As July comes to a close and you've continued to follow through with the exercises I outlined a while back, I thought it would be a great start to August to outline a fitness calendar for you all! This is just a basic guideline to keep you on track and to motivate you to get up every day and work towards improving your fitness!
First, and most importantly, I need to explain to you the importance of stretching. There are two types of stretching that you should be familiar with: dynamic and static. You will begin each workout with dynamic stretching, which are movement-based stretches that prepare the joints and muscles for activation. And you will conclude your workout with static stretching which are sustained stretches that hold a position for a particular joint or muscle.
Your dynamic stretching with serve as part of your warm-up, which is a crucial component to injury prevention and performance enhancement. A good dynamic warm-up should consist of the following:
A light aerobic exercise for 5-10 minutes, which raises your core temperature and makes your muscles more elastic. A light jog, jumping jacks, or anything that increases your heart rate will work for this.
Leg Swings- hold on to a wall and swing one leg back and forth, do about 10 swings per leg
Fire Hydrant Circles- on all fours, stabilize core so only the working leg is moving. Raise leg out to side with knee bent at 90 degrees and move in a circular motion 5 times each direction and then switch legs.
Leg Crossovers- lay flat on back with arms outstretched at each side. Bring leg across your body to meet the opposite hand. Do 10 for each leg.
Arm Circles- standing up, form big large circles with both arms. Do 10 circles forward and 10 circles backward.
Forward Lunge with a Twist- come down into a forward lunge, making sure the leading knee is bent at a 90 degree angle and does not surpass the toes. Once in position, twist your core to the side opposite of the knee... So if the right knee is bent, twist to the left. Do 10 on each side.
Once you've completed your dynamic warm-up,
you're ready to rock and roll.
Now let's break down what you're going to do each day:
Cardio- you can choose to do any form of cardio that you wish. Aim for about 45 minutes to an hour on days designated to just cardio (Monday, Thursday, Saturday).
If you have a gym membership, this can be done on any of the cardio machines, such as the treadmill, Stairmaster, Arc Trainer, Elliptical, or stationary bikes. Most have preset workouts that can include intervals that break up the workout between higher and lower intensity. Aside from exercise benefits, I personally prefer this option because the variation of intensity designated by a preset timer helps me mentally break up the routine and tell myself "Okay, only one more interval."
Need more variety?
Alternate cardio workouts with one of the options below:
30 minute run, paired with a 15-30 minute workout (aim for 3-5 sets of each)
15 (yes, 15) hill sprints- find a large hill somewhere near you, whether it be a quiet road or a running trail, and sprint at about 70% up the hill all the way to the top. Then do a very slow jog on the way down. This is an amazing workout and a personal favorite of mine. Trust me, it definitely kicks your butt but once you're done you feel INCREDIBLE.
On strength training days, aim to get in a longer cardio warm-up than just 10 minutes. shoot for a 20-25 minute light jog. Because some of these workouts are more stationary and don't get your heart moving to the same capacity, the cardio will further boost your heart rate and your fat-burning potential.
*Dumbbells are required for these workouts*
If you aren't familiar with any of these workouts, there are a plethora of demonstration videos on YouTube that can show you faster and better than I can write down.
3-5 sets of each:
Thrusters- 20 reps
Triceps Kickback- 15 reps per side
Chest Fly- 20 reps
Bent Over Row- 20 reps
Bicep Curl- 25 reps per side
Triceps Extension- 15 reps per side
Lateral Raise- 20 reps
Overhead Press- 25 reps
* added weight is optional
3-5 sets of each:
Back Squats*- 25 reps
Forward Lunges*- 15 reps per side
Reverse Lunges*- 15 reps per side
Donkey Kicks- 20 reps per side
Side Leg Raise- 20 reps per side.
Barbell Step up- 15 reps per side
Glute Bridges- 25 reps
Leg press- 20 reps
Thigh abductor- 20 reps
Thigh adductor- 20 reps
3-5 sets of each
Plank- 45 seconds
Side Plank- 30 seconds per side
Crunches- 20 reps
Cross Crunches- 15 reps per side
V-Ups- 20 reps
Flutter Kicks- 3 seconds
Penguins- 20 reps per side
Bicycle Crunch- 20 reps per side
Russian Twists- 25 reps per side
Now, it is equally important to warm up as it is to cool down.
This gives the body a chance to bring the heart rate and breathing back to normal. It is also critical for reducing muscle soreness. You should take about 10-15 minutes to complete a quality cool down. It should include:
Some awesome stretches that always do me wonders are:
Good luck with your exercise endeavors and have a happy and healthy start to August!!!
Fitness Friday Guru + NHHN Intern