One of the best ways to achieve your goals in the gym is to have a fitness program to follow. By having a program in place you can maximize your time in the gym, keep yourself accountable, and know that you are on your way to achieving your goal each time you tick off a session from your program.
We do recommend consulting a fitness professional to help with customizing your program, but here are a few considerations to help in developing your plan.
- Consider what your end goal is. This should be the driving force behind your fitness program, and we recommend you write your goal front and centre on your plan.
- Think about what has stopped you from reaching your goals before. How are you going to overcome these barriers this time? If health has been a concern, then we highly recommend consulting a doctor before any starting any new exercise or diet program.
- Plan your activities to suit your current fitness ability, gradually progressing as you go. If you aim too high initially or try to achieve too much too quickly, then you will likely set yourself up to fail from the get-go. You can’t go from never running a day in your life, to running 10km on your first day. So plan your program based on your current level of fitness, and gradually work up the speed/resistance/frequency etc over time.
- Variety is the spice of life! If you plan to do the same thing every day then it is likely that boredom will kick in, and your motivation will be low. Vary the exercises between each planned gym day to keep things interesting.
- Choose exercises that you enjoy. If your program is filled with things you dislike then you will probably feel discouraged and likely find excuses to skip your sessions.
- Set specific days and times to get your workout done. Don’t try to fit it in around your busy schedule, make time for it in your busy schedule.
- Allow for recovery/rest days. As you get fitter you will likely reduce your rest days. For example you may start exercising 3-4 days per week and work up to exercising 5-6 days per week.
- Your program should include a good mix of aerobic fitness, strength training, core exercises, balance exercises, flexibility exercises and stretching. You don’t need to get through all of these things in one day, but you should mix and match so across the week you have touched on each of them.
- Always allow 5-10 minutes at the beginning and end of your workout for warm-up and cool-down.
- Review your achievements each time, and think about what worked, what didn’t and how you want to improve your next program.
Document your plan and keep it somewhere handy for regular reference. Many people like to type and then print their fitness program so they can tick off the workouts as they complete them in the gym.