There’s lots of help out there when it comes to building a workout regime. Yet, no matter what you do, you cannot afford to lose sight of one key point. You need to remember that your efforts will only work if they take account of your own body and circumstances. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work because, as we all know, one size really doesn’t fit us all does it?
What are you doing now?
It’s important to review your existing workout regime, and establish what is working well and what isn’t. When designing a new plan, it’s essential to go through and see what you actually want to change and build on anything that already works. Don’t, as the old saying goes, throw the baby out with the bath water and change everything – removing parts of your routine that have been beneficial.
What’s your current situation?
It’s also important to consider a few things about yourself. Your weight, age, health and athletic ability are all key factors. You’ve got to be realistic and draw up a plan that is within your capabilities (albeit pushing you to get stronger and fitter).
You also need to think about time. You can sign up for all of the gym classes under the sun but if you work all hours or have a busy family that needs your attention, you’ll lag behind and fail.
After you’ve considered your current situation it’s important to think about where you’d like to get to. Do you have a particular weight you’d like to achieve? Is there an item of clothing you’d like to fit into? Perhaps you’d like to be able to be fit enough to play sport with your friends? Maybe you’ve got a sporting ‘personal best’ that you’d like to beat?
Whatever it is, find something that motivates you and make that your overall goal. You can break this down into smaller, more manageable chunks if you wish but keep the ‘prize’ in mind.
Look at how to measure success
Once you’ve got a goal, find a way to measure your success. Some people take photos of their body as the pounds drop off, others turn to the scales and others measure their times or performance data. If you’re clear about what you’re tracking then you’re more likely to be able to stay on track.
These days there are a host of apps available to help you measure and record your progress – have a browse in your app store and find the one that works best for you.
How are you going to fuel your workout regime? This is a crucial part of the process and cannot be ignored. Your body needs a balanced, healthy mix of essential nutrients to be able to perform at its peak – topped up by the smart use of supplements.
For more advice on this, check out our guides to the components of the ultimate muscle building meal and the best things to eat before and after you train.
The right exercises
Yes, we really are this far in before we’ve touched on the actual exercises that you need to do. It’s so important to get all of that in place before you so much as raise a weight. The foundation work you have done so far should lead you to a programme that caters for everything you’ve established. There could be an element of trial and error here – don’t be afraid to give a few things a go and spend some time tweaking your regime to include new things and discard other exercises that haven’t delivered for you.
If you want a good place to start, though, we’ve picked out five exercises that should be in every programme.
Speak to others
Finally, make sure you take some time to talk to others. Whether that is fellow gym-goers or friends and family, you can learn a lot from the successes and mistakes of others. If you wish, you might also want to speak to a personal trainer, who should be able to find the answers to the questions we’ve raised above and help you to translate that to an effective workout.
With a fair and honest assessment of your capabilities and clear goals with small targets leading up to them, combined with a healthy diet, exercises that work for you and some sound advice, you’ll arrive at the best plan for your particular needs.