As you get all geared up to start a new fitness program, it’s important to put some careful thought and consideration into how you are designing that workout. Far too many people don’t consider how or why they’re moving and end up doing a workout that is not what they need.
There are many factors that you need to take into account when it comes to designing a workout program, and having a good understanding of what these are can ensure that you are doing everything possible in the gym to get the results that you’re looking for. Where do you start?
• Your time availability. First, assess how much time you have to devote to the gym each week. This will determine the nature of your program.
• Your workout split. Do you prefer to work the entire body in one session, or split muscle groups up into multiple sessions throughout the week?
• Your current fitness level. Do you need a beginners’ program or something that is more advanced?
• Your equipment availability. Are you working out in the comfort of your own home with minimal equipment, or will you have access to a commercial gym with plenty of weights and machines?
• Your health goals. Are you just looking for fat loss or do you want to improve your physical performance as well?
• The exercises you’ve done in the past. Are there certain forms of exercise that you know you enjoy more and would like to do more of? Or is there something you know you dislike, such as running or weight-training?
• Your desire for a social environment. Do you prefer group fitness classes to solo sessions?
• Your boredom factor. How easily do you get bored on a workout program – and how often does any plan you use need to change, either to accommodate your schedule or retain your interest?
• Is strength gain a priority? This will dictate how many strength-training versus cardio sessions you need each week.
• How many other activities outside of the gym do you do? This establishes how much total gym time you can do while still recovering, and it’ll help you see how much more activity you need to meet your goals.
• What is your motivation level? This may establish whether you need to work out with a personal trainer or in a group class to get moral support and increase accountability.
• What muscle groups do you want to target? This determines the exercises that you should use. No matter what, though, don’t neglect a whole part of the body, especially not your core.
The Bottom Line:
Spending some time designing a proper workout program is wasted great investment, and it will give you a baseline to return to any time you are ready to kick your butt into gear. Dieters who take the time to do this are going to move ahead far faster and get the results that they are after much sooner.
The truth is that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to exercise. You always need to consider what is going to work best for you given your goal set and the other variables discussed. The best program is going to be the one that you enjoy and can stick with over time.