My Training – What I do in a week?
Everyday I get asked “what training do you do each week?”, “Marianne, how often do you train?”, “Marianne, do you only do these KB workouts?”, “Do you train on consecutive days?” “Do you do upper/lower body splits or full body workouts all the time?” etc etc. So I think it’s about time I wrote a post on this so that everyone will know what I currently do.
It’s good to share what is currently working for me, but I will say that everyone’s tolerances will be different for volume, frequency, intensity so just be aware that what I do, might not be appropriate for your goals or your current fitness level. I also mean that there are people who can and should do MORE than me, but others who should be doing less. But I shall talk about this more at the end.
Over time, the emphasis on certain exercises will change but overall they will stay pretty constant. I like variety, but I also stay with what works, so I have a “Capsule Wardrobe” of exercises that I accessorise differently from time to time. OK, I don’t know why I just compared my training to my clothing (especially since I am renowned for never buying new clothes because I hate shopping), but I thought it was a good metaphor
My first point is to clarify that with my shift work, and my blogging “schedule” my training may be on consecutive days, or there may be gaps. This isn’t planned – it is simply the way things work out sometimes with my timetable and tiredness. If I am working consecutive nights then I usually train in the morning after the second night. After the first night, I am a Zombie. However if I am in for a one-off night shift then I am more energetic when I get home, so I usually am up for training (I can do this because I know there is no pressure to sleep before another shift that night, plus I want to make the most of my day off rather than sleep through it).
So what do I do in a week?
As there are no set plans for set days, I aim to train in total about 4 times in a week (sometimes 3, sometimes 5). Two of these days I do gym-based Strength Training, the other two I do a Kettlebell and Body Weight Conditioning Workout (which I record for the blog). Occasionally I might do another Home Workout that I don’t record for the blog; this is normally when I am just in from a shift and can’t make it to the gym, or I think I look like crap LOL! Just being honest; there are some days I don’t want to be on camera – I just want to do my thing
What do I do in the Gym?
After my warm up (which I need to review and make better as I tend to rush this out of eagerness to train), I typically focus on compound exercises. Sometimes I super-set these compound exercises and other times I just perform all the sets of one exercise before moving on. This often depends on how busy the gym is. I rarely just train upper or lower body because my body responds best to full body training. If I am short of time I might do a lower body workout, but unless my legs are really sore I rarely train upper body alone.
My “Capsule Wardrobe” of gym exercises:
Deadlifts (sumo and conventional), Squats (back and front), Barbell Glute Bridge, Front-Loaded Reverse Lunges, Good Mornings, Pull Ups (BW and weighted), Dips (BW and soon-to-be weighted).
Each time I visit the gym I always do a combination of exercises that includes these exercises. I choose exercises that I can’t get the most out of at home. There are certain exercises; like my horizontal Push and Pull (push ups and rows), my Vertical Press (military press, push press) and my Unilateral Hip Hinge (Single-Leg RDLs) etc that can be performed at home, or on random days in the gym when I have extra time.
My accessory gym exercises:
On one of the days per week, I add in some additional exercises. Each exercise may not be included every week, but I rotate them as I see fit:
Barbell Overhead Press, Seated Cable Rows, Tricep Cable Push-Downs, Hanging Leg Raises, Back Extensions, Lateral Raises, Single-Leg Extension, Olympic Lifts and some boring core exercises.
As of early November 2011 I have added 15 – 20 minutes of steady-paced cardio to the end of my gym session. This is my attempt to compensate for a temporary increase in calories, due to the coming Christmas season. I don’t care if it’s “right” or “wrong” to do this, it’s what I have decided to do this year because I know what I am like around food LOL! Not that I am always thinking about my body composition, but I can pack away A LOT of grub, so I want to stay happy and stress-free. Cutting out food in December is NOT an option for me, so I’ve added a little extra to my training instead. Please note that this is temporary and I would not plan to do this all year.
What I do at home … Conditioning!
At least twice a week I put my max effort into providing both you and me with a Kettlebell and Body Weight Home Workout. This has worked wonders for me to maintain other areas of my fitness and my body composition. You can see the variety of exercises I use in the workout archives There are simply loads of ideas there!
Planning and Time Management
While I never have a true set plan of what my training will look like each day of the week (as it often depends on how I feel), I do have a rough plan made out in my head of: when to train (usually mid-late morning), what exercises to start with (the big lifts) and how much time I have to spend in the gym. I hate being in the gym longer than 90 minutes, so I keep my weight training to about 1 hour and then my cardio takes it to 1 hour 20 mins or thereabouts.
My conditioning sessions last anywhere between 18 – 40 minutes, depending on workout design. I prefer them to last 24-30 minutes, especially if they are being filmed (coz editing a lot of footage is a pain when your software sucks).
It is better to still be active on the days you don’t train, but often this is something people neglect. I am one of them…
On my off days, I have to admit to being a little lazy I often want to go for walks or do some stretching, but I have other “more important” things I need to get done first and then the day is gone. I used to walk everywhere, but now I drive! This is something I need to change. Walking is a great way to clear your head of stresses and worries; so even for my mental health I think it will be a positive addition to my weekly training regime. My aim is to go for 1 long walk (of about 1 hour) each week and go from there.
I am quite sure you only ask me these questions out of curiousity and perhaps to see a rough template of what you could do too; it might give you a few ideas etc. But I want to say that I have found more recovery has worked wonders for my progress. This may not be the same for everyone, especially if your goals are related more to body composition; in which case you may need to review your active recovery days, your conditioning volume and your diet etc. What works for me (in terms of training volume) may not be optimal for your training goals. It takes a little planning, research, trail and error, evaluations (listening to your body, ability to measure progress, reassessing goals etc), and the ability to understand what will get you more for your training buck to get a training regime right.
My own “regime” will evolve slightly over time, but I can’t see it changing too much from this in the near future. I am still enjoying my training and seeing progress – so why fix what ain’t broken.
The other thing I have learned in my short training history is that I like to be more spontaneous (or perhaps head-strong) than I previously thought. I do NOT respond well to training or diet plans that are set in stone. I rebel against anything that tells me I have to do X,Y or Z, regardless if it’s good for me or not! Maybe I should work on that (lol), but then I would never have got to where I am today without having that in me – to just DO IT MY WAY! But, I don’t just make stuff up; I take advice on board, I respect what the experts have to say, I give things a try and figure out how to adapt it for me. Just reading this paragraph back makes me seem awful arrogant, but I guess there is only so much following I am prepared to do. I do it myomy way hehe!
Basically this is a complete 180 on the attitude I held before. I used to train everyday for over an hour and sometimes twice a day. Most days after work (after freakin’ night-shift) I went to the gym to do 30 – 60 minutes of the StairMaster! Then later that day maybe a Kettlebell Class, or a KB Workout (for the blog), or weight training. I recall times when I did 3 workouts in a day; cardio, blog workout, KB Class! Was I any leaner or stronger? NO! I was exhausted and probably a little crazy! Crazy Marianne no longer exists (except when she gets “The Bloat” and freaks out a bit) – so I have established some boundaries in my life and can now enjoy my life outside of my training goals. It’s actually a pretty good way to be Happy! My goals are in the weights room and the rest of the time I can relax and live a little. Turns out there’s no need to panic that you “lose it when you don’t use it” FOR A FEW DAYS!
I hope this post will help you understand that you don’t always need to do more training to get better results – just smarter training and less stress!
If you do have any queries about what I have written, then leave me a comment below.