Planning your workout routine can ensure you reap the maximum benefits of exercise.
The holiday season can be a time of excess, making the new year an excellent time to kick-start a new health regime.
Science suggests the benefits of exercise extends far beyond superficial six-packs and ripped muscles, with better quality sleep, boosted brainpower and higher levels of happiness all linked with working out.
As a result, creating a realistic and varied plan and sticking to it is the best way to enjoy the full benefits of working out.
Elliott Upton, Head of Online Personal Training at Ultimate Performance, believes having realistic goals is an excellent first step towards achieving fitness.
He told Newsweek: “Most people are great for a few weeks in January. But by the time February and March roll around, gyms are getting quieter and quieter as the very same people are resorting back to their old habits.
“Why does this happen? It’s simple. Most people’s resolutions are way too unrealistic and don’t fit their lifestyles.”
Tash Lankester, PT at FLEX Chelsea, agrees, telling Newsweek: “Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.”
She added: “Having a plan is so important heading into your 2022 fitness journey. You won’t be walking into that first gym session not knowing what to do, heading straight to the treadmill, killing yourself for 20 minutes to never return for the rest of the year and trying it again in 2023.
“You will know exactly where to go, what to do and a structured training program will help give you the outcomes you desire.”
Read on to discover some simple workout shortcuts to achieve the best exercise results.
1. Set Realistic Goals
As much as we may all want to, not many of us will be able to walk into the gym and immediately pick up 20kg dumbbells.
Steven Virtue, Fitness Development Manager at Total Fitness, suggests setting unrealistic goals will inevitably lead to disappointment, causing you to lose motivation and give up.
He told Newsweek: “Setting realistic goals is also important for your own health. Taking on more weight than you can manage increases your risk of serious injury, which is a sure-fire way of stopping your workout routine before it’s even really started.
“The best way to set realistic goals is to take things slow and build yourself up. Whilst you might want to be lifting the heaviest weights in gym straight away, by slowly building yourself up, you’ll find it more manageable and will see results faster, avoiding any disappointment.”
2. Do Exercises You Enjoy
While working out is not supposed to be easy, this would not mean exercise cannot be fun.
Virtue said: “If your workout routine is a source of stress or discomfort, you’re much more likely to lose motivation. Building a workout routine full of exercises you enjoy means that going to the gym won’t feel like a chore.
“To find the exercises that work best for you, it’s best to take some time to try different exercises out in the gym. Whether you think you’ll enjoy them or not, working your way around the different gym equipment will allow you to figure out which exercises and equipment you prefer.
“You can then build a workout routine that incorporates these exercises, meaning your workout routine can become a much more enjoyable feat.
“Furthermore, finding what exercises are best for you will help you to feel more comfortable and confident in the gym environment, so you can be more at ease when doing your workouts.”
3. Make Sure to Rest
A core part of any workout routine is rest and taking time to recover after a workout allows your body and muscles to recover, both of which are essential for helping to increase your strength and endurance.
Virtue said: “If you don’t allow your body to rest, you’ll find that your progress will be slower, which can demotivate you when continuing to work out. Failing to rest also increases your risk of injury, which can prevent you from working out or limit your capabilities in the gym.”
4. Keep Track of Progress
The ultimate goal of anyone undergoing a workout routine is to see progress, whether that is to lose weight, gain muscle, or increase endurance.
However, Virtue points out that progress does not happen overnight, so it can take time to see results.
He said: “This can be frustrating, but tracking your progress can help you to stay on track.
“If you’re looking to gain muscle, taking regular progress pictures and making a note of your reps and weights is a good way to log your progress and personal bests over time in an easily accessible way.
“Similarly, if you’re looking to increase your speed or endurance, keep a log of your activity, noting distance and duration of runs or cycle rides. This will help you to set goals and see your improvement, which will boost your morale.”
5. Find a Training Partner
A little accountability can go a long way in helping you to stay motivated, so making plans with a gym buddy means you can both hold each other to account and make sure you turn up to your scheduled gym sessions.
Virtue said: “They can also help push you to achieve more during your workouts and be a source of support, especially on those days you’re finding the gym particularly difficult.
“If you’re struggling to find a gym buddy, a personal trainer from Total Fitness can help you to stay motivated and reach your goals. Personal trainers can also help to build a training and diet plan to help you see the best results possible.
6. Plan Your Gym Visits
Planning your gym visits is a great way to build working out into your everyday routine, as it allows adherents to set out sufficient time for getting too and from the gym, getting changed, and actually working out.
Total Fitness’ Steven Virtue said: “Setting dedicated time aside in your week for visiting the gym, on the days and at the time that works best for you, will help to take some stress away and keep you motivated.
“Also, consider what you want to do during each session to get the most out of each trip and ensure you’ve packed all the clothing or kit you might need.
“Perhaps you want to combine a fitness class with a swim, or a weights session with a sprint on the running track—planning the contents of your workout session in advance will help you to stay motivated and focused.”