Training without a workout plan is like driving a car with a blindfold on or building a house without a solid foundation. It just doesn’t make any sense. You will end up veering off course quickly which will wreak havoc on your overall fitness regimen and garner very little results.
With the new year almost upon us, you like many others, are considering or planning to make resolutions to become more fit in the upcoming year. Your initial thoughts need to be centered on the specific changes you want to make to your body along with exactly how to make those changes actually happen. Do you want to lose weight, strip off unwanted body fat and get shredded? Or, maybe you want to pack on size so you can gain weight and get bigger. When establishing your health and fitness goals you need to be specific as to what you want to accomplish. However, it’s important to be realistic when establishing your goals. If you are significantly overweight, then a 20-25 pound weight loss goal is achievable in a 3-4 month time period. I lose 20-25 pounds every time I compete in a bodybuilding show and I do it in 12 weeks. I also have a lot less weight to lose than someone who is very overweight.
Your entire workout plan should be designed around how you can achieve your fitness goals. Before we get started, I want to circle back on two other important things that you need to do in order to help you achieve those goals:
- Medical – Get a physical from your doctor so you can be assured that you are physically fit to embark on your new journey. If you’re a older in age, feeling run down and gaining a lot of weight then you might want to have your blood labs done to make sure your testosterone and estrogen levels are correct. 80% of the people who are over 40 years old and performing intense training had low testosterone levels when they were tested by their doctor. This area is an extremely important area when it comes to middle-aged people. Low testosterone levels can prevent them from making any progress at all. If your testosterone levels or estrogen are way off, training and dieting will do very little for you.
- Diet – As I’ve mentioned in my other articles, your diet is absolutely crucial when it comes to seeing results. When I say “diet”, I’m not saying you’re going to starve yourself and eat rabbit food all day long. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s important to feed your body what it needs to function properly while cutting out sugars and cutting back on too many starchy carbs. Avoid the gorging yourself with heaping plates of food and focus on eating smaller portions, more frequently.
Many of you might be currently using, or are considering using another person’s workout plan. There are thousands of workout plans that are easily obtained on the Internet. This is not a good idea and something you should avoid. Remember, we are all genetically different and these generic plans were designed by someone else to meet their own personal fitness goals and not yours.
Your workout and overall fitness plan has a huge influence on you reaching your specific fitness goals. The chances of achieving your goals with someone else’s plan is not very good, unless they have the same specific goals and also have your specific body type along with the same level of overall fitness.
There are three different body types for men and women which we will cover below. A beginner should not be using an experienced bodybuilder’s workout plan. You need to start your workout plan based on your current physical capabilities and not someone else’s.
Workout plans must be adjusted to account for your progress and fitness needs. In other words, your plan needs to evolve as you do. Beginners will need to adjust more often than someone who is very experienced. It’s not uncommon for me to have to adjust a new client’s workout plan because the client is not challenged enough or is overly challenged by the workouts. If you’re a beginner, it’s not a bad idea to hire a competent certified personal trainer to help you with your fitness plan and show you how to workout correctly and safely. Your overall learning curve is also greatly elevated by using a personal trainer.
The Three Different Body Types:
- Ectomorph – thin, very lean, fast metabolism and difficult to gain weight and build muscle.
- Endomorph – easy accumulation of body fat, poor muscle definition, overweight, lethargic.
- Mesomorph – symmetrical in appearance, lot of lean muscle, low body fat, builds muscle easily.
Tips for Creating Your Workout Plan:
- 90-Day Plan – Focus on having a 90-day plan with a goal to execute the plan fully. Most of my clients lose 20-30 pounds in 90 days when they properly execute their diet and workout plan. If you fall a little short, don’t worry since you will still be making very good progress. Also, after 90 days on your original plan, your physical abilities are clearly improved. It might be time to do more cardio, increase your repetition ranges, increase the weight being used and cycle in some new exercises to shock your muscles.
- Balanced Plan – Your fitness plan needs to be balanced and that means cardio, core and weights.
- Warm-Up – Part of your plan should include a warm-up. I’d suggest 10-15 minutes of cardio with some light stretching and a couple of core exercises to begin with. This fires up your metabolism and loosens up the very important joints and muscles prior to working out.
- Workout Time – Design your workout to be completed within an hour and 15 minutes. Until you learn your routine, initial workout plans might take a little longer to complete.
- Technique and Reps – While doing your exercises, concentrate on proper form at all times with higher reps and less weight in order to properly execute the movement so you can stress the specific muscles so they grow and develop. The gym is full of men and women who think progress means increasing the weight being used on an exercise. My rule of thumb is if you can’t do an exercise for a strict 10 reps then you should decrease the weight. If you can easily do 10 reps then bump up the weight. Remember, our joints and muscles can only take so much. If you lift too much weight, you may accomplish the exact opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
- Evolution – Remember that workout plans are meant to be changed and adjusted with progress. If you keep doing the same thing repeatedly then eventually your body will stop responding and you will stunt your progress and hit a plateau. Your plan must evolve as you do.
- Workout Pace – Be fast paced with your workout but be safe. For example, walk quickly from station to station or alternate core exercises between sets. Don’t sit on a machine resting or use your cell phone to text your buddy or girlfriend because this just slows down the pace of your workout. With a brisk pace, you’ll burn more calories and get a better workout. You might notice that some of the fittest people in the gym are working out at a faster pace than others.
- Separate Your Workouts – My workouts are separated like this: day 1 (biceps and triceps), day 2 (chest), day 3 (back), day 4 (legs), day 5 (rest), day 6 (cardio and core) and on day 7 I start it all over again. On all my workout days, I’m tearing up those specific muscle groups which help to increase the size and definition of the muscles. I see a lot of big guys in the gym that don’t do this and the results show it. All they are “big guys” with a bunch of fat covering their muscles which does not look very good. For each workout, I do between 20-25 minutes of cardio and I also do core exercises. For those that are overweight, I recommend increasing the amount of cardio you do in order to burn even more calories.
- Workout – How many exercises for each muscle group should I do for each workout? I do 4-5 exercises per body part. With each exercise, I perform 3 sets of 10 reps. Beginners should start with 3 exercises per body and perform 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise.
- Measure Results – Take some measurements each week so you can monitor your progress. I like to take pictures and weigh myself so I can closely track my progress. Make a note of your body weight once a week so you can see any fluctuations. Tracking your measurements and taking photos can really escalate your personal progress month after month. It’s easy to get hooked on seeing progress!
- Meal Plans – Make sure you track what you eat since you’ll be less inclined to stray off your diet. Remember to avoid starvation diets since they simply don’t work in the long run. Focus on a clean diet you can sustain for the long-term. If all those starvation diets really worked, we wouldn’t have an epidemic with 71% of the U.S. population being overweight or obese.
- Gaining Size – For those of you who want to gain size and get bigger, it’s important to eat a lot of high quality food, but be careful about getting too bulky and packing on too much body fat. My preference to bulking is to lean out first and see what your muscles really look like. After a “leaning out” phase, you will have a 6-week window where your body is very anabolic and primed for growth which is a great time to consume lots of nutrient dense food.
- Cool Down – End your workout by cooling down properly. I usually break my client’s cardio routine in half and they do half as a warm-up before their weight lifting workout and then the other half at the end of their workout. After finishing cardio, do some extensive stretching to help elongate the muscles.
Why Fitness Plans Don’t Get You The Desired Fitness and Weight Loss Results You Want:
- Wrong Plan – Having the wrong plan or utilizing someone else’s plan.
- Not Executing – The best plan in the world won’t help you if you don’t execute your plan.
- Not Measuring Results Week-To-Week – If you don’t measure and track everything, it’s hard to stay motivated because you won’t know if you’re progressing.
- Inconsistent Workouts – Inconsistency impacts results and increases the likelihood of injury.
- Inconsistent Diet – You are what you eat. Don’t worry about eating less and focus on the quality of the foods your body needs. Eliminate sugars, cut back on the carbs and be disciplined on your serving sizes.
Let’s Get Started!
I hope you’re ready to start your new journey! Having the right fitness plan set in place will allow you to successfully achieve your goals. I’ve provided you with the tools and knowledge to create your own plan. All you must do is create and execute the plan to see amazing results. Sound exciting, doesn’t it? I did the same thing years ago and was able to eliminate my flabby beer belly and achieve a sculptured physique to become one of the fittest 58-year-old guys in the country! You can also achieve similar results too! What do you have to lose? It’s an awesome feeling to look great, feel amazing and live a healthy lifestyle. Good luck to all of you in reaching your fitness goals!