Consider your fitness goals. ...
Create a balanced routine. ...
Start low and progress slowly. ...
Build activity into your daily routine. ...
Plan to include different activities. ...
Try high-interval intensity training. ...
Allow time for recovery. ...
Put it on paper.
Let’s be honest: trainers are expensive. The good ones are worth their weight in gold, creating awesome changes in a short period of time, but a dedicated trainer is still beyond most people’s budget.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the benefit of an intelligent, well-designed program. In this article, I’m going to teach you how to create your own. You’ll learn to think like a trainer and build an effective workout routine, one that gets you the results you want (without the need to spend thousands of dollars at the gym).
Below, you’ll find the five factors you’ll want to consider in building your plan, along with an example from the running world. Read on, and get some insight into what it takes to build your own program like a pro.
Consistency in training is the number one factor in getting results. You have to train often, and across a long period of time. Therefore, the first thing you need to consider: creating a program that will keep you in the game. The best workout routine in the world is useless if you don’t actually do it. Sidelined, whether for lack of progress, motivation, or a nagging injury, is a surefire way to miss your goals.
The Whole Life Challenge provides the structure to give you the consistency you need to follow through on any exercise plan. With daily accountability to the workouts you want to do, the WLC is just the thing you need to make consistency your middle name
This means we need to build a program that is do-able, with the right mixture of activity and rest. There is a bit of art to this, but the first step is simple: write a general schedule. What are you going to do each day, Monday through Sunday?
Get a piece of paper, and write the days of the week along the side, then choose what you’ll do each day: workout or rest. To begin, plan to workout five days per week and rest two days. For most people, this is more than adequate for getting good results. Keep in mind that every workout day will not be a day of intense training or insane mileage: some days will involve hard training, others will involve only recovery or accessory work.
There are many factors involved in deciding what happens on each day (which we’ll tackle further on in the article), but for now, just decide which days you’ll train and which you’ll rest. I like to do some sort of activity Tuesday through Saturday, leaving Sunday free to spend time with my wife, and Monday free to tackle the work that inevitably piles up on my desk over the previous week.
Action Step 1: Regardless of whether you like my schedule or prefer another one, grab your paper and:
Pick the five days per week you’ll do some kind of training.
Find a time of day that you’ll do that training and put it in your calendar.
Make a pledge to yourself to do that training no matter what, knowing that consistency is the most important thing in creating a successful program.
Factor 2: Active Recovery
You’ve charted out five days for workouts and two days for rest.
Next, you’ll want to pick two days for active recovery: one “workout” day and one “rest” day. Active recovery is meant to help you recover from your more intense training.
My favorite active recovery day pursuits:
A long walk
Yoga (at light intensity)
Foam rolling and myofascial release
Swimming (casual)The point of these days is simple: you want to keep moving, improve your range-of-motion, repair your muscles, and maintain a habit of activity. I’ll let you research each of the recovery activities listed above on your own (or better yet, try them all and see what you like), but here is my basic take:
A long walk burns energy, reduces stress, and gets your muscles and joints warm. It relieves soreness from previous workouts, and if combined with a light stretching, helps maintain your range-of-motion (your ability to move fully around any given joint). Swimming and yoga (of the correct, light intensity) accomplish much the same thing: you’ll improve your body’s dynamic abilities while staying active, and you’ll have fun to boot.