Since I’ve returned to university, I realised that my workout routine has become less and less consistent: I went from working 5-7 times a week during lockdown to 2-4 times a week. Whilst this isn’t necessarily bad, I could quite literally feel the impact it had on me. I felt sluggish, my body started aching again and my mental health just shot right back down.
I read somewhere that the best thing to do when you feel overwhelmed is to form a routine for yourself. I was then recommended this by a friend when talking about mental health with each other, so I decided to form a workout schedule.
Whilst I didn’t plan how many days a week I was going to work out (I never did even on my best days), I decided to do my workouts as close to the morning as I could: I planned to work out once I had digested my breakfast or just after my morning- afternoon lectures. I always found that I prefer working out in the morning anyway, probably because I have more energy during daylight hours.
I said to myself I was going to try and do workouts I don’t normally do, and make sure to mix it up. I also said to myself that I was going to post my workouts on my Instagram stories to hold myself more accountable (all the workouts I do are linked in my highlights reel, if anyone needs more inspiration). I ended up working out 5 days out of 6 in total, which I was really proud of myself for!
Here are all the workouts I did this week and how I felt after doing them.
MONDAY – HIIT and Yoga
I love HIIT workouts – they were my favourite kind of workout to do during the first lockdown, and what got me into working out in the first place. Joe Wicks was my go-to guy in the beginning, and he was my guy on Tuesday: he recently came out with a Youtube series called ‘Wake Up With Joe’, which is a 15 minute HIIT session to do first thing in the morning.
Whilst the intervals were slightly easier (35 seconds on, 25 off), the workout was much more energetic and sweaty than I expected, which is always a good thing! I love Joe’s energy in the videos, so it was a great way to start the session. Not only does the video give alternative moves, but it came with a pre-workout stretch too, which I really love in videos.
I finished the session with a 15 minute yoga session. I only really ‘discovered’ yoga in the past few months and have already seen the benefits: it increased my balance and core and upper body strength massively. With the right video, it actually brings you into such a calm state but also encourages you to really feel the burn.
My first yoga video was again on Youtube with Yoga with Adriene, and she too was my girl today: I wanted a short video, so I found one called ‘sunrise yoga’, which was really nice to get into the swing of things again. If you’re practicing for the first time, I would recommend her ’30 day’ series, so you can get used to the moves and the names. The sunrise yoga video is perfect for someone that’s in the beginner-intermediate stage, like me (although I’m closer to beginner).
Overall: a great mix of exercises – you use loads of energy in the first half and cool off in the second half. A way to feel like worked but you’re not dripping with sweat.
(I should mention at this point that I stretch before and after every workout – it’s so important for your body!)
TUESDAY – Ab Circuit and Run/Walk
I started off Tuesday with an ab circuit I saw on Instagram the day before (@jujusheikh). The workout consisted of 6 moves (spider crunches, penguin taps, bicycle crunches, side plank dips (left), side plank dips (right) and plank shoulder taps) to be completed in an interval of 45 seconds working and 15 seconds off.
Whilst it was recommended to do this 2-4 times, I only done it twice as I realised within the first round I was really struggling. I really felt bad that I couldn’t do this more easily, as I thought this was something I was able to do and had done similar circuits in the past. I also said to myself prior to the ab workout that I was going to go on a run afterwards, which if you’ve read my posts for a while now, you’ll know I absolutely hate running, so I thought abs would be the ‘easier’ section of this session!
I was wrong.
So after dying for 11 minutes straight and realising I don’t have as much ab and arm strength as I realised (I haven’t done yoga for a while!), I set myself up for a treadmill run. I’m super lucky to have a treadmill at home, but this can obviously be replicated outside.
I normally aim to do 3 kilometres whenever I do a treadmill session, so I aimed for the same this time to ease myself into working out again. My ‘down in the dumps’ mood changed very quickly after this workout when I ended up beating my personal best! I went from just over 24 minutes to 23:56 (17 minutes total jogging/running). This may not sound like a lot to some people, especially those who run a lot, but for someone like me who’s not the biggest fan of running and struggles, I was so proud of myself and I instantly felt so much better.
Overall: So much happier after a run (Monica last year would have laughed if you told her that she would be saying that a year later) and happy that I done another side workout – it made me realise where I lack in strength.
WEDNESDAY – A long walk
Wednesday was probably the most relaxing day. I decided to get out in nature and visit one of the parks near me, taking a long walk through it. According to the Apple Health app on my phone, the walk was around 3.5-4 kilometres (I’m never sure how accurate this is, hence the range). Sometimes you just need to just enjoy what nature has to offer, and walking is just as good as any exercise if done consistently!
Overall: I love nature and I think a good long walk is so needed to clear your head. Plus, I got a hot chocolate after (shouldn’t really say that in a workout post, but it’s good to indulge every now and again!)
THURSDAY – Run/Walk
I hopped back on the treadmill! Who would’ve thought!
I aimed for another 3 kilometres and reached another new personal best! I managed it in 22:58 from 23:56, which just made me feel on top of the world. I upped my speed on the treadmill this time too, just to push myself, which worked pretty well it seems! I also upped my total running speed from 17 to 18 minutes.
Overall: running made me feel accomplished and like I can do the workouts I always dreaded. I may not reach my personal best all the time but that’s okay – pushing myself to do the things I hated so much and doing well really makes me feel great.
SATURDAY: Pilates-Style Full Body Sculpt
After skipping Friday, I decided that I was going to give pilates a go on Saturday. I only tried pilates a couple times after seeing a few videos on Youtube every now and again. I saw an Instagram Live had been uploaded by the same account that I got my ab circuit workout from, and I decided to give it a go. It was 45 minutes in total with a warm up and cool down included. I didn’t watch the video before, but the video was mainly glute and ab focussed.
It was so much harder than expected! It really got me working and using different muscles I don’t normally work.
Overall: great, but quite difficult as there were some moves that my body struggled with (I’ve got some problems with my back and hips). I love pilates as a way to use your body in a different way though and it’s something I’ll definitely try again.
And that’s every workout I did in the past 6 days! I hope this has inspired you to try new workouts or even just to get up and get moving – there’s so many different ways you can get moving!
Let me know if you try any of these workouts and let me know if there’s any exercise form that you love and I should try!
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