If you want to start working out, you may be contemplating whether you need to hire a trainer, join a group class, or if you can do it all yourself (with a bit of help from the internet).
As long as you follow some basic precautions and do a bit of research, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to create a workout plan that matches your needs and schedule. Here is what you should bear in mind:
Define a Clear Goal
The first step you need to take is to set a specific goal. Would you like to lose some weight, or would you like to build muscle? Do you want to improve your balance or posture, or are you just looking to get a bit more movement into your everyday schedule?
Having multiple goals is also perfectly acceptable; just make sure you’re specific about them. You can also try adding a loose timeframe to the goal. Don’t make it too rigid, as you don’t want to add any undue stress to the process, and you can’t know how your body will respond to your workout plan, so give yourself some time before you start tying yourself to specific dates and outcomes.
Choose the Right Activity
Once you know what your goal is, you can start assembling the right activities to achieve it. In most cases, you will need to do some strength training and cardio, but you can also do pilates, yoga, or play a sport if that’s what you’re into.
Make sure you choose activities you actually enjoy. There are dozens of options for both strength training and cardio. For example, you can work out with free weights, machines, or with bands. You can run, swim or bike, depending on what you find the most interesting.
Split Your Workouts Accordingly
After you have settled on these two points, it’s time to figure out your workout split. Start by considering your schedule. Realistically, how many times a week can you work out? If you only have two slots available, don’t commit to a five-day workout split. You’ll only end up disappointing yourself.
Count both your strength and your cardio days as “on” days, and make sure you never work on the same muscle groups two days in a row. Two of the most popular ways to split your workouts are into push/pull days or upper body/lower body days. You can also incorporate full-body days into the mix.
As for the exercises you want to incorporate, start with variations of the following:
Find the Right Reps and Weights
When you first start working out, make sure you run yourself through several different splits without any weights. Take note of what your body can do, which movements feel more comfortable, and how many bodyweight reps you can do without feeling sore.
There will be some trial and error, so start very easy and slow, and don’t push yourself too hard. Once you have all the movements down, you can start adding weights.
If you want to build strength, you want to be able to do 3-5 sets of 2-6 reps. If you want to build muscle, you are doing 3-47 sets of 6-12 reps. And if you want to build endurance, you will be doing 2-3 sets of 12-20 reps.
When you get to the point where you are able to do more reps or more sets, increase your weight. This is called progressive overload, and it will help you keep reaching your goal. Once you hit it, stick to the same weight for maintenance.
Track Your Progress
Make sure you write everything down as you go: your rep and set counts, the weights you’re using, how long the workout lasts, and how you’re feeling afterward. This will help keep you on track and track your results.
As a treat, take a look at your figures after three months of working out. You’ll be amazed by how much you have progressed.
Adjust Your Diet and Supplement Intake
You will likely need to adjust your diet when you start working out. Aim to eat at least 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight every day to ensure your muscles get all the nutrients they need.
Focus on eating fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and whole grains. You can also eat “unhealthy” foods from time to time, but at least 80% of your meals should consist of quality foods.
You can also add supplements to your routine to maximize your results. For example, a good pre-workout can help you enhance your workouts, while a protein supplement can ensure your body has enough building material to work with.
Don’t randomly start taking a supplement, though. Consult a personal trainer or your GP, and see what your body really needs.
Don’t Underestimate Rest Days
Finally, don’t forget that rest days are incredibly important. This is when your body actually does what you want it to do and repairs all the damage you’ve caused working out.
Make sure you have at least two rest days per week. You don’t have to sit on the couch all day (in fact, you shouldn’t). You can go for a light run or a walk but don’t lift and don’t do any vigorous exercise.
Most importantly, make sure you get enough sleep. Without it, the best workout routine and diet regime won’t be nearly as effective as it could have been.
Take some time to read up on different kinds of workouts, workout splits, and supplements. Watch several videos about the proper way to execute an exercise before you start working out. Go slow, stay safe, and if you feel pain or discomfort, stop.
About The Author
Sarah is a life enjoyer, a positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.