I wanted to write a post on how to plan your fitness schedule. Not for the serious powerlifter training to compete, or the basketball player training for play-offs. I want to lay it out for the girl (or guy) that has no idea where to begin when it comes to training frequency.
To this day I still plan my weeks in advance so I know what I’m training on what day. I always go into the gym with a plan – I think this helps keep me motivated and on track. However, I can understand the difficulties of starting out and trying to figure out how to go about fitting fitness into your life safely and effectively.
Let me just start off by saying YOU DON’T NEED TO EXERCISE EVERY SINGLE DAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL. Your body NEEDS rest and time to recover, especially when you’re just hopping on the fitness train.
I’m basing these suggestions off of someone like myself. Someone that wants to get into lifting weights and improving their overall health and physique in a commercial-type gym. However, some of the points that follow can be taken into consideration for any kind of fitness routine.
For The Newbie
My suggestion is that you split your workout days into body parts. The most common split is legs, push, pull, cardio. This gives you 3 full days a week to rest, 4 if you take out cardio (which if one has to go, I would suggest pulling cardio as lifting weights is far superior to changing your body composition than cardio). A typical schedule on this type of split would look like this:
Monday: Push (chest/triceps)
Friday: Pull (back/biceps)
If this is getting a little too easy and you’re finding that you want to workout a bit more than this, try adding an extra day of the body part that you are really looking to work on. Although you can’t spot reduce, you can gain muscle in certain areas that you want to improve. For example, say you’re really looking to gain size in your legs, try adding in a second leg day a week. Your schedule would then look something like this:
Tuesday: Pull (back/biceps)
Thursday: Push (chest/triceps)
Try to avoid working out the same body part two days in a row as your muscles need time to recover (at least 48-72hours) before you work them out again – this allows for optimal gains.
I know you’re probably sat wondering why I’ve only included one optional day of cardio into this routine. That’s because as I said before, cardio is not the king when it comes to recomposing your body. Cardio burns a lot of calories – which will help with weight loss in the beginning, however it is muscle that you want to build in order to keep that weight off.
The more muscle you have means the more calories you burn… so, by lifting weights you’re gaining muscle, therefore, burning more fat (in simple terms). If you still want to do cardio more than once a week, try and keep the time you’re doing it to a minimum. HIIT training is the best way to do this – high intense bursts of cardio followed by a rest period – this will give you the most bang for your buck. Avoid long runs as this will break down your energy sources… and your muscle.
At the end of the day, it’s about making a plan that works for you that you can stick with. What you enjoy doing for exercise might be vastly different than what mine is and that’s ok. If you prefer spinning and zumba 4x a week then go for it. If you like hiking up mountains then u go girl. Fitness is a lifestyle so you have to find something that you enjoy otherwise you’re going to give up. Keep experimenting with different types of exercise and eventually you’ll find something that suits you.
Did you like this kind of post? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time