Have you ever wanted to get in shape, but didn’t know where to start? Or gotten to the gym, only to stare at the equipment? Or maybe you know how to use the equipment, but don’t understand how to put it all together? You might even be asking yourself, do I need a personal trainer? Well good news! You too, can create a workout plan that is specific, targeted, and unique for YOU!
How to Build Your Own Workout Plan
Before you read any further, grab a pen (maybe a pencil would be better!) and paper. You’re going to want to take notes! Or even better, grab my free template and follow along!
1. Choose your cardio
First things first, what do you like to do? If you tell me you HATE running, then I’d highly suggest you NOT include running in your plan. Remember from my post How to Make Exercising Work for You, it’s all about finding something you want to do, to make it a lifestyle change! This workout plan I’m going to help you create is centered around strength training because it can truly transform your body, but cardio is a key assistant (like Robin to Batman). So while we’ll focus on lifting, we’re going to throw in cardio as well.
Pick your cardio now. Some options are running, elliptical, biking, swimming, jump roping. Whatever you like, whatever you enjoy. Write that down, we’ll need it later 🙂 If you enjoy several types of cardio, that’s even better! You don’t need to limit yourself to one type.
2. Choose how many days per week
Next we need to determine how many days a week you plan to workout. Be realistic here. Don’t commit to 6 days a week if that’s not feasible. You don’t want to set yourself up to fail. I’d recommend strength training 2-3 days per week and cardio 1-2. If you’re a beginner, aim on the lower end. You can always increase it later. ALWAYS REMEMBER to take a rest day! You absolutely cannot work out every single day of the week. Your body needs to recover and replenish.
3. Choose the specific exercises
And now for the real meat and potatoes. The exercises. You want to choose a variety of movements both for your upper and lower body. Focus on push and pulls to ensure you’ve got all muscles included. Here are some great examples.
Choose 12-32 different exercises including ones from each of the different areas. If you plan to strength train 3 or 4 times a week, you will need to choose more exercises, closer to the 32 range.
4. Create your circuits
There are two different ways you can approach your workouts (I recommend the second!)
- Total body – you can choose to create a strength training workout that targets all of the major muscles. Rotate exercises between upper body and lower body. Choose 6-8 total exercises. Do the same thing for your second strength training circuit, and a third if you plan to lift 3 days a week. Mix up the exercises for each different circuit.
- For example, push up – squat – pull up – deadlift (upper, lower, upper, lower, you get the idea!)
- Targeted – you can choose to create workouts that focus on certain parts of your body. Choose a variety of push and pull upper body exercises to create one circuit. Again, choose 6-8 total. Then, create a lower body circuit in a similar fashion. If you plan to lift 3 days a week, your final circuit can be a total body one! If you choose to do 4 circuits, make 2 unique upper body and 2 unique lower body circuits.
5. Determine your weight, reps, and number of circuits
This is an important step. Target 8-12 reps per exercise. Try out a few different weights until you feel somewhat fatigued by the end of the reps. You don’t want it to be too easy or too hard. If you’re a beginner, stick to 2 total rounds of each circuit. More advanced, bump it up to 3. After a few weeks, you can increase the number of circuits!
6. FINALLY – Put it all together
This is where you finally put together your entire workout plan! You’ve got all the details – the time, the exercises, the reps, the circuits! So go ahead, grab those notes you just took, and organize them! To help you out, I’ve created this awesome template! It’ll take those notes you just wrote down and make them into your personalized workout plan 🙂
A Final Note
Just remember, nothing is set in stone! You can create something, then tweak it as much as you need. Add more reps when it gets easier, or add more rounds of each circuit. After you master certain exercises, switch them out with something new. Mix up your cardio. The point is, this is all about YOU! You have the power to create your own personalized workout plan! And of course, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!
What are your favorite upper and lower body exercises?