Hi everyone, hope your having a great week! I’ve started my healthy feast today and my word I have enjoyed some very tasty eats! But more on that tomorrow…

Today I wanted to blog a bit about my future fitness plans. Most of this year my exercise has been geared up towards training for the Great North Run as well as generally staying fit and healthy too of course!

Now that the Great North Run is all done and dusted I’ve re assessed my exercise plans. I’m the kind of person that enjoys working towards goals and having set plans in place because I find them really motivating.

One thing I have noticed when I look at how I’ve been exercising up until now, is the way that my workouts have gradually been getting longer and generally a little less intensive. This is something I really want to address as its simply not sustainable or effective to be spending hours at the gym! Another worrying trait is that once I’ve started working out longer I feel like I have to keep up with it so that I don’t feel like I’m ‘going backwards’ or not burning as many calories, which I’m the first to admit is a very unhealthy mind set.

At the heart of it all though, I genuinely love exercise because it makes me feel strong, healthy and happy!

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To help me look at what my plans should be for the future I’ve had a good think about what my aims are, read a few good books (such as NRoL and Rachel Cosgrove Female Body Breakthrough) and magazines like Ultra Fit. I’ve also taken into consideration practicalities like the colder weather, gym opening times and my work schedule. This is what I have came up with!

Monday

AM Gym:

5 minute cross trainer warm up

Strength routine A Full Body incl abs and core

15 minutes intervals , 2:1 minute intervals – treadmill

5 minute cool down – bike

Tuesday

AM Yoga podcast

PM Gym:

20 minutes HIIT – 2 machines, not treadmill

50 minute Body Pump Class (for some reason my gym just does this class for 50 minutes rather than the full hour – we skip a track each week, usually biceps or shoulders)

Wednesday

AM Gym:

30 minute treadmill speed run

10 minutes x 3 High Intensity Intervals on machines

Thursday

Anything goes! extra REST DAY, DVD, Yoga, Gym class, time trial, self spin session, magazine workout, boot camp class, aqua fit class etc

Friday

AM Gym:

5 minute cross trainer warm up

Strength routine B Full Body incl abs and core

15 minutes intervals, 2:1 minute intervals – bike

5 minute cool down – rowing machine

Weekend

6-7 mile run – outdoors or gym treadmill

REST DAY

Some of the principles behind this are:

  • Aims – to keep generally fit and healthy, improve my general fitness, retain a base level of running fitness and increase strength and muscle
  • Workouts should generally not exceed 1 hour
  • Bigger focus on strength training than I have done before – this is in line with my thoughts about wanting to increase my muscle – I feel like all that running has left me looking a bit scrawny!
  • I’ll be working out 6 days a week (but with the option for an extra rest day) because this is what works for me, I feel better on days I workout. But this is what is right for me, I am fully aware that its not right for everyone to work out as much as this or as little as this depending on the individual!
  • Introduction of ‘Anything Goes Thursday’ – I wanted to give myself the option of having the structure of a plan (which as I said is good for my motivation and organisation) but with some flexibility to allow me to try new things and listen to my body a bit more. So depending on how I’m feeling that might be giving myself an added rest day, just doing some light yoga, joining my friend at her aqua fit class or doing a DVD in the house.
  • Flexibility when needed – as I often have to change my working hours and some times work late, I’ll be using this as a general plan to keep me organised and motivated but will change it when required to fit with my daily life!
  • Running – I’m not training for any races right now so I’m happy to just try and retain a good base level of running fitness to carry me through the winter, I think that one longer distance run a week along side the speed run should do the trick.

Building in a ‘set back’ week

One thing I will be doing is following this plan for 6 weeks then giving myself a ‘set back’ week. I’ve read about this in various books including Thrive Fitness and it really makes sense to me. A set back week is basically when you reduce your level of activity to give your body (and your mind!) a break, allowing better recovery and rest ready for a new ‘training cycle’. This is what I was referring to when I blogged about how doing yoga and pilates this week fitted in with my plan, I’m seeing this week as my set back week before I start my new plan next week.

I really think including this is a great way to prevent burn out and over training and I know that I will benefit from it in a big way!

Focus on strength training

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I’m going to design two full body strength routines that I can do with the equipment I have in the gym using the plans in NRoL and Female Body Breakthrough for inspiration. I’ll blog about them next week! I really want to increase my strength training so I can build more muscle and bulk up my frame a bit more.

Do you work out to a set plan or in order to achieve certain goals?  What do you think of Anything Goes Thursdays and Set Back Weeks? How do you keep a balanced approach to exercise and fitness?