I write about how to be your best self. To me, that means being able to look into the mirror or put on my favourite pair of jeans and feel good. I’ll never tell you to lose weight to feel pretty, or that you have to wear makeup and expensive clothes, but if you’ve found you aren’t feeling 100% about your image I will absolutely give you all of the tools you need to get there.
Let’s get started.
I used to play volleyball at the University level, and as you can imagine I was in killer shape. All good things come to an end. Now I have a job, and no longer have all of the extra time I did as a University student to spend in the gym. I’m sure you don’t either, so I’m going to give you an easy gym routine to start off with. I promise results, as long as you follow the regime, and eat well too!
Have you ever heard of the 5×5 program?
Essentially it’s a full body program that starts off with a weight you are comfortable lifting. It targets all of your major muscle groups and is fantastic for starting off, slimming down, and growing muscle.
There’s an excellent app for both Apple and Android called 5×5 Stronglifts which will track your progress and suggest starting weights. However, if you’d rather have a more personal interaction I would be happy to set up your program in an excel spreadsheet and walk you through it until you’re comfortable enough to head to the gym.
Let me walk you through the 5×5: there are two days that you alternate, with a day off from lifting weights in between. So, you’ll only need to workout in a gym 3 times a week, doing 3 exercises each time. Quick, dirty, and effective.
I’ve added useful links so that you can make sure that your form is correct in the above schedule!
You can start on any day of the week, depending on your schedule. I just want you to be in the gym weightlifting 3x a week. I usually start Sunday where I have a little more free-time to hop into the gym, so Sunday-Day 1, Tuesday-Day 2, Thursday-Day 1. And then the next week Sunday-Day 2, Tuesday-Day 1, Thursday-Day 2 etc.
Each time you go back into the gym you add 2.5 pounds onto each side of the barbell, so every new day your lifting heavier weight and getting stronger. However, make sure that you only add weight if your form is still perfect. Lifting weight should be difficult, but to do so without injuring yourself your form has to be perfect. If you fail, no worries! Do up to 5 each time, making sure that each time you lift you’re doing it properly. It’s okay if you only hit 3 on a bad day, just make sure that when you go back to that day you don’t just add more weight. You only do that if you’ve hit that perfect 5×5.
You’ll notice this program is squat intensive. One reason for that is that your glutes are one of your most important muscle groups. Their a strong base for your fitness and squats allow you to strengthen not only your leg muscles but also your core. It’s a full body exercise, and if you’re like me and are self conscious about your butt, it absolutely will make changes and boost your confidence back there.
So what about the cardio?
Firstly I want to make sure that you understand how important nutrition is. It’s more important than cardio, but that doesn’t mean you can skip out on one or the other. But how can you ever expect to get toned abs if you never eat well enough to excavate them from that layer of fat hiding them? – That’s what I tell myself when I see that extra piece of cheesecake sitting in the fridge.
I love to run outside, it allows you to get a little sunlight, a little fresh air, and have time outside of the office and the gym. A great change of pace. As this program is one that focuses on strength gains, I want to suggest high-tempo sprints alternating with reduced heart-rate cardio sessions. That could mean 100m sprints outside and then jogging back to the start line, 6-8x. Or it could mean rowing in the gym, 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy. You want to get your heart rate up, and you want to sweat. Check out my next article on cardio/sprinting routines to get a better idea on what I mean.
If you have any injuries it’s easy to make changes to match. I have difficulties with my ankle, so I’m a huge fan of the elliptical.
So, in between your time at the gym, you should be getting in at least 2 cardio/sprint sessions a week, but not on the same days as your weightlifting. Your body needs time to heal and grow stronger.
Don’t forget to warm-up, or stretch!
Inconvenient, boring, but super necessary. Trust me, as an athlete who once thought I was invincible, I have since learned that I could have avoided so many injuries by better care management. And that means proper warm-ups and stretches.
The warm up I like doing most is either 15 minutes on the elliptical, or 10 minutes on the stair climber. I go until I sweat and can handle the idea of bending my knees into a deep squat. I take time to warm up, but you’ll have to adjust how long you take depending on your own body. I want you to feel good before you begin.
After the warm-up, please, please stretch. Please. It’s so important. All of the aches and pains you’ll feel with any work-out program can be diminished by stretching. Hit all of your major muscle groups, and if you have trouble areas, focus on those even more. Check out my next article on optimal stretches to get a better idea on what I mean.
I don’t know about you, but I want abs and a nice butt. So after the 5×5 program and cardio days I like to do a little extra. Doing that little bit more allows me to feel like I’ve actually DONE something, like I’m actually making improvements. I feel good, I look good.
I always do a 1 minute front plank and 30 second side planks and depending on the day add in at least one more core exercise. Choose one that you’re not good at, because that means your core is weak in that area. Check out my next article on more core exercises to get a better idea on what I mean.
I also do butt intensive exercises on my cardio days, and try to do at least 10 minutes on the stair climber. Check out my next article on good exercises for the glutes to get a better idea on what I mean.
If you feel like you’re weak in a particular area, focus on that. If it’s your arms do push-ups, if it’s your shoulders/back do chin-ups. There are always ways to supplement your workouts to feel like the best version of yourself.
Eating right is just as important as the strength training that you’re partaking in. How can you show off your beautiful muscles and fitness gains if there’s extra weight hiding them. Nutrition is way too lengthy of a thing to just add in a snippet in this post, so please check out my next article on how to eat right, as well as some fun healthy recipes I’ve found for you to try (including cookies!).
if you don’t like the gym, try bodyweight exercises
core exercises for ripped abs
glute exercises for a cute butt