Are you over 40? Is your schedule too hectic? Do you find yourself only able to work three times a week?
If you aren’t able to exercise daily, you will need to make every workout really count. The following exercise plan will keep you in shape even if you can’t work fitness training in more than three days a week.
The Three Days a Week Workout Plan
You’ll want to put aside 90 minutes for your workout so you can incorporate everything you need to into the three-days-a-week fitness plan. This plan will require you to:
- Calculate out how many calories you need to burn through exercise during the week
- Figure out how much cardio you will need to do to burn those calories
- Incorporate weight training or toning exercises, switching up which part of the body you will challenge in each workout
- Stretch before and after to protect yourself from injury
Choose Your Three Days
Pick the three days of the week that you will exercise and stick to them. You may want to choose Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or, if work is particularly challenging, perhaps a Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday schedule.
For the sake of honoring those who have incredibly demanding workweek schedules, I’ve chosen to use the weekend-heavy schedule as the example. Most people find that they have more free time on the weekends. Prioritizing exercise on the weekend is a great way to take care of yourself and set yourself up for a successful week.
Calculate Out Your Caloric Needs
Are you trying to lose weight or just trying to stay fit? Figure out how many calories you should burn in a week to either stay in shape or to reach your goals. Now divide that number by three so you know how much cardio you need to perform each day.
Prepare to Alternate Your Workouts
You will want to choose three distinctly different methods of performing cardio so that you don’t wear out one particular group of joints or muscles. Your body will also have to work harder if you switch it up instead of performing the same form of cardio every day you work out.
The Saturday Workout
Bike for an hour (or until you have reached your calorie burning goal.) You can sign up for a spin class, ride an indoor bike trainer, go out for a ride on your own bike or join a biking club. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to bike on Saturday because:
- It’s a good calorie burner
- It’s easy on your joints, and you need to preserve your joints since you’re going to exercise hard again tomorrow
- You will work your legs, but not your upper body
After your bike ride, towel off, hydrate well, and complete twenty minutes of core exercises. Perform sit ups, Superman back strengthening exercises, planks, and twists. Focus on working your core (abdominals, obliques, back muscles.)
The Sunday Workout
On Sunday, you will want to swim for 40 minutes (or until you hit your caloric goal) and perform 20 minutes of weight bearing exercises that challenge your legs and buttocks. When you swim, force yourself to make good use of your upper body, using your legs to only gently kick. Swim laps, alternating the crawl and the breast stroke to challenge your upper body.
You are swimming today because swimming is:
- Hard on your lungs and heart
- A great calorie burner
- A great upper body workout
- Easy on your joints, preventing injury
When you do your circuit of weight training, push your legs and buttocks to muscle failure. Try squats and lunges. Keep in mind that you will have three whole days to recover before you have to work out again.
The Wednesday Workout
On Wednesday, you will want to run/walk for 60 minutes or until you hit your calorie goal. If you are not a runner already, start with alternating walking and running until you build your way up to solid running. You are running on Wednesdays because running is:
- The best calorie burner of all
- The toughest of the three sports
- Hard on your largest muscle groups
When you finish running, hydrate, stretch, and then complete 20 minutes of upper body resistance training. Include lat pulls, rowing machine work, bicep curls, tricep work, etc. in this routine. Push to muscle failure.
If you are unable to run at all, replace this cardio activity with something gentler like time on the elliptical machine.
The Three Days a Week Workout
While each of these workouts may feel a bit intense, you’ll find they are structured such that they are completely reasonable. Adjust the amount of cardio you perform to suit your caloric needs (more or less than recommended) and be sure to stretch at the end of each workout. You’ll find this workout plan provides a comprehensive, full body challenge that will produce results.
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