My Workout Routine + Workout Gear

my workout routine

I got so many comments on this picture, both on Instagram and on the blog, that I decided to write a post about my workout routine and workout gear.

First, let’s discuss my workout routine.

It’s nothing earth shattering or original. I basically run and lift weights. As far as I am concerned, those are the two most efficient ways to stay healthy and strong. Biking is awesome too, but I feel like it presents more hindrances than running, so it’s my backup exercise.

Lest you get the wrong idea, I am NOT a life-long athlete. Far from it, in fact! I once brought an entire group camping trip home early because my legs gave out and I couldn’t hike to the summit. True story.

I was in college, and that episode did NOT make me popular with the guys. I guess they were looking forward to camping out overnight? I do not understand such things.

I tried various types of exercise over the years, but nothing stuck until I discovered running about five years ago. It’s my outlet, my release, my thinking time, my me-time, and basically the key to my sanity. When I had to stop running due to injury, I about went out of my mind, and I’m not exaggerating one iota. I would be medicated without exercise. (There’s nothing wrong with being medicated, of course, but I’m glad that I found an outlet that did the trick for me so I don’t have to pursue that avenue of relief.)

My Running Program

I’ve been pretty inconsistent this winter, but my goal is to get back to running between 3 and 5 miles, 4 to 5 times a week. I had to take a year off due to injury, and I’m just now getting back into it, but by springtime, I’m hoping to be running 15 to 20 miles a week.

I love running local 5K races and I ran one half marathon. I doubt I’ll ever run another half because I don’t think my feet can handle that much mileage, and the training was intense and time consuming. That said, I’m SO glad I did it once. Besides birthing 3 children, that was by far the most rewarding experience of my life.

half marathon

Speaking of my 3 kids, I think it’s important for them to see me pursuing my dreams and personal goals and making time for myself and my hobbies. They were so excited for me when I crossed that finish line, and having them all there meant the world to me.

It’s easy to put off exercise and think we’re too busy, but there is always time for the things that are important to us so this is my mantra:

My Strength Training Program

As much as I love running, I detest weight lifting, but I do like the results. I’ve learned after many tried and failed attempts to stick to a workout program over the years that I have to have someone standing over me, making sure I’m doing my exercises properly, consistently, and thoroughly. I have no will power when it comes to strength training activities. I will always take the shortcut, I will always skip the last set, and I will always find an excuse not to go to the gym.

The only way I’ve found to sustain a workout program for a significant amount of time is to work with a trainer. Having a standing appointment and a financial investment I’m unwilling to forfeit keeps me motivated. I found her at my local gym, but now I go to her house. It’s very convenient, and she has become a good friend, which is a bonus.

We meet twice a week for an hour, and we do a variety of activities including traditional free weights, TRX, and body-weight resistance activities.

Before you ask, TRX is a suspension training program using your body weight and these thick straps. The program was actually developed by Navy SEALs as a way to stay in shape in tight quarters. Take a look. These pictures are about 4 years old, but you get the idea.

There is virtually no limit to the different exercises you can do with TRX equipment. If I had to work out at home and I could choose only one piece of exercise equipment, I’d invest in TRX. It is as hard as all get out, but it’s incredibly rewarding. You can adjust your position based on your strength level and make it challenging no matter what your fitness level is. Because I’m clearly no Navy SEAL.

I don’t mind heavy lifting, but I hate resistance activities or anything where you have to hold a pose. I’d rather bench 3 sets of 8 reps of 70 pounds (I did that last week!) than hold a plank for 60 seconds (ugh, I did that too), but I do whatever my trainer tells me to do because that’s why I’m paying her the big bucks.

There are definitely days that I want to quit, but I’m in the best shape of my life, and I don’t want to lose everything I’ve gained, so I keep plugging along.

Workout Gear

I used to work out in whatever old schlumpy clothes I had laying around. (See the TRX pictures above.) But as I got more serious about training and running, I began investing in more stylish and practical workout gear.

Having the right gear definitely makes a difference in your attitude and motivation. It’s like anything else — if you invest in it, you will be more motivated to actually do the activity and be consistent with it. It also tells your subconscious that you’re taking your workouts seriously, and soon you’ll find that you DO take it more seriously.

Proper workout gear isn’t just cute. It actually serves an important purpose. You want to exercise in material that is breathable and moisture-wicking, and if you exercise outside during cold weather, you need cold weather exercise gear. Of course, proper shoes are a must as well.

For the gym and for running outside in mild temperatures, I’m a huge fan of the Athleta be free knickers. They have a nice, wide waistband that smooths out the midsection, and they’re moisture wicking so when you sweat, it evaporates faster than with cotton. They also have an internal key pocket and a rear zip pocket.

be free knicker athleta

I put my inhaler in that rear zip pocket when I’m running races because I have asthma. They even have strategically placed mesh ventilation that allows sweat to escape so your skin can breathe. They’re stretchy, lightweight, and comfortable, and they don’t get in the way when I’m running or weight lifting.

In the summertime, I wear the salutation shorts to run in. I have 3 pairs of them in various colors.

You can see me wearing the knickers here. The top I’m wearing here is also one of my favorites. I like the feminine shape and that it’s not clingy. I can’t find the exact link (mine is old) but I think this is similar. I also have a few of these Nike Racer DRI-Fit Running Tees.

bicep curl

For running in the wintertime, I usually wear the Athleta Polartec Power Stretch Tights. They are good for ALMOST any kind of cold weather, but I’m finding they have their limitations. I need something that is wind resistant to layer on top of those.

On top, I like to wear one of these Under Armour Cold Gear turtlenecks under a sweatshirt or jacket similar to this. I also have something like this Nike running jacket for running in the rain, but mine is bright orange.

For wintertime running, a hat and gloves are an absolute must. A few years ago, my husband and my mom set me up with a ton of running gear for Christmas. The nice thing about this gear is you will use it for years.

Everyone always asks me about shoes, but everyone’s needs are different. The only rule is do not skimp on shoes. You can skimp on workout clothes, but your shoes should be the right style for your feet, and you should keep them updated. When your shoes start to break down, you will start developing aches and pains, and you could end up injured.

I’ve gone from wearing minimalist shoes a few years ago to a full stability shoe with custom orthotics. I currently run in the Saucony Guide 9, but you really can’t go on someone else’s recommendation. Go to a running store and get fitted by someone who knows what they’re doing and can give you the best recommendation based on your feet and the way you walk/run. Saucony Guide 9

When you learn the type of shoe you need (neutral, stability, etc.) then you can try different brands and see what is most comfortable. I’m a huge fan of Saucony because they have a wide toe box and they feel good on my feet, but you might prefer Mizuno or Brooks. The only way to find out is to try them all on with the help of a trained professional who can guide you to the right amount of support for your feet.

I have an armband for my phone so I can listen to music, and I use the RunKeeper app to keep track of my mileage.

iPhone Armband

I also have a Garmin GPS watch, which I love when I’m actually working on speed and timing for races. I like that I can look down at any time and it tells me my pace. I haven’t been bothering with that lately, as my goal right now is just to get back into the swing of things, but I’ll need to charge it up and start using it again soon.

For me, working out is more of a necessary evil than a treasured pastime, but the older I get, the more I realize how crucial it is to staying youthful and strong. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you, but it’s so worth the investment.  As always, feel free to leave any questions in the comments.

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28 Responses

  1. This is awesome Jo-Lynne. I have been talking with a trainer, but time management is my biggest obstacle. I work full time, take care of the house (somewhat), and then do a blog a night. I need to make room for ME. Thanks for the inspiration, I think I will give her a call.

  2. Great article Jo-Lynne! I’ve been wanting to do TRX at my gym so you have motivated me to try it. I also think I will invest in a trainer. You look Fabulous!!

  3. Thanks for another great story, Jo-Lynne! Knowing that you have children, can you shed some light on what your workout routine was when they were much younger? Go to a gym? Exercise at home? LOL – maybe no exercise? I find this to be a big challenge and keep evaluating what type of a program or schedule might work best. After all, going to and from the gym takes time, however, having someone else watch your kids while you exercise ensures not being interrupted.

    1. Valerie, when my kids were young, I didn’t do much exercising, I’m afraid. There was a season when I joined the YMCA, and I put my daughter in their Child Watch program while I worked out or took a class. I did that for a while. I used to do videos at home sometimes. I did The 30 Day Shred for a while before I got injured, and that is actually when I discovered running. I was always trying to work out and fit it in, but it isn’t easy when you have young kids. I did enjoy the time at the Y. I needed to get out of my house, and that helped me feel more in touch with the outside world. 🙂

  4. Good morning! What I just read felt like you were telling my story…I didn’t really work out until I noticed my body going south and I knew I needed to do it to stay in good shape and health. I started running about 6 years ago – similar to you – 3-5 miles about 5 times a week. Loved it once it became a routine and boy did it give me pretty toned legs not to mention my arms were getting toned (an added bonus). Like you, I had an issue (my knees) and had to stop running. I took two yrs. off and hated that I couldn’t run. I just turned 50 and I’m now back running – on a track and softer surfaces to alleviate a bit of stress on my joints. I forgot how much I loved my 30-40 minutes of running and time to think, listen to music, etc.

    I really enjoy your blog…I only follow a couple…but I can totally relate to everything you write and I have a similar fashion sense. Appreciate you – keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, Heather. It means a lot to hear that. My knees don’t bother me too much, but I struggled with plantar fasciitis for a long time, and then I had a tendon tear and a stress fracture, so I spent a year recovering from those – in the meantime, the PF cleared up. YAY! 🙂 So I’m back out there. It feels fantastic.

  5. The link for the Garmin is not working for me. I dabble in running, but do not want a high end Garmin. What model do you use.

  6. I love this post! I started running a few years back, and it has done wonders to increase my confidence, mood and general sense of well-being. I agree that exercise is a form of anti-anxiety/anti-depressant for me. I have signed up for personal training, because, like you, I need the push and feedback. Luckily, my gym has semi-private sessions that don’t blow up my budget! This post is so well-timed as I was today planning to get back on a running regimen, which will be inside until the ice is gone. I did a half a few years back and I had never felt that same sense of pride and accomplishment before. Fit girls ROCK!

    1. Semi private lessons are an awesome compromise. I used to do some group sessions to help save $$. I should probably ask her if I can do those again, but I’ve gotten spoiled. 🙂

  7. Great post! As a longtime runner (half-marathons, marathons), I spent years doing little to no strength training. Stacking up miles after useless miles. And then we had an Orangetheory Fitness open up 3 minutes away from the house. If you’re not familiar, the workout incorporates running, rowing, free weights, and our beloved TRX strap. Everyone in class has a heart rate monitor on to ensure that your not under/over training. I have been doing the workout for over a year, and at 47, it has absolutely changed both my mental and physical well being!!! And while I still LOVE running a sweet 4 miles out in the fresh air with a friend, this workout has been the best investment in strengthening my body. Keep up the good work-you look great! Way to rock the “pike to knee tuck”-such a powerhouse move!

  8. Very motivating ! Did you follow a running plan to get started? I’ve done a 5K ONCE and would love to get back into running. I haven’t ran in a couple of years so need to start all over. Any suggestions?

    1. I did not follow a plan, but hear great things about Couch to 5K. I just started out walking, and then I would run for a while and walk for a while. I started running to the next mailbox each day, lol. And it just added on from there.

  9. I love this post. It’s very motivating. It gives me great ideas on how to start and needed gear. Do you think I could start running at age 58? I’ve never been a runner but now that I’m retired I feel I could dedicate time to it. I love to hear all of the comments praising a running routine. Looking at photos of you in your workout routine is so encouraging. You look so fit and healthy. Go Jo-Lynne!

    1. Hey Carol. I think it’s possible but perhaps not advisable. 🙂 I basically went out to walk, then I would get bored, and I’d jog for a few minutes, and I’d get winded, so I’d walk for a few minutes, and I just sort of went back and forth, and then I was running more and more of it until I wasn’t walking at all anymore.

      Running is hard on the body when you’re not used to it. So there are people who run marathons in their 70s, but most have been running their whole lives. For the rest of us, I think we have to go slow and listen to our bodies. You could try and see how you do, but definitely listen to your body. Walking is a great exercise too, and must easier on your joints. 🙂

  10. I loved this post! I never worked out (at all!) until I was 39, then I started running and ran a 1/2 marathon for my 40th birthday. Now I run 4 days a week and do CrossFit 3 days a week. I thought I was in good shape from running when I started CrossFit, but was I ever wrong! Cross training has helped me run faster, too (although I’m still a back-of-the-packer!). It’s a great feeling to be in the best shape of my life (so far) at 44! Thanks for encouraging all of your ladies! It’s never too late to get started and get fit!

  11. Jo Lynne, I actually found your blog while searching online for “shoes that work with orthotics.” As I read your posts, I realized we had a similar injury. I started running at age 39 (almost 2 years ago) and ran several 5K races. I felt like I had finally found MY thing! Then I developed a crippling case of plantar fasciitis. My podiatrist says running should not be MY thing. So frustrating. I’ve gained some weight since having to stop running. It’s been so discouraging! Thankfully, my sweet husband bought me a nice elliptical machine for Christmas (a podiatrist approved exercise) and I am getting into the routine of working out again. I’ve found your blog and the “Fashion for Women Over 40” Facebook group to be so encouraging. Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Keep up the hard work Jo-Lynne!

    For those of you that want to do various types of exercises in the comfort of your own home, I highly recommend WiiFit Plus. You program it to keep up with your progress, and you can do stretching, yoga, balance, strengthening, waking, running, etc. When you do the body test, it will even tell you your WiiFit age.

  13. Ive never really be able to get into running but whenever I am working out I always see the fastest results when I’m going weights. I used to try and do cardio like crazy but now I feel like I’m wasting my time lol
    Need some new workout gear so thanks for the suggestions

    Confessions of a Frumpy Mommy

  14. Awesome post, you go Jo-Lynne! I agree, do not skimp on shoes. Get what you need. I like the thick-soled Hoka One-One’s. Now I’m going to the gym after work for sure.

  15. Although I have been following your blog for a couple of years (and have really admired your warts & all approach!) I have only just signed up for the daily emails. What a day to do it! Brilliant post & just what I needed to give me the boost to get into the gym, so thank you for that.

  16. I literally shook my head in wonder as I read about your fitness journey, because it mirrors mine in so many ways. Our fashion sense and lifestyles are remarkably similar too. In reading the comments on this and other posts, I see a lot of others feel the same. I think that’s why your blog is so popular Jo Lynne. You have a true gift for sharing day to day life, fashion advice, thoughts on family, and other tidbits that connect us. Thanks for writing such an excellent blog! Keep up the great work, and enjoy running again ????????

  17. I also do a variety of activities, My trainer has me doing 3exercises in 3 combo sets, including traditional free weights, TRX, and body-weight resistance activities. I love the TRX bands i had never done them until they set up the new TRX are in my gym. It is so odd that the combos like walking with a dumbbell over your shoulder, or planks on the bands can make you sore when it doesn’t seem like your working out those muscles. I also do 5K’s, my trainer is trying to talk me into a half marathon, considering it .

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