We all exercise differently for our personal goals. Some might be trying to lose weight, some are trying to build muscle, and some are training specifically for a sport or just to improve their athleticism. A full body workout usually sounds best when you first start working out, because you still work all the main muscle groups if you can only make it 2 or 3 times to the gym during the week. Once you start adding more days to your exercise routine, however, it can be a bit boring to do more or less the same workout every time. You can always look up an exercise program online, split up your workout days into things like push/pull/legs, or completely separating your workouts into specific muscle groups. As a bodybuilder, I really enjoy doing the latter, since I am usually trying to grow or change my muscle structure in a specific way. If you do decide to use the idea of specific muscle groups for each exercise, here are a few tips that I have found helps me get the best out of my workout week:
1. Start the week with a workout that you really enjoy doing! Not only is the gym typically the busiest on a Monday, but it’s sometimes a bit rough to be in the mood to work out after having a nice relaxing weekend. By making my first workout of the week my favorite, it not only encourages me to head to the gym and not skip a workout, but it also pumps me up for the rest of the week. Shoulders and back are my favorites, but you can pick anything that makes you excited to go to the gym!
2. Be mindful of workouts that REALLY take all your energy out of you, such as the bigger muscle groups (legs or back in my opinion). I prefer to separate these workouts by having a smaller muscle group workout between them, like arms, shoulders, or just some extra accessory work. That way, I at least have one day to recoup and recover enough to make sure I have a really great workout the next time I do a bigger muscle group. I like to also save one of my harder workouts for Saturday when I don’t have to worry about rushing to the gym after or before work, trying to get to bed early for the next day, and other things that could take my focus away and result in a less productive workout.
3. Squats before deadlifts! I know everyone is different, but at least for me, there’s no way I’m doing my best during squats if my back is already toasted. On the flip side, I still feel very confident in my deadlifts if my legs are still a bit sore or tired. Nothing too thought to provoke on that, but it’s just what I have experienced in the years that I have been lifting.
4. You can always warm up before weightlifting, but please save your real cardio sessions until after your done lifting. The energy that you need in your muscles for heavy lifting will be wasted and gone by putting cardio first. Yes, you can always still workout afterward just fine, but you would get a much better lifting workout if you place that first and THEN follow up with cardio after to really burn some calories.
5. Speaking of cardio, don’t feel like you NEED to do cardio every day and for hours on end to lose weight. There will always be cardio bunnies that just enjoy getting a sweat on the treadmill or elliptical, but you will actually be able to lose weight and recoup your body much better by making sure to have weightlifting workouts in your routine. If you’re feeling uncomfortable about your upper arm being bigger than you’d like and maybe a bit wobbly, then tighten it up with some triceps, bicep, and shoulder workouts, for example! You can’t really spot reduce fat, but you can at least have control of tighter muscles and possibly shaping your muscles so that it compliments your other physical features.
6. Sometimes it does take time to figure out what exercises and movements work best for you and your goals, so make sure you are open to trying new things and workout programs! Maybe try a fun workout with a friend and just follow along with the exercises they are doing, and you might discover your new favorite move. There are so many different workout programs that make huge promises, but you need to make sure you can understand how to do them properly and that they actually FEEL like they are helping you achieve your goals.