October 16, 2012

Workout planning

Lately I have really been slacking off on my regular workouts. (Regular, meaning work week/non-event; Nike Women’s Marathon recap still to come.) For no particular reason, I’ve fallen out of the habit of lifting… and regular Crossfit… and just about everything else that used to be habitual. Instead of waking up, working to a plan, and knowing what I have to do, I’ve started just doing whatever I feel like doing. Unfortunately, that often results in doing nothing at all! You know what they say: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In my case, so true.

Last Monday, I tried to make a workout plan for the week (starting Tuesday, since I was on vacation on Monday) so that I could get back on track. However, when I was completely zonked from travel on Tuesday night and didn’t feel like doing the heavy lifting I had on the plan, I abandoned ship on the entire week’s plan. I still made it down to the elliptical, so that was good, but I kind of think of elliptical/stationary biking as junk cardio – it burns some calories, but I don’t push myself hard enough to build muscle or really improve my fitness. So many fitness gurus eschew this kind of cardio as actually slowing down your metabolism instead of helping you speed it up – check out this great article from my beloved Rachel Cosgrove.

That said, I do like the calorie burning from cardio, so I’m not done with it totally; I just need to make sure I don’t do that instead of getting in quality workouts. Crossfit, weight lifting, tabatas, sprints, pilates/yoga – those are the things that I think will help me get more fit instead of just plateauing where I am right now.

And so it was that on my Monday morning flight, I put together this little plan for the work week:
Mon PM: Yoga
Tue AM: Weights
Tue PM: Elliptical (optional)
Wed AM: Yoga
Wed PM: Flywheel
Thu AM: Weights
Thu PM: Run (optional)
Fri AM: Elliptical
Sat AM: 5K fun run
Sun AM: Marathon

It’s not so very different than my plan from last week, except that I tried a little bit harder to take into account my non-workout schedule. I knew that on Monday night I was going to be tired, so it was stupid to put something intense like weight lifting there last week. However, I’ve been meaning to get back into yoga, and that’d be easy to motivate myself to do in my hotel room. Doing weights in the morning is a little less intimidating, and then if I wanted to, I could still get some junky cardio in at night while watching TV and waiting for my dinner to arrive.

Of course, then I read this article on Mark’s Daily Apple about how overexercising can hurt your health just as much as being sedentary. 10 workouts in a week, one of which is a marathon? Um, guilty as charged! Yikes.

I do follow Mark’s advice about mixing it up – there’s not a lot of repetition in my plan, which was definitely by design. Part of the reason I like having a plan is to make myself mix it up instead of defaulting to the same thing I did the night before. As I reflected more on the implications of that philosophy for my workouts, I also defended my plan in that not all of those workouts are going to be all-out intense. Last night’s yoga was surprisingly non-sweaty (I’ve done that particular DVD before and am not sure why it didn’t challenge me as much this time), and my weight lifting session this morning was only 25 minutes before I had to hightail it to shower and get ready for an early morning meeting. Most of the evening cardio in my plan is also more just to give me something to do; I’m putting it there so I don’t back out of it unless there’s an actual legit reason (like a team event, not “I feel like lying around watching TV”).

Maybe that’s all planning needs to be for me – a way to create accountability and stop myself from bailing for no good reason. This morning’s lifting session was pretty dismal, since my lack of continuity with a routine meant that I had to drop down to much lighter weights than I’ve used in the past. I need to stop lapses like that from happening, but given my total Type A personality, it can be tricky for me to give myself a break without giving up completely. Go hard or go home, right? Except that’s turning out to be a bad thing.

Are you a planner? How much do you stick to your plan? And do you burn more than Mark’s 4000 calorie per week rule?


3 thoughts on “Workout planning”

  1. I love a good workout plan, but if I miss one day, it’s so easy for me to fall totally off track.

    I’ve read a ton of stuff by Rachel Cosgrove and I agree with her, but my fall back exercise is junk cardio. It is so much easier for me to do an hour on the treadmill, then twenty mins of intervals.

    I need an HIIT support group!

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