Devising A Workout Plan: Part I

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. So you should decide how often you can work out depending on your schedule and other engagements. How often you workout also depends on how you want to work out. How many cardio sessions do you want to do a week? How many strength training sessions do you want to do a week? Do you want to attend classes, such as yoga or zumba on certain days?

When you first start out, you might be really enthusiastic and eager and want to work out every day of the week, and you can if you want. But be prepared for the aching and soreness that comes with training that makes you not want to go to the gym. That’s why I only do 5 days a week, because if I bust out a leg session and I’m walking like John Wayne the next day, then there is no way in hell I’m going to make it to the gym. And that’s fine because I know I have 2 rest days a week, as long as I workout the other 5 days. I try to do something light on my rest days (this is called “active rest”) – I might do a stretching session to work on my flexibility, or I might go for a walk with my dogs, sometimes I do yoga. But sometimes, I just sit on the sofa, because every time I move it feels like I’m being punched in the legs.

Now you’ve decided on your cardio/strength training/other activity days, you need to figure out your exercise splits for each of those categories, if any. When I say split, I mean splitting your workouts into “sections” such as upper body/lower body and you could do your core exercises on either of these days. Some like to split their workouts even further such as chest/back one day, arms/core the next day and then legs the following day. There is also the push/pull split, where you split your workouts based on the function you want to perform. For example, a pulling exercise would be a cable row, and a pushing exercise would be a press-up. The advantages to a split are that you can concentrate fully on those areas, giving them a whole hour or so of attention, and it gives your muscles enough time to recover. The massive disadvantage of this is that if you miss one day, you either have to move everything along by a day to fit it in, miss it until the next chest/back day, or add it on to another day (which is not cool!).

But, some people don’t want to split, they want to do a full body workout – this is good if you don’t want to commit to specific days at the gym. The advantage of this is that if you miss a workout, no biggie, just go the next day. So say you decide you want to do 3 full body workouts a week. You decide you’re going to go on Monday, but something came up and you couldn’t make it. That’s fine, you can go on Tuesday and still be able to get all 3 workouts done that week. Another advantage is that it’s not as intense as a split workout (excellent for a beginner) and if you mix the exercises so that you do one lower body, one upper body, etc then you can keep going with minimal rest and it will be like circuit training. This keeps up your heart rate and helps fat burn. The disadvantage is that it will take longer to complete a full body workout, and you don’t focus on your muscle groups as much. But this is ok if you’re just starting out until you get the hang of things and want to step it up. Remember with a full body workout, you should leave at least one rest day in between to give your body a chance to recover.

So, your workout plan might look like this:

Day 1 – Full Body
Day 2 – Active Rest/Cardio
Day 3 – Full Body
Day 4 – Active Rest/Cardio
Day 5 – Full Body
Day 6 – Zumba/Yoga
Day 7 – Rest

Or like this:

Day 1 – Lower Body
Day 2 – Upper Body
Day 3 – Cardio
Day 4 – Lower Body
Day 5 – Upper Body
Day 6 – Rest
Day 7 – Yoga

These are just examples, and it’s always nice to see a guide when you’re first starting out! I hope this has helped anyone with deciding what sort of plan that you’re after.

In Part II, I’ll go through some exercise types and examples for a workout which will help bring the plan together.

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7 comments

  1. […] Devising A Workout Plan: Part I (hollydoeshealthy.wordpress.com) […]

  2. I like this post! Very good for people just starting to work out and need a little heads up on how to start. I like your images as well! Good post.

    1. Thanks Nicole! Really appreciate the positive feedback 🙂

  3. […] you’re reading this, I’m hoping you read Part I and decided I wasn’t chatting absolute rubbish and want to crack on with your workout […]

  4. Reblogged this on easyfitness101 and commented:
    interesting post!

    1. Interesting in a good way, I hope! Thanks for the reblog 🙂

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