Create your own workout plans
Create your own workout plans
By Myprotein Writer Sarah Curran
Failing to plan is planning to fail – this is definitely something I am a firm believer in.
Although taking part in any exercise will improve your health and fitness levels, many of us need to ask ourselves if we’re training properly to reach specific goals.
The idea of planning your own exercise routine may seem daunting, but when done in small steps it is actually very easy…
1) Make specific goals
Designing your own programme requires establishing some simple goals. This is crucial as without goals, it will be a lot harder to monitor your progress and remain committed to your training.
Planning short term goals in conjunction with long term goals is also very helpful.
For example, if you want to lose a stone in weight, your short term goals could include a smaller amount of weight within a realistic short timeframe such as three months and the stone over a longer time frame.
It is a great idea to write your goals down as this will give you not only a record to keep track of your progress, but will also provide you with a sense of accountability.
2) Be realistic
Commit to what you have time for.
Don’t force yourself to commit to a six day plan if you are only available to train three days a week.
Many people burn out when they throw themselves in the deep end with a fitness programme that does not suit their lifestyles.
Quality over quantity… always.
3) Take measurements
Taking base measurements, before photos and completing simple fitness tests are aspects crucial to monitoring progress throughout your training programme.
Dread may be the first thing that comes to your mind – but don’t worry! Seeing improvements after the very first couple of weeks will help boost your motivation!
Before and after photo’s definitely enhance self-esteem! You just need to get past that starting point…
Set yourself a date to record your measurements again – I’d recommend after four weeks but if you’re feeling deflated, do it after two weeks. Just remember…Weight/fat loss is not always judged by the number on the scale but also the inches lost!
The F.I.T.T (Frequency, Intensity, Type and Time) concept is excellent for beginners planning an exercise routine as it ensures that all the major bases are covered:
1) Record time taken to walk/run one mile (depending on fitness level)
2) How many push ups done at one time (begin with knee push ups if needed)
3) How far you can reach forwards with your legs in front of you (toe touches)
4) Pulse rates before and after this test
4) Commit to exercise
Committing to your programme is absolutely crucial to achieve desired results!
It is a lot easier to stick to if you schedule your exercise in a diary, a note on the wall, a reminder on your phone – a way you would a meeting at work or visiting a friend.
Speaking of friends – why not take them with you for support and to inspire them to workout!
If you place importance on it in the same way you do your other commitments, you will find it much easier to be consistent with your training, and this pays off dividends.
I have discovered over time that consistency is more important than perfection, and the only regretted workouts are the ones we miss!
Exercise regimes will benefit your body less if you don’t allow adequate time to rest.
A balance of training days and rest days increase the effectiveness of any fitness goal and also reduce the likelihood of injuries!
For example, if you are planning to train three times a week, full body exercises may suit you best in comparison to split muscle routines (Chest day, leg day etc)
Generally in this circumstance, it can work well to train the larger muscles of the body first. For example:
– LEGS: Squats, deadlifts, leg machines, lunges etc.
– BACK: Lat pull down, dumbbell rows, dumbbell flyes etc.
– CHEST: Chest press, cable flys, bench press etc.
…Followed by training smaller muscles, such as the arms, using free weights or even bodyweight exercises e.g. push ups.
Training this way is especially useful when you include compound movements such as the squat, as you need all your muscles to be at their strongest to prevent injuries and to maintain good form throughout the movement.
On the other hand, if you plan to train six times per week, splitting your routine into upper and lower body days may work best for you.
This will ensure that the different muscle groups get ample rest before their next workout as you can alternate the upper and lower body days.
Make sure you include stretching after every training session.
Foam rolling is also an excellent addition to any programme to loosen tight muscles after exercise.
7) Plan workouts
You should always keep a record of your training sessions. It is useful to include the exercise, the amount of sets and reps performed and even how you were feeling throughout the workout.
This is a really useful and easy way to track your progress and also to monitor the effectiveness of your program.
8) Mix up exercise routines
Make sure to change up your programme every six to eight weeks at a minimum. This will ensure you keep getting results as your body is great at adapting to the stresses and pressures you place on it and you want to keep your training as a challenge.
You can change your programme in many ways, simply modifying exercises such as changing from a back squat to a front squat or even manipulating your rest times and the tempo of your lifts can work really well.
You can also manipulate the amount of reps and sets that you do specifically to your own goals.
Try and include different activities where possible, especially with your aerobic exercise. This will stop you getting bored and will also be more of a challenge to your body than doing the same thing constantly.
9) Listen to your body
It is also important that you go at your own pace, leave your ego at the door because once what your doing is a challenge to you, it does not matter what anybody else beside you is doing or lifting.
Consult with a doctor if you have any health issues or injuries before you start a new program to ensure it is suitable for you.
10) Stay Consistent
Consistency is key.
Spend a bit of time on a plan and it will pay off in the long run – after a few weeks your body will automatically make a habit of anything you repeat… Including regular exercising! Admit, it sounds better than wandering aimlessly around the gym jumping on random machines without a game plan!
I was guilty of this myself when I first began training, but as soon as I had an established routine that I changed frequently, I began to get some serious results which also helped me to remain motivated and enjoy my training even more.
Create your plan!
Now you have established your goals and how often you are available to train, you can now begin to apply this concept to suit your own goals.
A good programme will include both aerobic and strength training and address the other aspects of fitness such as muscle strength, endurance and also flexibility.
The recommended amount of exercise is 150 minutes aerobic and two strength training sessions – depending on your circumstances, you may decide to do even more if your goals require so or if your lifestyle permits it.
Take home message
If you follow these pointers, you will be able to create your own training plan that will help you reach your goals quickly and efficiently.
Remember to pay close attention to your nutrition too as this will fuel your training and supplement accordingly if you have any nutritional gaps!