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How to Build a Workout

Even though I've been a dancer and performer all my life, I've only been strength training after I started at univerity... Well I only started strength training EFFECTIVELY after I started at university. I was always worried about becoming too bulky if I worked out too much, and already being one of the bigger girls in the class, this was not something I wanted to deal with. I did try using my at home machines in highschool, when I started noticing I wasn't progressing as well as some of the other girls in my class, or when I was struggling to get higher leg extenions. I thought extra quad workouts would be what I needed, but alas... all that ended up giving me were tight, thick quads stuck at 90 degree height.

I started strength training in the gym with my good friend Rachel from Discover You when we studied kinesiology together. At first, it was just another form of movement I could do to manage stress and school outside of dancing, but I soon started to realize how much easier my movements felt and how great my extenions were in my jumps. After we moved out of the dorm, I kept going to the gym and started putting all of my kinesiology and personal training knowledge to work to create my workouts that kept me going throughout school, and here's how I did it:

  1. There are 6 basic movement patterns that I always make sure I hit in a full body workout:

  2. When creating a plan, these divide into 3 sections: Upper body, Lower Body, Core

  3. I will pair up the 6 basic movement patterns in to groups of 2 or 3 and pick one exercise to do for each movement - e.g Group 1) Push, Squat; Group 2) Pull, Lunge; Group 3) Hinge, Rotate

  4. If I am working to build strenth, I will do 3 sets of each grouping, doing 8-10 repetitions of each exercise, making sure I am using a weight that challenges me without compromsing my form.

  5. I choose to workout 2-3 days per week as this is still an effective amount in order to reach my goals of maintaining strength for performance without burnout

  6. For additional power or endrance training, I will add a circuit of high intensity interval training (HIIT) type exercises. These help to train heart health as well as increase the body's ability to burn more calories at rest which goals a long way with weight management and metabolic control.

With resistance training, in order to find the weight that is appropriate to challenge your body, here are some steps to follow:

  • Start at a weight that you believe is best and start with 10 reps,

  • Take a 1-2min rest

  • If you feel you can do more weight, then increase the weight and do as many repetitions as possible

  • Take a 2 min rest

  • If you can do more than 15 repetitions, repeat increasing the weight until you can only do 10-13 repetitions

  • Take a 2 min rest

  • One you have found that weight, move on to your next exercise (you've finished working out that muscle group for today)

  • This will be the weight you stay at for 2-3 weeks.

  • After 2-3 weeks, You will increase the weight by 5-7% (this is progressive overloading)

These tips above have been the cornerstone of how I've created my workouts throughout my fitness journey and how I noticed the biggest difference in my performance ability, energy and body composition overall. Hopefully, you can take these tips with you as you learn how to build fitness into your journey and create a plan that works best for your lifestyle.

Stay healthy and be well,


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