Planning a fitness program should not be a complicated procedure that requires a degree in physical
education. As long as you are aware of your own physical condition, the goals you want to reach and the
exercises that fit well into your life, you should have no problem planning a simple fitness schedule that gets
you where you want to go.
All too often people are afraid to go out on their own without an exercise trainer, but often trainers plan
routines that are inconvenient or involve exercises that you just plain hate. Taking control of your fitness
program frees you from time crunches and dreaded routines, so step right up and learn how to plan the
perfect fitness schedule for you!
The first thing you consider should be your goals in a fitness program. If you are seeking to lose weight, your
routine will be different from someone who is trying to lower cholesterol or train for a 5K simply because
different goals require different approaches. Trying to train for a race while you are still twenty pounds
overweight will only result in frustration, because your body wants to deal with the excess weight first, and then
build the endurance you need for a long-distance run.
Maybe you have more than one goal that you want to accomplish. If that’s the case, consider which one is the
most important and whether multiple goals can be achieved with the same workout program. Some goals can
go hand in hand, such as training for a 5K and increasing your aerobic capacity. Goals that are similar in
nature are much more likely to be accomplished with one program than are two goals that are vastly different.
If your goals don’t parallel each other so well, identify your primary objective and focus on that. Secondary
goals can wait and may even become easier when the primary reason is accomplished. Whatever the scenario
may be, figure out what you want from your fitness program and then plan accordingly. When you want to
accomplish weight loss, whether five pounds or fifty, you will need to plan a fitness schedule with at least four
days of cardiovascular activity, incorporate strength training, and eat a healthy diet that is low in calories, fat
and sodium. Weight loss can be a challenge and requires a different mindset than training for an athletic event
or focusing on lowering blood sugar. You must stay encouraged even on the days when you don’t see change.
To see consistent weight loss, you should count on at least four days of cardiovascular activity and three to
four days of strength training. The more effort you put into your program, the faster you will see results.
Choose aerobic exercises that you enjoy to make working out more pleasant. If you hate spinning then you’re
really not going to enjoy four hours of spinning class weekly.
People who prefer to exercise alone may choose not to use a gym or to go during off-hours, while others may
seek out the busiest times in order to have the most social contact during exercise. It’s important to choose
what fits you best, not what your mom thinks or what all the magazines are saying. For strength training, plan
to spend time in the weight room at the gym or else purchase your own weights for use at home.
Once you’ve identified activities that fit you, take out your daily planner and assess your schedule to find free
time. Maybe you can do any hour of power-walking a couple of days during the week and take an aerobics
class on the weekend. Figure out what will work best with your schedule but remember to factor in a couple of
free days. One of the most important parts of a fitness routine is flexibility – if your plan isn’t flexible, you won’t
stick with it.
For fitness plans that aimed at training for an event, the best way to start is by figuring out how much time is
left before the event. Ideally this should be at least two months to allow adequate preparation time depending
on your fitness level. If you run on a regular basis and have participated in 5K races, you may want to
challenge yourself by running a 10K. When the distance is doubled, one of the best ways to calculate
preparation time is to double the time frame for training. If you would normally train six weeks for a 5K, train
twelve weeks for a 10K.
Allowing your body to gain strength and endurance gradually is easier on the system than waiting until four
weeks before race day and forcing yourself to run a wildly accelerated training schedule. Perhaps you just
want to increase your aerobic capacity or tone up an area of the body. Improving your body’s performance is
best done slowly to allow yourself enough time to adjust and recover from your workouts. Plan to spend at
least 45 minutes four to five days weekly working on your aerobic endurance or muscle tone. Muscle builds
itself best when it has adequate time to heal, so factor in enough rest days.
In terms of building your aerobic endurance, you should plan to allow eight to twelve weeks for measurable
improvement (though you may be able to tell a difference before then). Body toning, though, can be much
quicker – some areas, such as the legs and buttocks, will respond very quickly and show improvement within
three to four weeks. Solid muscle, however, will take anywhere from six weeks to ten weeks to begin to show.
By taking control of your fitness plan and personalizing it to your own needs, you can make your exercise
routine work twice as well. That means your body will be stronger and leaner in half the time as otherwise.
Having a healthy, beautiful body is what making your fitness schedule is all about.