Hey all – so now that you know how to start your health and fitness journey (blog post here), it’s time to create your workout plan. This can be confusing if you don’t know how to, I have done tons of research over these last few years of my fitness journey, I have made many mistakes and had many trial and errors, but I have finally found a plan that works for me and so now I feel I can share with you the perfect guide on creating a realistic workout plan that works for you, that will help you attain the body you desire.
CHOOSE YOUR DAYS/TIMES BASED ON YOUR LIFESTYLE
You have to be realistic with the number of days you are going to be able to go to workout. If you are someone who works full-time and has children, it may be very difficult for you to go to the gym every single day and so it is important to make time for you to workout, but you need to slot it in as and where you realistically can.
I started off by working out 3 times per week, which was a good introductory number for me. You can always add more days if you feel you can make time to, but don’t overwhelm yourself with going every single day if that isn’t realistic for your lifestyle. I suggest exercising 3 to 5 times per week, for between 30 to 60 minutes depending on your current fitness level. If you find that you get exhausted very easily when exercising, start off with a 30 minute exercise 3 times per week until you feel your fitness improve. It is so important to push yourself, as you will be surprised what your body can achieve when you put your mind to it!
Please keep in mind that you do need at least 1 day of rest from working out to make any form of gains, as your muscles are broken down during your workout and the muscles are rebuilt during your rest period.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL
Whether you are trying to get stronger, build muscle size or improve your endurance, you will need to tailor your workout to ensure you are on track to achieving your fitness goals. The best fitness routine, in my opinion, consists of strength training, building muscle size and also endurance training, but do what works for you.
STRENGTH – If you are wanting to improve your strength, you need to choose a weight that you can complete a rep with between 8 to 12 times. If you can complete the reps more than 12 times, the weight is not heavy enough and if you cannot make it to 8 reps, it is too heavy. You need to complete between 1 to 6 sets to improve strength.
BUILDING MUSCLE SIZE – If you are wanting to build muscle size, you need to choose a weight that you can complete a rep with between 8 to 12 times. If you can complete the reps more than 12 times, the weight is not heavy enough and if you cannot make it to 8 reps, it is too heavy. You need to complete between 6 to 12 sets to build muscle size.
ENDURANCE – Your endurance is your ability withstand stress, pain, and tiredness and this relates to our cardiovascular and muscle health. Activities that help to improve your endurance would be anything that increases your breathing and heart-rate, such as walking briskly, jogging/running, dancing, biking and swimming. Endurance exercises also include sports such as tennis, basketball or football. My suggestion would be to start out doing between 10 to 20 minutes of endurance training, 3 to 5 times per week.
EXTRA: A rep (repetition) is one complete motion of an exercise. For example: when you do 1 sit up, this counts as 1 rep. A set is a group of consecutive reps – for example if you plan to do 10 sit ups, rest and then complete another 10 sit ups, this would be classed as 2 sets of sit ups. Once you have completed 1 set, you may need to take a short rest which usually ranges from 10 seconds to 60 seconds, depending on intensity of the set you completed.
There are 7 main areas within your body that we tend to train during working out: the chest, back, triceps, biceps, shoulders, abs/core and legs. If you are going to be doing strength training or training to build muscle size, you need to be targeting all of those muscle groups. This will give you an even physique.
I suggest doing your own research on Google or YouTube to find exercises to add in your own plan, but when it comes down to the weight you should lift, this is completely down to your current strength. Example: if you can complete 12 bicep curls with a 5 kilogram dumbbell, but you literally cannot get one more rep out after those 12, then that’s the weight you should use; however if you can only do 5 bicep curl reps with a 5 kilogram dumbbell, then you need to use a slightly lighter weight. It’s more about trying out what works for you, as what someone else can lift easily may be very difficult for you and vice versa.
Example of a basic workout plan and what I would suggest training on each day, if you were to start off with working out 3 times per week:
Monday – 15 minutes of endurance training + train chest, shoulders and triceps.
Wednesday – 15 minutes of endurance training + train back and biceps.
Friday – 15 minutes of endurance training + train legs and abs.
Please note: it is important to gently stretch before and after your workout to lengthen and cool down your muscles – this also helps to reduce aching in the upcoming days.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO WORKOUT
You need to choose your location to exercise, whether that be in a gym, at home or in a local park. I started off with home workouts and then joined a gym after about 8 months, so that might be something that works for you if you are completely new to working out. When you have chosen the days you will be working out and where you’re going to be working out, set a schedule in your calendar for a time that works for you and stick to it.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps you to create your workout plan!