Exercise Planning
August 10, 2016 8:27 AM   Subscribe

I recently bought a meal plan subscription where once a week you get a grocery list, 5ish recipes to batch cook, and then dinners for each day of the week that come together in about 15ish min or less, based on the food you batch-cooked. This has been a godsend for me. I want the same thing, but for exercise.

So, I love to cook. I am bad at deciding and planning ahead of time what it is I want to cook. This is what the meal planning service solves. Plus, their selections are way healthier than what I would choose. If the meal plan says dinner for Wednesday is salad, I eat salad. I would never choose that for myself.

I don't mind exercising. I go to the gym regularly, but once I get there, I sorta... pick out what I feel like doing at the time. Sometimes it's exercises with hand weights, sometimes it's picking out random machines, sometimes I'll park myself on the elliptical for half an hour. I don't have any specific fitness goals per se, but I want some sort of structured plan that tells me : WEDS - 15 min jogging, 10 min rowing, 2 sets ea weighted squats and calf raises. Is there a service or website or book, or anything that does this well?

I'm not interested in personal training or fitness DVDs at this time. Assume a beginner level. I don't mind repetition.
posted by Fig to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Nike+ Training is available for iOS and Android.
posted by evoque at 8:29 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm quite curious about the batch cooking meal plan! Please PM me. :)
posted by heathrowga at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2016 [10 favorites]

StrongLifts 5x5 is very popular amongst my friend group. I use Zombies, Run!.
posted by Etrigan at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

You could get a pack of fit deck exercise cards.
posted by SyraCarol at 8:36 AM on August 10, 2016

(ditto on wanting to know about the meal plan service that isn't actually sending you food)
posted by noloveforned at 8:40 AM on August 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

thirding the idea that you share the name of this meal planning service - not sure why it wouldn't be okay to mention it in the thread but id take the name in a MeFi mail message too . ..
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:42 AM on August 10, 2016 [4 favorites]

and since just asking for your meal planning resource didn't answer your question: this is one of the things I love about my crossfit gym. I just show up and do what im told - it helps that I think the programming is exceptionally well done - without worrying about which muscle groups ive used the previous day or what exercises I might have not added into my rotation in a while.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 8:44 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

+1 on Nike+ Training. It's free in the App Store and really easy to use. You can pick a la carte workouts according to time, category (cardio, strength, etc), focus (abs, arms, etc) or it will create a six week plan for you based on your goals and available equipment. I'm in the middle of a plan right now and it's great. It's guided so it will time your intervals and show you videos of the movements while you're doing them. I really like it because they have a lot of variation in exercises and they include stretching which I have a hard time making myself do on my own.
posted by stellaluna at 8:47 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hah! I was going to mention it in the question, but wasn't sure if that was ok -- Clean Food Dirty Girl's meal plans are what I'm using. They have a nice very supportive Facebook group too. A little bit of woo, but I overlook the food-as-medicine blahblah.
posted by Fig at 8:50 AM on August 10, 2016 [17 favorites]

You might look into some "instagram-popular" programs like Kayla Itsines' Bikini Body Guide, Anna Victoria's Fit Body Guide, or Fit Girls' Guide. They do, obviously, have some language about getting a 'fit body' (I find the latter two to be better about celebrating your body no matter what stage it is/emphasizing self-love) - but the exercises themselves are fun, and they're circuit training so you get some cardio but they also involve bodyweight/light weight strength training. The guides are available in eBook form for $25-$70 each (as a one-time cost). They tend to be things you can do with either just stuff you have at home, or possibly incorporating a few dumbbells of varying weights, but nothing too complicated (useful if your gym has limited equipment).

However, if you want something more long-term (the above guides will only have between 4 and 28 weeks of workouts I think?), I'd recommend a beginner weightlifting program. Something like Stronglifts 5x5, Strong Curves, or New Rules of Lifting For Women. Those will also have the structure you're looking for - they tell you how many days per week to go to the gym and what to do when you're there, and they are much longer term (basically you can keep running them until you run out of weights heavy enough). However, they don't involve any cardio or machines as far as I know - just barbells and dumbbells, which could be limiting if your gym doesn't have adequate weights or if you don't feel comfortable with free weights.

Have fun!
posted by jouir at 9:16 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Try the app, WOD Genius. You input what equipment you have access to and it makes up workouts for you. It has a timer in it and you can watch movement demos in case you don't know how to do something.
posted by SheIsMighty at 9:44 AM on August 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I haven't used it (yet), but my understanding is that TrainingPeaks will generate a workout plan for you, based on a goal.
posted by delight at 10:20 AM on August 10, 2016

I just discovered Darebee and I think it might be just what you're looking for.
posted by miaou at 10:46 AM on August 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

There are tons of plans out there, which may be part of the problem, understood.

I would stay away from any program that involves lots of jumping - e.g. Kayla Itsines, Insanity, etc. - too much risk to joints for not enough (sustainable) reward. (Avoid programs that mention plyometrics.) For longevity's sake, would focus on low-impact cardio and strength training. 2nd the ones in jouir's 2nd paragraph, or one of the options here.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:43 AM on August 10, 2016

SimpleFit. All body-weight exercises. You start with a performance test to see where you need to begin the program. Infinitely scalable, and you can do it from anywhere. Plus there's a great community to encourage you.
posted by Brittanie at 4:17 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think you should just make a list or spreadsheet manually in advance. That way you can tune it to your own needs. For example, I'm trying to do fun stuff like paddleboarding or hiking on the weekends -- no pre-made plan is going to understand that. If you make it a few weeks at a time, and then vow to stick to it, you'll have better success.
posted by miyabo at 9:48 AM on August 11, 2016

I used Freeletics for a while, which does a similar thing. The paid version is pretty expensive, so I stopped paying for it when I started doing exercise in other ways but it's really useful. It starts with a fitness test I think, then plans your workouts for each week and runs you through them with a timer and explainer videos. At the end of each workout you rate how hard it was so it can keep adjusting to push you just enough. You can also incorporate running if you want some pure cardio days.
posted by bellebethcooper at 6:09 PM on August 12, 2016

I feel you.

Doing a Couch to 5K worked for me because of the structure-- and then once I could actually just run, I gave up because I (drum roll) didn't have a program.

Now I do the Blogilates calendars on her website and Youtube-- basically you just go to the playlist of the day and do the videos until you kinda want to pass out. Physical calendar for free too if checking things off helps you.
posted by athirstforsalt at 10:03 PM on August 14, 2016

I'm using the Nike+ thing and it is perfect. Some of the other answers looked great too, and I'm looking forward to trying out a bunch of stuff.. thanks all!
posted by Fig at 11:10 AM on August 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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