How to Effectively Create a Workout Plan

By Isaiah David

It is easy to effectively create a workout plan on paper, but more difficult to find one that will work for you personally. An effective workout plan is a plan that you can stick to, an exercise routine that will challenge, but not overwhelm you. Understand your own goals and abilities and be realistic about how much you can commit to your plans. In the long run, you will get much better results by starting out slowly and keeping with it, than by going all out but burning yourself out in the first month.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Schedule a doctor's appointment. If you haven't been working out, it is a good idea to get a checkup before starting on your exercise program.
Step 2
Brainstorm available time slots. Write down when you regularly have at least half an hour which you could commit to working out. Then, make a second list of possible fitness activities. Include going to a local gym, bike riding and activities you could do at home such as dancing or jumping rope.
Step 3
Schedule time for your workouts. An effective cardiovascular program requires at least 30 minutes, three times a week. This is enough if you are just starting. If you are feeling ambitious, however, you can also schedule in some strength training. Try adding two or three more sessions of about 40 minutes.
Step 4
Plan your aerobic workouts. Each cardiovascular workout should begin with two to five minutes of stretching. Then, you should have at least five minutes of warming up--starting off slow and gradually building speed. At the end of the warmup, you should go at a moderately vigorous pace for at least another 10 minutes (ideally 20). Then, you should cool down for five minutes and spend a couple more minutes stretching.
Step 5
Plan your strength training workouts. As with aerobic exercises, you should start by doing stretches and a few minutes of cardiovascular warmup. The rest of it depends on the time you have available. Some people like to work the arms on one day, chest on another day, legs on a third, chest on a fourth and back on a fifth day. Others simply switch between upper body and lower body training days. Whatever exercises you are doing, you should end with a second period of stretching.
Step 6
Record your exercises and adjust your routine based on the results. You may find you need to use more weight in a particular exercise or that you can't jog for as long as you thought. Adjust your workout plan to reflect this.
Step 7
As you progress, add more to your plan. You can exercise for longer, go faster or add weights and reps depending on the exercise. If you have the time, you may also want to add an extra workout or two.
Step 8
Vary your activities. If you've been mostly jogging and biking, for example, try swimming or rowing. The more different exercises you use, the more effectively you will work your body.

Tips & Warnings

When you exercise, you should not generally go all-out. Instead, you should be working hard enough to make singing difficult, but you should still be able to talk.

About The Author

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has nearly five years' experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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