Developing a workout program can be challenging. You have to determine what exercises you should be doing, its frequency and difficulty level among other things. Don’t give up. All is not lost. With proper planning you can create a workout program that is second to none. Here are five steps to designing an effective workout program
Step 1. Start with the big picture in mind.
Grab a pen and paper and write your goal down. It should be long term: “To create a healthy lifestyle.” This is your main goal. It will give meaning to your training and provide a structured path for you to follow. It will also provide purpose and direction. According to Stephen Covey the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” says “Begin with the end in mind.”
Step 2. Have a short term goal
You also need a shorter goal with a deadline. For example “I must lose 30 pounds in 3 months.” This is simply a clear specific approach to help you succeed. This is a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goal. You’ll think twice before you blow your diet with junk food. The clock is ticking and you have 3 months to shed 30 pounds.
Step 3. Be Flexible
Your short term goals can change but you must always keep the big picture in mind. What if, instead of joining a gym you chose to train for a 5k. If it’s what you want to do then go ahead and do it. The important thing is that you finish. The more SMART your goal the more likely you are to succeed. No matter how challenging your goal when it’s completed you will feel accomplished.
Step 4. Make better choices in the kitchen
Start by making 3 changes a week. A lifetime of many bad habits cannot be overcome in one day. You can aim at reducing your sugar intake. Take 1 spoon less of sugar. If you usually buy a certain drink then buy one with 10 grams or less of sugar. Another option would be eating more salads and vegetables to get healthy greens in your diet.
Have a salad before a meal and more vegetables with your meal. The third change could be getting more water in your diet. Drink no less than 6 full glasses of water during the day. Not all at once but maybe a couple in the morning 2 at lunch and the other 2 in the evening.
Step 5. Creating your workout program
Here is a list of exercises you can choose from. Every body part will be worked:
Lower-body and legs: squats (with or without weight), one legged squats, jump squats, lunges (with or without weight), one legged lunges, jump lunges, deadlifts, stiff leg deadlifts, step ups, hip raises
Upper-body and arms: push ups (regular, decline, on knees, wide or narrow, one legged), explosive push ups or jump push ups, dips (straight knees, bent knees or one legged dips), bench press, pull ups, chin ups, shoulder press, dumbbell rows
Core and abs: planks, push up holds, crunches (with or without exercise ball), high knee raises, bicycles, mountain climbers, horizontal leg outs
Cardio: jumping jacks, burpees, stationary high knee raises, stationary cycling, sprinting, jogging, brisk walking, skipping or jumping on the spot, box jumps
Choose two from each category. You now have a workout you can do. You can either do them timed (30 secs each) or count a predetermined number of repetitions (reps – such as 12 each). Try doing between 3-5 sets (amount of reps) in the 8 to 15 rep range.
The heavier the weight your using the lower the amount of reps you should do. Workout between 4 to 6 days and have a rest day. Your rest day helps your body to recover and become stronger and fitter.
Here’s a sample timed set.
- squats (30 secs)
- push ups (30 secs)
- jumping jacks (30 secs)
- lunges (30 secs)
- dips (30 secs)
- skipping (30 secs)
rest 1 minute and repeat 3 more times resting 1 minute each time.
Continue adding to your list of exercises. Also important is that you don’t keep repeating the same workouts. Pick different exercises each time and continue adding different exercises to your list. Mix and match your exercises and continue challenging yourself.
Anyone can create a workout program that will yield results. You have to set goals, make small nutritional changes overtime and have a list of exercises to choose from. Don’t forget to stay consistent. No matter how good the workout program, if you don’t use it you will not see results.
What’s your favourite exercise? Is it an upper body exercise, lower body exercise, abs or cardio? Leave it in the comment section below.