In the United States, only 1 in 5 adults exercise daily, and only 23% of adults do the recommended strength training and aerobic activities each week. People are busy with a lot of work and family obligations, making it all too easy to put exercise on the back burner.
Even though getting enough exercise is crucial to overall health and well-being, it isn’t easy to create a workout program that you stick to. The trick is learning what to focus on first so you can form a plan that works long-term.
Keep reading this guide to learn how to create a workout program and get into shape!
Define Your Fitness Goals
Setting fitness goals is necessary for creating an effective training program. It doesn’t matter how fit you are. Knowing your goals from the get-go is crucial for success. If you don’t have a clear direction, you’ll feel lost and less likely to stick with your program.
You may want to build muscle in certain areas, lose weight, or improve your cardiovascular endurance. Don’t worry if you have multiple goals- most people have more than one area they want to improve.
Just be sure you maintain a specific focus and create your workout program phases with these goals in mind.
Decide How Often You’ll Train
Before you create your weekly workout schedule, you must decide how often you’ll train. It’s essential to be realistic about this part of the process. Setting attainable and realistic goals won’t lead you to disappointment.
To do this, you must look honestly at your daily obligations. This includes family, friends, work schedules, and other commitments you can’t miss. See how you can make realistic changes to your schedule based on your lifestyle.
For the most part, you should begin with at least three days of training sessions to achieve your goals. If you’re looking at creating a more competitive workout program, you should aim for 5 to 6 days per week.
Be careful about training too much since this creates stress and impacts your sleep quality.
Choose Your Exercises
Now that you’ve defined your goals and have a schedule in place, you can start choosing your exercises.
Whatever your goals are, you must include cardiovascular exercise and resistance training in your workout schedule. You might also want to do flexibility work and incorporate active rest on days you’re not doing intense training.
If you’re new to exercising regularly, start with a basic schedule that allows you to get used to working out. For example, you can do 10 to 30 minutes of cardio on Mondays, which includes walking or a stationary bike.
You can dedicate Tuesday or your next workout day to strength training. Some people like to do total body strength training in one day. This means you work out both your upper and lower body in one session.
You can also split strength training up, working your legs, back, and abdomen one day and your arms another.
In the middle of your workout week, schedule a gentle day of rest or yoga.
You should then repeat strength training, followed by cardio again. Scheduling a full rest day on Sunday is a good idea as this allows you to rest up for the week ahead.
You can increase your training days and times once you’ve done the same basic schedule for 2 to 3 months. You can also combine strength training and cardio in one day. Interval training is another popular option that allows you to alternate intense bursts of speed with recovery phases.
Using fitness devices like this wearable technology will help you take your routine to the next level.
Improve Your Nutrition
You can get to work immediately once you have your exercise schedule in place. But don’t forget that fueling your body with the proper nutrients is essential to your program. It’s no secret that diet and exercise are closely connected, so you’ll need to sit down and assess your diet.
First things first, you must take steps to cut out processed foods and excess sugar. Make it a point to stop eating fast food and eating out in general. Simple things like choosing fruits and vegetables over cookies make the most difference.
Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein is vital. Healthy protein choices include:
- Lean poultry like chicken
- Fish like salmon
- Red meat like lean beef
- Beans and lentils
You can start in the morning by ensuring you eat a protein-rich breakfast. Eggs, yogurt, and avocados can give you the energy boost you need.
You should also focus on eating healthy complex carbohydrates in fruits, beans, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid simple cards found in processed foods and sweets.
Boost your daily fruit and vegetable intake and try new vegetables and fruits each week. Keep raw veggies in the fridge to have as post-workout snacks.
Healthy fats reduce inflammation and give your body the calories and essential fatty acids to keep moving. Some options you can consider include:
- Oils like olive oil
Be sure to fuel up before your workout with a good balance of protein and carbs. Simple snacks like bananas and nuts work well. Berries, oranges, and grapes can give you a quick energy boost.
Make small changes to your diet and slowly make it a habit. You’ll find this makes it much easier to stick to long-term.
Track Your Progress
Finally, tracking fitness progress allows you to see how you’re progressing toward your fitness goals.
One of the easiest ways to track your workouts is by using pen and paper and taking notes daily. You create a journal that tracks your experiences, including your weight, calorie intake, and energy levels.
Progress tracker apps are another quick way to track progress; many people find an app easiest to use. You can find apps that automatically calculate calories and nutritional information.
These apps make it simple to review your weekly progress and make the necessary adjustments.
Create a Workout Program Today
You can now create a workout program using this guide to see better results overall.
Remember, establishing new exercise habits isn’t easy, so you need to take it one step at a time. If you have an off day, just start fresh the next day. You’ll reach your fitness goals before you know it.