Making a Workout Schedule
Making a workout schedule is one of the best ways to stay motivated. Planning ahead means you’re less likely to make excuses for yourself, and that will only bring you closer to success.
But making a workout schedule isn’t always easy, especially if you’re trying to take your training to the next level. Regardless of your current fitness level or the size of your goals, there are a number of things to keep in mind when planning your workouts.
Here’s what you need to do…
My Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Workout Schedule
1. Determine Your Situation – First, you need to figure out where you’re at with your workouts. Is what you’re doing working? Is it safe, effective, and improving your health? If so, then keep on doing it. On the other hand, if you need a change, this is the perfect time.
You also need to think realistically about your time commitments. Don’t try to plan 5 workouts a week if you know it won’t happen. You’re better off giving yourself a bonus day to use during slower weeks.
Once you’ve decided on your availability, you need to think realistically about what you can do in that time. Ideally, you should commit 45 minutes to 1 hour for each workout. This gives you time to get changed and get ready!
2. Choose Your Routine – Now that you have a general outline for your schedule, you need to choose the routine that’s right for you. Here’s what I recommend depending on your fitness level and time commitment (and remember there are sections in the Workouts and Training category of the website for example routines you can follow!):
- Beginners – If you’re a beginner and can dedicate 2-4 days a week, I recommend sticking to a full-body routine or an upper/lower body split. Keeping it simple is best.
- Intermediate – If you’re pretty familiar with a gym and have at least 3 days a week to spare, try breaking things down by muscle groups. 2 muscle groups per workout would make sense, for example, Chest/Triceps on Monday, Back/Biceps on Tuesday, Legs/Abs on Thursday. Otherwise, an upper/lower body split still works well if time is an issue.
- Advanced – If you’re more advanced, you’re probably trying to get in 4-5 days a week. If so, split things up by muscle groups, or stick to an upper/lower body split when you encounter a hectic week.
3. Plan to Rest – No matter what your routines look like, make sure you get at least 2 full days between working the same muscles. This is critical for preventing injury and getting the most gains from your efforts.
To ensure proper muscle recovery, also make sure you stretch after every workout. I also recommend a post-workout protein shake to refuel your muscles. One of my top picks for quality and taste is Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion.
4. Decide on Reps and Sets – Once you have your basic framework, it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. One rep represents one single lift (including the contraction and release), while one set is one series of reps before resting.
For the best muscle building and fat burning results, you should be doing between 8 and 15 reps per set, and between 2 and 3 sets per exercise. Once you start exceeding 12 and 15 reps per set, it’s time to add more weight.
If your goal is primarily strength and size, I would recommend lowering your reps to the 6-10 range, and adding as much variation in your reps and sets as possible. This will confuse your muscles and get a more intense result.
5. Choose Your Weight – There’s a basic rule of thumb I like to follow with my clients. Lift enough weight so that you can get through the set safely, but not too much that you’re completely spent at the end. This may take some trial and error in the beginning.
With bodyweight exercises, like crunches or pushups, you should do as many as you can before proper form is compromised.
And don’t forget…
Make sure you also warm up for 5-10 minutes before every workout (light or moderate cardio will do), and stretch for 5-10 minutes after every workout. These are vital steps to your routine and they should not be ignored!
Keep Track of Everything!
Keeping a workout journal is one the best ways to take advantage of your workout schedule and stay motivated. I highly recommend investing in a good workout journal, like the Fitlosophy Fitbook. It’s a great tool to keep you on track!
Have any questions or feedback about Making a Workout Schedule? Please leave a comment below…