When it comes to getting fit or losing weight, having a long-term workout program planned out for months at a time, with goals to achieve along the way, will help you to stick with it. To come up with your program, you need to start with the basics to come up with something that suits your needs.
Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to improve your overall fitness? Are you trying to tone or to bulk up? Having a clear grasp of what you’re aiming to do in the long-run will help to guide your plan and keep you motivated too.
Now it’s time to think about how often you will work out. If you’re new to workout programs, or are not particularly fit, you may need to go easy to start with. Plan to do some light training on one or two days each week until you start getting used to physical exertion and recovery. Too much too soon could be overwhelming and put you off. Working out too intensely at first, whether with too much activity, weight or sets can leave you too sore to get out of bed the next day, and most often winds up ending your workouts for months or even years.
After easing yourself in, you can increase the intensity of the workout and add an extra one or two workout days to your program. Try for three days each week, or maybe four if you’re feeling really energetic. However, it’s as important to include rest and recovery days in your schedule as it is to include workout days. Always remember you have the choices of days, body focus, exercises, weight, reps and sets to work with. These are the building blocks for almost any workout.
The amount of time you allow for a workout session will dictate the variety and kinds of exercise you can carry out. For lots of variety, you’ll need a longer session, and for endurance exercise you’ll also need more time.
You need to have an idea of the exercises you need to do in your program. Think about which areas of your body you’d like to focus on the most. Do you want to drop weight off your stomach? Do you want to increase the endurance in your legs? Perhaps you want to bulk up your biceps? You can plan each session with these focal points in mind.
Build your program up bit by bit. Start off by deciding on your general aims, then figure out how much time you’ll have available or want to spend exercising. With a range of possible exercises in mind, plan what you’d like to cover in each session. See if you can cover everything in a one- or two-week exercise cycle.
After you’ve begun the actual workouts, you’ll have a better idea of which exercises work for you, and how long it all takes. You can then adjust your program to match what you learn. With this knowledge, you can then set yourself longer-term goals – like increasing the number of reps or sets you do in a session, or running further in the same amount of time.