pinterest graphic below so others can benefit from this FREE Weekly Workout Planner as well. :) Thanks!