As I’ve stated many times, I am a creature of habit when it comes to exercise. Sure, I’ll try new things here and there to mix it up, but I always come back to my fitness favourites. From what many of my friends and readers have told me, I know I am not in this alone! I think many of us like to stick to what works for us, and most importantly, what we enjoy.
The interesting thing is that exercise oftentimes looks completely different for everyone. I don’t believe that fitness has a one size fits all, and am always intrigued by the way others structure their weekly workouts. Some of my favourite blog posts to read are actually those which outline a blogger’s food and fitness plans for the pending week.
As part of my partnership with Fitness First, I had the opportunity to participate in a blogger workout swap for a week in March. I was partnered up with awesome Sydney blogger, Cheri, from Ms. Critique. We basically had to swap each other’s typical week of workouts, as well as one of our favourite recipes. I’m always up for participating in things like this, so was eager to pass on my standard week of exercise and change things up for a few days.
I normally aim for five workouts each week. I also rely on the gym and their child minding service, so am therefore confined to the hours the crèche is open. That being said, here is what I sent Cheri as an example of a typical week of fitness for me:
- Body Attack- 2 days
- Body Pump- 1 day
- Spin- 1 day
- Cardio (15-20 minutes) & Resistance Training (like this workout)- 1 day
I also shared my favourite treat: Peanut Butter Chickpea Bites.
In return, I received Cheri’s workouts, which would now be mine for the week:
- Cardio 3x/week for 40 minutes
- Yoga on Saturdays
Thought #1: I love cardio & yoga! No problem!
Thought #2: How will I feel not lifting weights for the week?
Thought #3: I can totally time-manage the cardio workouts, but the yoga classes at my gym do not work with Thomas’s current schedule. I’ll have to modify this one and do an at-home yoga workout.
Day 1: Cardio
I decided on the treadmill for a 40 minute steady-state run. I usually don’t run on the treadmill for more than 30 minutes, as I’ll usually lift weights for the second half of my hour workout. Not to mention the fact that I get pretty bored after that amount of time. So, with 10 more minutes to go, I definitely felt like I’d had enough. It felt good to push myself through the extra time, though. It acted as a reminder that sometimes it’s simply our mind that holds us back from working longer, running further, and pushing harder.
Day 2: Cardio
I decided to go with the treadmill again, except this time I chose to throw in about 25 minutes of interval running to change things up. Since I’d done a simple steady state run on Day 1, I figured it would be good to compare my calorie burn and distance based upon the 40-minute time frame. As you can see, I covered more distance at a steady state, but overall calories burned was better with interval training. I usually prefer doing speed intervals on the treadmill for this purpose, not to mention the fact that it really helps to pass the time.
Day 3: Yin-Yoga (At Home)
Since I couldn’t make it to any of the scheduled yoga classes at my gym during the week (due to conflicts with Thomas’s routine), I had a little stretch sesh of my own one day while Thomas napped and I did laundry. I love Yin Yoga and holding poses for a long time. I’m the worst at maintaining consistency with my yoga practice. I always find room for other workouts and seem to brush yoga to the side, but whenever I do a workout, I quickly remember why I enjoy/require it!
Day 4: Cardio
I had to literally drag myself to the gym on Day 4, as I was feeling completely under the weather. However, we were leaving the next morning for New Zealand, so it was my last chance to complete my blogger workout swap. Plus, Thomas was whining all morning, so an hour of “me time” sounded like heaven (even if it involved 40 minutes on a piece of cardio equipment). After dropping the little guy off at child care and taking about 10 minutes to lethargically fill up my water bottle and tie my shoes, I opted for the good ‘ol elliptical. I don’t think I’ve used this machine since I was about 38 weeks pregnant in early 2013, but on a day like today, it seemed like the best way to kick off my cardio workout. I got bored after 25 minutes and finished off with 20 more minutes of a quick treadmill walk on a high incline. I didn’t even bother to check distance, calories, or heart rate…I was just happy to sweat a little bit while keeping my breakfast down.
Cheri also sent over her Green Juice recipe.
As much as I wanted to replicate her smoothie, my blender is actually the worst appliance I’ve ever owned and barely chops a banana anymore (let alone kale, mint and mandarins). I made a point of stopping in for a green juice at a local health food bar during a walk with Thomas on Wednesday, and I vow that as soon as I return from New Zealand, I will be purchasing a new blender/juicer. I love smoothies and juices and have been complaining about our blender for months, so feel like this is a pertinent and justified investment!
So…my overall thoughts on blogger-workout-swap week? It was definitely a fun way to shake up a week’s worth of exercise.
What I missed: Resistance training. I don’t lift super heavy weights by any means, but even after a week without it, I could feel a difference in my body.
What I enjoyed: Unstructured cardio time. Normally, my cardio is driven by group exercise. I loved having those 40 minutes as “down time” to completely tune out from everything, with no one telling me what to do. The freedom was appreciated!
What I realized: I can easily run for much longer than I usually do, so I should probably reevaluate my overall intensity and push myself harder during my cardio machine workouts. Also, I remembered how much I miss having yoga in my life.
This blogger swap was such a great idea, and I completely recommend everyone to swap a week of workouts (or even an eating plan) with a friend. You never know what you are going to take away from it. It’s such a great learning opportunity for us to realize where we stand in our fitness levels and regimes, and reminds us that fitness isn’t invariable or set in stone. It is a continuous journey.
Thanks again, Cheri for the workout swap!
This post is brought to you in partnership with Fitness Frst as part of their #changeforthebest campaign, inspiring Australians to take charge of their health and wellness in 2014.