Wow, I’ve just realized that my last (and first) post about my fitness journey dates back to december 2017! Today, I’m going to give a breakdown of the workout programs I’ve been following since the beginning of this journey.
As I mentioned in my fitness journey article, I took my health into my hands at the end of 2014. Exercise was the first thing I tackled because it’s something I enjoy doing. Getting physically stronger feels empowering. It’s also a great way of tracking progress that is not related to the scales.
Here, I wanted to give an overview of the programs I’ve been following ever since. I will review them individually later on. Although it might seem like there are a lot of different routines, I have followed each one for at least a few months. I don’t merely hop from one to another after doing them for a matter of weeks. It wouldn’t be an effective approach.
Nowadays, I’m leaning more towards strength training and yoga with the occasional cardio or fun workout thrown into the mix.
I discovered Kelli and Daniel, the husband and wife duo behind the Fitness blender channel on YouTube, whilst looking for at-home exercise videos. They provide a variety of workouts (bodyweight exercises, strength training, cardio, HIIT, pilates, yoga…) often adjustable to suit your level.
The videos also vary in length (from 5 minutes to almost 1h30) which is good because you can incorporate them in your schedule according to your available time. I love that these are follow-along routines and that they offer free full-length videos.
I began exercising three times a week and gradually increased that to working out every day. I liked that I could customize my workouts (low impact, breaking it down in body parts…). I still use their videos when I want to include some cardio in my program.
I had bought Tracy Anderson’s 30-day method book & DVD a long time before actually following her plan. At first, every movement seemed so alien to the sedentary me. Tracy’s two-part program focuses on (mostly) bodyweight exercises and dance cardio workouts. After completing the 30-day method plan, I followed another one of her DVDs, the triple workout collection. I enjoyed challenging my body with different moves and having fun during the dance cardio part. When I began, I was only doing the low-impact version of the cardio component. After a few months, I was able to do the jumping movements. It was incredibly empowering!
I then discovered Kayla Itsines’ Bikini body guides. She created full body, high intensity circuit workouts that take around 30 minutes to complete. There is a mix of resistance training, low intensity cardio and HIIT workouts. I enjoyed this program a lot. The workouts were quick and effective. Plus, you don’t need much equipment to do them.
Bret Contreras is known as the “glute guy” in the fitness industry. I followed a few of the strength training programs outlined in his book, Strong curves. I love that he doesn’t merely tell you what to do, but instead, explains the reasoning behind each exercise. He addresses every important topics from nutrition to fitness. This is an amazing book that anyone interested in strength training should read.
Zanna Van Dijk
As you can see, my fitness journey progresses along my readings. So for two months, I completed the program from Zanna Van Dijk’s book – Strong – which includes bodyweight HIIT training and resistance workouts. This is a nice entry-level book into the world of resistance training. It served me well at a time where I had injured myself and needed to scale back my workouts.
By this time, I had learned quite a bit about what worked for me. Plus, in his book, Bret Contreras outlines how he builds his programs by providing an exercise index (broken down into categories of movement patterns) and a template for each program. I was thus able to create my own workouts. So that’s what I did for a few months.
I love Shona’s ethos. Her book – The Vertue method – summarize what I want my fitness plan to look like. Actually, it is more of a healthy lifestyle approach. Indeed, her program is based on key pillars of general well being and health : strength training, mobility and flexibility, meditation and nutritious food. Her book is complete with workout programs, food plan and meditation and flexibility routines. The workout are surprisingly hard (you wouldn’t assume it from quickly flicking through the pages). There are a lot of unilateral exercises which are a great way to correct imbalances and strengthen each side of the worked body part. This is another must-have fitness book!
I’m currently doing another one of Bret Contreras’ program that is mostly focused on the glutes. As I said in the beginning of this article, I also like to add other forms of movement to my routines such as yoga. For that, I love the YouTube channel Yoga with Adrienne.