If you’re like most people striving to be active, you will name “working out” as one of your goals. However, I’d argue that the workouts themselves aren’t really our goal – our goal is actually to look, feel and perform better! This only happens when we consistently put together enough workout sessions to make a difference. The workouts are simply a means to an end, and that means you need to take the time to get crystal clear on your workout plan.
The good news is that the CES rehab and MomFit programs already come with amazing videos and PDFs to follow! In the beginning, most people will be able to follow everything step-by-step and it will perfectly suit their needs. As time goes on, the experts in the CES All Access group might recommend some personal tweaks and adjustments we can make to the original plans. What can get tricky is when we have a hard time remembering it all. This can leave us feeling unorganized, frustrated and overwhelmed.
Want Less Stress? Want to Save Time (Who Doesn’t)? Then Take a Moment to Get Organized!
Why is this so important? Well…
If you have a half-hour to work out but you end up spending 15 of those minutes:
- Trying to find videos in Kajabi
- Referring back to tips you have received in Facebook threads
- Simply trying to remember which move or plan you wanted to do in the first place
…then you have lost precious time to work out – not to mention that it’s frustrating!
We only have so much capacity to deal with making decisions, especially since by some estimates we make around 35,000 decisions every single day! (1) Rather than having to think too hard when your precious workout time rolls around, I would much rather you have no decisions left to make and no stress from looking for anything. That way each and every minute you have carved out will be spent actually working out. And the only way that will happen is if you have your workout plan clearly set in advance before you even start.
I’ll admit that getting organized takes some time! However, it ends up saving far more time than it costs. A little time spent upfront will really pay off. When you get some extra tips for moves in the programs that might be a little different than what is listed or you get some extra exercises recommended to you by the experts, you may wonder how to keep track of it all. If you’ve been active in the group for a little while, you know exactly what I mean.
I have been working through this program for over 2 years, and I am also a personal trainer. I consider it part of my job to help my clients stay organized and I have learned many tips and tricks along the way.
Exactly How I Stay Organized Completing My Workouts -- and How I Know When It’s Time to Move On
Like many of you, I like to focus some days of the week on MomFit, cardio or walks and other days of the week I like to focus on rehab moves. Some of you have multiple rehab workouts you are trying to tackle, while others have just one.
Either way, I hope you have posted videos of yourself doing the exercises in the group! That’s the only way you can get form tips catered to you personally. However, posting is just the first step. It can be tricky to remember all the awesome tips you end up receiving when you go to work out again later on – especially if you ended up reading the Facebook comment while on a call for work or in the middle of making dinner.
Pro Tip: When I post videos to the Facebook group, I immediately save the video to my Facebook account. That way I can easily find it again. I have created my own Collection called CES, and I leave them all in that category. To save a video, look for the three dots on the upper right hand side of the post. You’ll see the options to create a new Collection or to add it to an existing one.
Starting a New Plan Right
I always start by watching the videos in Kajabi, and I try everything out as I follow along. I also print the PDFs or save them to my computer to help keep the form tips in mind while I learn. If I am unsure about anything after running through the workouts a few times, that’s when I post videos. Always remember to describe where you feel the exercise when you post your video!
How to Make Your Own Personal Workout Sheet
I created a Google sheet (a free spreadsheet saved online) where I have a different tab for each training day – for example, I do MomFit Monday, Wednesday and Friday and I do rehab exercises on Tuesday and Thursday. I also have some moves I try to do daily, and these get their own tab, too. (Things such as Gloria drills or back body breathing might make sense to appear on the daily tab.) Finally, I make an extra tab for exercises I may want to do in the future based upon content I have seen in the group or something an expert has recommended.
The cool thing is, once I have made the sheet, I can simply copy the sheet and rename the month when it’s time to change up my workout. This way I will always have a record of what I have done if I need to refer back.
Here is a short video to watch if you’d like to see how the sheet looks in action!
Here is a sample sheet that’s already made. You will need to type in your own workouts, but the basic structure and tabs are already there! Feel free to use it as you wish.
The Nuts and Bolts of the Sheet
I have a column for:
- The name of the exercise
- Weight used (if any)
- Notes I want to remember for things that I picked up from the videos or the PDFs
Once I have posted my own videos to the group and received personalized tips, I add these into that last column. If I plan to post an updated video or continue to comment, I’ll leave the video saved on my Facebook for ease of finding it. Otherwise, I’ll unsave the thread from my Facebook in order to keep things tidy. And if I ever forget to save a video or need to find an old post, I know I can search my name within the group and a list of posts I have made will appear.
Great – The Workouts Are Made. But How Do I Make Sure I Actually Do Them?
In terms of scheduling my workouts, I have a loose idea in my head of which days and times usually work best for me. I keep those times in mind when I am making my other plans and commitments, doing my best to preserve my favorite workout days/times in my schedule. That said, stuff comes up and interferes at times. That’s life!
Every Sunday night I firm up my workout dates to myself by sitting down and plugging the workouts I want to get done into my calendar, just like I would any other appointment. After all, taking care of myself is a priority! No one else is going to care about my workouts as much as I do, so it’s up to me to carve out time in my schedule to take care of my body. If you are more of a pen and paper type of person, you can write your workouts into this blank calendar that you can print.
It's Not Enough Just to Make It…Take That Appointment to Yourself Seriously!
I do my absolute best never to delete a workout from my calendar on my phone (and I don’t get to leave it on there unless I do it!). If I need to move a workout from one day to the next, so be it. But I try not to delete it altogether. Of course, sometimes situations come up where we simply can’t (or shouldn’t) work out. But I leave those to what they should be – exceptions! I like to live by the 80/20 rule – if I am doing at least 80% of my workouts, I am doing pretty well and should expect to see some progress!
If it happens too often that I am flat-out skipping workouts, I know I need to take another look at my priorities and figure out if I am trying to bite off more than I can chew. I may determine that I need to remove another commitment in my life to make room for the amount of exercise that I am trying to do.
Exercise - If you’re not sure what you can possibly manage to take away from your day, try completing a 24-hour journal of how you spend your time. Splitting your day into 15-minute chunks usually works well for this exercise. You may find something surprising that you realize you could stop doing to free up more time! You may also uncover a need to ask for (or consider paying for) more help.
Me? I discovered that diving into my email inbox too often was causing problems. Now I strictly limit myself to twice per day – and it has really helped!
If you determine that absolutely nothing can be done about the other demands on your time, I encourage you to readjust how many workouts you are attempting to fit into a week. It’s important for your confidence that you are successful in keeping the promises you make to yourself.
Strategies to Make This Program Fit Your Life
Being consistent with whatever frequency you decide is key. Working out every day one week but getting a giant goose egg the next is what you want to avoid. If you are struggling to get your workouts done, perhaps rather than trying to tackle two programs at once, you might cut down to one and save the other program for next month. Make it work for you!
Other ideas for cutting down on the time commitment of workouts:
- Are there a few moves in a program you could get by without doing? (Hint: it’s the ones that are already easy for you).
- Could you do fewer sets?
- Could do some exercises only on one side (the side that needs it most)?
- Could you do some of the moves during your day rather than during dedicated workout time? (Breathing exercises, release work, stretching, and hip shifts can be great for this).
- Can you incorporate some of the exercises into your kids’ playtime, or during TV time at night? Are there any you can do in a car, such as while waiting to pick up a kid?
- Can you do the workout one less time per week and achieve similar results?
These are all decisions that the experts can help you with, too. Keep in mind, you have time to work through everything! Your body did not become symptomatic overnight, and it will not heal overnight, either. Healing takes time -- and you’re in it for the long game. Remember, this is about minimizing stress! Stress and the changes it induces in cortisol levels do not help our body to heal. (2)
Pro Tip – Consider giving yourself a built-in break after completing a set of workouts. This is great for our body – and even better for our mind! Maybe your break is simply skipping one Friday workout. Maybe it’s taking a weekend off, or a few days off during the week. It could even be a whole week off if you’ve been stringing together consistent workouts for a while.
The break will help reset your motivation for the next cycle of workouts. Think of it like an athlete who has a competition – of course they deserve at least a day or two off afterwards! Treat yourself the same way after you’ve done a good job with a whole set of workouts. I promise, your strength levels won’t suffer (3), and you may even give your body an extra chance to heal a nagging ache or pain.
How to Utilize Your Sheets During Workouts
I personally like to print the sheets I have made on my laptop because I prefer not to stare at a screen while I exercise. I keep the sheets on a clipboard and make changes with a pen as I add weight or reps (the personal trainer clipboard thing dies hard – and yep, I’m dating myself here, as I began working before apps were a thing 😊). Once the paper becomes too messy, I will go into the document, edit the original sheet, and reprint it so I have a fresh copy.
Other options could be to write out the workout on a big white board, or simply keep your laptop open and make edits to the sheets live (that way you never even have to print them at all). I try to print my workouts on scrap pages to be conscientious of the environment.
How to Save Links Both on the Computer and the Phone so You Can Quickly Refer Back to Educational Content
If there are moves that are a bit trickier and I think I will want to rewatch the video a few times, I will copy and paste the direct link to the video in my sheet. I show more detail about how I set that up in the video about the sheets.
Other methods of saving links include:
- Creating a bookmark folder in your web browser (such as Chrome or Safari) that you label CES
- “Starring” the video in the Kajabi app on your phone
- Copy and paste links into a Notes app on your phone or laptop
Whatever you do, make sure you find it convenient to access. Quick and easy always wins!
How to Keep Track of Things to Work on in the Future
Sometimes an expert team member will provide a new exercise or program that may be of benefit to our body. Other times we may join a live workout and find that it was really helpful or it just felt really good, whether it was the whole workout or just a portion of it. We may have had a one-on-one session and are left with a bunch of great ideas. However, what if we have not been following our current workout plan for long enough to fully benefit?
Many people get into trouble by hopping around the programs, doing one thing this week and another the next, and then wonder why they aren’t making any real progress. In my experience, most workouts need to be done at least eight times if you want the results to stick.
This is where keeping the “future” tab in your sheet is super helpful. By keeping this sheet dedicated to the purpose of listing exercises you may want to do soon, you won’t feel compelled to add them in right away simply to prevent yourself from forgetting. You also will avoid overwhelm by trying to take on too much at once. And the nice thing is, you’ll have fresh ideas when it’s time to change your workout!
Of course, if you are having symptoms and it’s important that you change exercises right away, do it! It’s just nice to have the option of either making changes now or waiting until later when you have more of the present workout plan under your belt. Making lists means you free up precious headspace to remember the important things… like which bottle of wine you want to pick up for Friday night! 😊
How Will I Know When It’s Time for Something New?
You can always post your questions in the group! In general, when the workout has started to feel easy or you are getting increasingly bored, those are signs that it’s probably time to move on. Dr. Sarah has an awesome Instagram post about ways to know when it’s time to change workouts.
I like to make sure I am advancing my reps, weight, or the challenge level of a move as I go through my workouts. Just because you started with, say, 8 push-ups doesn’t mean you can’t build up to 10 or 12 as the month goes on. It’s so easy to settle into our comfort zone with workouts, but unfortunately our results will tend to be disappointing when we don’t challenge ourselves.
To keep myself moving forward, I like to make a note in my calendar for when it’s time to mix it up with a new plan. This note might be 4 weeks or 6 weeks out from the start of my new workout, or whenever I expect to have done the workout a certain number of times. For me, 8 to 12 workouts is a sweet spot. If you don’t place the note in your calendar, it’s likely that you won’t even notice how long you’ve been doing the same thing over and over. Our body and mind both need a variety of movements to continue to progress!
Even if you’re not feeling perfect at everything when you move on, you can always bring an exercise back into your program in the future. There may even be something you work on in the meantime that ends up helping you so when you revisit that old move, it goes a whole lot better! I love when that happens!
Give these tips a try – I really hope they help! The first time you set it all up it will be a little bit of a time investment, but after you have the first sheet organized, I promise you it will get easier and easier moving forward! Be sure to grab my sample sheet if you’d like a jump-start.
(1) Sollisch, J (2016) The cure for decision fatigue. Wall Street Journal. Available at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-cure-for-decision-fatigue-1465596928
(2) Psychological stress and wound healing in humans: A systematic review and meta-analysis Institute of Psychiatry, Department of Psychology, King's College London, London, UK Institute of Work, Health, and Organizations, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK Received 18 October 2008, Revised 3 March 2009, Accepted 7 April 2009, Available online 2 July 2009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.04.002
(3) David A Gabriel, Gary Kamen, Gail Frost. The development, retention and decay rates of strength and power in elite rugby union, rugby league and American football: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2013 May;43(5):367-84. doi: 10.1007/s40279-013-0031-3. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23529287/
This is a guest post written by the amazing Gina Paulhus. She is the owner of Home Bodies in-home fitness training and supplements. Her website is http://HomeExerciseCoach.com. She is a PCES Grad and especially enjoys helping people overcome hernias non-surgically as well as helping gymnasts of all ages, including postpartum adult gymnasts, maximize their core strength as well as their pelvic floor health.