How to Build a Custom Workout Plan that Works

How to Build a Custom Workout Plan that Works

Everyone’s body and lifestyle are different. That means that a workout plan that works great for one person might not be the right fit for someone else. Designing your own workout plan, with the help of an experienced personal trainer, can often be the best solution to lose weight, get fit, or meet whatever health goals you may have.

Every workout plan should be tailored to your specific needs and goals, so you should start the process of creating your plan by understanding these things. Below you will find the basic steps to start this evaluation and build a workout plan tailored to you.

Realistically Evaluate the Time and Effort You Can Devote to Your Plan

Each workout plan is affected by several aspects of your life. Below are a few examples.

  • How old are you?
  • What kind of nutrition program are you pairing with your workout plan?
  • How much time do you have to devote to your plan?
  • What is your “outside of the gym” life like? (Sedentary, active, somewhere in between?)
  • What kind of motivational strategies works for you?

Having realistic answers to these questions will help you create a plan that is not only going to work well for your lifestyle, but will get you closer to your goals.

A lot of other things in your life often have to come before your fitness goals; working out for an hour every day is simply not realistic for a lot of people. If you can—great! If not, create a plan that is going to be realistic for your life. Setting goals that are too lofty will only end up discouraging you, which can cause setbacks.

If you only have 10 minutes a day, you should still use that time! Develop a plan that is going to take full advantage of those ten minutes and move on.

Start with Your Why: Developing Your Goals

Having a goal ultimately shapes how you work out.

Every goal should use the SMART method:

S: Specific. The goal should be clear and easy to understand.

M: Measurable. You have to have a goal that is measurable so you can easily determine if you are making progress. While feeling better or looking better in your jeans are both great goals, they are hard to measure. Losing body fat or weight is much easier to track and often leads to feeling better or fitting into your jeans better.

A: Attainable. Goals need to be realistic. Keep in mind that healthy weight loss is only often about one or two pounds per week. It also takes about a week to gain 0.5 pounds of muscle mass.

R: Relevant. Your goals should matter to you—they should be developed by you and for you. Your opinions and expectations about your goals are the only ones that matter!

T: Timely. Every goal should have a timeline. A realistic timeline goes hand in hand with an attainable goal.

Create a Schedule

Committing to a schedule can be the hardest part of developing a workout plan. However, consistent activity is also often the most important part of your plan. Sit down to create a calendar that is going to work with your schedule.

Sometimes starting with a few days per week and then working up to more time with your workout plan is a great way to get started. For others, diving in headfirst works best. Whatever you choose, be sure to incorporate active recovery days and build in ways to adjust your scheduling—because life happens!

Determine Which Exercises Will Help You Hit Your Goals

Creating a custom workout plan requires that you have specific exercises targeted to your goals. For example, if you want to address a particular area of your body, you will focus on exercises that target that area. If your goal is overall weight loss or muscle gain, you can do an array of exercises to accomplish that goal.

For a full-body workout, you are going to want exercises that target the following:

  • Quads and hamstrings (front and back of your legs)
  • Butt and thighs
  • Chest, shoulders, and triceps
  • Back, biceps, and forearms
  • Abdominals and lower back (core muscles)

Determining the right exercises may take some research, including some work with a personal trainer. Below is a quick summary of exercises for specific areas for your reference.

  • Quads: lunges, squats, box jumps
  • Butt and hamstrings: deadlifts, hip raises, step-ups, leg lifts (lunges work the butt as well)
  • Chest, shoulder, and triceps: bench press, overhead press, push-ups, dips (any pushing motion)
  • Back, biceps, and forearms: pull-ups, bodyweight rows, bent-over rows (any pulling motion)
  • Core muscles: planks, mountain climbers, crunches, hanging leg raises

A lot of these exercises can be done without ever going to the gym. Using your own bodyweight is also a great way to start your program.

Determine the Number of Sets and Reps

The sets and reps you want to do will again depend on your goals. In general, if your goal is to burn fat, 8 to 15 reps for 3 to 5 sets is often ideal. However, as weight increases, the number of reps you can do will often decrease. Lower reps with higher weight will build denser muscles and increase strength.

Having a little rest between sets will help you avoid fatigue and get more out of your workout session. If you are lifting heavy, rest for 3 to 5 minutes between sets. Lower weight sets will require shorter rest times, sometimes less than a minute.

In general, it is a good idea to start with lighter weights as you get used to the movements. You can always increase the weight as you go—starting out too heavy can cause injuries.

Switch Up Your Routine

Even the best workout plan can get boring after a while. Make efforts to switch up your routine from time to time, whether that means swimming or yoga on an active rest day or incorporating more cardio a couple of times per week. If your workout is boring, you are much less likely to stick with it over time.

Working with a personal trainer is often the best way to create a program that works for you. The personal trainers at Power Fitness Online can help you create a program, work that program, and more—whatever you need, we are here for you. Learn more about what we do.

Maggie Benson

Maggie Benson

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