Recovering After Holidays & How Many Reps You Should Be Doing

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One of the questions I get from 90% of new gym members or clients is: "How many reps or sets should I be doing?"

It's a logical but loaded question. First of all, set & rep schemes depend on several factors: what are your goals? What move is it? Are you supersetting it with anything? How much are you currently doing?

Here's a general rule of thumb:
high rep, low-moderate sets = muscle endurance/toning
low rep, moderate-high sets = muscle building/strengthening

For general toning and shaping, stick with the 4 sets of 12-15 reps or 3 sets of 10-15 range. 
If you're after strength gains & trying to build muscle more seriously, go for things like 5 sets of 5 or 4 sets of 8-10.
However, your weight lifting programming should include a mix of both of these set/rep ranges. Try doing 3-4 weeks of one, then switching to the other to keep your muscles working hard and progressing.

The overall idea, however, is that whatever your rep/set scheme is, you should be choosing a weight that fatigues you by this many reps. 

For example, if you are performing 4 sets of 12 dumbbell curls with 10 pound dumbbells and then decide to switch to 5 sets of 5, you should increase your dumbbell weight to 15 or 20 pounds, so that you are actually tired after 5 reps.


Barbecue Chicken Flatbread - high protein, moderate carb, low fat

I'm hoping you had a happy (and delicious) 4th complete with something grilled, something sweet & something cold by the pool last week. I'm also hoping you didn't go into guilt-trip mode after the feast and sink into the hole I've been in many times thinking, "Okay, how can I work off that burger and ice cream (and chips... and dip... and brownie... and more chips?")

Here's the good news: you don't need to "work off" anything! Your body has already metabolized the extra energy you gave it and guess what-- if you've been on your game besides that, one day isn't going to totally derail all your progress. 

Here's what I recommend in general as a post-indulgence detox:

-get back on track & eat like normal

-drink extra water

-have a super hard workout with all your extra fuel

-be mindful of fats & carbs

It's likely you over-consumed carbs and fats in your holiday feast. (By over-consume, I mean consuming more than your body is used to in these departments.) Keep eating like normal the next day, but maybe leave the bun off your sandwich at lunch and skip the cheese on your eggs at breakfast. There's no need to go into starvation mode to "make up" for what you ate the day before, but it is okay to just give your body a rest on the carbs & fats if you want.

Lastly, you don't need to spend an extra hour in the gym or run an extra mile for the burger and hot dog you enjoyed... but it doesn't hurt to use it as fuel! Try something extra challenging in your workout the day after you enjoy a big meal and put that extra energy to use!



The other night, I wanted to go on a run but didn't have much time. At first I thought, "I can't go for my usual 30 minutes, so I won't go at all."

Then I thought, "That's true... I can't go for 30 minutes, but I can go for 15."

Changing "can't" to "can" is a thought process I've implemented this week in my workouts/eating that's been really encouraging. I've come across things like:

"I can't do 10 sprints at this speed." --> "But I can do 10 sprints at a different speed."

"I can't say 'no' to that wedding cake." --> "But I can have just 1 slice & not feel guilty about it."

"I can't workout today." --> "But I can eat super well, drink my water & get a good stretch in."

Changing "can't" to "can" helps you focus on what you're capable of instead of highlighting what you're not doing. It's mental shift that's 100% worth the extra effort. 


  1. Your sets & reps depend on your goals, your current lifting ability & how much weight you're using. High rep, low set = toning; low rep, high set = strength. Good, functional programming consists of both.
  2. Don't punish yourself after holiday feasts. Get back on track, make a few small tweaks, and use the extra fuel to do something extra hard in your next workout!
  3. Stop focusing on what you "can't" do and highlight what you "can" do! How can you change a "can't" to a "can" right now?

Ready to start a training plan but don't know where to start or what to do? I've got all of that (and more!) covered in my 8-Week App-Based training program. Video tutorials, clear instructions & easy to follow workouts, all here! Click below to learn more!