Life happens, which means sometimes things don’t go as planned. I’m learning to accept that – even embrace it – as a fact and something that keeps life interesting. I don’t know about you, but for me one of the first things to get messed up when my routine changes is my workout schedule. Starting a new job has made it tougher for me to plan my workouts simply because I like to work out later in the day, but if I’ve been on the go a lot I’m not always motivated to do so and therefore don’t get the most out of my workouts. I still do them, but if I’m too tired I’m just going through the motions and not really getting into “the zone,” if you know what I mean.
One thing that always helps me stay on track when I have a crazy schedule is to fall back on my default workouts. These are simple exercises and routines I have pre-written up so I have them when I need them, and don’t have to go to the extra work of writing an entire workout to meet my needs. Let me break my model down for you:
My default workouts consist of 3 key factors.
They must be. . .
- Goal Oriented
When my schedule is crazy, my brain gets a little fried. Which means I’m not going to have the wherewithal to think through complex movement combinations that I’m not used to. I need something familiar and simple – not complex.
Just because it’s a “default” workout doesn’t mean that I can compromise my goals. I set goals for myself every month, and I try to stick to them as much as I can. I follow the rough guideline of hitting my upper and lower body 2x each per week, and getting in one or two endurance and abs sessions as well. I don’t need to find a slew of new exercises and combinations to get my goals accomplished. I know which specific exercises get me to my goals the fastest, and I incorporate these into my default workouts. No extra hassle, just simple, familiar, goal oriented exercises.
Many times when my routine gets messed up, I end up short on time. I don’t usually have extra time for extra foam rolling, stretching, core work, etc., so I try to keep my default workouts short and/or efficient, depending on my needs that day.
Here are my 5 main default workouts, according to goals:
Upper Body Strength:
- 5×5 push press, bent over rows, push-ups, dips, and pull-ups.
Lower Body Strength:
- 5×5 deadlifts, squats, lunges, step-ups, and hip bridges.
- 1 hour jump rope (I don’t usually like steady state cardio, but when I need to work up an easy sweat and challenge long distance endurance, this is my go-to workout)
- 3-7 tabatas – select from calisthenic and plyometric exercises such as: squats, lunges, pushups, plank, jump rope, etc.
I suggest you make a list of the 10 most effective exercises for you, and create a few default workouts that you can refer to in the future. They really do come in handy when you don’t want to spend half an hour finding or creating the perfect workout.