Molly McNamee | Building A Structured Workout Routine
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Building A Structured Workout Routine

As a trainer, I am always switching up my clients workouts. Each day, I give them something new and have them work different muscle groups. I advocate workout variation on my blog constantly. And today I want to give you a few ideas on how to structure your weekly workout routine.

The first question you have to ask yourself when building a workout routine is: what are my fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to build muscle? Are you training for an endurance event? Take a moment to write down one big goal and five smaller goals. These will help you create your routine.

The second question you need to consider is: how often can I realistically workout each week? If you can commit 6+ hours a week to the gym, that is great! However, many people struggle to commit that amount of time to exercising at the beginning of a workout program. So be honest with yourself. How many times a week can you workout?

My three main tips for creating a workout schedule are:

1. If you can only workout three days a week, work as many muscles as possible each day.
2. If you are trying to build muscle, you need to get to the gym most everyday.
3. Regardless of your goals, there should be some amount of cardio and stretching in your routine.

Let me break down each of those tips into a little more detail.

If you want to workout three days a week, make each of those workouts as productive as possible.

If your main goal is to lose weight, each workout should blend cardio with total body conditioning exercises. I create workout videos like this on the MFit YouTube channel all the time. Try doing one of the HIIT & Burn workouts each day or one of my Bootcamp Flow routines. I have hundreds of HIIT & Burn videos and Bootcamp Flow workouts available for MFit Members, so join the MFit Membership if you want to follow more workout videos like these.

If your main goal is to build muscle, but you can only get to the gym three days a week. That is okay… for now. However, if you are serious about really building a significant amount of muscle, you will need to find extra time in your schedule eventually. But for now, on those three days, here is what I recommend. On Day 1, do a lower body and abs workout. On Day 2, do a push workout for your chest, triceps and shoulders. On Day 3, do a pull workout for your back, biceps and hamstrings.

Once you have carved out more time for the gym, you can spend more time focusing on specific muscle groups. If you want to build muscle, it takes time. So having more time to focus on each muscle you want to grow is so helpful. If you want to get a bigger butt, for example, a program like my 4-Week Peach Plan is a good guide. In this plan I have you train your legs and specifically your glutes three times a week. In addition to those three to lower body workouts, I also include three other days of workouts to help you enhance the booty curves we are creating. It is a process. But this process will give you the results you want.

Say you want to gain muscle in your upper body. Once you have 5-6 days a week to go to the gym, you can have a day for arms, a day for shoulders, a day for chest, and a day for back. Now you can really work each muscle to its max each day, and you have the appropriate amount of recovery time that your muscles need to heal and grow.

So again, if you only have a few days to workout… make those days count. However, if you want to build real muscle, eventually you need to make more time.

Regardless of your goals, you need to stretch and do some type of cardio everyday. Try one of these videos for some stretching inspiration.

When it comes to cardio, don’t be intimidated. Depending on your goals, cardio could just mean a brisk walk at lunchtime. I just want you to get your heart rate up daily.

If you are trying to lose weight, obviously it is good to intensify that cardio. When I am trying to shed a few pounds I do 30-minutes of cardio a day or a quick 15-minute HIIT routine. If we you want to lose weight, but can’t fit in extra time for cardio, simply structure your strength training in a circuit format so that it will raise your heart rate.

Keep in mind that there is no formula for a perfect workout schedule. Everyone will react to working out differently. There is a lot of trail and error involved in creating a workout routine because you have to find what works for you. As I’ve said, your goals play a big role in how you structure your routine. I am giving you tips that have worked for me and my clients, but remember your body is unique.