We Switched Exercise Routines and Surprised Ourselves

Motivated by swapping daily habits and routines with those of our friends, Allie and Kelly tried switching their exercise regimens to branch out and see a different side of the fitness world.

Kelly’s Routine:

Monday: Running — approximately 30 minutes/3 miles, then stretch

Tuesday: Boxing class for 1 hour

Wednesday: Rest Day

Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Boxing class for 1 hour/Running

Saturday: Rest Day

Sunday: Boxing class for 1 hour


Allie’s Routine (varies depending on schedule and level of motivation):

Monday: Yoga for 1 hour

Tuesday: Rest Day

Wednesday: Yoga for 1 hour

Thursday: Zumba for 1 hour

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Yoga for 1 hour


Kelly: My typical exercise routine is four days of cardio and two days of rest. After years of trying different exercises and failing, I finally landed on two cardio exercises that I can actually stand:running and boxing/kickboxing. For running, I go solo and outside, typically about 30 minutes or around three miles. This is usually just once a week, to get my blood pumping and loosen my legs. I conclude with a quick stretch and, if I’m feeling really ambitious, a couple of ab exercises. I really enjoy kickboxing and boxing, after trying it for the first time a few months ago. I’m a member at a gym near my house and go to classes around four times a week. My rest days are determined by how busy I am during the day and if I have time; I don’t follow a strict regimen.

Allie: My exercise routine is mediocre at best. I have tried and failed to establish a routine I can stick with more times than I can count, so typically I don’t make it to the gym nearly as often as I should or would like to. I joined a gym with classes in the hopes that paying and having a scheduled time to go would motivate me to actually work out. I learned that I really like yoga, and in an ideal week I’d take at least two yoga classes at the gym and do one stress relief yoga video at home. For cardio, I like Zumba classes, and try to fit that in at least once a week. It’s more fun than typical gym workouts, feels like dancing, and I love the upbeat music. I also don’t follow a set routine day-wise; I go with whatever I can fit in, and my rest days are determined by how busy I am, or if a migraine pops up. I am hoping that switching lists this week spurs me into action and gets me moving more (one can dream).

Day 1: Monday

Kelly: I ended up taking a rest day today! I worked out hard over the weekend and was very sore this morning when I woke up. I did a few stretches, just to loosen up, but no official exercise routine. I’ll make sure start the week off with the new exercise switch, starting tomorrow!

Allie: I had to skip this day, because I had a raging migraine all day and evening, so all I could manage to do was my homework and lying in bed with an ice pack. I hate running, though, so I’m not super disappointed. However, I will do my best to be a good steward of the full exercise routine and make this activity up on one of the scheduled rest days instead.

Day 2: Tuesday

Allie:  I was cautiously optimistic about trying kickboxing. I’ve always been curious, but never brave enough to give it a shot. I didn’t make it to an in-person class thanks to my night class for grad school, but I did find time to do this shorter youtube class. The class was only 25 minutes compared to the normal hour Kelly does, but as someone who is just starting to workout, this was definitely enough for me. I enjoyed the kickboxing part; it made me feel like empowered. The workout  involved a good amount of cardio, too; I worked up more of a sweat than I have in a long time. It got tough towards the end of each interval for me, but it switched to cool down around when I was ready to give up, so I made it through. My verdict: I could not do a full hour of this, but I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again later this week, so that’s a plus.

Kelly: I’ll say it upfront, I’m very bad at yoga. I’m just not a very flexible person and I have terrible balance. However, for the sake of the challenge, I thought I’d give it a good try. My gym doesn’t offer yoga classes, so I elected to try one of the videos that Allie recommended. It was definitely not as bad as I thought it would be! My past experience with yoga has always been classes, which go through the movements too fast for me to figure out what they are and adjust, or an app, which doesn’t describe the movement/position well enough for me to feel 100 percent confident I’m doing it correctly. The video’s pacing was great in that it was  slow enough for me to readjust my poses and then focus on my breathing as I held the position. I was definitely pretty slow at moving, but I felt much looser afterwards, a benefit I don’t get from my boxing/running routine.

Day 3: Wednesday

Kelly: I was feeling confident about yoga — perhaps TOO confident. I did some research during the day and found that a CorePower Yoga studio near my class was having a free first class special. The only class available after work was Yoga Sculpt — a mix of cardio and yoga. While not exactly Allie’s typical exercise routine, I wanted to try a yoga class taught by an instructor again to see if I could manage a little better after my refresher yesterday. Perhaps I should have read a little more carefully because I didn’t realize that Yoga Sculpt was in a “heated room.” I think my relatively strong cardio/core from my usual workout routine helped me…slightly. I was sweating during the preliminary stretches in the overheated room and the combination of cardio movements AND yoga positions made the class that much harder. By the end of the class, I was pretty sure I had never sweated that much in one hour in my entire life and my whole body was shaky. While I liked the atmosphere of a yoga studio and doing the class with other people, the addition of heat was too much for me.

Allie: My migraine was back again today in full force (thanks, hormones. Being a girl is fun.) So, this was a rest day I gladly took. I am a little bummed, though, because I was actually looking forward to trying kickboxing again. Especially since I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be after yesterday’s video. Perhaps that means I need to try harder.  Side note: I can’t believe Kelly made it through a combo of cardio and yoga in a HEATED room. I tried hot yoga once and they didn’t even have the room as high as they normally do and I still sweat more than I have in my entire life. Not a positive experience. So mad props to you for going above and beyond today.

Day 4: Thursday

Kelly: Today was a rest day for me. I usually try to take at least two rest days per week and I don’t have a structure for which days they end up being. If traffic ends up being terrible on my way home — or on days like today, when I had plans with a friend for dinner — I skip. I’m really just working myself up for this Zumba class.

Allie:  This was another rest day for me. I should have probably used this day to catch up on the running I missed, but I hate running and it’s a million degrees here this week, so I couldn’t drag myself off the couch to do it.

Day 5: Friday

Kelly: I have never taken a Zumba class. Intentionally. I am extremely uncoordinated and a mediocre dancer, not to mention I’m horrified of embarrassing myself . I elected to try a Youtube video first, so that I could dance in the privacy of my own home. I did some research and found “Zumba for Beginners” with 4 million-plus views. In the end, I’m glad I started with a Youtube class because I did not know any of the moves. It took me several tries to get the rhythm before the instructor moved to a new combination. The video was just over 30 minutes long and definitely a good workout with constant movement. I confirmed that I was not meant to be a professional dancer. However, I actually really liked the music and added it to my playlist for when I run, which was an unexpected plus! I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I might, but I think I’ll try a few more Youtube videos before going to take a class with other people.

Allie: I tried the 26 minute kickboxing video again. This challenge is helping me learn many things about myself. Mainly, that I hate jumping jacks. They are the worst. I hate running more, but it’s a close call. I would never have known this if I didn’t try kickboxing. However, I still enjoyed the kickboxing workout. It really is a great workout for your arms and legs if you really get into it. I have a hard time doing it on the carpet in my bedroom, but doing this challenge this week has me really tempted to venture out to the gym and take a real class. I probably won’t be able to keep up, but it’s a good cardio workout that I didn’t totally hate. I’d definitely entertain the idea of trying it in person.

Day 6:

Kelly: I decided to take my third rest day of the week today. As stated earlier, my rest days usually just fall on the days when I’m too busy to take the time to exercise. I like that Allie’s schedule allows for three rest days a week and I used it wisely

Allie: This was supposed to be another rest day, but since tomorrow is Father’s Day, I know I won’t get anything done, so I told myself all week I needed to work out today. However, I spent all day running errands and didn’t have time to work out. I may be riding the excuse train a bit far, but I did walk around a lot this evening , so I feel like that counts for something. But this day was a bit of a fail.

Day 7:

Kelly: I made a half-hearted attempt at exercising on the last day of this week-long challenge. It was Father’s Day, meaning a jam-packed schedule of festivities and traveling and basically no time for exercising. At the end of the day, I decided to do a quick yoga session — only 15 minutes — to at least get something in. I went with the yoga app on my phone called Sworkit and did “yoga,” which felt more like stretching since it was such a short time span. I admittedly was super tired and didn’t put my whole heart into it.


Kelly: It was much harder than I expected to adjust to a new routine. I had enough trouble finding an exercise routine that I liked and could stick with and switching to an unfamiliar schedule  made it that much harder to motivate myself. I did learn that I do my best in exercise class settings, where I am surrounded by other people. I like to be instructed and shown that I am doing the exercise correctly and I need to be surrounded by other people to motivate myself to keep pushing through the discomfort. I may start incorporating yoga into my weekly routine though, for the stretching and non-cardio aspect.

Allie: While I wasn’t as successful as sticking to Kelly’s routine as I’d hoped I would be, switching routines for a week still taught  me a lot. Surprisingly, I found that I missed yoga a little bit.  I discovered kickboxing, which I never would have had the courage or interest to try on my own, and really enjoyed it (except for the jumping jacks). I also learned that I like the flexibility of being able to do a video at home, rather than try to race to the gym to get to a class on time.  I may pause my gym membership for a month and test out some kind of subscription (like Hulu’s Daily Burn) that I can do from home, to see if that motivates me to work out more.

Have you recently switched up your own exercise routine? Let us know by tweeting @litdarling!

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