capturing the world and my adventures

My Week in Workouts: Week One

I used to have a really strict workout schedule; not strict because I forced myself (I love lifting weights way too much for it to be a chore), but I found exercise was just easier to fit in. I had a lot more free time as I worked 9-5 close to home and I didn’t do much on an evening. Living on a farm meant I had all the space and lighting I needed to vary my workouts at any time of day, even in winter. I would do a 25 minute HIIT circuit once a day- usually before work- with 30-45 minutes of weights on an evening. In my opinion, when I followed this routine, I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in and I was really happy with my body; both its shape and my strength.

Essentially Em flexing and posing in the mirror in gym kit

Life changes though and you have to adapt to your current situation.

When I got my own house and moved from the farm *cry* I had to join a gym. I did take my weights and kettle bell to my house, but I didn’t think the neighbours would appreciate me crashing about in the back garden at 6 in the morning. Although I have a gym with all the equipment I could need, I don’t think I’m as strong as I used to be, but I do a larger variety of workouts.

I currently gym between 4-6 times a week and this is usually for around 45 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on what I’m doing. I always do a legs session and most weeks I do 2; one with heavy weights and one as more of a leg circuit with lower weights and higher reps. I do an upper body weights session too, which is usually shoulders, back and chest combined in some way. Sometimes I do arms. Sometimes I do shoulders on their own. It depends how I feel. I do full body HIIT circuits amongst the weights. Sometimes I do bike sprints, but I hate spin.

As you can tell, my workouts are very random at the minute and I am working towards getting them more structured! Work has just started “flexi time” so this should give me a bit more freedom to get workouts out of the way before work. I thought I would start to share my weekly workout schedule with you all to try and give you some inspiration if you need it. Some exercises might not be for you, but some workouts might easily fit into your busy schedule- just give them a try!

Essentially Em doing hip thrusters in the gym

Workout One: Legs (heavy weights)

  • Leg Press (machine)
    10 reps with both legs on a heavy weight (increase weight each time)
    5 reps (EL) on a lower weight (stay the same each time)
    Alternate between both and do this 3-5 times
  • Cable Kick Back
    10 reps (EL) increase the weight each time and adjust reps accordingly
    Do this 3-5 times
  • Leg Extensions (machine)
    8 reps – with this exercise your feet/legs are under the padded cushion
    Do this 3-5 times
  • Leg Curls (machine)
    8-10 reps – with this exercise your feet/legs are on top of the padded cushion
    Do this 3-5 times
  • Bulgarian Split Squats
    8 reps (EL) with dumbbells
    Do this 5 times for a real booty burn!
  • Good Mornings
    10 reps with a barbell
    Do these 3 times

Workout Two: Shoulders

  • Alternating Dumbbell Raise
    10 reps (EA) and complete 5 sets
  • Arm Circles
    12 reps and complete 4 sets
  • Arnold Press (I love this one!)
    10 reps and complete 3 sets
  • Backwards Bag Throw
    10 overhead throws and complete 3 times
    This one was a random one I put in and it was a bit strange…
  • Barbell Front Raise
    10 reps and complete 3-5 sets
  • Barbell Row
    10 reps and complete 3-5 sets
  • Barbell Shoulder Press
    10 reps and complete 3 sets
  • Battle Ropes
    20 reps and complete 6 sets

Essentially Em doing battle ropes in the gym

Workout Three: Full Body HIIT Pyramid Circuit

I have no idea what to call this workout, but basically… you do 30 seconds of exercise one and have 30 seconds rest. Then you do 30 seconds of exercise one, 30 seconds of exercise two and have 30 seconds rest. Then you do 30 seconds of exercise one, 30 seconds of exercise two, 30 seconds of exercise three and then 30 seconds rest… Are you seeing a pattern? In total it should last around 32 minutes if you pick 10 exercise. WARNING: it gets tough towards the end and you’ll get sweat dripping into your eyes…

Russian Twists w. plate
Mountain Climbers
Kettle Bell Swings
Box Jumps
Ab Bikes
Jump Lunges
X Jumps (basically a star jump, but you have to touch alternating toes each time)
Press Ups
Squat Jumps

Just work as hard as you can through each exercise. You can tailor this routine to suit you by making it leg, arm or abs heavy or simply leave it as a sweaty full body routine.

Workout Four: Legs Circuit

  • Walking Lunges w. Barbell
    12 lunges (6 EL) and complete 5 times
  • Sumo Squat and Pulse w. Kettle Bell
    10 full squats w. pulse between and complete 5 times
  • Hip Thrusters w. Barbell
    10 reps plus 10 seconds hold and complete 5 times
    This can be done on the floor or on a bench
  • Knee Raises (Abs)
    15 reps and complete 3 times
    I am not sure how this made it into the middle of leg circuits…
  • Donkey Kick Backs (machine)
    10 reps (EL) and complete 3 sets

    This is the same movement as cable kick backs, but I do a higher weight as I find the machine requires less effort from my whole body

Workout Five: The Stair Climber

Total Fitness Hull had a challenge on to climb 81 floors to the top of the Eiffel Tower so I did this as quickly as I could on a Saturday morning. I managed just under 15 minutes and feel like I could have gone quicker had I not done legs the night before. I finished the session with abs, but it was just a quick 30 mins to get me moving! Later in the day we went on a walk to enjoy the autumn colours and get out of the house; variety is good.

Image of stair machine metrics, the gym challenge and Essentially Em after she completed the challenge

Workout Six: Full Body Circuit

  • Overhead Lunges w. Plate
    12 lunges and complete 5 sets
  • Lateral Lunges w. Plate Chest Press
    10-12 lunges w. chest press and complete 5 sets
  • Renegade Rows w. Dumbbell
    16 rows and complete 5 sets
  • Squat to Arnold Press w. Dumbbells
    10 reps and complete 5 sets
  • Single Arm Kettle Bell Swing > Reverse Lunge > Overhead Press
    1o reps total (5 on EL) and complete 3 sets

This was a really good week of workouts for me and I enjoyed getting so much gym time! I haven’t added any specific weights to the exercises as this depends on you and where you are at with your training, but if you want to know, just get in touch. For your weights I would just make sure that they are heavy enough that you start to struggle towards the end of the reps/end of the sets. If you want to change weights throughout your sets, then change them. If you are struggling with the reps, then lower them or lower the weight if it is too heavy. Let me know if you try any of these workouts and if you want some more inspiration midweek then take a look at my Instagram @essentiallyem_ for more workout ideas!

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