How to structure a perfect week of workouts

How to structure a perfect week of workouts

How to structure a perfect week of workouts

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Unless you’re a fitness expert, planning your workouts for the week ahead is easier said than done. When looking to improve overall health and fitness, a perfect program should address cardiovascular and muscular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility.

It’s important to remember that getting fit and strong doesn’t happen during training.

“Training is the stress, and you get fit and strong afterwards when the body adapts from the stress,” Sporty Enterprises Educator and Director Lisa Chivers explained. “Therefore, when putting together a weekly plan, having sufficient and adequate recovery is essential for building your fitness.”

“For a beginner, it’s going to be very stressful; their recovery needs to be lighter than it will be for an expert,” Chivers said.

Accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer Keith Spelman said beginners initially may want to take an active rest day due to muscle soreness and suggested a swim or walk in between heavy workout days.

“A rest day shouldn’t be a day of doing nothing, but a day of light exercise.”

How to get the maximum benefits from a workout plan?

For maximum benefits, exercise programs should be refreshed every six weeks or so due to adaptation. “This time frame is a good indicator as to whether they are progressing or not,” Spelman said.

According to Chivers, when structuring or progressing workouts, you’ll need to be aware that intensity and duration are inversely proportional. The longer you go, the lighter the load, and the harder you go, the shorter the duration.

“If you want to get stronger you need to do about two full body strength workouts per week, and for cardiovascular it’s around three cardio sessions,” Chivers added. “Circuit training can give you a bit of strength and cardio, and that’s the beauty of it; it’s time efficient and you can get both in the one workout.”

Here’s a framework of what a week of workouts might look like. You can adapt this to workouts at the gym, outdoors, and, depending on what equipment is available to you, at home:

Beginner Intermediate Expert
Mon Circuit-training

Workout for 30 min

Create a circuit of 6-8 cardio and bodyweight exercises

Perform it twice and spend 1 min on each exercise, resting for 1 min in between each

Hint: Set up a timer on your phone to alert you every minute for 30 minutes to keep you on time

Strength-based total body workout

Workout for 45 min

Perform exercises to target a range of muscles (back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs, and glutes)

Use moderate to heavy weights and aim for 70% intensity

For each exercise perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Use equipment like kettle bells, dumbells, and barbells or use your bodyweight

Strength-based total body workout

Workout for 60 min

Perform exercises to target a range of muscles (back, chest, biceps, triceps, shoulders, legs, and glutes)

Use heavy weights and aim for 80-90% intensity

For each exercise perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Use equipment like kettle bells, dumbells, and barbells or use your bodyweight

Tue Active rest day

30 min of low intensity exercises like: swimming, cycling, walking or yoga

Low impact cardio

30-45 min of low intensity exercises like: swimming, cycling, walking, rowing or yoga

Low impact cardio

45-60 min of low intensity exercises like: swimming, cycling, walking, rowing or yoga

Wed Circuit-training

Workout for 30 min

Create a circuit of 6-8 cardio and strength exercises (using tubing or resistance bands)

Perform it twice and spend 1 min on each exercise, resting for 1 min in between each

Hint: Set up a timer on your phone to alert you every minute for 30 minutes to keep you on time

Circuit training

Workout for 45 min

Create a circuit of 10-12 cardio, bodyweight and strength exercises

Perform it twice and spend 1 min on each exercise, resting for 1 min in between each

Hint: Set up a timer on your phone to alert you every minute for 45 minutes to keep you on time

HIIT workout

Workout for 30 min

Create a circuit of 7 cardio, bodyweight and strength exercises

*ensure you can switch quickly between exercises

Perform 3 times, working for 45 seconds, and resting for 15 seconds

Go as hard and as fast as you can for each exercise

Thur Repeat Tuesday Repeat Tuesday Repeat Tuesday
Fri Repeat Monday Repeat Monday Repeat Monday
Sat Power walk for 20-30 minutes

If you’re feeling good, do a jog/walk combo

Steady-state cardio

Run at a moderate pace

Aim for a distance or keep up a moderate tempo for 20-40 mins

Ensure you complete your run feeling tired but not exhausted

Steady-state cardio

Run at a moderate pace

Aim for a distance or keep up a moderate tempo for 40-60 mins

Ensure you complete your run feeling tired but not exhausted

Sun Active rest day

Walk, stretch using a foam roller, or yoga

Active rest day

Walk, stretch using a foam roller, or yoga

Active rest day

Walk, stretch using a foam roller, or Power yoga