When it comes to exercising, a workout planner goes a long way toward helping you reach your fitness goals. A workout schedule allows you to get your thoughts together and find the right routines for your fitness level. Getting started is the hardest part, so let this fitness partner guide you so you can customize your exercise strategy and make it right for you.
Workout Planner Tips to Help Beginners Stick to a Routine
1. Know Your Fitness Goals
Before you design your workout planner, start by figuring out what you hope to achieve from your exercise plan. What are your short-term or long-term goals?
Do you want to build muscle? Maybe weight loss is what you’re looking for or just better overall fitness. You may even be training for something bigger like a marathon or teams sports event.
Once you know the why and what, you can piece together a customized workout plan to get you there.
As you plan, make sure you set realistic goals for yourself too. If you’ve done nothing but drive the couch for the last five years, you won’t start out circuit training, for example. You may do strength training and slower-paced cardio and build up to it.
2. Create a Workout Schedule
No proper workout planner is complete without scheduling advice. Figure out what days of the week you want to work on specific body areas. Daily strength training is especially important if you’re doing a bodybuilding workout plan. What days will you do only cardio?
Your workout schedule isn’t written in stone, so you can change it as needed based on your time availability or just to make it work better for you. Writing it all down in schedule format, though, helps motivate you to get moving.
3. Decide How You Can Accomplish Your Exercise Tasks
You know what you want to do and when you’re going to do it. Now how can you get it done? What gym equipment do you need to use? Does your gym have what you want? What equipment do you need to buy to workout at home? Do you need a pull-up bar or a bench press?
The more detailed your workout planner is, the more likely you’re to actually do something. If you have to guess about everything, it’s easy to want to push your workout off for another day.
4. Work on the Details
You have the who, what, when, and where worked out. Next pin down the specific exercise routines and training programs.
Are you going to bike ride? Will you swim or walk for cardiovascular exercise on certain days?
When it comes to strength training, it’s best to get specific about the exact exercises. If Monday is your chest-and-back day, maybe you’ll do Bent Over Barbell Rows, Seated Cable Rows, and Barbell Deadlifts.
If you’ve designated Wednesday as the day you work out your arms, what strength-building exercises will you do? Perhaps they include Bicep Curls.
Get very detailed when planning. Know how many reps you’ll do in each set and how many sets you want with each exercise. Start small and build if you’re not used to lifting weight or doing bodyweight exercises like planks.
As you get stronger, you can increase your reps, weight load, and set count.
5. Find Ways to Remind Yourself to Workout
It’s the little things that get you going like packing your gym bag and putting it by the door. Put your workout planner on your phone. Set an alarm to remind you it’s your day to bike, ride, or jog.
Get your family and friends involved too. Working out with a buddy isn’t only more fun but also makes it less likely for you to cancel, forget, or decide to skip your exercise that day.
6. Create a Reward System
Rewards are excellent motivators, but pick those that don’t involve food because that can send you the wrong message.
Maybe treat yourself to a day at the spa or do something you love every time you meet a fitness goal. There are online programs that allow you to work toward monetary rewards when you exercise.
7. Buy Really Good Workout Shoes
It sounds simple but a bad pair of shoes is enough to sideline you. Make an investment in your fitness and buy shoes that provide the right amount of arch support and cushion. The better your feet feel, the easier the workout is. It then makes following your workout planner more convenient.
8. Keep Track of Your Progress
Start recording how much you exercise and how your body changes as you do. How many miles did you run, or how many steps did you take? How much weight can you lift?
Keeping track of your exercise and the benefits you get from it helps you see how well your strategy is working. You can use a wearable device like a fitness tracker or smartwatch. There are apps you can download to your phone that help you keep a record.
If you’re in a pinch, there is nothing wrong with a notebook and pencil as long as you have some way to measure your success. Seeing how well you’re doing will motivate you to keep going.
9. Find Ways to Diversify
Boredom is one of the biggest workout killers around, so find interesting ways to vary your exercises. If you just want to stay active, maybe you can take a yoga class once or twice a week and spin class other days.
If your goal has more to do with building muscle, then look for fun ways to challenge your upper and lower body. Running, biking and even rock climbing will build muscle so you’ll be stronger.
10. Keep It Interesting
Find things that entertain you and keep you focused when you work out. Maybe music is what gets you moving and keeps you centered. Perhaps you could listen to an audiobook to keep things interesting or start learning a new language.
The point is to find a way to make exercise less of a chore and more something you look forward to doing.
11. Work from a Template
Follow the weekly workout planner best suited to your fitness goals. If you want to start moving, plan on doing bodyweight exercises like yoga and planks along with cardio such as running, biking, or aerobic exercise.
You need to exercise at least three days a week, which are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Your workouts should last from 15 to 40 minutes. You’ll exercise longer as you build stamina. Focus on full body workouts on Mondays and Fridays and save Wednesdays for cardio exercise.
If you’re active and want to stay that way, then you’ll need to amp up your training to see the results. Do total-body weight moves like squats and lunges. Add kettlebell exercise to your routine too. Consider high-intensity interval training.
Look to do four or five sessions a week that go for up to 60 minutes. If you opt for four days, make them Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Do two strength training days and two cardio.
Having a hard time designing a workout planner? Bodybuilders can take advice from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Watch this Blast from the Past video:
When creating your workout planner, customizing your routines gives you flexibility, so use it. If you hate doing push-ups twice a week, maybe planks are the better choice for you. It’s really about finding what works for you and sticking to it. Whatever your training workout is, always remember to add periods of rest to help your body recover.
What’s on your workout planner? Share your notes with us in the comments section below.