When it comes to achieving your best body, you have to start with a plan. The good thing is that you don’t always need to pay for a personal trainer to whip you into shape. That’s right! You can actually develop your own personalized fitness plan based on your goals, your availability, and the types of workouts you prefer. Keep reading to find out how you can develop your own personalized fitness plan!
Assess Your Needs
Do you need new running shoes and workout clothes? Will you be joining a gym? Do you need to assemble equipment for a home gym? These are all questions you’ll want to answer before getting started.
If you’re planning to join a gym, shop around a little. Ensure the one you choose has the equipment and/or classes you want to include in your plan. If you prefer to create a home gym, invest in practical equipment that’s easy to set up and store. Ensure you take measurements of the room you’ll be using so you don’t buy anything too big that won’t fit. For those working out at home, you may also wish to invest in a fitness app to help you design your workouts, track your activity and take the guesswork out for you.
Before you get going, you should probably know where you’re already at. This is where benchmark workouts come in handy. All you need is some basic equipment and a way to track your progress. The following exercises are great benchmark workouts to begin with. Write each workout down, and next to it, write the number of reps and sets you were able to complete, as well as the weight you used:
- Bench press
- Military press
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extension
- Russian twists
- 30 second sprints
Each week continue to track these exercises to see how you progress in the number of reps, sets and the amount of weight you’re able to lift. Not only do benchmarking workouts serve as a great gauge of your fitness, as you see yourself getting stronger, your motivation will spike as well!
Make a Fitness Plan
Now that you’ve benchmarked where you are, it’s time to begin designing your plan. The first thing to consider are your goals. Do you want to lose weight or just get toned? Are you trying to gain muscle? Would you like to run a marathon or complete a Tough Mudder? All of this plays in to how you will design your plan.
Someone looking to improve cardio fitness or simply lose weight may need to create a plan with more cardio and less strength training, while someone looking to build muscle and achieve that toned appearance will need to focus heavily on lifting weights. Figure out what your short and long-term goals are and start designing from there.
Next thing to do is just get started! The key thing to remember here, especially if you’re new to fitness, is to start slow! Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning if you have any injuries or medical conditions. In the beginning, less is more. Start with less weight and try lighter cardio to start out. As you progress you can make the workouts more challenging, but you certainly don’t want to overwhelm yourself, or your body, right out of the gate.
Mix it Up
Once you get yourself into a good routine of working out, start trying different workouts. Focused on cardio? Great, try more than just the treadmill. Fold in some step classes or HIIT training. Maybe sign up for a Zumba or spin class.
Going for strength and tone? Try a TRX or Pilates class. Check out a Body Pump class, or mix up lifting heavy weights and low reps with lighter weights and more reps. By keeping it fresh you’re less likely to get bored and more likely to stay the fitness course!
Monitor Your Progress
The most important step in your fitness plan is progress! However, if you’re not keeping track, you’ll never know how far you’ve come. Take note of more than just your body weight and inch loss. Keep track of how much more weight you can lift or how many more reps you can do. Write down how many more miles you can run or how much your speed has increased. Fitness success is measured by more than just a number on the scale, so track everything you can and be proud of all your fitness accomplishments!
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5. Monitor your progress
Retake your personal fitness assessment six weeks after you start your program and then again every few months. You may notice that you need to increase the amount of time you exercise in order to continue improving. Or you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you’re exercising just the right amount to meet your fitness goals.
If you lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Exercising with a friend or taking a class at a fitness center may help, too.
Starting an exercise program is an important decision. But it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime.