Ditching the Workout "Schedule" Got me the Best Results
Hey babes, if you are reading this I'm sure you are wondering how on earth I workout without some sort of plan or guide or why I don't just stick to a schedule like everyone else in the fitness world.
Well, let me just tell ya that I have nothing against plans or schedules (I'm a Virgo for god sakes). Instead, I have just found that freedom & flexibility has gotten me the best results as a real student and millennial woman with a life outside the gym. Let me explain:
A lot of my Instagram followers have asked me for my workout plan...the guide that I use to keep me on track...and for a long time I just kinda pushed it off because the mere thought of me trying to explain how I workout made me feel as though I was being “exposed” In some way. As if the answer I would give would somehow kick-me out of the fit club and I would no longer be accepted. Silly I know...but when you don't follow the status quo, especially in the world that is as critical as the health and fitness world, ya feel a little tentative about voicing yourself.
Luckily, last year was an year of immense personal growth and discovery for me. Through that growth, I broke through a lot of those fears and basically said f*ck it, they can like my answer or they can hate it--either way it works for me and can hopefully help a lot of women who have struggled with finding the "perfect" workout guide.
The truth is, “balancednfit Noelle” doesn’t follow a workout “plan," guide or schedule even! *GASP*
RESPONSES From Real People:
“Wha wha whaaaat?! How do you workout then? Do you workout? Where when how for how long what do you mean??”
Yessss, the secret is out. Don't freak, I'm about to explain.
So, here’s what I don’t have:
- This beautiful, presheduled workout plan that I adhere to week in and week out.
- Specific body-part days, like "back day" or "shoulders"
- Well planned workout routines that I adhere to.
What I do have:
A strong connection to my body
Intrinsic motivation to be my best self
A clear understanding that working out, however I do so, makes me happy
- 1/2 crazy planning Virgo brain, 1/2 real young woman with a life outside the gym
Soooo why don't I stick to a schedule or follow a guide? Well I have & it worked until it didn't.
I've done the ultra-fitspo, back day, arm day, leg day written out schedule with highlighters and sharpie. I've done the one day cardio, next day weights on repeat and the BBG guides that are honestly wonderful in a practical .
But, at the end of the day, having a schedule and having to follow it started screwing with my mind...
I, like many women, have come from a strained history with exercise. You know, the kind that has you looping through periods of obsession with working out, no rest days, missing plans to workout, working out when overly sore blah blah blah. All a while doing school, working and trying to have a life while being fed all those Instagram quotes and sayings by gym rats about “no days off” and “dedication” with their 2% body fat and Tupperware meals.
Though my body fat is low I never associated myself with THAT kinda of fitness. I just wasn't that kind of person...
I had to ask myself, when in the hell did you bargain for this lifestyle?? For some, it's wonderful and they should 100% do them and fuel their fire. But I personally wasn't that into “back day” or skipping plans because it would cut into my workout time...hell! I don’t even like to workout my back but I was being "dedicated" because that’s what "fit girls do"?!
It works for THEM.
It wasn’t working for ME.
What I wanted was to FEEL good. To feel good about my body, to have better mental clarity and physcial health...without feeling owned or bogged down by yet another set of rules in my life.
So, I decided to give the no schedule a try and see if I miantained motivation and the results I had achieved via my former schedule.
A crazy thing happened when I tossed out my set-days and workout rules: I wanted to workout again. I wanted to get into the gym and figure out what would make me feel my best in that moment. All of a sudden when that alarm went off at 5:30, my brain shifted from, "but I dont wannnnnna do abs today...!!!" to "ooooo I feel like doing XY & Z rn."
I gained a sense of freedom back and my intristic motivation went through the roof. There's something empowering about knowing you have the intrinsic motivation to go workout just beacause you want to...not because your schedule told you to.
And on a more practical level, ditching the schedule opened the doors to a lot more social freedom. Sometimes I sleep in if I had a late night with friends and I don't bat an eye. Because there is no rule book-- didn't break any rules...I'll just workout later if I want! :)
All that being said, I've never been in better shape than I am today...Today, after giving up schedules and routines about 6 months ago. Why? Well you know when your mom told you you have to do something and no matter what it was, it became the LAST thing on this earth you wanted to do? Same logic.
Now, I never feel owned by my workouts or routines because I can go with the flow! Because I have a crazy long day at school on Tuesdays for example, I can do JUST cardio in the morning because that's what I know gives me the best "boost" of energy as opposed to resistance training. If I feel super sore after doing legs on Wednesday, I don't HAVE to workout the next day, but I know I'll come back better on Friday. I'm no longer owned by a routine but instead have the flexibility to do what feels right.
But yes, if you are new to working out, I see how just doing it won't work out too well for ya, so don't shun guides! All I'm saying is, I have done the guide thing, I have done the scheduling thing, and what motivates me most is when I don't feel forced.
So now, some would argue that I do have a rountie of sorts, as I get up pretty consistently at 5:30 to workout most days...but it's not ridgid or stressful. I do it because I love the how it makes me feel and becuase of that, it works out pretty well for me. When something feels good, we do more of that thing, that's why I say that I've never been in better shape! Working out is never a chore anymore nor is it the end all be all of my day. It's a tool I use...and the more I use it, the better I feel.
It's all about fueling that female fire ;)
I would love to know what your opinion is on workout guides and schedules and if they ever stressed you out or inhibited you in some way. Or, how they help you! As always, blog suggestions are welcomed...!