The “Vanity” Workout: A Routine Before the Night-Out


I am fortunate enough to be able to commit approximately 1 hour every day to hitting the gym, and I never really “plan” on taking rest days. Sometimes I will go two or three weeks without taking a day off, and then one week will be busier than usual and I’ll miss three days in a row. The idea is that in the end, my body has become accustomed to consistent exercise, and taking a day or two off during a busy week won’t dramatically change my strength or ability.

Therefore, as I mentioned in my article titled the “6-Day Split,” what works best for my personal fitness consistency is splitting muscle groups into different days, giving my body parts time to rest on days they are not being exercised. For me, this optimizes muscle building and strength training, which are two of my personal fitness goals. In the aforementioned article I included what I call the “vanity” workout on day 6. I would like to elaborate further on the usefulness and purpose of this workout.

What is a“vanity” workout?

The vanity workout is a general term I use for any gym session in which I target multiple muscle groups with the intention of getting them “pumped up.” I try to utilize high-intensity machines or exercises that are focused on one muscle group at a time. I typically aim to do between 5-7 of these exercises for this routine.

When and why do I use it?

I typically use this workout on days that I am not feeling 100%, either physically or mentally. I don’t want to waste one of my focused muscle workout splits (an entire workout targeting one muscle group) on a day when I am not at my best. If I had been partying the entire night prior, ate poorly the day before or the morning of my workout, or simply can’t seem to focus, I will initiate the vanity workout.

Before big gay get togethers, music festivals, EDM events, or pool parties during which I know my shirt will be off, I will also use the vanity workout. I know that it is not the most effective workout for my long-term fitness goals, but if you want to look good for a specific event, I would recommend doing this the day of.

The Workout

Cardio – I usually do 1 mile on the Stairmaster to get my blood flowing. I aim for 1 mile (approximately 50 floors) under 6:30 minutes.

Exercises (rest 45 seconds between each set, 1 minute between each exercise):

  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Machine Lateral Pulldown (to target back/lateral muscles)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Machine Incline Chest Press (to target chest)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Machine Overhead Press (to target shoulders)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Leg Press (general leg exercise)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Calf Raises (self-explanatory)
  • 3 sets of 12 reps, Standing Alternating Bicep Curls (count every other, 12 per arm every set)

Abs (rest 45 seconds between exercises)

  • 50 leg raises
  • 50 crunches
  • 50 toe-touches
  • 50 alternating abdominal push-throughs

That’s it!

A few notes

As you might have noticed, I recommend 12 reps for each set. I think this is the optimal repetition amount for both strength training and mass building while still promoting muscle density. If you prefer lower reps with higher weights (for more muscle mass), I encourage you to try it.

If you want to increase the intensity of the workout, try doing free-weights instead of the machines I mention in the “exercises” portion of the workout. For example, instead of doing the machine overhead press, do vertical shoulder dumbbell press. This will make these workouts slightly more difficult, and you will utilize even more muscles that help you balance the free-weights.

Finally, I have included the most commonly-used names of each exercise, so if you are confused or unfamiliar with one of the names, simply google it. If you have difficulty finding an accurate explanation, please contact me and I will locate one for you.