Workout plans aren’t only for the obsessive or elite in the gym but can benefit anyone with health goals by providing a simple list for you to see what you’ll be doing and when.
Another good reason for putting together a workout plan – whatever your gym goals – is if you’re feeling a little impatient. If your aim is weight loss and you’re not getting there despite sticking to a good diet and getting to the gym, or if you’re trying to mass gain some serious muscle but can’t spot the gains yet despite quality protein consumption and regular lifting, the answer may well be that you need to draw up a plan.
Think about it: at the end of the day, bodybuilding isn’t a fluke or a haphazard result of lifting here and there; it is about coordinating the growth and development of your muscles.
If you consider yourself beyond a beginner at curling iron and you’ve begun to see some change in your appearance and feel your strength improve, perhaps you’ve reached a plateau after sticking to the same overall workout routine. Your answer here is, firstly, potentially a matter of nutrition. If you’re not increasing your protein consumption and calorie intake and output then this is the place to start.
A plan here will let you know how much you’ve consumed, but, just as importantly, how much you’re burning. If you’re after mass muscle gain, you’ll need to factor in how much cardio and calorie-burning activities you’re taking on. If you’re simultaneously doing regular long distance running then much of carbs you’ve loaded will be burned off this way – good news if you’re cutting weight, but not what you want if you’re after sheer mass.
When building muscle, you will get to a point where you need to hone in on particular muscle groups. Applying entire sessions to developing particular muscles, rather than generalised workouts, you will see gains.
By developing a plan, you’ll be able to systematically see what you have worked on and what you can move on to next. It will also let you know when you need to rest – but more on that shortly. Further to checking off which muscle you’ll exercise and when you can also take this a step further and make a note of your progress after each exercise.
Everyone’s heard of leg day – a gym day almost universally met with a bit of reluctance. Along with chest day, back, arms, the idea behind a designated day is first to focus on a particular muscle group or an area that you want to develop or requires improvement. By taking this approach you will be able to work on isolating exercises without compromising other muscles that you’ve either already worked, or want to avoid exhausting.
With designated days for particular muscle groups, you can channel your energy and protein consumption to developing the area in question, but also rest others. For example, if you’ve burned out your triceps it is best that you plan a chest or shoulder day – or any exercises involving arm pushing – for another time when your triceps are recovered. Many recommend a break of two or three days between targeted muscle workouts.