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How to Create a Fitness Plan You Actually Enjoy!

Updated: Jul 31, 2023


For many people, "working out" means going to the gym, lifting weights or running 5 miles per day. And, inadvertently, this ends up being a barrier to exercise if we don't like to go to the gym, lift weights or run.


Getting in a meaningful and beneficial workout is much simpler (and can be much more fun!) than many people may think. There are a wide range of class types that help to strengthen muscles and improve cardiovascular health - and, thus, overall health!


How to create a fitness plan you actually enjoy....

Creating a fitness plan you actually enjoy and will stick to is a little bit more involved than simply finding a recommended workout online or a fitness video series you enjoy. There are a few additional steps to developing a plan that works well for you and will set you up for continued success.


Here are four simple steps to crafting your own fitness plan or classes, based around activities you actually enjoy, and a schedule that actually works for your lifestyle:


1. What are your fitness goals?

Know your goals, and build from there. Weight loss? Build muscle? Increase flexibility? Tone and firm? Are your goals functional or aesthetic, or both?


Start by getting in touch with why you want to work out- then, create a plan that helps you achieve those goals.


2. What exercise activities do you like?

There's no "right" or "wrong" way to be active - whether you enjoy running, hiking, figure skating or fitness classes, there are plenty of fun and enjoyable ways to stay active with physical activities you enjoy and find fulfilling.


Take note of the activities or classes you know you enjoy- or, look through the list of fitness channels in 'Unlimited Video Catalog' at move-ment.com for more ideas.


3. Include four essential workout elements:


While there's a wide variety of activities you could include in your fitness plan, based on your own preference, goals and fitness level, there are four main types of physical activities to include in a well-rounded workout plan. You don't necessarily have to do each of them each day, but they should each be incorporated regularly (i.e. weekly).


The four essential elements of a balanced workout plan are:

  • Cardio

"Cardio" exercises raises your heart rate and breathing to improve the function of your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Cardio can be a steady-state, low-to-moderate-intensity exercise (like jogging or cycling), or intervals of high intensity (like tabata or high-intensity interval training/HIIT). It just needs to tax the large muscle groups (legs and trunk) strenuously enough and long enough to get you breathing heavily, which means you're challenging your heart and lungs. Aim for at least 4-5 cardio workouts per week- a 20 minute HIIT workout or a 60-minute low-intensity activity.


Example cardio activities: HIIT or cardio-fusion classes, running, jogging, hiking, cycling, swimming, circuit training, HIIT, dancing, stair climbing, shoveling snow, raking leaves, playing sports like soccer, basketball or hockey

  • Strength/toning

Strength training or toning workouts helps build muscle tone and improves muscular strength and endurance, and is important in increasing metabolism. It also helps to reduce injury from other activities and keeps your skeletal system healthy as you age. Strength training exercises can be accomplished with simply bodyweight, or can involve free weights, machines or resistance bands.


In daily life, muscles don't work in isolation, so it's best to focus on compound exercises that include multiple muscle groups (like squats to shoulder press or reverse lunge to a bicep curl) rather than isolation exercises that emphasize just one muscle (like a shoulder press). It's super important to use proper form while lifting weights, so if your starting out, be sure to work with a personal trainer or take a 'virtual' or group workout class to ensure proper form to avoid injury.


Example strengthening activities: bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, pilates, yoga, resistance bands, weight machines

  • Flexibility & Mobility

First, a couple definitions: flexibility is the ability of a muscle to stretch and mobility is the ability of a joint to move freely through its range of motion. Both are important parts of overall fitness, and should be incorporated into your fitness routine.


Example flexibility & mobility activities: barre, pilates, yoga, foam rolling, stretch & mobility classes

  • Recovery

The final important element of your workout plan is rest. As muscles are broken down, they need time to heal and repair- which is how they grow stronger. You can still be active while recovering, though. Just aim for low-intensity activities you could easily talk while doing.


Example recovery activities: walking, hiking, light stretching, yoga or pilates classes


4. Create a schedule that works for you:


It's often said that, in fitness, half the work is just putting your shoes on or "pushing play". For many people, the hardest part of creating a new fitness routine is just getting out the door or showing up on your mats. Whether that's going to the gym, running in your neighborhood or taking a class, the initiative it takes to get started is truly half the battle.


To make it easier on yourself to stick to a new fitness plan, there are a few important schedule tips to follow:


  • When do you like exercising?

There may be a particular time of day you prefer to exercise. Some people enjoy being active first thing in the morning when they wake up, others feel more energy around midday and others prefer working out in the evening. Tune into the time of day you most enjoy exercising (and perhaps it aligns with the time of day you feel the most energy for it too).

  • What makes sense for your daily schedule?

Next, think about what time of day makes sense for your typical daily schedule. If you need to be at work at 7 a.m., maybe morning workouts aren't your thing; or if you have jam-packed evenings with clubs and social events, maybe evening workouts aren't ideal. Note the days and times in your typical schedule that you have time to do a workout.

  • How often do you aim to be active per week?

Choose how many days per week you'd like to be active. While 7 days per week is certainly ideal, it's also fine if you don't want to have a formal fitness schedule to follow each day of the week-- maybe you'd like to choose 4 or 5 days per week of structure activities.

  • Do your desired activities require a specific schedule?

There are certain activities that happen on a set schedule that can't be changed-- perhaps you're in a soccer league that meets at specific times, or you enjoy taking a particular fitness class that is scheduled at a specific time.


Taking all of these factors into account, plan out a basic weekly fitness schedule that works for you or use the Fitness Calendar in 'Challenge Monthly' for a balanced plan to follow.


While it's best for consistency to keep the same schedule each week, it's also okay if your schedule changes weekly and you need to adjust your fitness schedule accordingly. (For example, maybe you schedule 3 runs per week and 3 fitness classes per week, but each week you can add them to the calendar based on the daily schedule that works best for you that particular week.)


One of the biggest aspects of establishing a consistent workout plan is to create a sense of accountability. One way I recommend doing this is to formally schedule your fitness activities/ workouts in your personal calendar and honor them as you'd honor any other meeting in your calendar. It's also helpful to set calendar reminders to give yourself a heads up-- this is helpful with ensuring that you have enough time to change clothes, lay out your mat, get your shoes on etc. by the time you need to leave for your fitness activity.


Fitness Tip: If possible, plan your meals on days that have scheduled workouts at a specific time (particularly workout classes/personal training appointment which you can't adjust the time of if running late). This helps ensure you're eating meals on a schedule that aligns with your fitness plan-- meaning, you're not eating too soon before a workout, and you're not feeling famished at the time your workout is scheduled to begin.


Here is this months Nutrition Program 'Lose 10 in 25 Days' or a list of Nutrition Plans you can choose from according to your goal! Happy planning! Feel free to reach out at movementbystacey@gmail.com if you'd like to discuss private personal training or a 30-minute phone consult to create your 'ideal' fitness schedule, fitness programming that meets your goals or a nutrition program that fits your lifestyle.


By: Stacey Gernerd


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