Getting married, getting older, and now a few years deep into my career I have realized just how precious time is. When I’m not on the road for work I’m doing my best to spend time with my wife, friends, and family. When I’m not doing that I’m trying to tackle a few of my own personal projects, some house work, or maybe even just trying to squeeze in some time to mow the lawn, and finally, when I’m not doing any of that I want to take care of myself – that means hitting the gym or doing something active every single day.
With those priorities in mind I thought it would be helpful to talk about a fitness plan to address the “life of a workin’ man” and although I have covered fitness extensively in previous posts – I thought this might be more helpful in an everyday use kind of way.
Work out when you can and make it up if you miss a day
Since life is busy schedules may vary from day to day and week to week so a workout plan with flexiblity is key. So, I’ve divided the my own workout plan into 7 “days” throughout the week instead of forcing myself to do “X workout” on Monday and “X workout” on Tuesday. This way if I can’t make it to the gym on Monday or Tuesday, no problem, I’ll just do it later in the week. Less structure in this way is more flexible.
The Plan: Seven days of fitness for busy folk
1 day: Upper body Tone and Strength Training (Gym Required)
One day a week you should focus on strength training and toning your upper body. That should include lifts like bench press, curls, push-press, dips, pull-ups, etc. Your workouts should consist of sets of no more than 10 reps and you should reach failure toward the end of each workout.
I enjoy doing compound lifts to get the most out of my workout. That includes sets like combining curls into a push-press or a skull crusher into a close grip bench. Strength training days are focused on building muscle so skip cardio on these days.
1 day: Lower body tone and strength training (Gym Required)
For Lower body strength training days apply the same rules for lifting as above. You should include lifts like lunges, calf raises, squats, leg press, leg extensions, etc. I usually try to do equal workouts to address my quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and buttocks.
I usually try to schedule my lower body workout days around my intense cardio days since cardio usually requires a large amount of leg usage. If you are too tired you may take away from the effectiveness of your overall fitness program – you might even hurt yourself in the process.
2 days: Cardio and Body Weight Exercises (No Gym Required)
Do something that elevates your heart rate for at least 30 minutes. I usually shoot for an hour if I have time, but do whatever you can. In between running or biking (at stop lights, every 20 minutes, etc.) I do pushups, lunges, dips, or whatever I can while I’m taking a break. This gives me an opportunity to do some maintenance on my muscles while also getting in that much needed cardio.
If I’m in the park I usually stop at every few park benches and do a set of incline bench press and dips on the bench. Shoot for about 100 of each during your workout. As I mentioned earlier, it might be helpful if you can schedule cardio days around your leg workout days.
2 days: Light Cardio and Active Living
You can’t make it to the gym and you can’t spend an hour running everyday, BUT you can do something active. Maybe you go play Frisbee or Basketball with your friends. Maybe you walk your dog for an hour. Hell, maybe you just mow the grass and do some good ole’ fashioned yard work. The key is JUST DO SOMETHING!
If you are really feeling active – do a light jog. These days should serve as “active rest” days.
1 day: Flexibility, Rest, and Abs work
One thing I have seriously neglected throughout my athletic career is flexibility. For some reason it has always fallen fairly low on my priority list – BIG mistake.
Recently I tweaked my back and I’m fairly sure that had I concentrated on stretching a few times a week it could have been avoided. Having said that spend at least an hour or so each week stretching – real stretching.
Also, set a goal to do at least 250 reps to tone those abs. I suggest doing this several times a week if possible. Remember you can do this anywhere – including in your living room or hotel while watching TV.
You know where to leave ‘em.