How to plan your personal workout routine in 4 steps

Getting fit and reaching your goals takes more than just running on a treadmill or working until it hurts. A good workout routine takes smart planning and execution. It’s the difference between seeing results and just burning out. I recommend personalizing your workout routine to your goals and fitness levels, and finding exercise styles that you enjoy to help you stay consistent and motivated.
Not sure how to start? Let me walk you through it.

My 4-step guide to planning your personal workout routine

How you train depends on where you are in your fitness journey. If you’re just starting out, 3-4 days of training per week is enough. But if you’re more advanced, you might train 5-6 days per week.

For beginners, I suggest 2-3 days of full body workouts, paired with 2-4 days of cardio training. Keep in mind these workouts don’t need to be super long, 30-45 minutes (or a bit less) is a good place to begin. You can always build up over time.

Factoring in your goals is also really important for how you schedule and plan your workout routines. If your longterm goals have you leaning out and building muscle you need to get real with yourself. Do you hustle it out during a workout or are you watching YouTube and texting between sets? Training hard and smart can make shorter 30 minutes workouts really effective, sometimes more than your 60 minute workouts. Increase the challenge by super-setting your exercises to limit your rest periods.

2. Cardio vs. strength training

A lot of people spend way too much time focusing on either cardio or strength training, but you actually need both. Cardio is beneficial for your heart, endurance levels and it helps burn fat. Strength training on the hand helps to build lean muscles and supports the health of your bones and joints. It even helps to boost your metabolism over time. You don’t necessarily have to give each style of exercise equal attention, but you definitely should not be ignoring one or the other.

How much cardio or strength training you do depends on your body composition goals. If you want more lean muscle, you’ll want to spend more time strength training and less time doing cardio. Your cardio could even be done as HIIT-style training to keep it shorter and burn less muscle like you otherwise would in longer cardio sessions.

If your goal is endurance or you want to be able to run a long distance event for example, you’ll need to spend more time on cardio than strength training. That being said, you still need to include resistance training in your workout plans to maintain muscle mass.

3. Splitting up muscle groups

If you’re confused about what exercises to do on what days for what muscles, let me clear things up. First, like I mentioned above, I always suggest beginners start with a full body workout routine, and do it 2-3 times per week. Full body workouts are great because they give you a steep calorie burn, make you feel more energetic, and keep you motivated. You also can manage less days at the gym.

Once you learn more, get a bit fitter and feel more confident about your workout routine, you can increase your sets for each muscle group and split your workout over the course of two days that you do twice per week.

For example, you could split your muscle groups by upper body (back, chest, arms and abs) and lower body (quads, hamstrings, calves and butt). One day you would work your upper body, and the next day you could work your lower body. To make sure you take enough rest between muscle groups, the third day could be cardio. You would then go back to upper body, and so on. You could later move onto training only 2-3 body parts per session which would increase your training days to five days a week, with some cardio included during your sessions as well.

There’s no right way or one-size-fits-all approach to splitting up your muscle groups for a workout. Just plan it all out, try it out for a few weeks, then switch things up. I like to change my splits up every 4-6 weeks to keep my body guessing.

If you feel like you can train the same muscle group the very next day, you probably didn’t train hard enough. Not to say that you should be super sore after every training session, but taking time to rest between muscle groups is essential. Your workout routine should include 48 hours of rest between muscle groups or up to a week if you’re on a 4-5 day split routine.

Keep in mind though, the amount of rest your body needs depends how hard you’re training. Higher reps for toning up generally require less rest, while strength training to build muscle needs more.

Changing things up will also help to keep you motivated and prevent boredom. Staying consistent is key to hitting your body goals, so find ways to stay excited about your workout routine. Teaming up with a friend or exercising in a different environment  helps too.
How do you plan your workout routine and stay motivated? Tell us in the comments below.
2017-03-14T09:08:18+00:00 March 9th, 2017|Move|