My Workout Split: A Comparison to 6 Months Ago
How you divide your focus between muscle groups is the building blocks to a successful routine. Conventionally, one splits their time evenly between upper body, lower body, and core- but for others, they may want to direct more of their energy to one group or another. This asymmetric split may be appealing to anyone recovering from injury, or strengthening a weakness, perhaps aesthetic purposes- the reasons could go on and on. The point that I want to convey is that you are in control of how you want to allocate your energy; personal trainers and programmes may advise specific splits, but at the end of the day, it's just general guidance- you have all the power to tailor your routine to suit yourself best. In this article, I'm going to run through how I have been tweaking my workout split and the signs that told me to adjust my focus.
6 months ago:
At this point six months ago, I was training six days per week. My education wasn't particularly demanding, so I had the time and energy to take my fitness to the next level (I had been training 4 times a week before this) while doing well in school. I dedicated three days to upper body, three to lower body, and added two sessions of core training at the most appropriate points in the week. This was working very well for me; I enjoyed my workouts and I felt that I was making good progress. I increased my calorie intake to compensate for the additional energy expenditure, and bought a couple extra pairs of gym leggings as I wore them most days of the week. I trained my legs 3 times per week (hamstrings twice and quadriceps once), my back twice per week, and my chest and shoulders twice (I had one day of chest and back every week), and my core twice.
These days, I train five days per week- or four, if I'm a little busy. My education is a lot more time consuming, much more than before, and so I needed to cut down on my gym time to find balance again. As well as my education demanding more time, it was taking significantly more energy. To ensure that I wouldn't overwork myself, I simplified my workouts to 3-4 key exercises, and reduced the amount of cardio I did each week. This has been working well for me so far. I feel that I have enough energy to live in a sustainable way, which is far more important than making quick physical progress, in my opinion. However, school is gradually asking for more and more of my time. If it comes down to a situation where I have to make the choice whether to put fitness or my education first, I would choose the former; you can always head to the gym and pick up where you left off, with only minor setbacks in strength (depending on the amount of time you've been away), but the big opportunities in life rarely just sit and wait for you.
Currently, things are going well and I believe I have found a satisfactory balance with my passions and responsibilities. I may have to simplify/reduce my training sessions a little further to accommodate for achieving my goals in education, but that is a sacrifice that I am willing to make. Besides, I can still make great progress with just 3 sessions per week. The most important thing to me right now is that I direct my energy towards what will bring me balance and happiness.