A Comprehensive Workout, In Summary

The four most important components to a workout regiment, explained.



10/22/20215 min read

Workouts absolutely should not be one type. Or two or three. We get the majority of structured information about exercising in school gym class, where you probably focused on one or two elements in the class, and that was it.

Sadly, I don't think most of us were really taught about how to properly exercise in our adult years.

(... But seriously, if any of y'all want to strike up a good old game of Capture the Flag or Pirate's Gold, I'm ALL IN.)

So what should a modern workout include? Let's break it down into the four most essential categories:


Yes. Get out there and move. Burn the calories. From a more immediate standpoint, cardio activity will help you lose weight sooner. You'll raise your general stamina, endurance, general energy levels over time, and will tire out during the day less easily. You'll sleep faster and with more quality.

What to do? Walk, jog, both in intervals, hike, bike, elliptical, tennis, Capture the Flag, basically anything that's going to give you steps and raise your heart rate for awhile.

How long? Totally dependant on where you're at. Start with 20 minutes a few times a week if you're starting from nothing. I do one hour, 4-5 times a week, usually walking or hiking. Not everyone needs that.

Helpful hint: make it fun. This is where you should spend the most time, so make it an activity that's engaging. Get outside, walk with a friend to catch up with life, listen to an audiobook or podcast, play Pokemon Go.

How to Stay on Track: Schedule this time in, in a way that you'll look forward to it. Don't just be like, oh! I think I'll go for a walk when I feel like it.


This might be the key to extending the quality of your life by decades. So many of our daily activities are dependant on our level of strength: getting up, putting things away, moving things around, laundry, vacuuming, gardening, loading groceries, etc. Losing your ability to lift things will absolutely impact your ability to do all of the above in the decades to come. Strength training keeps this from happening. It also boosts your immune system and allows you to burn more calories at rest, since it costs you more calories to maintain the muscle mass you build.

What to do? Go to the gym, use machines, free weights, cable weights, resistance bands, suspension straps (harder, but I enjoy TRX), and one of the best tools, your own bodyweight. Yoga and Pialtes also help with this too.

How long? 3-4 times a week is a good plan. A general rule is to not work the same muscle areas two days in a row. Go for 1-2 lower body days, 1-2 upper body days, and rotate in core days 1-3 or even 4 days a week. Rest days are important.

Helpful Hint: Listen to your body. Pay attention to what feels wrong, awkward, not supported or weird. Chances are is that it's bad form that's putting strain on something, and that's an injury waiting to happen. Get some help with the motion, whether it's asking me, or looking at a picture or video.

How to Stay On Track: Try different things and track your numbers so that you can see your progress in numbers.


This shouldn't be neglected ever. From increasing your range of motion to do everyday tasks and actions, to injury prevention when you move weird or slip, to keeping your muscles loose to stave off general aches and pains, flexibility training and stretching is the best preventative medicine.

What to do? Finding stretching sequences online, either in list for or guided videos, or yoga sessions are the best, especially if you're looking for something general or you aren't sure where to begin.

How long? 5 minutes to 1 hour, depending on what you're looking to do. This can be done every day, but I wouldn't be doing difficult range-of-motion-increasing sessions two days in a row. But general stretching for finishing a workout, or for general stiffness can be done gently multiple times a day.

Helpful Hint: Listen to your body with this also. It is absolutely possible to hurt yourself while stretching or doing yoga, but between staying hydrated and never pushing to the point of pain, your chances go way down. Look for that satisfying stretch, breathe into it to deepen it, and ease back if it hurts.

How to Stay On Track: 2 things: First, if you don't have the starting point you like, accept it as a starting point. Stretching is unique to you, and you are doing this for your benefit. So what if that lunge isn't as low as that other person's! That stretch is to help you FEEL good, not look good. Maybe someday it'll look like that, but for now, the focus is on the feel.


Yup, I'm serious. No one should ignore this. Athletes work in unstable environments as much as people leaving their house on an icy day. Or if you're in my house and half-insane cats are running around your feet. Maybe balance training doesn't look cool or anything, but you'd seriously thank yourself when you seemlessly catch yourself from falling. People die from falls- don't neglect your sense of balance.

What to do? You don't necessarily need a dedicated session or series of exercises for balance unless you feel like yours is so poor that it deserves the attention, and that's awesome that you know you need to do this! Often, balance training is integrated into other types. Strength exercises are done on one foot, or on an unstable surface, yoga often incorporates balances postures, and hiking on a rough trail also will work on this.

How long? That's up to you. If you want to dedicate some time to it, maybe 5-10 minutes in a workout session, otherwise let it overlap a little bit into your other training each time you work out.

Helpful Hint: People might be worried about this as a task and I can see why. But knowing that you have a weak sense of balance just means that you start slow. Lift up one leg slightly, deliberately, and focus just on that. Then the other. See? You've already worked on balance. Count each day to see how long you can hold it. Like any other exercise, our body adapts and strengthens every time we do a task, and this is no exception. Trust me, you'll thank yourself for this work someday.

How to Stay on Track: Make it a game. Seriously, design a game with little goals and subgoals for each balance task. I used to do that for the "thread the needle" pose in yoga because I used to always fall out of it. I'd count "one one-thousand, two one-thousand" until my body relaxed into the pose and I could hold it. Balance does take time and focus, but your body definitely does benefit from it, even if only a couple workout sets include an instability factor each day.

Yup, I know this was a lot of information. Maybe your head is spinning. But comprehensive information can't really cut corners. So if you have any questions, let me know!