When I started working out, I stuck to a strict plan of running 30 minutes straight and then working out each major muscle group. If a workout plan ripped from a magazine didn’t incorporate every muscle group, I’d either ditch it or supplement it with additional moves. I had to hit biceps, triceps, abs, legs, calves and butt. That was that. No compromise. Even if I got bored, I didn’t stray from this plan.
Then, I got smarter. Working out the same muscles in the same way with each workout spells “plateau.” I am not that strict with myself anymore. I still love running and enjoy hitting the treadmill or pavement for around 35 minutes every other day. I don’t analyze it down to a science though. Sometimes I incorporate fartleks or intervals at random. Sometimes I juice up the incline to make sure I keep getting results. Sometimes I pick a cardio plan at random from the archives and go with it. When I’m training for a run, I’ll print a plan and use that. Running at the same pace straight through doesn’t do a thing for improving endurance.
My strength training is also very unpredictable. It’s pretty go-with-the-flow. On days I’m feeling super-pumped, I do tougher strength training. On days I’m feeling wiped and not much like working out, I’ll do some easier Yoga and stretching. Over the course of the week, I know I’ve hit all sorts of different muscle groups. I like to do different magazine workouts or online/on-demand videos so my body never gets used to anything. And I don’t worry too much about what I’m doing as long as I’m doing something and I can FEEL it.
For me, the only rules are that I need both cardio and strength. And I need to feel it when I’m done. Here’s my schedule:
Cardio: 35 min running/3x per week
Strength Training: 20 min/3x per week.
Other: I walk to and from work whenever I can and sometimes do an extra weekend run with a friend or bike ride with my family. Lunch breaks are broken up by a 1/2-hour of laps, and summer will find me taking walks whenever I can with my toddler.