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Ze' Pierce

Day in and day out, I’m juggling a lot of to-dos. Even as a group fitness performer and studio manager at Life Time, finding space for my workouts can be a challenge.

There was a period of time when I didn’t feel fulfilled unless I had the chance to fit in my prescribed daily workout — and undergo that effort for at least 90 minutes. About six months ago though, I decided I was going to approach exercise differently: Now, I’m focused on accepting what I can do — and where and when I can do it.

That means day-to-day and week-to-week, my workout schedule changes depending on life’s demands. I’d encourage anyone to offer themselves that same flexibility and grace — if you can only squeeze in a 30-minute workout, be OK with that. It’s important we show ourselves kindness and appreciate even small efforts.

As an example, here’s a look at how I often approach my week:

Sunday: Cardio, core work, and yoga or meditation

Typically, I’ll take a cardio-focused live-streaming class, coupled with a core workout. I usually aim for three, 30-second rounds of three to four moves that target all aspects of my core. I finish my Sunday sweat session with either yoga or meditation.

Monday: Legs

I teach an EDG Cycle class on Mondays, which I treat as my warm-up. Then I focus on leg exercises, either on the fitness floor or through the use of workouts in the Life Time digital app.

Tuesday: Total body

This used to be my chest day, but I also teach three classes every Tuesday and I found that I was overtraining my body. Now, I treat my classes as my workout commitments and look at this as my total-body workout day.

Wednesday: Strength training

After a 20-minute warm-up on the elliptical, I follow with a strength workout that targets my back, traps, and biceps. These efforts include deadlifts, dual cable rows, cable flies, neutral grip pulldowns, rope face pulls, straight arm pushdowns, hammer curls, preacher curls, and incline dumbbell curls. Depending on the move, I’ll do anywhere from eight to 20 reps, usually completing three to four sets.

Thursday: Cardio, core work, and rest

I often approach Thursdays similar to Sundays, though I also allow myself to treat them as my full rest and recovery days. I make sure to stay consistent with my hydration and nutrition habits.

Friday: Shoulders and triceps

My efforts on this day include Arnold presses, pec-deck rear-delt flys, lateral raises, overhead tricep presses, and tricep dips. I typically do between three to four sets, with 10 to 12 reps per move and 60 to 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Saturday: Active recovery/rest

While I would prefer to treat Saturdays as true rest days, I do teach. To avoid my own overtraining, I tend to pull back on my personal fitness efforts while instructing in class.

I was once the type of person who felt I had to work out six times a week, but that’s changed. I now ensure that I rest at least one or two days per week. If I am active six days a week, one of those will be treated as an active rest day, where I’ll incorporate a recovery-based form of activity. My favorites are the SURRENDER yoga or BE meditation classes.

Crafting a weekly workout plan is a great tool for staying on track with your goals and fitting in consistent movement. Unexpected events do happen, though, so don’t beat yourself up for missed, shortened, or less intense workouts. Instead, adapt best you can. My life’s motto is, “Live in the small progress — it all adds up.”

Ze’ Pierce
Ze’ Pierce

Ze’ Pierce is the studio manager and a group fitness performer at Life Time in Mount Laurel, New Jersey, as well as a Life Time Inclusion Council club ambassador.

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