It can be a bit daunting deciding when and where to cram a good workout. The stresses of everyday life and the less and less time available for everyday activities prevents many women from engaging in a fulfilling exercise routine. PdM has some workout basics for beginners, specifically those who wish to train at home.
It’s So Confusing!
Very often I meet a lot of women who want to start working out, but have no idea how to put together a workout plan. If you are one of them, I completely understand how complicated putting together workout routines can seem. The questions that I get the most from my readers are: Which time of the day should I workout? Should I do split workouts or full body routines? How many days a week should I workout?
Where Do You Want To Go?
When it comes to goal setting, you have to be very specific and create a time frame with many small goals at a time. I don’t like to use the word “realistic”, because within reason I believe there are no limits to what you can achieve – if you can imagine it in your mind, you may be able to hold it in your hand.
Get a piece of paper and write down where you currently are and what your goals are, from smallest to largest (“lose 2 pounds within the next week” to “run a marathon in a year” or “be able to do 30 pull-ups”). Then find out what the intermediate steps inbetween have to be to reach the big goal at the end: how much weight do you want to lose? How do you have to build up your strength?
In short, this step is where you educate yourself. You need to lay a course and know about all the obstacles in the way to arrive at the safe harbor. It tremendously helps if you vividly imagine yourself already being what you want to become. Don’t hold back – feel it. All this is your first step before actually planning starts.
Which Time Of Day Should I Work Out?
I understand that everyone has a different schedule. Some people are able to work out at 6 am, others can only workout at 10 pm. I recommend finding the time of the day when you have the most energy because that will be your perfect time. Additionally, the length of time you do your workouts doesn’t play a big role as long as you actually do your workouts. A lot of people though have a lot less energy in the evening, and for them I recommend to work out sometime during the day when they are able to find time.
Should I Split My Workouts Or Do Full Body Routines?
If you are a beginner, then I recommend to start with full body workouts. Depending on the physical fitness you start out with and the progress you make, you may be able to start using split routines 3-4 weeks after. If you’ve been working out for a while, split routines will bring you better results when it come to building muscle, but full body workouts can be beneficial for advanced trainees as well. They can provide a change from your usual routine and save time on those weeks when you are low on time.
How Many Days A Week Should I Work Out?
This entirely depends on your goals. I personally experimented with different approaches and for me the best approach for building muscle and strength was 4 days a week using split routines. If your goal is maintenance only, then 3 days a week is great. If you are (semi-) professional and getting ready for a competition of some sort, then 5 days per week is what a trainer would probably make you do. Anything above that will actually be less beneficial for the body, since R&R is crucial to building muscle.
Below you’ll find a basic exercise mindset that should especially suit women, as it’s built around the following premises:
- Never skip your warm-up or your stretching after a workout. Your warm-up should last 5-10 minutes and your stretching should also be about 5-10 minutes long.
- I always include planks before and after a workout, as they really help you to strengthen your core as well and warm-up your body even more.
- Exercise your entire body. Only training legs and having a weak back and arms would look weird.
- Your workout needs both strength training as well as metabolic exercises: both will give you complete strength and fitness.