If you’re looking to achieve your dream body and acquire a healthier lifestyle this year, then setting up an effective exercise routine is key. Of course, having a full set of reliable activewear—from a sleek muscle tee to men’s running socks and sneakers—can help. But to truly meet your fitness objectives, you’ll need to create a plan that you can actually stick to.
Without the right preparation, even if you enter the gym with high ambitions and the right gear, you might give up on your physical regime by the second week. This may be because you’re overtraining yourself to exhaustion, doing exercises that don’t align with your fitness goals, or trying to work out at a time that conflicts with your schedule. Whatever the reasons may be, it’s difficult to achieve significant results without consistency.
Your exercise regime will largely depend on your fitness objectives, body type, capabilities, and available resources, so there’s no tried-and-tested formula that will work for everyone. However, there are some universal tips that you can take note of when constructing your workouts. If you want to plan an exercise routine that will help you achieve your desired goals, below is a simple guide to getting started:
Set Specific Fitness Goals
The core of any effective workout plan is setting specific and attainable goals for yourself. These objectives will better help you determine the types of exercises you’ll be including in your routine.
You can do this by thinking about the body parts and skills that you want to develop. Would you like to build more arm or leg muscle? Are you looking to improve your flexibility, strength, or endurance?
For instance, if you want to focus on building strength and gaining muscle, then you’d need to do some weightlifting. If you want to increase your endurance and strengthen your legs, then you’ll need to do activities like running or jogging.
Come Up with a Routine That Fits Your Schedule
One of the main reasons why people give up on their exercise routines is because they lack time. If you’re handling a full-time job or taking care of a whole family, time may be a scarce resource. Thankfully, it’s possible to follow your fitness regime even with a busy schedule. One of the best ways to do this is by cutting up your routine into manageable chunks throughout the week.
For example, if you were initially planning to do a weekly two-hour workout session, you can instead split it into two hour-long sessions or four thirty-minute sessions throughout the week. You can also choose to do your workouts solely on the weekends or in quick bouts during the weekdays.
Most importantly, be honest with yourself when deciding on the amount of time that you can devote to working out. That way, you can avoid biting off more than you can chew.
Keep Your Workout Simple with Compound Exercises
You may want to prioritize exercises with compound movements to keep your routine simple, especially if you’re just starting out.
Compound exercises train more than one muscle group at once, which means that these kinds of exercises can easily give you a full-body workout. Doing ten different exercises that only focus on certain body parts can be overwhelming and intimidating, but compound exercises allow you to streamline your routine to as little as five workouts.
For instance, you can do squats to target your quads, calves, and glutes all at the same time. As another example, doing front lunge twists can work your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and abs simultaneously.
Decide on an Appropriate Number of Sets and Reps
Lastly, you should decide on the appropriate number of sets, reps, and rest periods for each of your exercises. As a rule of thumb, beginners may want to consider doing three to five sets with eight to ten reps per workout.
For the most part, your set-rep-rest scheme will largely depend on your fitness goals. If you’re aiming to lose weight, then go for high-rep workouts with fewer sets. To increase calorie burn, it’s best to take 45 to 60 seconds of rest after every set. If you want to focus on strength, aim to perform more sets and fewer reps. For heavy weightlifting, it’s recommended that you take at least two to three minutes of rest between your sets.
Switch Things Up Every Once in a While
Even after you’ve created the ideal routine, it’s still a good idea to switch it up from time to time. Otherwise, a stagnant routine can cause your body to grow accustomed to workouts, which means you’ll achieve less impressive results over time. Making small changes to your fitness regime—like adding new workouts, trying different variations of the same workout, or changing your set-rep scheme—is sure to keep it effective.
No matter how booked your schedule may be or how challenging your fitness goals may seem, it’s possible to create a feasible and efficient exercise routine with the help of the above tips. By coming up with the perfect custom routine and with enough practice, you’ll achieve better health and your dream physique in no time.