So many people head to the gym with no idea of where to go or how to reach their fitness goals. They aimlessly wander around the weight machines for a bit before parking themselves on an elliptical for 30 minutes and calling it a day. There’s nothing wrong with the elliptical, but it’s not going to drastically change your fitness level if you don’t incorporate other elements into your workout regimen. Here are some tips for creating the best workout plan for your fitness goals.
Make a Goal
Before you head blindly into the gym, you should decide what your individual fitness goals are. Do you simply want to get in better shape? Maintain your current level of fitness? Lose weight? Run a half marathon? Your end goal will shape your plan, determining how often you work out and the types of exercises you do. Don’t go overboard at first, though. If you’ve never run a day in your life, maybe try reaching for a 5K race before jumping right into marathon training.
Create a Timeline
Once you’ve decided on a goal, set a date by which you want to have achieved it. You’ll want it to be close enough that you don’t lose your motivation, but not so close that it’s impossible. You can also set mini-goals for yourself along the way. If you want to lose ten pounds in three months, try setting a six-week goal to lose five pounds. That way you’ll be even more motivated when you see the smaller results, too. When you’re making and finalizing your workout plan, be honest about how many days a week you can reasonably commit to exercising. You don’t want to run a 5K race in three weeks if you only have two days a week to run.
Choose A Workout
After you’ve set a goal and created a timeline, you’ll need to determine the best workouts and exercises that will help you achieve your goal. If you want to complete a triathlon, you know you’ll need to incorporate running, cycling and swimming into your regular routine. If you want to build muscle, you’ll need to lift weights a few times per week. Make sure you’re not solely focused on one particular exercise. You’ll benefit even more if you cross train than if you stick to the same thing day in and day out.
Enlist Some Help
Many gyms offer a complimentary fitness assessment and personal training session when you join, so you should definitely take advantage of that. They’ll be able to show you some of the machines around the gym and come up with a reasonable plan for you to follow. You can even sign up for a few paid sessions with a personal trainer for a more in-depth and personalized plan. Try setting goals with a fitness-savvy friend who can help keep you on track.
Pencil It In
The best workout plan in the world is ineffective if you don’t follow through. Whatever you’ve decided on, stick to the plan. If you’ve committed to four days a week at the gym, find a way to make it there. Put it in your calendar, phone, planner or wherever else to make sure that you make it there.