Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Exercise mix up

I have been thinking that my exercise routine is getting a little, well, stale. It's not exciting! I don't wake up and want to go to the gym, and when I leave, I don't feel overly invigorated. After my weekend runs, I feel good - but not great.

So I thought it might be time to set some goals.

Coincidentally, Leah at Simply Fabulous posted just this week on the importance of mixing exercise up. Not mixing exercise up is my biggest flaw, without doubt.

My usual routine?

Weekdays, I go to the gym from around 6am - 7am.

Four days a week, I spend about 45 minutes on cardio, rotating between three or four  machines (the cross-trainer, rower, bike, and treadmill). I do some weights (not many), and stretch.

On the fifth day I reduce the cardio to about 30 minutes and spend longer on weights.

Saturdays, I run outdoors, and try to vary my route and the mix of speed / hills / duration. At one stage, this run was between 50 and 70 minutes (10 - 12km), but I'm currently averaging about half of that after a few injuries and not enough motivation to work on re-increasing mileage :-/

Sundays, I do a shorter walk / run route that incorporates our local bakery to pick up bread. This is effectively my rest day.

As discussed here, I also ride to work one day a week, and I do less gym-based cardio and more weights on that day.

I get other incidental activity through walks and casual basketball games (very casual, because I'm very bad!) with my partner. These rarely increase my heart rate and are really just part of day-to-day life, so I don't consider them formal exercise.

What would I like to change?

Clearly I am quite active, and I'm also fairly happy with the basic structure of my week. The main thing I would like to do is add variation. And excitement and challenge if at all possible!

There are a few things I have been thinking about doing for a while:
  • Playing casual tennis. This is the only ball sport I remember liking, most likely because the raquet is so much larger than the ball, and there is thus a margin for error in hitting the ball!
  • Swimming. I have a quiet dream of doing a triatholon one day, but I rarely get in the water. I enjoyed swimming as a child so this could be an option.
  • Adult gymnastics!! I spend years wishing this was available, after doing gymnastics for 4 years as a child and loving it. I then found a class near me - and haven't yet gone. The class is on a Thursday evening and I've never been able to get organised and out the door for it.
  • Signing up for races / running events that will help me keep focused on goals and improvements.
Other ideas that I could consider are:
  • Scheduling a pilates-type session into my week. I have tried BodyBalance before and enjoyed it, and that class is available at my gym, so I could even plan to attend that once a week.
  • Scheduling a more structured weights session on one of my gym days.
  • Using short interval training to increase the effectiveness of my gym cardio.
  • Attending a BodyPump or BodyCombat class once a week. I have tried these in the past though, and didn't enjoy them (hint: lack of coordination).
Quite the list really! I think I will reflect on the options and do a separate post with some official goals.


  1. Hi Kari! Thanks for visiting my blog today! Since it turns out that we have *lots* in common (your first blog post could have been mine... I lived in the West, too (OK, OK, in Canada :) )... I'm a perfectionist and believe in order... I love food and healthy living... I have a PhD... and then there's travel! I've been to South America (but it's only my third day here!), NZ twice, Italy, and Norway (AMAZING!!), and I really want to go to Russia and Australia (along with South Africa, Antarctica, sub-Saharan Africa and Scotland. :)

    As I was saying, because we have lots in common and I'm under house arrest (not really!) ;) I'm reading you from back to front. And I just wanted to say that even though you don't consider walks and pick-up B-Ball with your partner as exercise, I'd say it's even better---it's activity! And the human body was made to move. We're meant for hunting and gathering, so engaging in unstructured exercise by way of regular activity is, I think, vital for good health... PS: intervals like HIIT are *awesome*. :)

  2. @Stephanie @ extremebalance.net/blog
    Yay! I love hearing that there are others like me in the world :) Thanks for picking up on my blog in turn - I've been happily reading through your comments.

    I like your stance on unstructured exercise too. I certainly feel much better on the days I have lots of that and little formal exercise, compared to days with formal exercise but then sitting all day!


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