How to establish a fitness routine. A simple guide to help you create a balanced workout plan.
The Holidays are officially over. The New Year is in full-swing and it is officially time to get back to work, school and “normal” life. Most people set goals and resolutions to get healthier or get in shape for the new year. Well, these goals are very vague and incredibly hard to achieve without a plan, so I want to show you how to establish a well-rounded fitness routine you can stick to.
As I discussed when I shared my fitness goals with you all, I believe in setting and achieving goals all year round – but there’s just something about this time of year that gives everyone a swift kick of motivation. Maybe it’s coming down from the holiday cookie sugar coma, or finally getting the momentum to make a change.
A few points to keep in mind when establishing a fitness routine
1. Get checked out.
First and foremost, always check with a doctor before making fitness changes – especially if you are not regularly active before getting started, or if you have any prior injuries or health considerations.
2. Determine what your goals are.
If you want to “get in better shape” that’s great! But what does “better shape” mean? Do you want to do push-ups on your toes instead of your knees? Do you want to do a fitness competition? Do you want to train for a marathon? Those are all very different goals that require different forms of training and preparation. Determining what it is you truly want to accomplish before setting out to do it is key. If you previously were not following an exercise routine, start out small. Even if you want to be able to take the stairs at work without getting winded, or to hold a plank for 60 seconds – make it tangible!
3. Schedule, schedule, schedule.
If you want your workouts to actually happen, you have to schedule them. I personally am a big fan of morning workouts, because I know if I do it first thing in the morning, it’s more likely to actually happen and life won’t get in the way. Experiment to find out what times work best for you – aim for times where you know you aren’t likely to be interrupted or won’t flake. Then commit to it. Make it real. Set an alarm on your phone, write it in your planner, do whatever you need to do to stick to it.
4. Remember the 3 Pillars of Fitness.
Like I mentioned in my goal setting post, the three pillars of fitness include strength, cardio and flexibility. All three are beneficial and need to be incorporated into a well-rounded fitness routine. What you do for each of these areas is up to you, but it is incredibly important to include all three.
5. Add variety to your workouts.
Doing the same routines repeatedly isn’t beneficial mentally or physically. A lack of variety will lead to boredom, making you less likely to stick with a new routine. Additionally, our bodies are incredibly smart and adapt to new challenges every few weeks. That means if you run on the treadmill at 6.0 mph every day for three weeks, by the end of those three weeks your body will no longer feel as challenged as the first time you completed that workout. To prevent this from happening, switch out steady-state cardio for interval training (varying speed and resistance) a few times per week.
6. Recovery is your friend.
You can’t go 100% at every workout – nor should you. When you work a muscle to the point of fatigue, it generally needs about 48 hours to recover before being worked again. If you constantly work the same muscles day after day at a high intensity, they will never get a chance to grow back stronger, and ultimately leaner. The magic happens in the rest. Make sure you get at least one solid rest day each week.
Putting it all together
So what does this look like in one cohesive plan? Here’s an example of a well-rounded schedule looks like for your someone who likes to hit the gym several times per week:
So what if you’re the type that prefers hitting up group fitness classes? You can have a well-rounded fitness routine as well! Here is a sample schedule that balances strength, cardio and flexibility:
So there you have it! I hope this helps you understand what a well-rounded fitness routine looks like. I would love to hear what you include in your routine.