Creating a workout plan – what to do

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Many hours spent at the gym or exercising at home are wasted, because people simply start exercising without a proper workout plan.

A structured workout plan tailored to your individual training target is the key to success.

But how can an amateur with no scientific background be expected to know what the key components of a good workout plan are and what special factors need to be considered when creating one?

We have the solution. From now on, you create your own workout plan . We will give you the necessary know-how and show you what to look out for when creating your workout plan.

Grab yourself a pen and paper and create your own workout plan with the help of this article right now.

What’s my goal?

The starting point for creating a workout plan is determining your goal. Be clear about what you want. Possible goals include muscle building, body fat reduction/weight loss or improved endurance.

This is probably the easiest part of the plan. You need to be clear whether you want to build muscle or reduce body fat, for example. Why?

A weight loss workout plan is very different in content and structure to a muscle building workout plan.

While a weight loss workout plan focuses on high intensity interval training, a muscle building workout plan focuses on complex compound exercises and a progressive increase in strength by increasing the weights lifted.

You will also have to adjust your diet to the objective of the workout plan. If you want to build muscle, you have to eat differently than someone whose goal is to reduce body fat.

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What is my current fitness level?

The second step in creating a workout plan is to determine your current fitness level.

It makes a big difference if you are an absolute beginner (up to 6 months of training experience) or an advanced athlete (at least 1.5 – 2 years of training experience).

Here is an example:

While beginners need to concentrate on compound exercises and on learning how to do the various exercise techniques correctly, advanced athletes can also work with intensity techniques and isolation exercises to train individual muscle groups.

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Where am I going to do my workout?

Not everyone wants to join a gym to achieve their goal. And you don’t have to.

You can work out at home or outdoors, at the gym or at a club.

However, wherever you plan to work out should be reflected in your workout plan, as it has a strong influence on the choice of your exercises.

Lots of exercises can be done outside or with little effort at home.

Functional bodyweight exercises, in which you do your workout with nothing but your own bodyweight, are just one of your options.

You can think about purchasing fitness equipment like kettlebells or dumbbells if you plan to work out on your own long-term.

How often can you work out per week?

How many times a week do you have time and the will to exercise? These points also have an effect on your workout plan. A  Split training (individual muscle groups) may be a good idea if you have plenty of time.

full-body workout plan will make more sense if you don’t really have much time during the week. Be realistic – but without leaving the decision to the couch potato in you.

If you can only exercise 1-2 days a week,

then you should focus on full-body workouts.

As you have less time available, you must make sure that all muscle groups are strengthened and exercised.

Compound exercises are perfect for that purpose, as are exercises using your own body weight.

Our Tip:

With more than 3 – 4 workouts a week, regeneration plays a crucial role in success or failure.

That must also be taken into consideration when creating a workout plan. The muscles recover and undergo repair processes during rest periods.

That’s why it is important to make sure to follow a balanced and healthy diet to support your training objective.

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How much time do I have for each workout?

The time available for each training set has a significant impact on the structure of your workout plan.

If you only have 20-30 minutes for a quick workout, you should go for an intense interval training session or effective circuit training session with very little rest time.

HIT and HIIT workouts are ideal.

If you have more time on your hands, you can add some endurance training to the workout plan.

Where that is the case, you can focus even more on the three training phases of warmup, training and cool down.

What exercises am I going to do?

All the variables above play part in selecting the right exercises for your workout plan.

Fitness level, available time and workout location in are the key factors for selecting your exercises . Your choice of exercises can also be somewhat restricted by the exercise equipment available to you.

The best exercises for muscle building at the gym include squats, bench press, deadlift and shoulder press.

A combination of cardio and strength training is perfect if you just want to lose a little weight.

If you main aim is losing weight and you prefer exercising at home, you should include push-ups, crunches or lunges for additional strength training in your workout plan.

For more intensity, you might want to think about buying dumbbells, train on non-level ground and vary your exercises to change things up from time to time.

Tips for a successful workout

Keep a workout diary:

It is a good idea to note down each workout plan in your workout diary.

That way you can keep tabs on what you are doing and can see the progress you are making!

And if you start to stagnate, you will notice it early on and can make adjustments to your workout plan.

Change up your workout plan:

We recommend changing your workout plan every 3-6 months to keep things interesting and to set new muscle motor points.

It don’t always have to be a big change. Parameters like intensity and duration can easily be slightly adjusted to create new challenges for your muscles.

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Sources for this article

We at foodspring use only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.