My Workout Schedule

I know a lot of people have been asking me about my workout plan, so I thought the time has come for the great reveal. (tbh nobody has asked me for it)

Well first of all I want to go over the benefits of exercising, and my personal reason for staying active. I believe that if you have solid reasoning behind doing something then you are able to show more conviction and effort towards that task. Or else, you are just doing it because everybody else is doing it or you want to put your workout stories on social media.

So here are the reason.

1. Good for your physical health (duh).

This is very obvious and shouldn't come to anyone's surprise but it is worth mentioning the very least. Regular workout has numerous benefits to health, it is linked to stronger immune system, helps in reducing cholesterol level, lowering chances of heart diseases and stroke. Good strength training leads to improved muscles and bone density which is crucial for later stages in your life. There is a lot that can be mentioned about the benefits of exercising and there better articles to refer to, so I'll stop here.

2. Counters a very sedentary lifestyle of a programmer/engineer.

Being a programmer you have to often sit on your chair for hours looking at your computer screen, coding, debugging and turning bugs into features. This takes a toll on the body, we decedents of hunters and gathers are not meant to be sitting on our chairs for hours. Even more so with a perfect back posture with the our hands and shoulders creating and angle in between 90-100 degree for comfortable typing position (see carpal tunnel syndrome). The point is that we still have to go through all this to work so it is very important that we counter this with a active lifestyle outside of work. Even jogging 1-3 times a week will go a long way in increasing the longevity of our enslavement to a 9-5 job.

3. Increases mental endurance.

Yes, when you exercise you are moving your body around in an attempt to being healthy but its much more than that. Just getting up and ready to go for a workout is also an exercise, not of the body but of the mind. Most of the times, its not our physical endurance holding us back from working out but its our mind making excuses to not workout. Even when you make it to the park or the gym, your mind gives up much earlier than the body. This is where you are exercising your will power and mind, telling yourself that you can do one more set, one more kilometer one more rep. Similarly while programming or solving any problem, it is your mind holding you back from just giving that extra attention and mental power to go over bad documentation or try different things to solve the problem. You are very well aware that you are capable of solving the problem at hand or finding your bug, but it just needs pushing yourself to get over the finish line. Exercising and regularly pushing yourself to your limit increases your endurance to go the extra mile and smash your goals.

Now, finally to the part where I go over my workouts. When I started working out, the gym in the uni was too old and slimy for my liking so I decided to workout completely relying on my body weight, to be more correct I decided on doing calisthenics. The basic philosophy of calisthenics is that you should be able carry your own weight in a series of compound exercises which leads to better overall physique than using free weights and targeting only a particular muscle group. There are both pros and cons of calisthenics which I'll get into later. So here it goes.

I try to exercise on 3-4 days in a week with at least a day off in between.

Upper Body Workout:

  • 8 - 12 reps of wide grip pull ups.

  • 8 - 12 reps of push ups.

  • 8 - 12 reps of dips.

  • 8 - 12 reps of pull ups.

I do three sets of these exercises and at the end of each set I sometimes add core exercises and practice skill moves. I take a break of 30 sec to 1 minutes between each exercise in a set and a break of 2 - 4 minutes between each set. The range (8 - 12 reps) is defined as muscular hypertrophy which is meant to build visible muscle mass. When I started, I could barely do 3 reps of each exercise so, it takes a while to get to this range. The key goals should be consistency and proper form in the beginning.

Cardio Workout:

My cardio workout is very simple, jog for 2km as fast I can. I used to sprint in my childhood but I'm not fond of jogging, so I just run for 2km or one some good days for 3km as fast as I can. My average pace on NRC is 5'57'' per kilometer and I ran my fastest 1 km in 3.35 mins, it felt good to be congratulated by Mo Farah on the app. I recently started going to the gym so I did my cardio on an elliptical machine which reduces impact on the knees and makes you take three times as long for the same distance.

Leg and Core Workout:

  • 8 - 12 resp of superman holds for 3 seconds each.

  • 8 - 12 reps of table top holds for 3 seconds each.

  • 8 - 12 reps of hip thrust. *

  • 8 - 12 reps of dumbbell bench lunges. *

  • 8 reps of barbell squats. *

  • Extended plank for 45 seconds.

  • 8 - 12 reps of side plank lunges.

  • 8 - 12 reps of Russian twists. *

  • 8 - 12 reps of raised knee crunches. *

I mentioned before that there are some cons of calisthenics, well targeting lower body and legs is particularly difficult relying solely on your body weight so its much better to use free weights and gym equipment for this muscle group. I ignored leg day for the longest time since I didn't have access to a gym but from now on, no skipping leg day. All the exercises listed can be done without any weights but the exercises with the asterisk(*) in particular can be made difficult by adding or increasing weight.

I only started working out regularly a year ago so I still consider myself a beginner to this area but this was my workout plan which has given me good results. For a beginner the most important thing is to have proper form, good consistency, proper sleep and good diet. I learnt most of the things mentioned from this subreddit so make sure to check it out for more detailed instructions and tips.

Well, that's it thank you for reading through. The next blog post will be more technical.

Created by yours truly Syed Bilal Shah, © 2023