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Coach Nicole Reveals Her Workout Routine

2SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
4/3/2009 4:11 PM   :  116 comments

Most fitness experts and trainers have super-toned bodies that are sculpted (I can only assume) by many hours in the gym. How do they do it? How much time do they really spend working out?

I can't speak for them, but I can tell you what I do to stay in shape. My routine isn't crazy or impossible—it's pretty balanced. I'm always preaching about the importance of moderation and that is what I strive for when I work out. For me, it's not about how many calories I burn (in fact, I don't pay any attention to that), and it's not about trying to look better (although it's a nice perk, I've learned that focusing on the fitness instead of my appearance yields better results). It's about strengthening my heart, muscles, and bones. It's about feeling better about myself, maintaining a healthy body weight, and setting aside a small amount of time for myself in a day that's otherwise full of helping others. In fact, I exercise for all of the same reasons as most of you. So are you ready to see what my weekly routine is like?

As a full-time SparkPeople editor, my days revolve around deadlines and schedules. That's OK—I need the structure. But when it comes to my workouts, I keep things flexible. Rather than forcing myself to stick to a specific workout time or a certain workout on a certain day, I set a general rule that I will exercise, but I decide what to do that day on a whim most of the time!

No matter what, I meet these fitness goals over the course of the week:

  • Cardio: At least 4 days, lasting 10 minutes per session minimum. Typically, I'll work out for 30-60 minutes during each session. Spinning (indoor cycling class) is my workout staple, not because it burns the most calories. I do it simply because I think it's fun. But being that I am a fitness expert, I know it's best to change it up a bit, which is the only reason I also walk, use DVDs at home, hop on the elliptical, and jog on the treadmill or outside (weather permitting). I like to exercise at a variety of intensity levels—sometimes high intensity sprints, sometimes moderate, and sometimes easy breezy. All aerobic heart rates offer benefits, and I think that a variety is best—you can't expect your body to perform at a high intensity all the time, just as you can't expect to achieve a high level of fitness with low-intensity workouts alone.


  • Strength Training: At least 3 days. I'm always changing up my strength training routine because I get bored easily. I like to do a combination of body weight, light resistance and heavy resistance exercises because I believe that all of these strength-training techniques are beneficial and work your muscles and joints in different ways. Mat Pilates is my go-to strength training routine (twice a week), but I also include at least one other day of more traditional strength training—either light resistance/high rep work (Pilates Reformer, bands, hand weights) or heavy weights in the gym. I do different exercises every time because I get bored doing the same routine day in and day out. Usually, I don't even have a plan—I just look at what I've done during the week and try to balance it out with things that I haven't already done, hitting all of the major muscle groups.


  • Flexibility: Every time I work out. I spend 5-10 minutes stretching at the end of my workout—every time, no matter what.


  • A total of 5 days of exercise per week. I like to take two days off—usually Fridays and Saturdays. Because I like to be somewhat spontaneous with my workouts, I don't plan when I'll take my rest days—I sort of go based on how I feel. Knowing that I don't like to exercise on the weekends motivates me to meet all of my fitness goals for the week during the first 5 days of the week so that I don't HAVE to work out on the weekends unless I really WANT to.


So what does that really look like over the course of a week? It ends up looking like 5-7 days of exercise, usually totaling around 60 minutes per day. Sometimes I do just cardio in a day. Sometimes I do cardio and strength training. Other days I do a short, focused workout because I don't want to spend a lot of time exercising. And most often, I exercise in the evening after work (I am NOT a morning person).

I'm 100% flexible on what workout I do on any given day of the week, and I always have a backup plan. I tend to pack my gym bag so that I'll be ready for anything, but if the day wears on and I just want to go home, that's exactly what I do. As long as I'm meeting my general goals above by the time the week is over, I really don't care exactly how I get there!

OK so I know that what you really want to see is exactly how this breaks down on a daily and weekly basis. So, referring to my handy tracking calendar (that I love so much!), here are the actual workouts I did during a recent week:

  • Sunday: Spinning class (60 minutes): cardio and flexibility
  • Monday: Mat Pilates class (45 minutes) and running outdoors (40 minutes): cardio, strength and flexibility
  • Tuesday: Pilates Reformer (60 minutes): strength and flexibility
  • Wednesday: No exercise
  • Thursday: Mat Pilates class (60 minutes): strength and flexibility
  • Friday: Spinning class (45 minutes) and kettlebell workout at home (20 minutes): cardio, strength and flexibility
  • Saturday: Brisk walk outside (60 minutes): cardio and flexibility


Over the course of the week, I keep my weekly goals in mind and make sure I meet them. After each week, I can look back and analyze what I did and make sure I'm keeping things balanced. For example, I didn't lift any weights in the gym in this sample week, so I'd make sure to do more of that the following week.

I hope this goes to show that you don't have to be a marathon runner, yoga enthusiast, or gym rat to attain a well-rounded fitness program or be a fit, healthy person. There is no right or wrong way to do it—as long as you're sticking with a routine that works for YOU!

Does it help you to see how the "experts" really eat and exercise? What does your weekly fitness routine look like? Tell us below!


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Comments

  • SALMANGHORI
    116
    This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
    =============================
    salman

    href=" http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/pr
    ograms.asp
    " rel="dofollow"workout routines - 11/23/2010   9:42:47 AM
  • SALMANGHORI
    115
    This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
    =============================
    salman

    href=" http://www.trainwithmeonline.com/pr
    ograms.asp
    " rel="dofollow"workout routines - 11/23/2010   9:42:36 AM
  • SHELLYK10
    114
    Hi Friends,
    To stay fit and fine it is the best way to do regular workouts, It helps in good blood circulations and keep our body healthy and strong.

    - 11/23/2010   5:55:03 AM
  • SMITH089
    113
    hi guys, smith says about Workout Routines Although some people are predisposed to be or look a certain way thanks to their genetic make-up, our body still adapts to the stimulus we place upon it, thereby making it more efficient. So, in terms of sets & repetition ranges, these should be relative to our goals. For example, many would-be bodybuilders like to perform an infinite number of repetitions in order to feel a "pump". Given that this "pump" is lactic acid build-up, they are increasing the endurance capabilities of their muscles by attempting to lift the same weight for a longer duration each time. Their muscle will only adapt & grow if their weight training warrants it - frequently & consistently subjecting the muscles to a greater load.
    ================== - 11/9/2010   12:55:09 AM
  • 112
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Nicole! =)
    It's awesome to see that people others look up to (I know I do ;-) ) don't necessarily go crazy with their workouts and focus on being fit, healthy and feel well in their skin! I need to remember that much more these days for myself...
    Thank you!!! - 10/8/2010   1:22:17 PM
  • 111
    I am slowly working my way to your thought process on cal burned and whatnot. I want to lose the weight but i dont want to obsess about it. I really need to get more experiance under my belt so that i can vary my routines more, but using what i have is fine for now. I am looking foward to walking this fall and am going to attempt to run(something i dont really enjoy,but will give a chance). Thank you for this post - 9/20/2010   9:57:07 AM
  • 110
    I like reading about Coach Nicole's personal workouts. I don't feel so bad about being bored so easily. I am planning to change up my workouts so they're more spontaneous and varied. That will help me get back on track. I was bored, busy, and my workouts had mostly been neglected for those necessities like laundry, cooking, lawn care, cleaning, working full-time plus, commuting over 1 1/2 hrs. etc. My husband and sons always need something- even if just a listening ear. It all takes time. Add in the fact I work night shift... But I haven't given up! - 9/18/2010   9:48:53 AM
  • ELEVYN3
    109
    This is a very useful guideline for me to follow during my busy work weeks. - 7/13/2010   11:15:58 AM
  • 108
    thanks nicole this will help me in decidng to get more strengthworkouts in - 4/15/2010   1:38:38 PM
  • 107
    I'm a restarter, so my routine is more to make me get on track on my fitness. I do 3 times cardio jump rope a week, 1 strength training for each upper, lower and core. Usually I sandwich cardio together with strength training, total session will be around 30 minutes. Not sure why but it's hard for me to do exercise on Friday so I usually do my sessions on Monday, Wednesday and either Saturday or Sunday. And I agree with Coach Nicole, I much prefer to get myself healthy and fit, avoiding my family's common illness - high-blood, heart-attack, stroke, high-sugar, high-cholesterol, athma. Gosh, lots of things to run away! - 3/9/2010   7:20:41 PM
  • 106
    Thanks for sharing a reasonable fitness routine that works with people's lives. I also try to pack the gym bag the night before and put it in trunk. That way I don't have an excuse to come home and never make it to the gym. Great advice! Thanks again. - 3/8/2010   11:14:59 PM
  • MOMMAKAT04
    105
    Thanks for posting this, Nicole!! I was just wondering today if I needed to pick a routine and do ONLY that routine for a period of time and then switch it up. Now, I think that is not so. I'm glad a variety will work just as well. I turned 40 in January. Having indulged in a life of eating what I want and doing NO exercise. I have found myself out of control. I needed to lose about 80 pounds to be in a "normal" weight range. I have lost 12 since joining the site in late Jan. Genetically, I am faced with the possibility of heart disease, HBP, cancer and diabetes. I was told at one point I already had metabolic syndrome. I also have four children I want to live to seen grown and building their own families. I have been using various Sparkpeople Workouts. I am starting with 10 minutes of cardio 3 times a week and strength training 2 days a week. As my stamina grows, I shed pounds, and lose the fear of overtaxing my body by trying to do too much too quickly, I hope to increase the total daily time of the cardio. Baby steps.... - 2/23/2010   2:38:53 PM
  • 104
    It does help a little to see what fitness experts do. In reality though, I don't have 60 minutes a day to exercise because of my hectic lifestyle. I do manage to get 30 minutes of cardio in every day and strength training about 15 minutes every day except on Fridays. I have to plan my workouts because I have a work schedule that is different hours on different days and kids in school and after school activities. - 2/17/2010   7:59:43 AM
  • 103
    She's similar to me. My day off is usually whenever I feel like it, I do different exercises everyday day at the time I feel like, and she varies the intensity. I'd like to see more coach routines!! - 2/16/2010   10:33:55 PM
  • COUNCIMA
    102
    Thanks for the info it really helped. Looks like I need to increase my work out time each day to at least 45 to 60 minutes a day. Also think I will add pilates as well. - 2/16/2010   9:54:17 PM
  • 101
    Thanks for the info.... it does help to see what others do for there workouts! - 2/1/2010   6:48:38 PM
  • RUSS_DOTSON
    100
    I found this very encouraging. I am not someone who enjoys strict regimens...I much prefer having a general goal and then going with the flow as I work toward meeting it. I'm working toward increasing the frequency and duration of my workouts, and balance seems to be the key. Pushing too hard becomes drudgery and I lose motivation. Changing up what I am doing it and when also keeps it more interesting and helps me to enjoy it more.

    -----------------


    Russ Dotson

    - 12/30/2009   8:03:30 AM
  • 99
    Right now I work out M,W,F. Tu,Th I work at my other job and weekend are off. I do cardio for 70 minutes (usually 35 minutes elliptical, 35 minutes treadmill) and weight training for about 30 minutes to complete the circuit.
    - 11/4/2009   11:07:12 AM
  • 98
    This is encouraging! - 8/18/2009   10:11:39 PM
  • 97
    Thanks so much, Nicole. This makes me realise that I need to have a plan and routine. I like the idea of packing your gyms bag and taking it wherever you go. I like to work out in the mornings. It gives me energy to start the day - 8/2/2009   6:06:17 PM
  • 96
    Thank you for your blog! I am glad to see others workout schedules and what they do. I have a hard time getting motivated to excercise morning or night. I started walking every night after work. I enjoy that a lot it helps me to wind down from the long day at work. I have done some strength training but for some reason I am having a hard time doing that. I like to have a set schedule but maybe if I be more flexible with myself I won't give up so easily. Thank you again! - 4/29/2009   11:21:31 AM
  • 95
    Thanks for sharing, Nicole. As always, you are an inspiration and a great motivator!

    I'm pretty Plain Jane when it comes to routine. I gotta learn to shift things around and get more variety! Right now, I'm doing strength training at the gym Monday and Thursday nights; elliptical on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Sometimes I'll get in a walk on Saturday or Sunday, but I also do yardwork, house cleaning, and other activities on the weekends, so I don't like to overdo it. - 4/14/2009   2:28:16 PM
  • 94
    Hi Nicole,
    Thanks for being so honest and it's great to know that you are just one of us!
    I related to a lot of what you talked about with the routines and mixing them up. I too, like to do Cardio every time I work out and sometimes more intense than others.

    Thanks for sharing of yourself.
    Daryl - 4/8/2009   2:55:46 PM
  • 93
    Thanks for being such a good role model, Nicole.
    I am a morning person, and so have the mind set that when I exercise first thing in the day, I'm ahead of "the game" for the rest of the day. What one of my typical weeks looks like:
    Sunday: yoga 90 minutes
    Monday: Hike/run 100 minutes
    Tuesday: am: yoga, dance, Core Fusion 80 minutes
    afternoon: run 50 minutes
    Wednesday: restorative lunar yoga 60-90 minutes
    Thursday: run/hike 75-100 minutes
    Friday: yoga, dance, Core Fusion 70-100 minutes
    Saturday: hike 100-120 minutes
    I like doing SparkAmerica and counting my minutes with all the other Californians. I like trying for personal bests and go for 2400-3000 minutes of movement, as illustrated above, per month. I've been between number 30something and 60something in CA for the month every month since I started paying attention in June of last year.
    I also love to eat and realize clearly the relationship for myself between input and outgo.
    Finally, getting more and more fit grew entwined with loving, more and more, moving and using my body aerobically and muscularly.
    It's a win, win, win situation.
    I'm so grateful to SP for the infrastructure. And to you, Nicole for all that you bring to the table.
    Maddy - 4/8/2009   12:35:37 AM
  • LISALU910
    92
    Thanks for sharing your fitness plan. It totally works for you.

    Then again, some of us like the comfort of a routine and knowing what is scheduled for each day's workout. I really liked when I was training for a 1/2 marathon to have a training schedule and know that today I do XYZ....and then I do it whether I feel like it or not because that is what's on the schedule. Same with strength training, I tend to stick to my routine (although I vary it slightly, add more weight, etc.) because that is what motivates me. Also, unlike you, I like to do my workouts as early as possible during the day because it gets my motor running and also because then that is one thing crossed off my to-do list for the day.

    We're all different. Some like the flexibility of doing whatever sounds good on a particular day, others like me can't stick to a routine unless it is "on the books". I basically run 20 miles/week and strength train 2x/week for 30 minutes. Sometimes an elliptical workout to switch things up if the weather is bad. That's it! - 4/7/2009   3:41:59 PM
  • HARRIST44
    91
    I like the idea of packing the gym bag and carrying it with me; leaves the decision up to me with little reason not to work out. Thanks. - 4/7/2009   2:37:42 PM
  • 90
    Everyone needs a plan that works for them. I need to get my exercise in first thing in the morning. Running and lifting on alternate days - six days a week and take Sunday off. - 4/7/2009   10:55:18 AM
  • SHAPELY1
    89
    Tks coach Nicole, if you could, please let us sneak a peek at your eating plan for a week. - 4/7/2009   10:30:59 AM
  • 88
    I love that a picture of Coach Nicole was used for the image. Usually they use a picture of some model and it seems to contradict what the site is about. - 4/7/2009   8:39:33 AM
  • 87
    It looks like a doable routine.I like the fact you are not obcessive about it,and that you give yourself some time off and flexibility.It makes sense to make weekly goals instead of daily goals,as you know, unexpected things can come up during the day, and you may not be able to reach your goals. It gives you time to make it up on another day. Great idea Coach Nicole....thanks!!!! - 4/7/2009   5:42:57 AM
  • 86
    I WISH my fitness routine looked like this! Honestly, I'm lucking if I get 120 minutes in a WEEK. Exercising is so hard for me to start, especially on my own. - 4/6/2009   11:42:18 PM
  • BEHMOM
    85
    Unfortunately, I am not as motivated as Nicole when it comes to unscheduled workouts. Therefore, I take advantage of the classes that my gym offers (no additional charge). I take Zumba classes 5 days per week because I love it so much. I do strength training (class) at least twice per week (with barbells), because the training of the instructor is important for me to learn and use proper technique. And another of my classes is a 1/2 hour general cardio workout, that is varied and fun.
    I really enjoy the camaraderie of the classes, and find that I am less likely to skip a class than skip an unscheduled machine workout at the gym.
    And I walk the dog every night, for at least 15 minutes.
    Now if I only was doing a better job on the nutrition end of things........ - 4/6/2009   11:25:00 PM
  • 84
    That's a great workout schedule! I hope one day I can be as dedicated and focused! - 4/6/2009   3:19:21 PM
  • YAZZYB
    83
    thanks nicole your blog has really inspired me. - 4/6/2009   2:51:07 PM
  • 82
    thanks, nicole! i always am curious to read what health professionals embrace as their workout "routine"...one day i would like to switch careers to the health/wellness field! i am glad the flexible factor works for you. it would never work for me - i am a definite pre-planner and need to map out my exercise. i have to have goals that i can work towards, otherwise i feel lost! maybe once i am fit and at goal weight, i will be able to be more flexible in my approach. for now, having a schedule is a must!

    and nicole looks absolutely fantastic! thanks for sharing. - 4/6/2009   1:43:58 PM
  • 81
    Nicole:
    Thanks so much for sharing the exercises you did. It does help me to see that you-a slim and fit person- don't spend hours and hours in the gym.

    I really appreciate how much you reach out to the members of sparkpeople. Your down to earth low-key positive approach is very inspiring! I especially loved the blog you did last year actually showing the inside of your cupboards!

    - 4/6/2009   1:38:51 PM
  • FIT1232
    80
    nicole , thanks for sharing I THINK YOUR PLAN IS GREAT! Im a personal trainer and I think we all should be active every day for the people who think this is too much I dont think so for a minute for god sakes start making time to do 30-60mins. of some type of activities that are balanced for your body If you cant get motivated hire a trainer If you can. there is 17 hours out of the day and 30-60 min. to better health is a great idea. stop making excuses believe me once you do it for a while its like second nature. and you will feel better and have a lot more energy if you do. Iv done this for 15 years and I keep going and I will be 50 this year. and I feel and look like Im in my 30s. - 4/6/2009   1:11:33 PM
  • 79
    Thanks, Nicole. This is a very useful example of a balanced and varied workout schedule. - 4/6/2009   12:04:32 PM
  • 78
    This was a great article! Thanks for the tips. - 4/6/2009   11:46:41 AM
  • 77
    I found this very encouraging. I am not someone who enjoys strict regimens...I much prefer having a general goal and then going with the flow as I work toward meeting it. I'm working toward increasing the frequency and duration of my workouts, and balance seems to be the key. Pushing too hard becomes drudgery and I lose motivation. Changing up what I am doing it and when also keeps it more interesting and helps me to enjoy it more. - 4/6/2009   9:42:45 AM
  • POPPYMATTERS
    76
    I kinda found this discouraging. There is no way I could exercise anywhere near as much as this expert does! I don't have the time or the motivation! That is *a lot* of exercise a week. I'd like to hear an expert's take on what is enough exercise to do per week to stay healthy and in shape. I do maybe 30-40 min of cardio 3-5 times per week and some core pilates workouts (that I mix up) for between 10-40 min about 3-5 times per week. The high level of exercise presented in this blog seems to me to be unsustainable for the regular person. I know it would be for me. That said I think if I stick to my goals I am doing pretty well. Realistic goals help because you don't feel like you're failing every time you don't meet those high expectations you have for yourself, and so you don't get to discouraged. I like to set goals where I can be proud if I meet the upper echelon, but also know that I can realistically meet the lower echelon and still be satisfied that I am doing the right thing to meet my weightloss and health goals.

    Just my thoughts :) - 4/5/2009   11:17:00 PM
  • RENEE3KIDS
    75
    I like the idea of splitting up the exercise into smaller pieces throughout the day--I'm less likely to put off exercising if it seems more managable(like AM walk for 30 minutes, 10 minutes of upper body weights and 30 minute PM walk) Thanks! - 4/5/2009   8:05:42 PM
  • DORIANRW
    74
    Yes, it helps me to see what experts do to stay in shape. I like your flexibility with your workout, but that doesn't work for me. If I don't know when I'm going to exercise, it seems that other things get in the way. When I have a specific time designated for exercise, I am sure to get it in. I do like your variety of workouts. When I'm pressed for time, cardio is my fallback. Sometimes I struggle to get the weight training done. Your plan shows you can get cardio and weights in every week without spending hours and hours in the gym. Thanks for the post. - 4/5/2009   5:41:04 PM
  • 73
    Thanks a lot!!!! It is very helpful to see how someone like you really does workout. Sometimes we get the impression that all fitness experts are like the Biggest loser trainers and expect all of us very overweight people to be able to exercise for many hours a day to get to where they are......so it is refreshing for me personaly to see how you do this!!!! You look great! - 4/5/2009   3:50:01 PM
  • 72
    Thank you, I appreciate seeing what you are doing and what everyone is working on or with! I am an outside person and I find that my activities are generally lower intensity. This week I got four yoga classes at 1.5 hrs each, two days of 3 mile run/walk outdoors, one day of 3 miles indoors on treadmill and two more slow walks of about an hour each plus a one hour TaiChi class. I find I actually need two activities per day to make it all work...yoga and walking or 3 miles on the track and Tai Chi. - 4/5/2009   3:35:24 PM
  • 71
    When I started SP eight months ago and was very inactive, I found I needed to plot out my workouts every single day. Now that I have retrained my brain to know that exercise is not optional in life, I am much more apt to follow my moods and listen to my body when it's time to exercise. Some weeks I'm all about a schedule and pushing myself hard. Other weeks I may take a few days off or do lighter exercise. I know it all comes out in the wash! - 4/5/2009   3:19:11 PM
  • 70
    It always helps to see what the person in front of me is doing. Thank you! - 4/5/2009   2:38:01 PM
  • 69
    Thank you for sharing, yes it does help me to get a different view on things and see some new exercises and and idet ideas!!! - 4/5/2009   2:34:17 PM
  • 68
    I would have to say NO, seeing what experts are eating and doing to stay in shape does not help..nor motivate me..

    Why?
    Because we are all different and we all need to take care of our bodies in different ways and what works for one person will not necesarily work for another..that is why with most programs, WW included you will always see the disclaimer. :"Results not typical for everyone"

    I have to motivate myself and get the diet that best benefits me..and my needs..

    I don't really follow a strict fitness regimen, I do workout for 60 minutes 5 days per week, and at least 30 the other 2...
    I try to incorporate strength as well, but right now I am focusing on the cardio, that is what my doctor as prescribed for me to focus on..
    I strive to get in 12000 steps per day every day..

    I use the treadmill, the elliptical and workout DVD's ranging from walking to taebo, and stretching as well as strength.. - 4/5/2009   12:54:10 PM
  • 67
    Thanks for sharing. - 4/5/2009   12:20:25 PM

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