How to create the perfect workout plan for your life and schedule

How to create the perfect workout plan for your life and schedule

By Christine VanDoren

Taking stock of what you have and want to accomplish are the first steps

Are you motivated to accomplish your health goals but don’t know how to do them?

Making a workout plan can seem daunting, but it’s easy with a simple step-by-step guide. Here’s how to create a program that will allow you to positively change your physique and life.

What are your goals?

One of the most important things you must do is identify your goals. Among the most common are losing fat, building muscle and overall body recomposition. If you want to pursue body recomposition, that means that you want to gain muscle mass and lose fat.

If you only want to lose fat, you cannot say, “I want to lose belly fat” or “I want to lose fat on my arms.” You cannot target fat loss. Everyone loses fat in certain places before others. It’s essential that you don’t get disappointed if the fat on your stomach is last to leave. Trust your body and the process. If you want to gain muscle, you can target certain areas.

finding the right equipment for exercise

What equipment do you have?

Now that you know your goals, it’s time to figure out what tools you’ll be using to achieve them. Will you work out at home or at a gym? If you’re exercising solely at home, do you have access to any equipment, or will you be doing only bodyweight movements?

Many beginners start with bodyweight, but it’s important to note that eventually, you will need to add weighted exercises to continue your progress. Calisthenics and high-intensity interval training workouts are great when you don’t have any equipment.

If you want to stay at home and use exercise equipment, there are a few essentials that are worth investing in: Dumbbells, bands, a stability ball, and a jump rope will allow you to do numerous exercises with the necessary resistance.

develop a workout plan

What does your schedule allow?

You’ll never be successful if you promise yourself that you will do something that you’re incapable of. This is where many people fail when it comes to changing their physiques. There’s nothing wrong with starting small, establishing a habit, and building from there. If you’re very busy, look at your schedule and figure out how much time you can realistically commit to exercising each week.

Try to exercise at least two days a week; any less will make you feel as if you’re not making any progress. Don’t exercise more than six days a week unless you’re doing a low-impact activity, such as walking. The body needs proper rest to rebuild the muscles and prepare for future workouts.

Think about how long each session will be. Can you commit to an hour or two each day you exercise? If not, that’s OK. Start with 10 minutes and build from there. If you plan your workout properly, you can easily get your heart rate up and blood pumping in only 10 minutes.

What will be your daily focus?

You need to be intentional with what you do, especially if the days or times you have available are limited. When first starting out, it’s easiest to do full-body workouts to allow your muscles and cardiovascular system to start to adapt to your new lifestyle. However, over time you’ll want to increase the intensity and target specific muscles in each workout.

One of the most common and effective workout routines is “Push, pull, legs.” Day One is push day, and you would target your chest, shoulders and triceps. Day Two is pull day, and you would target your back, biceps and abdominals. Last is leg day. You target your glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. This routine is popular among people who work out either three or six days a week.

start with modest goals

How will you format the workouts?

Once you decide what muscle groups you’ll focus on, it is time to figure out your reps, sets, rest times, and exercises. One of the main factors influencing these is how long your workout is. Don’t overcommit; start with a modest goal and build from there.

Every workout needs to start with a warm-up. This can be walking, jogging, jump rope, stretching, or whatever works for you. Spend five to 10 minutes on your warm-up before moving on to weightlifting. Again, it depends on how much time you have, but a good exercise range to focus on is between four and 10 sets. Try to do two to three sets if you are a beginner, while advanced lifters will aim for three to five sets. It is up to you whether this includes a warm-up set, which is recommended for compound lifts such as bench, squat and deadlift.

If you are more focused on gaining muscle, perform three to 10 reps in each set. On the other hand, if you want to improve muscular endurance and lose fat, aim for 12 to 25 reps. You will still build muscle and burn fat no matter which you choose. For lighter lifts, give yourself 30 seconds of rest between sets. For heavier lifting, rest one to two minutes.

Finally, finish off your workout with some cardio and a cool down.

Creating a workout plan that you enjoy and know you can stick to is a great way to change your life. Hiring a personal trainer can be helpful, but you can always see if you can figure it out on your own first. Make sure to continuously challenge yourself and increase your weight over time so you can progress and become stronger, leaner and healthier.