Congratulations! If you find yourself reading this post, then it only means one thing: you’re ready to take your health and fitness to another level by designing your own workout plan!
Having said that, I’m not talking about just any other workout plan, but one that’s ideal and effective in helping you achieve your fitness goals and maintain them for the long term! A routine that will work best for you, because after all, you’re the one who needs it.
That is the reason this post is created! Here are some important tips that you need to consider when designing your own workout plan.
Steps of Workout Plan Design
Determine Your Goal
Before anything else, you should set your goal — the reason you’re working out. Is it to build muscles, lose weight, tone some body parts, or increase strength? Whatever your goal is, you first need to figure it out to make sure the exercises you include all work towards it.
Figure Out Your Fitness Status
The next thing you should be aware of is your fitness status. Are you a beginner, intermediate, or advanced? Many features of your plan would need to be tailored to your workout experience level in order to be effective, so before adding exercise routines, determine your fitness status first.
Set Your Workout Frequency, Intensity, and Volume
Another important thing to consider is your ideal workout frequency. It refers to how often you’ll work out, as well as how often you’ll target a certain group of muscles in a week. Your ideal workout frequency should be patterned considering your goal and fitness status.
It is also worth considering the intensity of your workout. The intensity answers the question ‘how hard are you going to work’. It lays out the easiness or difficulty of each exercise added to your routine and the weights you’ll be lifting.
Finally, you need to determine your ideal workout volume, which refers to the amount of workout you’ll do. This basically means the number of exercises, sets, and reps based on muscle groups that you plan to do every week.
Selecting the exercises you’ll include in your workout plan can be tricky due to a myriad of options available. Choose those that you think would suit you best and are ideal to help you achieve your goals, rather than the ones that are ‘popular’ in the fitness world.
Incorporate Other Plans
To boost the effectiveness of your workout plan, include it as a part of your bigger fitness plan, alongside a good diet plan and other progressions that support your goals. Remember, exercise and nutrition, when working hand in hand, is one of the surest ways to achieve your fitness goals.
Elements of a Workout Plan
As the name implies, cardio exercises are those that increase your heart and respiratory rates, thereby strengthening the heart and lungs and lowering the risk of diseases. They are also an effective way to lose and maintain a healthy weight and make you feel good.
A cardio exercise is one of the important aspects of a workout. It includes any type of continuous movement that elevates the heart rate into your desired heart rate zone for at least 10 minutes.
Frequency: Considering several factors including your goal, fitness status, and schedule, aim for 3 to 6 cardio sessions every week. For beginners, start at 3 sessions, gradually doing more as you go on. Make sure to allot at least one day to rest from your cardio sessions.
Intensity: As mentioned, cardio should increase your heart rate to your target heart rate zone — one that’s challenging for you. During a cardio workout, monitoring your heart rate is an effective way to measure how hard you’re working. If you’re a beginner, make sure not to burden yourself with too high of an intensity. Start low, then gradually increase it.
Volume: Aim for each session to range from 10 to 60 minutes. Again, start at 10 minutes of cardio if you’re a beginner. You can break a session into multiple, shorter ones.
Strength exercise or training comes in a variety of names, including resistance training and weightlifting. No matter how you call it, the definition stays the same: it’s about strengthening the muscles by doing exercises against resistance.
Aside from the obvious, strength training also strengthens the bones, ligaments, and tendons, improves metabolism and fitness, and helps maintain a healthy weight. A strength training workout should have at least 1 exercise targeting each of the major muscle groups such as the arms, legs, core, and back.
Frequency: Work every major muscle group at least twice a week. Allot at least 1 to 2 days to rest between sessions.
Intensity: Consider the amount of resistance you’ll be using when determining the number of reps. If you plan to lift weights, figure out the weights to be used.
Volume: Try to perform 1 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise.
Also known as stretching, flexibility exercise is a vital element of any workout plan. It helps to lengthen muscles, increases joint mobility, reduces the risk of injuries, enhances posture, and improves range of motion and coordination.
Frequency: Stretching should be done at least 3 to 7 times per week, starting from the lowest frequency as a beginner and progressing as you become accustomed to it.
Intensity: When stretching your muscles, it’s important not to overstretch to the point of pain. Aim to stretch until you’re uncomfortable with it (not hurt).
Volume: Stay in each stretch in a controlled manner for 15 to 30 seconds. Make sure not to bounce.
A good workout plan considers and supports your fitness goal, and not just one that you heard is effective with another person. Take time to determine your goals, fitness level, and the ideal frequency, intensity, and volume of your workout to make sure you’re working towards your fitness goals!
Do you already have your own workout plan? We’d love to hear it in the comments below!