Making a Workout Plan: A How-To Guide

It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting out on your fitness journey, or training for something specific, or even if you are already a seasoned athlete, a workout plan is important. Having the right workout plan in place is a roadmap to success. It can help you to track your progress, make changes when necessary, and in some cases, it can even prevent injuries. The question is then, how do you make an effective workout plan?

Set Goals

A workout plan is just like any other plan in that you need to be clear about what you are aiming to achieve. Whether that is weight loss, improved strength, general fitness, increased stamina or a specific competition or event. You might want to break up your ultimate goal into smaller goals to make it easier and get you on the right track. Having several smaller goals leading to your ultimate goals also gives you something to measure your progress by. 

Your goal needs to be specific so that you will know when you have reached it. For example, if your goal is to lose weight, you should have an amount in mind, like ten or twenty pounds. On the other hand, if you want to get fitter, then your goal could be something like run a mile in under eight minutes. Lastly, you might want to think about having more than one goal, don’t go nuts and have loads, but having two or three goals can help you add some much-needed variety to your training. In some cases, the goals won’t match up well, and they will need adjusting, but in others, they will complement each other nicely and help you think creatively about your workouts.

Have a Deadline

Once you have your goals in mind, you need to come up with a time frame. If your goal involves a specific event, then this has already been done for you. For other goals, a good general length is 12 to 16 weeks. That is long enough for you to see some real changes but short enough for you to keep the end goal in sight and stay on track. 

Establish a Baseline

In order to reach your goals, you need first to work out where to start. Before you begin compiling a plan, you should assess where you are now. This could mean a trip to the scales or a body fat measurement; it could mean running a mile or doing a one-rep maximum deadlift. Once you have your baseline, you might need to adjust your goals slightly. It may take longer for you to get from where you are now to where you want to be. It might be as easy as extending your time frame. On the other hand, you may have underestimated yourself and set your goals too low, in which case you might want to rethink what you can achieve. Either way, make sure you have a record of your baseline to help you accurately measure any changes.

Decide Your Level of Commitment

You are almost ready to start building your plan. But before that, you need to think about how much effort you can feasibly put into reaching your goals. How often can you work out? Every day or only a couple of times a week. How long do you have for these sessions? What resources do you have? Will you be working out in a gym, in which case can you afford the membership fees? Or are you planning to work out at home, in which case you need to ask yourself if you will have all of the equipment that you will need? Lastly, are you planning to implement a diet plan to work alongside your workout plan? This is something you will need to consider. After all, it is no use for you to eat excessively or unhealthily while trying to reach your goals. It might be as simple as watching what you eat or trying to eat more protein. Protein is incredibly important for anyone with a workout plan because it helps to build muscle. This is why a lot of people opt to introduce more protein to their diets. You can learn more from this guide to hydrolized whey protein by Ingrediant Optimized, who have a lot of helpful blog posts and some great protein products too. 

Build the Plan

You are now ready to start mapping out your plan; it is usually best to follow a four-week cycle, which consists of three weeks of intense workouts and one week of recovery workouts to give your body a chance to adapt. There is a lot of science behind designing workouts, most of which work on the idea of ‘periodization’. Most of the time, the first cycle is about building a base of general fitness, which then makes the coming weeks easier. 

What Workouts Should I Do?

The type of workouts that you include in your plan will largely depend on your goals. You can also find a lot of resources online to help you with your plan. By and large, the best plans include a mix of strength, cardio, and flexibility training – even if not all of these fit directly into your goal. They can all work together to improve your form, stamina, or efficiency. Variety can also help to keep you from getting bored by making sure you aren’t stuck doing the same things over and over.

How Fast Should I Increase My Efforts

Fitness is built by overloading the body before giving it a chance to rest, recover and eventually adapt. If you ramp up your efforts too quickly, then you risk injuries or hindering your progress. A good rule is to increase your workouts each week by 10%. However, you need to listen to your body. If you start to experience too much muscle tenderness or soreness, then you might want to dial your efforts back. 

In Conclusion

Creating a workout plan really is the first step in you reaching your fitness goals. Having a good plan in place provides the foundation for all of your future fitness efforts. Your plan should be personal to you. It needs to be tailored to your goals and your abilities. It can also act as a great record of your progress and how far you’ve come. 

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