People often ask what workout plan they should do to meet their goals. I’ve tried many different plans over the years, from Pinterest’s “30-Day Squat Challenge,” INSANITY, and Nike’s half marathon training plan. Honestly, my best and most simple advice that can be applied to anyone is to never do the same workout twice in a week.
I don’t currently follow much of a regular fitness routine. I workout 6-7 days a week, but I never do the same workout twice. Although I have specific FitGoals regarding strength training, running, and recovery, my main goal is to do a different workout everyday — no repeats throughout the week. Not all are high intensity, either.
I may be a group fitness junkie, but I haven’t always been. Even if I didn’t do group fitness, I still believe you should mix up your workouts as much as possible.
When I first began working out in high school, I would do 30 minutes on the elliptical, some core, and some stretching. If I was feeling adventurous, I would do some machines in no particular order. I performed the exact same routine every time I was at the gym, several days a week. As a supplement to dance class and tennis practice, the monotony didn’t bother me.
In college, I was SO BORED. The rec center TVs sucked and the music was horrible. I hated working out. Thankfully, that changed when I fell in love with group fitness, especially TurboKick. Working out was FUN, and I became addicted.
Of course, exercise addiction combined with disordered eating wasn’t healthy by any means, but a few years later, working out is still my favorite hobby because each workout is different and fun. Especially with CHAARG (Changing Health Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls), I was surrounded by a community of girls encouraging others to enjoy exercising. It shouldn’t be punishment, and it definitely shouldn’t be boring. Liberation from the elliptical is the best thing ever. I’m still working on not shaming others for using the elliptical, but come on — other workouts are WAY more fun!
My workout schedule does require planning, but if you know me, you know I’m a planner and enjoy it. Since I am a group fitness trainer, I also do get extra perks when it comes to attending classes. But, I’m also really good at finding good deals (read: free classes) at fitness studios. I believe in always learning, and it’s good to not stick to one studio!
Here’s a typical week of workouts for me:
Monday: strength training
s.w.a.t. at ENRGi Fitness (circuit class combining cardio equipment like treadmills, rowers, ski ergs, and assault bikes with strength intervals using kettlebells, dumbbells, barbells, and more)
Tuesday: fun class
Boxing at TITLE in Lincoln Park (includes 10 minutes of core at end)
Cycling class at GoCycle/SoulCycle/Flywheel/Full Psycle or do my own cycling at Soho House
(or run, if it’s nice out — or run to the studio!)
Thursday: strength training
Solo lift (since I teach 6AM s.w.a.t. at ENRGi, I usually lift afterwards, often testing out class plans!). If I have to get to work early, I’ll go to CrossTown Fitness for an evening class.
Saturday: run and yoga
I like to run 4-8 miles and take a yoga class (preferably Maggie Umberger‘s yoga core at ENRGi). Weather permitting, I may run to yoga. During summer, I like to run with Nike Run Club and do yoga at Millennium Park with CHAARG friends.
Sunday: dance/rest day
The past 2 years, I’ve had dance practice on Sundays at Loyola and I always enjoy a recovery swim after at the rec center. I’m talking a slow 1000m breast stroke. Now that I’m almost done with Scorch forever, I’ll need a new Sunday recovery routine. I teach at ENRGi in the morning and sometimes use their amazing RECOVERi boots. What do you recommend?!
I like to strength train 2-4x a week, cardio 1-2x, and yoga at least once a week, even if it’s some sun salutations in my room. This fluctuates, though, especially when fit friends will text me or post on Facebook about a group going to Bellicon with Marquita, Junior Ninja Warriors with CTF, or a Nike/Lululemon free workout.
Doing a different workout every day keeps me focused on working out for fun — not because it’s a chore, punishment, or another item on the to-do list. I want to workout because it’s usually the most fun part of my day, especially when friends join!
Getting stronger and more badass is just an extra bonus 😉
++ Mary K