Kinbane Castle, August 2018.
Gym top by New Look, Leggings by Girlfriend Collective, Backpack by ANELLO.

Unexpectedly, one of the more popular pieces of content that I share seem to be the round-ups of my workouts that I share on Instagram Stories. I’m often asked what I do at the gym and how I got into it, so following last week’s one-year anniversary post, I thought I’d document a week of workouts and share it here so you can see just what I do, how it helps me work towards my goals and why it fits in to my weekly routine.

Without further ado, here are my workout notes, diary form, from last week…

Monday 29th October

I start my week with a Pilates class. This has been my routine for a number of weeks now, and I never expected to fall in love with Pilates as much as I have. A slower-paced, often mat-based class, it’s ‘a form of exercise that focuses on balance, posture, strength and flexibility’, according to the NHS website.

My Pilates class is mat-based and the instructor sometimes introduces equipment like balls, resistant bands and stability rollers. On the whole, it relies just on you and a mat! Unlike yoga, Pilates has a little more routine to it and we perform exercises with repetition. These range from forward folds to press-ups, the One Hundred to plank leg lifts, and are fairly low impact.

While I don’t rely on this class as a form of workout in that I never sweat, it can be tough and really works my core. It’s improved my posture and strength tenfold and what I’ve found is that it’s helped me to get further with my weight-training, using Pilates principles to improve my form.

Tuesday 30th October

Today, a note in my bullet journal informs me it is upper body day. I weight-train on a split now, to get the most out of each session, throwing in a few compound exercises (ones that use several muscle groups at once) to shake things up. I’m not feeling particularly strong today, and it is so darn cold!

This is more or less what my upper body routine has looked like since March. It’s really toned my upper arms and defined my shoulders, as well as slowly built strength. I’d like to do more back work, but that can come later! You’ll notice I don’t do any core exercises: I tend to work on my core secondary to everything else, as it seems to be toning up as a direct result of me performing my exercises with good form.

I practice Pilates postural alignment, tucking in my tailbone and strengthening my core to improve back strength throughout each exercise.

Finishing up with cool-down stretches on the mats.

20 minutes on cross-trainer at a low-medium resistance (enough to start sweating)
Arm curls (3 sets of 10, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 2.5kg)
Chest press (3 sets of 12, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 15kg)
Shoulder press (5 sets of 5, at the same weight, starting at 5kg)
Lat pulldowns (3 sets of 10, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 20kg)
Pectoral fly (3 sets of 10, at the same weight — 10kg)
Kettlebell swings (2 sets of 15, 12kg)
Tricep dips on a bench (2 sets of 15, bodyweight only)
Ab crunches with legs elevated on ball (3 sets of 10)
Cool-down stretches, 20-30 seconds each stretch

Wednesday 31st October

Mid-week rest day! I have Barre tomorrow and always like to be on top form.

Thursday 1st November

I’m off to my Barre class today. Barre is a challenging group class, defined by ‘its use of the ballet barre and its incorporation of movements derived from ballet’. You can certainly join a class even if you’ve never danced a day in your life and it isn’t a dance class at all. Instead, it’s a mix of Pilates, yoga and HIIT, choreographed to music and with the use of Pilates balls, hand weights, resistance bands and a ballet barre to sculpt the body.

We adhere to balletic moves and phrases in this class, so I often leave feeling like I’ve had a brain workout, and it is pretty intense when you do anything on a demi-pointe or when you have to pulse. I leave dripping in sweat, yet as I do so find myself booking on to the next class via the studio app.

Friday 2nd November

Because we stretch throughout Barre class, I never really ache from it and can happily plod along to the gym this morning for another workout before the weekend. I have a lower body day planned on Sunday (tactfully before a big ol’ stretch in Monday’s Pilates class!), so decide to have a free-for-all fun workout of doing whatever I please.

20 minutes medium-paced jog at 0 incline (enough to sweat and be slightly out of breath!)
TRX squats (3 sets of 10)
TRX ab crunches with legs elevated in straps (3 sets of 10)
Leg press (3 sets of 12, increasing the weight by 10kg each set, starting at 90kg)
Bulgarian split squats (2 sets of 15, with a set of 4kg dumbbells)
Dumbbell deadlifts (3 sets of 10)
Cable kick-backs (3 sets of 12 on each leg, forgot to note the weight! It was pretty low though)
5 minutes on cross-trainer at low resistance
Cool-down stretches, 20-30 seconds each stretch

Saturday 3rd November

Rest day!

Sunday 4th November

Equipped with my Grace Fit resistance band and barbell pad, I’m off to the gym for a heavy day of weights. Tend to leave these lower body sessions sweatin’ out my ass, and this photo proves it! However I’m definitely seeing some serious peach gains, so I guess it’s worth it.

20 minutes run at 1.5 incline (enough to sweat and be slightly out of breath!)
Hip abduction (3 sets of 10, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 25kg)
Hip adduction (3 sets of 10, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 25kg)
Leg press (3 sets of 12, increasing the weight by 10kg each set, starting at 90kg)
Leg extensions (3 sets of 10, increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 20kg)
Barbell squats (5 sets of 5 increasing the weight by 5kg each set, starting at 20kg)
Banded squat jumps (2 sets of 20)
Banded barbell hip thrusts (3 sets of 15, 20kg)
Cool-down stretches, 20-30 seconds each stretch

Let me know if you found this post useful, and if you’ve like to see something similar in the future! Perhaps a post about the gym classes I’ve tried and hated?!

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