"Failing to Plan can be planning to fail." This popular quote can be applied to every area of your life. It can be especially true concerning your workout schedule. And yes, you should have a workout schedule. A workout schedule can accomplish many positive things, but most importantly it makes your workouts a priority in your week. Having a solid workout schedule is a gift to yourself; it's telling yourself that your workouts are as important as any other scheduled event in your week and that you're willing to adapt your other weekly events around your workouts. Along with scheduling a workout into your week comes another important factor :planning your workouts. Planning and scheduling your workouts are the two most important elements you can do to reach your fitness goals. In this article I will talk about planning and scheduling your workouts and at the end I will let you know 5 tips that I use on a weekly basis that help me maximize my workout time.
When is The Best Time to Workout?
An important element in planning and scheduling your workouts is deciding when your optimal time to workout is. Normally speaking, the best time to workout is when it's most likely going to happen. Just because you feel the most productive at work in the morning doesn't necessarily mean the morning is going to be the best time to get your workouts in. Ask yourself what has worked in the past and what schedule is good long-term. Getting up at 4 A.M. may seem like a great idea the first week (just think about ALL the stuff you can fit into the rest of the day) but, after a week you're probably going to start to resent your workouts and your alarm. Remember: workouts are not a punishment, choose a time where you will enjoy your session and it brings you energy not strips it away.
How Long Should The Workout Last?
When you're planning and scheduling your workouts you should know in advance how long you're going to be working out. Your workout should never be shorter than 20 minutes or longer than an hour. With that said, the less time you spend working out the more frequently you should be exercising. You can get a great 6-exercise workout done in 20 minutes, I do it all the time. The key is you need to be doing at least five 20-minute workouts a week to see change in your health and physique. If you have more time availability, and can go 45-minutes or more you should aim for 3 workouts a week. If you're doing 30-minute workouts look for 3-4 workouts a week. The important thing is you're being realistic with how much time and attention span you have concerning your workouts and you're pre-planning accordingly. Even a 20 minute workout can seem like a big commitment on a busy day. If your workout is scheduled into your day it will become an active part of your busyness not an additional item you're trying to squeeze in.
Know What You're Planning to Work on
Another important element of planning and scheduling your workouts is knowing what you're going to work on during your workout. You wouldn't go to the grocery store without an idea of what you're going to buy. Nor would you get on an airplane without a plan of where you were going to go. Not knowing what you're going to be working on during your workout is the BIGGEST mistake people make when going to the gym or working out at home. When you only have 20-30 minutes of precious time to workout you need to maximize every second of it. Everyone knows what they want to look like and feel like as a result of their training, the problem is simply putting the time in isn't enough. I promise you will not reach your health and fitness goals by simply showing up. If you do not know how to structure a workout and need a plan you can meet with a trainer at the gym or head over to the "Programs" section of the NME Fitness training website and I have several options for all fitness levels. In addition, you can pop into a class or do some group training if working out alone is not your thing. Whatever your preference of environments to train you should never start a workout with a plan.
Can't decide what workout environment is right for you? Check-out this article from the "Learning Center" to help you decide: Finding the Right Workout Environment For You.
5 Tips to Help Plan and Schedule Your Workouts For The Week
- Put Your Workouts in Your Calendar. This seems like an obvious choice on planning and scheduling your workouts but so many people think they do not need to do this and end up missing their workout do to a lack of a simple repeating calendar event. Even if you've been doing it for years, still have a weekly reminder. It's amazing how you can forget your Tuesday at 5:00 P.M. workout when someone is trying to lock you into a commitment and your mind is moving in a million different directions.
- Set Timers. Timers are a non-obvious planning and scheduling your workouts tip. I am obsessed with timers. I use timers during my workouts to track my sets and breaks as well as before my workout to make sure I don't get distracted with other things before my workout even begins. Everyone has a timer either on your phone or your stove, a timer could become one of your best workout tools yet. For more information on the NME System that is run by timers check out this page: The NME System.
- Say "No" more often. Part of planning and scheduling your workouts is that you're planning time for yourself. Don't let others take that away from you. Don't feel bad about turning down a basic social commitment because of your workout. Your friends and co-workers should understand. If they don't now, they will soon when you start crushing your health and fitness goals. If you don't plan your day someone else will plan it for you.. this is so true when it comes to your free time!
- Have a visual workout plan. Planning and scheduling your workouts mean being able to see your workout. If you're not in a class you should have your workout written down by hand or on your digital device. Simply remembering what to do next is not reliable when you're tired and on a time-schedule. A visual reminder will keep you in-check with getting all of your exercises inline the right order with the right time expectations.
- Tell others about it. Sharing is a big help when seeking support on planning and scheduling your workouts. If your family knows that you're working out at 6:00 in the morning they will give you less hassle about not having a glass of wine the night before or going to bed early. Also, friends and family can offer much-appreciated support on those days (and you will have them, we all do) when you're not feeing like your normal energized self. Sharing is caring about yourself and your workouts.