Your Personal Workout Routine
“Success is usually the culmination of controlling failure.” —Sylvester Stallone
Finding the right workout plan can be tough. Searching online will result in over 43 billion websites. With so many choices, you’ll need to do the research in order to find out which plan – (even yoga) may work for you. Of course, eating a bit more healthy comes into play as well…
The first thing you’ll need to do is filter the various results. This is also true if you’re looking for a trainer or a book to help you.
When finding a plan, the first obvious step is to choose a workout based on your gender, age, height, and goals. Some plans are meant to help you lose weight while others are focused on building muscle or strength endurance. There are even niche genres for those in between who are simply trying to improve one aspect of their fitness.
Whichever plan you pick is less significant however, as you’ll likely interchange workouts as you improve. After all, there is no perfect workout, because you’ll likely change up a few things down the road. Making alterations will help your muscle growth and will also keep you from getting bored with your routine.
The main goal is to commit to something and consider it a lifestyle change rather than a short-term goal. Sure, it would be great to lose 20 pounds in a month or gain ten pounds of muscle in a few weeks, but that takes a full commitment.
Instead, focus on moving forward and be gracious for each increment in the right direction.
How To Create Your Own Workout Routine
“The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.” —Tim Ferriss
First, evaluate your current workout and decide what’s working and what isn’t. Determine whether or not it’s safe and if it’s making you healthier. Decide whether you want to mix things up a little bit or do a complete overhaul. If you’re doing a workout for the first time, find something you can commit to each week.
Before jumping into the gym or strapping on your running shoes, think about how much time you can commit to a new workout routine. If you’ve got a spouse and three kids, your time will likely be limited.
This could mean getting up an hour earlier or multi-tasking such as walking with family rather than watching sitcoms.
If you’re creating your own gym routine, stick with something simple.
- Core (abs and lower back)
- Pull (back, biceps)
- Push (chest, shoulders, triceps)
- Quads / Hamstrings (legs)
If you choose one exercise from each category, it’s possible to hit every muscle in the body. For those unfamiliar with such workouts, look online for a video of someone doing the correct routine. Safety is always first and it’s also best to start slow. Overdoing it will only get you hurt, sore, and discouraged.
Deciding How Many Reps To Perform
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” —Arnold Schwarzenegger
When choosing how many reps to do, there are different ranges based on your goal. Some of which will help you lose weight while others will add muscle. In addition, for safety, watch online videos or consult with a trainer.
- Reps 1-5: building dense muscle (slow cadence)
- Reps 6-12: strength and endurance
- Reps 13+: muscular endurance and size
Also, if you perform rep ranges at different increments, you’ll likely build endurance, power, and strength. You can also mix up reps as you build muscle. Besides the gym, you can perform a bodyweight workout to build muscle or mix and match. This might include pullups, pushups, dips, and so on.
The Importance Of Rest And Set Breaks
“In training, you listen to your body. In competition, you tell your body to shut up.” —Rich Fronting, Jr.
For novice weight lifters, rest is crucial. Some people workout three days a week while others lift weights five (or move) days per week. It may seem like they aren’t getting any rest, but it’s likely that they’re changing up the muscle groups.
For example, if they do pull exercises on Monday, they won’t use those muscles again until they reach the following Monday. This might mean doing pull exercises on Monday, push exercises on Wednesday, and legs on Friday, for example.
With set breaks, there is also a basic formula to follow:
- Reps 1-5: Rest for 3-5 minutes
- Reps 6-12: Rest for 2-3 minutes
- Reps 13+: Rest for 1 minutes or less
Use the above times to determine how long you should rest between exercises. If you’re mixing up your reps, you’ll also need to mix up your rest times. Keep up with each in order to build muscle and stay safe in the gym.
How Long Should You Be Training?
If you’ve calculated your reps and rest times correctly, then you should have an idea of how long you should be training each workout. If you’re completing 15-25 total sets, then you can probably fit everything into a 45-minute block of time. If you’re doing a warm-up and stretching after, then this could be an hour.
If you can lift for over an hour and you’re not tired, you’re probably not lifting enough. At the same time, this doesn’t mean to kill yourself either, especially if you’re working out alone. For some of these exercises, consider finding a spotter or workout buddy to make sure you’re being safe with dumbbells and barbells.
What If My Time Is Limited?
“There’s no secret formula. I lift heavy, work hard, and aim to be the best.” —Ronnie Coleman, Mr. Olympia
If you want to add cardio or have limited time, it’s best to alternate sets. This means changing up exercises rather than staying on a single machine until completion. Sometimes alternating sets or performing supersets can be difficult if you are using a busy gym, but consider the following scenario…
Rather than doing four sets of squats and four sets of bench presses with two minute breaks in-between, try alternating the sets. Do a set of squats, wait one minute, and then hit the bench press. Then, repeat. Since these are two different muscle groups, you’re technically resting even while you’re working elsewhere.
How To Begin Interval Training
“If something stands between you and your success, move it. Never be denied.” —Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Another great time saver would be interval training. Similar to body weight exercises, interval training, or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be performed just about anywhere. Generally speaking, it involves quick actions in a short amount of time.
Most people have first experienced interval training when they would switch up between walking and running. With HIIT, it could apply to sprints followed by thirty seconds of rest.
As individuals become more and more advanced, they will be able to train longer reps and rest for less time.
The real magic from HIIT comes outside of the gym. After performing HIIT, you can actually leave the gym and your metabolism continues to burn off fat.
Some trainers refer to this as “post-exercise oxygen consumption.” It occurs after completing short, intense exercises as part of your routine. It could also be combined with workouts.
Developing A Circuit Exercise
Performing a circuit means doing a set for every exercise, one right after another, without stop. After completing an entire routine, you’ll then do it again.
Sometimes you’ll do it three or four times in total. This can be more difficult, but some gyms have circuit areas with a traffic light or another form of timed routine.
Sample Bodyweight HIIT Workout
The following circuit should be finished four times with one-minute rests between each completion:
- Pullups (as many as possible for 30 seconds)
- Jumping jacks (60 reps or timed)
- Burpees (20 reps or timed)
Another sample workout to consider would be:
- Jump rope (1 minute)
- Pushups (20-30 or timed)
- Front plant (1 minute)
- Mountain climbers (45 or timed)
Whichever workout you find suitable, make sure to track your routine.
The Importance Of Tracking Your Routine
“How do you know what to do, if you don’t know what you did?” Tony Horton, P90X
Keeping a workout journal is almost as important as building a workout routine. If you truly want to get stronger and faster, you’ll need to improve. The only true way to improve in every area is to keep a workout journal.
You can take an actual sheet or paper or track your results on a smart phone.
What gets measured gets managed, so keep up with everything. Track your diet, workout routines, bodyweight workout, core exercises, circuit training, strength training, back exercises, stretching exercises, and beyond.
The only way to improve is to know where you’ve been.
Creating A Four-Week, Beginner Workout
Perform these exercises on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Rest all other days.
- Dumbbell bench press (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Lat pulldown (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Overhead dumbbell press (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Leg press (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Lying leg curl (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Rope pressdown (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Barbell biceps curl (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Standing calf raise (3 sets of 8,10,12 reps)
- Ab crunches (3 sets of 15 reps)
Make sure to rest in between workout days for the sample above.
Your Guide To Building A Workout Routine (Summary)
There’s a ton to consider, to let’s do a brief recap of your future workout routine:
- Warm-up 5-10 minutes on a bike or rowing machine
- Pick an exercise for a big muscle group like quads, push, pull, and core
- Do about 3-5 exercises per group
- Calculate your rep count and always rest in between
- Mix up your routine to build muscle and reduce boredom
- Consider alternating sets or a circuit routine
- Stretch after your workout to reduce soreness
- Write down everything and keep track of your workout
When creating your workout, decide what kind of goals you have in mind.
What Will Happen To Your Body When You Exercise?
“Don’t exercise to lose weight…do it to improve your brain.” —Rhonda Patrick
From head to toe, your body can completely change once you begin exercising. People who exercise have an improved mood. According to Dr. Mercola, the general benefits will include improved sexual functions, changes in gene expression (testosterone or estrogen), lower risk of diabetes, clearer skin, less stress, an increased mood and better sleep.
Let’s start with the muscle improvements. Your muscles use glucose for movements and contractions. Proper breathing during exercises will help the heart pump more blood to the muscles.
Without proper oxygen, lactic acid could form. Tiny tears occur during a workout, but when they heal, you’ll grow bigger and stronger. It also will increase your metabolism.
Moving along to the lungs, exercising will improve your VO2 max. Essentially, once the muscles around your lungs can no longer move any faster, it means you have hit your VO2 max.
The higher your VO2, the more fit you are. In addition, the joints and bones will be improved by regular fitness to fight against osteoporosis.
Even more important than muscle growth, exercise helps the heart. “Your heart rate increases with physical activity to supply more oxygenated blood to your muscles,” writes Dr. Mercola.
An improved efficiency will also reduce your resting heart rate, which will also helps blood pressure.
Finally, the brain will also be enhanced when you find the proper workout plans. The increased blood flow to the brain allows for it to function better.
After a workout, many people report feeling more clear-headed and focused. Exercising will also help the growth of new brain cells. This helps learning and memory.
Knowing When To Say “No”
“Focusing is about saying ‘No.’” —Steve Jobs
As you improve your regular routine, you’ll likely come to a crossroads. After making a plan of action, you’ll need to create a habit of sticking to your workout in order to not fall into past failures.
To do so, you’ll likely need to learn when to say “No” when it matters the most. Health comes first, which means above all else.
According to author and health expert Tim Ferriss:
“If I sleep poorly and have an early morning meeting, I’ll cancel the meeting last-minute if needed and catch up on sleep. If I’ve missed a workout and have a conference call coming up in 30 minutes? Same. Late-night birthday party with a close friend? Not unless I can sleep in the next morning. In practice, strictly making health #1 has real social and business ramifications. That’s a price I’ve realized I MUST be fine with paying, or I will lose weeks or months to sickness and fatigue.”
While you may not begin this new mindset right away, saying “Yes” to too many things in a row will likely hurt you more than you think.
Say “Yes” to your workout and “No” to those things that have made you fail in the past.
Don’t Wait, Begin Your Workout Plans Today
“Don’t be afraid of failure. This is the way to succeed.” —LeBron James
In conclusion, your workout should be the best version that you can commit to each week. If you develop the perfect plan but fail to stick with it, then there’s really no point.
Come up with a list of goals that you want to accomplish and develop a plan of action to achieve those goals in a realistic timeline.
Once you figure out what needs to be done, you’ll experience better muscle movements, improved joints, better lungs, an improved heart, and a higher quality of brain functioning.
The only way to get there is to begin right now and to track everything that you do to keep improving. This time, don’t fool yourself again by saying “I’ll wait until next Monday”.
Real change begins now, begin today.