Four Factors in Creating YOUR Rock-Solid Workout Routine

by Bobby Rock

Your ideal training routine is one that not only gets you 
consistently great results, but that you actually look forward to powering through week after week. Check out the following four factors to either create your ideal routine from scratch or whip your current one into better shape:

The Diversity Factor: Your ideal routine resides at the intersection of three different training modalities: Resistance training, preferably in some form of weight-lifting; Cardio training, which involves an activity that sustains an elevated heart rate for at least 25 minutes; and Flexibility training, which would include a variety of both upper and lower body stretches. All three of these modalities play a critical role in helping you achieve optimal fitness. (If you're just starting out—or trying to get back into a steady regimen—it's okay to focus on only one activity if this approach feels a bit overwhelming. You can gradually expand on your routine as you go.)

The Priority Factor: As a matter of structuring your routine and prioritizing what all you will do on a week-to-week basis, I recommend that you favor one particular modality, then integrate the other two in more of a supportive role. Here are a few examples:

  • If weight training (resistance) is your priority, you might try to get in a half-hour of cardio three times a week, followed by a quick ten-minute stretching routine.

  • If running or cycling (cardio) is your priority, you might lift weights two or three times a week and be sure and stretch after every cardio session.

  • If yoga or martial arts (flexibility) is your main thing, you might squeeze in a few additional workouts each week that include cardio and/or weight training.

The Location and Logistics Factor: Once you decide what you will be doing for your three modalities, it’s time to give some serious thought to where and how you would prefer to do each one. To discover the optimal combination or “ recipe” of training options, consider the following: 

  • Do you like to train alone, with an instructor or training partner, or in a class setting?
  • Do you prefer to train indoors or outdoors?
  • Do you like to listen to music (or audiobooks or podcasts) while you train, or do you prefer silence?
  • Do you like to train at home, or do you prefer to go to a facility (health club, dojo, yoga studio, etc)?

Now, consider this line of questioning for each individual modality.

As an example, I prefer to lift weights alone in a traditional gym setting, do most of my cardio work in the form of running outdoors, and practice martial arts both with a private instructor and in my own home dojo. For the weights and running, I like to listen to music (or something informative), but for my martial arts training, I usually prefer the meditative silence.

Conversely, you might prefer to lift weights at home in your garage or basement with a training buddy and tunes blaring, do cardio on a stationary bike while watching TV in your living room, and attend class at a yoga studio. Everyone’s different, and once you understand
your preferences, your routine will be much easier to sustain over the long term.

Typical shot from a hotel gym on tour...

The Duration vs Frequency Factor: The final factor in cementing your routine is to ask yourself the following;

Do you prefer to work out for longer durations of time, but less often—like, for example, three times a week at 80 minutes per session? Or do you prefer to do shorter workouts, more frequently—like six times a week at 40 minutes per session?

Either one is fine, but your preference will determine how you will specifically structure your routine. Let’s say your priority activity is weight training:  

If you prefer longer sessions less often, then you’ll want to get it all done in an 80-minute slot on Monday, Wednesday and Friday by hitting the weights for 40 minutes, doing 30 minutes of cardio, then finishing up with 10 minutes of stretching.  Or if you prefer shorter sessions more often, then, for example, you would hit the weights for 40 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, then do 30 mins of cardio, followed by 10 mins of stretching, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Give this “Four Factor” inventory a shot and get ready to take your routine to the next level!

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