Tag Archives: exercise options

Exercise design: starting point

Self-made exercise design? Can you design an effective and relevant program on your own, for yourself?

Wouldn’t it be great if all the parameters for exercise design were outlined and you could just fill in the blanks? Or if there was some AI/algorithm that takes all of your info and pops out some great options?

Hmmm…..Let start with options: can you list all of your exercise options? Is there any activity that you think you could maintain for 10 minutes at a time at a moderate intensity.? If you don’t know what is moderate intensity check out this post.

How about 5 minutes? I have talked a lot about exercise snacks. See my playlist on You Tube for details.

If not moderate, how about light intensity? What’s light? Anything that isn’t sedentary (not moving).

I have been doing primarily light intensity for the past 2 months now. Getting my heart rate up and generate some heat has mostly been precluded by my injury. If you want the details, watch my You Tube video called Falling Off Track. Then come right back!

Think of activities that you sustain for the express purpose of improving health and fitness. There has to be some intention in there.

You could take an every day task and make it more purposeful, by focusing on posture and energy exertion. Think physical engagement for a prescribed period of time.

Start here

List all of your options.

Beside each option, write down where they would normally occur(gym, outdoors, home, work, other facility).

Now indicate if they require any preparation and how much planning is required (do they need to be scheduled or can they be done off the cuff?).

Put down your list. While it is resting ask those closest to you for options that you are likely to undertake. Emphasize the “you” and not them (unless they are going to do it with you!). You may get a few more ideas.

Now rate all the activities from easiest to most difficult to accomplish.

List all of the activities in order of most likely to do to least likely to do.

Now asterisk the ones that are most important for your current health and fitness.

OK. What have you got? Lots of options for your exercise design!! If you are just getting back to fitness, pick the easiest option and the one that you are most likely to do. You can use that as your base as you build up some consistency for the stuff that is maybe more important later. And if you don’t know what is important to you, there are a lot of layers to that but you can check out Exercise specificity.

Hey, it’s a start, and that is all you need. More detail will flow in as you get into a new groove. You can do it! Tune in to my future blogs for the next steps!! Sign up today so you don’t miss out!

P.S. Not sure if you should be exercising? Try completing an activity readiness questionnaire. I have a video on Facebook explaining activity readiness questionnaires or see the bottom of my Essentrics page for links!

Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress

This is a blog that I wrote some time ago during the early COVID days. I am not one to succumb to the pressures of stress.  Generally, I feel that I can handle stress well but recent world developments have had an impact on my current primary occupation and financial sources of income.  I would like to think that I can do it all, but as of late, I have allowed myself a bit more flexibility in my exercise expectations than I normally would during a regular week. Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress can be challenging.

To exercise or not to exercise.  That is a question.  I last put in a “formal” workout 3 days ago.  It is not a long time, but long enough to trigger some guilt for not doing my usual (Essentrics) exercise workout at a rate of 3-4 times per week.  On the brighter side, I have been walking twice daily for 25 minutes for the purpose of transporting myself to and from work, a safer option than taking public transit at this time.  So I am getting some DIPA (daily intentional physical activity).  All is not lost.  The daily walks give me the time to refocus and distract myself from the ongoing foreboding threat. 

I know tomorrow that I will without a doubt add in a formal workout in addition walking.  But for today I am giving myself a relative break.  Relative rest is what I like to call it. 

Trying to balance the equation

When it comes to immunity, we know that the balance between stress and exercise can have an impact on our body’s response to fight infection.  There is no exact prescription.  It will be different for everyone depending on your starting point. Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress needs to challenge you and not degrade you. 

I have benefited from exercise so many times that I could never truly give in.  But it’s tempting.  What is less tempting is to reduce my level of fitness to a point that my energy levels change.  I am not worried that I have fallen off the wagon.  But it really makes you think about what is important. It’s easy to make excuses so I will keep these periods in check, when intending to promote the preservation of energy through decreased movement, because at some point the equilibrium is lost and then you have to build it up again.

I’ve decided that my strategy tomorrow is to start my day with a workout when my energy level is higher.  I know I can do it.  I am looking forward to it.  These times will always pass, its just that this one is truly out of my control.

Keeping it simple

I am setting my goals at a level that I know I can accomplish.   Sometimes its a day to day assessment.  I personally can depend on myself but if that wasn’t the case, who or what would I turn to, to help motivate me and keep me on track?  For the last 2 Saturdays at around 1pm I have been doing an IGTV workout with Jillian Michaels.  I think it really helps to know that you are not alone, and there are others working out with you at the same time.  I’ve also considered giving my own Zoom class to private clients(my colleagues) to replace their weekly Wednesday Essentrics.   I have also started using the Nike app again combined with some cycling.  


Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress means that I will always go with my flow.   This means that I will do some form of intentional activity but there are no hard set rules, just options.  The more options you have then the more likely you will just get started and then see where your flow takes you.  For example, my options could be stationary bike, treadmill, stretching, Nike app, Essentrics TV, or learn new Essentrics choreography. I also have Zoom Essentrics and HIIT class options with a preferred teacher. 

My only “should do’s” are actually cardiovascular exercise where my heart rate is elevated, either in a fat burning zone long duration or HIIT.  Keeping the VO2 max healthy is all about our capacity to perform.  If only I could accurately assess my VO2 max, that would be wonderful.

Exercise in times of elevated levels of stress can be challenging.  Trying to find balance in my self when the world is full of unpredictability is all I can do.  Keeping it simple and allowing myself to have options decreases the internal pressure.  Keeping the heart and lungs healthy are key in maintaining energy levels.  Its almost always worth the effort.  Picking the right level of effort will ensure that I will follow through, finding myself on the other side of having fulfilled the need to move my body.  Approaching each day individually with unique DIPA goals have made it easier to say yes to today. I will intentionally move my body for the betterment of my current health and future quality of life. Onward and upward!

Essentrics with Andrea