Samantha Farrar Health kettlebell

How to create a fitness plan you will love… and stick to!!

As tempting as it is to go to the trainer that your bestie is training with because they are getting results.. or to seek that trainer that you have seen pop up so many times in your socials feed who has a swag of online followers, it is important to first consider 4 important factors.

  1. What are you fitness goals? Know your goals and build from there. Is it weight loss you are after? To build muscle? Increase strength? Tone and firm? Is it mainly aesthetic reasons you want to exercise, or functional? Maybe it is a combination of both?
  2. What exercise do you enjoy? Forget about there being a “better” way to        exercise, and be true to yourself on what you enjoy doing. Is it walking, boxing, running, swimming, playing team sport or hitting the gym? If you chose something that you enjoy you will be far more likely to stick with it!
  3. Cover the four elements of a complete fitness plan

To achieve your fitness goals, you need to not only consider what variety of activities you could include in your plan, but also does it include the four essential elements of a good workout plan?

Cardio – an activity that raises you heart rate and breathing to improve the function of your lungs, heart and circulatory system. Cardio activities vary from the low to moderate intensity exercise such as jogging or cycling, to high intensity intervals such as HIIT. The more the exercise gets you to breathe heavily, the more it is challenging you heart and lungs. Ideally you could aim for 3-4 cardio workouts a week depending on your fitness goals (and for the female – also depending on your cycle, but more on that in another post!)

Strength or Resistance Training – activity which helps build muscle and improve muscular strength and endurance. It also helps reduce the risk of injury from other activities and has been said to keep your skeletal system healthy as you age. You can start by using your bodyweight, and work up to free weights, resistance bands, and machines. Gym workouts, CrossFit, pilates and yoga are all examples of strength training with varying degrees of difficulty. 

It is important to note here, that if you are just starting out that you do work with someone that can help with proper form to help avoid injury.

Mobility and flexibility – mobility being the ability of a joint to move freely through its range of motion, and flexibility is the ability of a muscle to stretch. Foam rolling, stretching, functional training and yoga contain both aspects of mobility and flexibility training, and they should not be left out of your fitness routine.

Recovery – As important as it is to ensure the above is considered in your workout plan, so is rest. Muscle tone and growth comes from initially breaking down the muscles fibres with the workout, then giving the muscles time to heal and repair to grow stronger. On recovery days you can still remain active, but with low-intensity workouts.

4. Create a schedule that works for you!

You’ve heard time and time again, that half the work of exercising is putting on your shoes, or driving to the gym. To make it easier on yourself to ensure that you stick to the new fitness plan, consider the following scheduling tips:

  • Determine when you like to exercise. First thing in the morning more your style? Or perhaps during the evening to close off the day? Consider when your energy levels are usually highest as well.
  • How often do you plan to be active? Seven days a week may be ideal, but realistically is it 4-5 days a week that you’ll like to plan structured workouts?
  • Consider your daily schedule and support. Do you need to work around children, work, or family commitments? Maybe you are an early person, but so are your children? Or you would prefer the evenings, but have children sport commitments. Sometimes using a calendar for all of your (or your families’) commitments can help actually nut out what realistic time slots are available for you to schedule exercise! The shared calendar also works well for if you need your family to keep you accountable, or if you need to set reminders for yourself to stay on track.
  • Is there a specific schedule for your desired activities? Perhaps you have joined the tennis club for the social tennis which is only on a Monday evening. Or the pilates class you were wanting to attend is only on two morning’s each week. Match this up with your own availability to see which commitments are viable.

Once you have taken all of the above factors into account you can create your own weekly workout plan. Even though you may have been told that it is best to keep the workout schedule consistent week to week, I believe that although consistency is key for success, it is important for specifically females to consider their menstrual cycle and make adjustments when necessary. I will write a blog on this topic soon! Please reach out if you need any help at all with creating your customised fitness plan.

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