Do you plan your workout 5 min before you enter the gym? Are you confused about your workout split? Can't you see the progress? Are your workouts boring? These all are cases caused by an unprepared workout plan.
I remember myself when I did really know what to do in the gym, the first year I spent on cardio machines because I just didn't know what to train and even how (that was very beginning 😂). When I entered the world of bodybuilding everything has changed, but it doesn't matter what type of activity or which training style you do. The point is to really have the goal and start the journey in a certain direction.
In my opinion, workout planning is a must. You need to have a schedule, you plan your schedule on your own needs. Do you work till late at night? Start your day with an early morning workout! People are always so disgust when they hear early morning, but why? Ok, I am a morning person, so maybe for me, it is just an excuse because when I started the first time I had to wake up at 5 a.m. to get my workout done and be at work at 8. Everything is possible. I know that other things in life may be exhausting, but when you have a plan it is much easier and as soon as you will see the first results you will love your new lifestyle.
Before we jump into planning our workout, it is important to mention all factors to consider before you start.
your current fitness/health/body situation - the starting point
training experience and preferences
The First Thing Is To Plan Your Schedule Around Your Work And Other Activities
Get a piece of paper, open your work or your planner, and write your actual schedule. Decide how many training sessions you are able to do per week. I would suggest at least 3-4 workout a week if you are a beginner and want to get good results. Now, you can think of your split. Remember, that not every training session must be hardcore, you should plan a workout for each body part and some recovery activities (swimming, walk) or accessory work (mobility, stretching). This will keep you active, maintain a habit of activity and you will recover or can work at some specific skills. Decide your training days and your rest day.
The important thing is consistency, take your time each week to plan the following. Consistency always brings success! Keep your training your training routine simple, clear, and enjoyable. I personally, do a lot of strength training and my plan for the following weeks (after lockdown ends) is to include more stretching, mobility, and flexibility routines for my body and to focus more on technical skills. So you can play around, do you like yoga/pilates/box/pole dance/etc. - include it into your routine.
Let's Start To Plan Your Workout Plan
If I am totally transparent with you, I know the situations, when you go to the gym and don't know what to train today as well. Here comes to play the planning of each workout in your week. I remember when I noticed people with a notebook in the gym and writing notes. As a beginner, you may not get it, but it is a good way for people (mostly bodybuilders of andy performance athletes) to track their routine and progress. But, that is a different story, we are going to plan your workout.
Usually, you will have a split of body parts (leg day, back day, upper body day, lower body day, etc.), but each workout always has the same core. I am going to break it down step by step.
1. WARM-UP/SESSION PRIMER
Warm-up is very often glossing over, usually, people think that if they are active almost every day in a week they can't get injured. However, the warm-up is not just about warming your body, muscles, and joints. The warm-up can be actually more fun than you think.
A dynamic warm-up will help you build strength, mobility, and coordination, which leads to improved performance. You can choose some pattern movements for your leg day, mobility exercise, or primal movements and spend around 10 minutes with a warm-up. It is basically stretching in motion with a focus on each skill.
To learn more about stretching check this article here and join my STRETCHING CHALLENGE!
2. PRIORITY EXERCISES
This is the main part of your workout, you are pumped and ready to go. In this part, you will work on your key lifts - complex and exerting compounded exercises. Usually, it is a Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Push/Pull/Ups Variation.
For example, if you work on to squat a certain weight, this is the time you are fully focused on this goal and continual progressive overload (here you can use your tracking notebook).
3. ASSISTANCE EXERCISES
These exercises help your priority lifts, impact your progress, and improve your weaknesses. You will choose usually 1-3 compound exercises or single limb variations.
In the case of the squat (leg day), you can choose some of the lunge variations, squat variations, single-leg variations.
4. ACCESSORY EXERCISES
At the end of the session you can include some additional exercises - usually isolated. This will help you reduce injury risk, adding lean muscle, or work on your weaknesses. Include 1-2 isolated exercises for localized muscle hypertrophy.
On leg day you may do a leg extension, hamstring leg curls, calf raises. See a little example for an orientation below.
In the last minutes cool-down part, you may include some static stretching exercises for the whole body with the main focus on the body part you did finish with your workout. This final stretching will help you relax your muscles, bring your heart rate, body temperature, and breathing back to normal, prevent immediate post-workout spasms and cramping, enhance pain relief, reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
Click on the picture to find the database of exercises for your workouts.
Planning your workout routine will help you with consistency, you can play around with your training plans so they are fun and challenging all the time. If you have a specific goal - not only to lose weight or gain muscle, you can track your performance (what weight you used, how many reps you did, how you felt, etc.). Keep it simple for you to don't get overwhelmed.