4 Week Winter Training Plan

Pete Donohoe
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The winter months can create a major shift in activity levels for many people. So when Mac wanted to put together a four week winter training plan, we couldn’t wait to share! Many of us see a decline in our fitness levels during the colder months, so it’s our hope that this plan will provide the inspiration to keep you moving all winter long.

When doing a Hydrow training plan, it’s common to spend time thinking about how the Athlete makes the workout look effortless - rowing in a beautiful location, often traveling far from home, and always smiling with really good energy. 

It’s easy to wonder what Hydrow Athletes do for their own fitness routines in order to make it look so easy on screen! In December 2020, Mac Evans was coming up on a 4-week Hydrow filming hiatus and took the opportunity to press the reset button on her fitness by nailing down her whole health and exercise goals.

To develop a plan, she sat down with Hydrow’s strength and movement specialist Peter Donohoe, OLY CSCS, and exercise physiologist Kristin Haraldsdottir, Ph.D.

Mac’s goals were familiar to most of us -- she wanted to be fitter, ready to come back to Hydrow feeling mentally and physically stronger, stick to a consistent workout schedule, and share her journey with Hydrow’s members. As a team, they built a workout to set Mac up for success, and get her back on the water feeling great. 

"In college, every workout is written by your coaches -- they tell you what to do, when to do it and how to approach/strategize. For me, my teammates were an important part of my training and success -- they encouraged, celebrated, and lifted me up everyday. After graduating, it was hard to not only find that same accountability I had been used to but it was also tough to know what workouts I should be doing on my own and when.”

“It was super refreshing to sit down with Kristin and Peter to establish some goals, create a training plan, and have a group I can turn to and ask questions. This 4 week plan gave me structure, an accountability system and people I can share and celebrate my progress with. Plus, knowing that I had to report back to them got me through a lot of the tougher workouts!"

Steps to setting health and fitness goals:

  1. Identify your goals 

  2. Write down why those goals are meaningful 

  3. Create a realistic training plan 

  4. Create an accountability system to track your progress 

  5. Track progress, make necessary changes, and celebrate wins! 

Mac’s Goal Plan:

Identify your goals 

Mac had two concrete goals: 1. Improve fitness and strength 2. Work out 5 days a week

Ask WHY are those your goals 

Taking a deeper look, Mac’s goals aligned with her desire to be able to deliver great workouts to the Hydrow community. Each of your smaller goals should work towards supporting your ultimate final goal. 

Improve fitness and strength 

As a Hydrow Athlete, Mac’s weekly work schedule is variable and demanding. Her filming schedule means that she is filming at different geographic locations, times of year, and times of day- meaning that she could be filming workouts in the sun, in the snow, at 6 AM, 6 PM, and ranging from 5-minute cool downs to 45-minute Drives. 

In order to be ready and resilient for her days of filming, Mac needs to have great base cardiovascular fitness and strength. To keep her body healthy and injury free, it is very important to include mobility exercises into her routine.

Work out 5 days a week 

Mac says, “I've always loved to sweat and be active and making time to do that is an incredibly important part of my day. Aside from rowing and leading workouts on camera, I also work out on my own - not only to feel the physical effects of moving, but it's a time in my day that I like to use as a mental release of anxiety and stress. 

Some weeks, especially when I’m traveling, it can be hard to stick to working out 5 days a week but one thing I’ve learned is after a long day, when I’m feeling like lying down and not moving, making the decision to sweat, even if it's just for 10 minutes, makes me feel so much better.”

Create a realistic plan 

Next up, Mac worked with Peter on the fun part -- her weekly plan. 

In collaboration with Mac, and based on Mac’s goals and lifestyle, they needed to create a workout schedule that worked for her and her current environment. The most successful workout routine is one that is realistic with your life’s demands. For Mac, this means that she needs to be able to do her workouts when she’s far from home, with minimal equipment at her disposal.

Create an accountability and tracking plan 

When it comes to a fitness plan, accountability is key -- different approaches work for different people. One strategy that works for a lot of people is to write things down and track their own progress. 

Mac started the habit of documenting her workouts back in college, which has become an important part of her personal accountability. After every workout, she documents her stats, how she felt during and after the workout, the mobility work she did, and any feedback for herself to look back on. That way, she can look back in her notebook and have a visual record of all the work she’s put in, which she sees as a reward towards staying accountable.  

On top of that, after Mac’s first two meetings with Peter and Kristin to create her 4-week plan, they scheduled weekly check-ins.

Measure progress, make necessary adjustments, and celebrate wins 

In order to track progress, we needed to create measures of success. Mac already keeps a journal where she writes out her planned workouts, and any important details about exercises, weight, difficulty of certain workouts or exercises, how she slept the night before, her nutrition, and other details about her day. 

This system works nicely for her, as she’s able to organize her busy weeks and track her progress towards hitting five workouts per week. Plus- she loves looking back and seeing all of the work she’s put in- that’s a big reward for her.

First Monday of the 4-week plan: 5 minute assessment Last week of the 4-week plan: 5 minute assessment

Mac’s training program, written by Peter for her specific goals, combined Strength & Mobility (including legs and core, plyometric strength training, yoga, and stretching) with Rowing on-Hydrow workouts. Check out the sample training plan below with some workouts in the Hydrow on-demand library.

How did Mac’s 4-week plan go? 

When Mac started her 4- week training program, her assessment average split was 1:57.0. After sticking closely to her training plan, Mac’s 5-minute assessment split improved by over a second, to 1:55.9. 

“It was a very pleasant surprise to see measurable progress on the 5-minute assessment. The second 5-minute assessment felt really good because my workout plan had been designed to increase my fitness both at low and high intensities. 

Although it wasn’t one of my original goals, it was rewarding to know the work that I put in was truly making a difference in my fitness and that the training really paid off.”

When Mac started her 4- week training program, her assessment average split was 1:57.0. After sticking closely to her training plan, Mac’s 5-minute assessment split improved by over a second, to 1:55.9.

“It was a very pleasant surprise to see measurable progress on the 5-minute assessment. The second 5-minute assessment felt really good because my workout plan had been designed to increase my fitness both at low and high intensities. 

Although it wasn’t one of my original goals, it was rewarding to know the work that I put in was truly making a difference in my fitness and that the training really paid off.”

Want to build a week like Mac with Hydrow workouts? 

Mac filmed a special workout for Hydrow members that is based on the rowing workout she did every Monday in her 4-week plan. You can check it out in Hydrow's on-demand library. 

The workout is a 15-minute Sweat titled “Weekly Conditioning Row.”  

Sample 4-week workout plan:

Here’s a weekly schedule you can try with workouts from the Hydrow on-demand library. Repeat this schedule each week for four weeks. You can even substitute similar workouts to take advantage of Hydrow’s whole workout library!

Hydrow On The Mat Strength & Mobility Workouts

Hydrow Rowing Workouts

Day 1

“Thighs, Butts, and Guts Strength” 15-minute Strength with Peter and Mike Published 1.11.2021

“Weekly Conditioning Row”  15-minute Sweat with Mac Published 2.21.2021

Day 2

“Advanced Whole Body Strength” 30-minute Strength with Peter and Nick Published 10.19.2020

N/A

Day 3

“HIIT Strength”  20-minute Strength with Peter Published 2.12.2021

“Beginner HIIT Row”  20-minute Drive with Michelle Published 7.9.2020

Day 4

“Mobility: The Hips Don’t Lie”  10-minute Mobility with Peter Published 1.18.2021 

“Full Body Mobility”  15-minute with Peter and Michelle Published 2.8.2021

N/A

Day 5

“Foam Rolling for Posture” 10-minute with Peter Published 1.8.2021 

“Time Under Tension Strength”  20-minute Strength with Peter Published 12.23.2020

“Beginner Climb Row” 45-minute Breathe with James Published 7.24.2020

Mac spent the next 8 weeks Miami Beach filming Hydrow workouts. 

“Peter’s warmups really helped me keep coming back to the next day’s workout without too much soreness. That was a huge shift from how I had been working out before. Going forward, I will always take the time to do a warmup to make sure I get the most out of my workout and feel great afterwards. 

Strength training was one of my favorite parts, and it was fun to get in touch with that again. It definitely helps with my rowing- the lower body strength made a big difference in my connection and HIIT intervals.” 

We’ll be working with Mac (and other Hydrow Athletes) on a plan to keep her feeling energized, fit, and healthy for this next block of training.