Simplify Fitness Routines

Categories Simplicity

I turn 50 this year. It is time to dial in my workout routine to take me into the next decade of my life. I will use this blog as a way to keep myself on point with my training schedule. Alas, this is my workout plan. I am a physician but I am not your physician. Thus check with your own doctor before embarking on a fitness regime.

My Plan

This is ever changing around the edges. But overall, I am planning on doing the following.

  1. Go for a run outdoors unless it is raining a lot. Plan to ramp up to a regular 3 mile run. Currently I am running 1.5 miles and it takes about 20 minutes. I am always so happy during these runs!
  2. Weight Training 2x/ week
    1. Back squat 5 sets x 5 reps
    2. Bench press with dumbbells 5 sets x 5 reps
    3. Deadlifts 5 sets x 2 reps
    4. Superset the above sets with 1- 2 minute rest between sets
    5. Keep trying to get my one chin up. This is a work in progress.
  3. HITT (High intensity interval training) 2x/ week
    1. Kettlebells 10 swings + jump rope 100 reps
    2. Rounds x 10, on the minute
    3. This lasts 10 minutes and I am usually exhausted at the end
    4. I use the GymBoss app on my phone to set up the HITT routine
  4. Meal prep 2x/ week
    1. Usually on Sundays & Wednesdays
  5. Getting older so I add:
    1. Meditation ( I started with 3 minutes, working up to 20 minutes. I am currently at 7 minutes)
    2. Yoga– I use a simple 15 minute routine on my iPhone
    3. Mobility– mobility exercises I can easily do in 5 minutes

I started weight training when I was 45 years old. Thank goodness for YouTube. I taught myself all the basic lifts from watching videos online. I wish YouTube was around when I was at university. I would have been able to use free weights in my twenties rather than the weight machines. However, it’s been a blast working out. Many of the twenty year old guys would give me tips at the local gym when I was starting out. It goes to show that age is less of a barrier when you have a common interest. I finally bought my own set of free weights to keep my workouts even simpler. The added benefit is that my kids and my husband have also started weight training.

Most of my workouts take 10- 15 minutes. I do not enjoy long workouts anymore. I used to run 5 miles before classes and 5 miles after class while in medical school. There are more efficient ways of getting into shape nowadays. I would much rather spend my extra time going for walks with my family and my dog.

Fitness does not have to take much time. I agree that the best exercise is one that you will actually do. With respect to weight training and HITT workouts, I suggest you keep track of your progress. It is more important to increase either load or reps incrementally than thinking it is all about max lifts. I often will plan a workout template for about 6-8 weeks and then adjust some parameter. This keeps my workouts from stagnating.

I add meal prep as part of my fitness routine as I believe what you eat is fundamental to fitness. I have noticed what I eat contributes about 80% while the exercising about 20% to my overall fitness. Ole Pareto principle at work again.

A kettlebell and a jump rope for a great HITT workout at home.

A Simple Routine

If you stick with pure efficiency, I would choose my HITT workout of kettlebell swings and jump rope. Set the gymboss timer for 10 rounds of 1 minute each. At the top of each minute, perform two handed kettlebell swings x 10 swings, then proceed to 70-100 jump ropes. Rest until the minute is up, then repeat at the top of the next minute for 10 rounds total. The kettlebell combines strength and conditioning in a single workout.

I have also used the kettlebell strategically placed in a high traffic area of the house. Whenever I take a break, I would pick up my kettlebell and perform 10-20 swings. The goal was to perform about 300 swings a day. This is the essence of pure simplicity and highly effective.

I would have used the kettlebell a lot if I had this during university. It was often difficult to get to the gym which was 30 minutes across town. And it was often inconvenient to go for a run when I got off my late hospital shifts. The kettlebell would have allowed me to workout from home and would have been much safer than those runs I used to go on late at night.

I believe one of the best ways to keep the habit of exercising is to do the easiest routine and just commit to performing it for 30-60 days. Always make the routines such that you feel you could easily do more, but do not! Just focus on doing the smallest routine until you make exercising a habit. This is very similar to finances. The problem is people stress themselves by taking on more than they can handle. This does nothing productive but makes you hate the process and leads to quitting and your subconscious wanting it’s payback in terms of revenge unhealthy habits bingeing. You need to make this easy so that you begin to enjoy and habituate the process. It is always the process that matters. That is why, once you enjoy the process, any ole exercise routine will work.

  1. Keep it simple. So simple and easy, you will laugh and think you could do so much more!
  2. Track it.
  3. Keep it up for at least 30-60 days.
  4. Increase the workout very slowly.
  5. If you fall off the wagon, just brush yourself off and try it again. You will keep this up for the rest of your life so what does it matter if you slip up a bit?

That is what I have always done to gain any new habit I wanted to adopt. I was never one to make it unenjoyable. I am not one who believes in “no pain, no gain”. I believe you can get almost anything done by simplifying and making things easier rather than working harder.

Here’s to a fun and healthy 2018!

5 thoughts on “Simplify Fitness Routines

  1. While that sounds awesome, it doesn’t sound simple! Your home gym is sweet. Mine is a bench and some dumbells.

    I ran and lifted for years and never got really good at either. Now I Run only and am faster than ever. Plus it’s simple, I just make a training plan, follow it for a few months, race and redo the plan. I’m around 30 miles per week.

    I’m interested to see if you start liking the run more than the weights. Seems like you like the few miles. That stuff can be habit forming.

    1. Running is awesome!!! And I agree it’s simple. I do one-lift-a-day at times. It takes about 10 minutes. GoodLifeMD, I am getting older, I respect the strength training nowadays.

      Thanks again for reminding me to retool my website. Hugely appreciated that!

      1. Good ole spell check. I meant one-lift-a-day. I do either squats/ deadlift or bench press.

  2. Your routines sound good and effective. As a child, I had headaches and learned biofeedback and meditation. It has been years since I practiced. Your post reminds me that it is time to start again.

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