How To Know What Workouts You Should Do & How To Plan Your Workout Split

Depending how long you’ve been following along with me you may or may not know that I originally started my IG to help keep myself accountable while doing BBG for my workouts (Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide). I’ve also used Paola’s (@paosfitworld) Strong and Sexy Body Method, Madeline’s (@madeline_moves) Weekly Moves workouts, trained with a trainer, weight lifted, pure barre, spin, and yoga. Guys, I’ve done it all. Kidding. But I’ve tried a lot!

I have to say I’ve learned a lot along the way about what benefits different styles of workout have for our bodies. If you show up to the gym with no plan you might end up wandering around aimlessly, doing a few exercises you feel confident in and then leaving unsure if you did anything that’s actually moving you toward your goals. I say that because that used to be me! Okay, so let’s dive into the importance of cross training (to some extent).

PS. I’m including 5 at home workouts you can do with no equipment at the end of this blog! One calls for a resistance band but you could totally do it without. 


Why You Don’t Want to Do Only One Style Of Exercise 

I’m not here to lay down any hard and fast rules for fitness. At the end of the day, if you’re moving your body  in a way that feels good that’s what’s important. You have to enjoy your workouts because otherwise you won’t be consistent. But if you really want to optimize your training then only doing one style of exercise could leave you a bit lopsided (literally!!). For example, if you only do pure barre classes you’ll likely have great high-rep stamina and a strong core but you’ll be lacking in the cardio department and likely won’t put on much muscle. Yes, yes– I know pure barre winds me too but it’s not super cardio intensive LOL.

Think–if you did the same workout everyday, let’s say 100 pushups and 100 squats, you’d get really good at those two exercises. Those muscles would get strong but if you tried to do 100 sit ups or bicep curls you might feel super weak.  So ideally we want to train every muscle group in our body AND do a bit of cardio each week. 

When you’re creating this plan it’s called a workout split! 

Creating Your Own Workout Split

I’ll first say, that I personally prefer to follow someone’s specific workout app/plan because I know they are planning their workouts properly this way (ie. Paola or Madeline’s workouts) but whether you’re following someone else’s guide or not, a workout split is basically a breakdown of the different types of training you do each day. I’d say the term workout split is most commonly used in the weightlifting community but of course it makes sense across the board. So when creating one or looking into one to follow, the first question you should ask yourself is what is your goal?

If you’re focused on building muscle the general rule is to do less reps but with heavier weight. For example 4 sets and 8-12 reps per set.  If you’re focused on muscle endurance you would use lighter weights and higher reps 12-20 reps per exercise. 

If you are in more bodybuilding mode and want to go for maximum strength you could do 4-6 sets of only 1-5 reps. This is usually reserved for people who are a bit more experienced with weight lifting. Form is always important but would be super important in this case since you’re moving the most amount of weight possible. Personally I don’t train this way. 

How much time do you have to commit to working out? 

I think the second question you have to ask yourself is what is realistic for your schedule. Again, it doesn’t matter what kind of workouts you do if you aren’t consistent. You need to find something that is sustainable for your lifestyle. THAT is honestly the most important thing when deciding what workouts to do. Because regardless of your goal, if you can’t stick to it then it doesn’t matter! If you know you can only spare 30 minutes of active time a day then that’s great! You want to make the most of it by moving quickly between sets and exercises etc. HIIT circuits are great if you’re short on time. I’d say 3 sessions a week minimum if you want to see results but you absolutely don’t need to be working out 7 days a week, and you should always include at least 1 rest day. Right now I’ve been getting to the gym usually 5 times per week. Sometimes 4, sometimes 6 and I don’t stress about it. 

Once you’ve thought a bit about your goals and your schedule you can build out your unique split. 

Workout Split Examples 

Day 1 – Arms and Abs 

Day 2 – Shoulders and Back 

Day 3 – Quads and Hamstrings 

Day 4 – Rest

Day 5 – Cardio

Or something that is more class based 

Sunday – Yoga 

Monday – Arms, Shoulders, Back

Tuesday – Quads, Hamstrings 

Wednesday – Rest 

Thursday – Pure Barre

Friday – Abs and Cardio 

Saturday – Rest 

 

I did HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) style workouts, like BBG, for over 2 years. I loved how accessible they were, how I didn’t have to use a bunch of complicated gym machines, and how I could do them at home if needed! These type of workouts can be a great place to start for beginners because they train your full body and are definitely more cardio intensive as well. They cover all your bases so to speak. However, you will probably reach a point with this style training where you can’t put on much muscle. So if adding some muscle is your goal (which I personally would recommend) you may want to use these style workouts 1-2x a week and use other methods like weight training to compliment it.

No matter what you choose as your workout split I’d recommend committing to it for about 3 months before changing anything so you can see results and then adjust as necessary. If you’re looking for a good workout plan or counting macros I’d definitely recommend reaching out to Paola or Madeline! 

Okay, so here are several workouts I’m going to leave you guys that you can try at home! These are great options since we don’t have access to the gym or classes for a while. Only piece of equipment that you need (if you want to incorporate it) is a resistance band.

At Home Workouts 

 

 

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