I've been off the horse for a few months now, but I'm ready to climb back on and in trying to make a schedule I'm remembering something that I've been confused about for a while. There are three "regimens" that I'm aiming to balance:

  • I ride a bike (for commuting)
  • Bodyweight circuit routines (based heavily on this one)
  • Freeweights (the exercises listed here, under "What Exercises Should I Do?" and the first bullet points under "How Many Repetitions Should I Do?")
  • Swimming would be nice to fit in on occasion

My primary concern is over-training. I'm sure you're looking at that list and saying to yourself "Just do fewer things, stupid" - and that may be the way it has to be - but if there's a way to structure my workouts such that I can eat my cake and have it, too (and then actually eat cake later, obviously), that'd be killer.

Edit: Ah, yes, my workout goals. First, I'm a 5'1", asthmatic male in his late 20's who is...

  • Trying to stay somewhere between 118 and 123 pounds (I'm slightly above that after a few months off, but we'll go ahead and label this "weight maintenance.")
  • Looking to improve strength, endurance, and overall health
  • Not especially concerned with becoming "ripped" or "bulking up"
  • What are your goals? Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 18:18
  • @DaveLiepmann Ah, yes. Added them in.
    – Zelbinian
    Commented Feb 7, 2012 at 19:39
  • Great question! I recently started bike commuting and visited the site today to ask this very thing.
    – J. Win.
    Commented Feb 8, 2012 at 21:06

1 Answer 1


The first thing I noticed when reading your post was these two sentences: I've been off the horse for a few months now and My primary concern is over-training. Given the fact you haven't exercised in a while, I definitely recommend an "ease-in" approach to your workout schedule. There are two reasons I recommend easing-in:

  • If you train too hard or too quickly you are likely to develop Post Onset Muscles Soreness and be forced to prematurely break your routine.
  • Going full-throttle into a heavy workout schedule can often result in stress, burnout, or frustration leading to abandonment of the workout altogether.

Also, based off of the fact you didn't mention food in your question, I'm going to make the assumption that you are already on a good and balanced diet, and that you will be scaling your diet accordingly to account for the various exercies/workouts/activites that you will be doing.

All that being said, let's take a look at some possible schedules:

Starting routine:

  • Mon: free-weight circuit workout
  • Tue: stretch
  • Wed: cardio
  • Thu: body-weight circuit workout
  • Fri: cardio
  • Sat: rest
  • Sun: rest

I kept the weight training to two days/week max because both are full-body workouts and you'll want to take it slow when starting out. I added a stretch workout to your weekly schedule, because flexibility and balance are very important for both strength training and general fitness. The stretching could be standard stretches, a yoga routine, or something similar. The two cardio workouts could be swimming, biking, pylometrics, whatever floats your boat. Once your body/muscles get accustomed to the workouts you can either increase the intensity of the workouts, increase the duration of the workouts, or you add more workouts to your weekly schedule.

A more advanced schedule would be something like:

  • Mon: free-weight circuit workout
  • Tue: cardio
  • Wed: body-weight circuit workout
  • Thu: cardio
  • Fri: free-weight circuit workout
  • Sat: stretch
  • Sun: rest

Now, you might find that three full-body workouts with two cardio routines in-between doesn't give your muscles enough time to rest/repair. If that's the case you might consider focusing on particular muscle groups (M: legs/back, W: chest/shoulders/abs, F: biceps/triceps) and doing really intense workouts (since they have a week to repair).

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