Let's talk about routine. For me, having a game plan for my workouts heading into the start of a new week makes a huge difference in having a successful workout week. Some days I might sway from the type of workout or group class originally intended but I begin each week with a framework that 1) gets me in the right mindset and 2) helps to hold me accountable in following through and completing my workouts each week.

But, how do you go about creating routine?

Truth be told, that can be the hardest part. Coming up with what you're going to do for the week, what classes, what weights, what exercises, what cardio, how much, how heavy, etc...it can all be pretty overwhelming. For some, just the process of figuring out what to do becomes so consuming that it's easier just throw in the towel right there. Unless you're injured or need the rest, that's definitely not the right answer.

So, again, you ask, how do you create routine?

I like to base my routine off a few things; primarily goals but also taking into account how my body is feeling, time of month, seasonality or other external factors that tend to come into play. By and large though, my routine is aligned to my fitness goals. Since I'm reviewing my goals consistently on a monthly basis, I adjust my workout routine month-to-month based on those goals.

My main fitness goals right now are to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. I'm also working to minimize stress and anxiety levels through fitness. That being said, I'm working a lot more on strength training but also incorporating cardio two to three times per week. I often include cycling, HIIT and athletic conditioning as my cardio and make sure I get two of the three in each week. My cardio days are pretty much set each week and I have a good idea of what cardio I'll do what day but I'm flexible as the week goes on. For example, I know I'll do cardio on Thursday but if I opt for cycling instead of conditioning, no big deal. To help with the mental health component, I make sure to attend either Bodyflow or yoga at least two to three times per week.

A few other use cases that might cause me to sway from my current plan....

If I've got a race coming up, my cardio will change to be largely focused on running and my strength training may scale back from less heavy lifting to lighter, more endurance lifting. I'd also probably up my yoga ensuring I get a good stretch to counter those long runs that come up during half marathon training. If it's summertime I might try to sneak in more outdoor workouts rather than logging time in the gym. If I don't have access to my gym (this will be me next week when our YMCA closes for annual shutdown), I re-evaluate my entire weekly routine. In the case of next week, I'll be able to do some cardio classes they are offering outdoors but I won't be able to do my usual lifting sessions at the Y since it will be closed. I'll be adjusting my typical MWF strength sessions based on that factor.

Consider a 'theme' to your weekly workouts...

Taking all internal and external factors into account, I often times like to 'theme' my workouts in a given week. I may take one week and work completely out of my comfort zone trying different classes, lifting heavier, etc or I might take an active recovery approach to the week taking out all high impact and doing a lot more yoga, stretching and flow.

At a minimum, just plan ahead....

All things considered, I sketch out the week in my head prior to a new week, usually on Sunday's (my rest day). I typically do some type of cardio on Saturday's which is always a given, rest on Sunday and then think through what I'm going to do for the remainder of the week. As mentioned previously, having that framework that 1) gets me in the right mindset and 2) helps to hold me accountable in following through and completing my workouts each week.

As for me, this past week was a pretty much status quo for my typical workout week, three days of cardio, two to three days of strength and couple days of Bodyflow. I had a headache midweek so made the smart decision to take a rest day on Wednesday but other than that it was right on with everything I had initially planned out.

Let me help you!!

If you're looking for a little bit of guidance in creating a workout routine of your own, I can help! I have created simple templates like that shown above for you to create your own workout routine to follow each week. If you're looking for more, I just rolled out online personal training and I'd love to talk through your fitness goals further to create a custom workout routine that will help you reach those goals!