10 Tips for Creating an Effective Workout Schedule for Beginners
The vast majority of Americans are unhealthy. While we understand how big of a blanket statement that is, over 70% of the population is overweight or obese. The majority of people in this statistic find themselves in the obese category.
This health epidemic is no laughing matter. Obesity leads to other health complications such as heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer.
Fortunately, incorporating a workout schedule and changing up your diet can do wonders for your health. Done properly (and with commitment), it generally doesn’t take that long to start seeing results either.
Are you ready to get into shape? If so, we want to help. Keep reading for our top 10 tips on how to create an effective workout schedule.
1. Set Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
First, you need to think about your “why.”
Why do you want to get in shape? What’s motivated you to make these changes in your life? What’s going to get you up earlier in the morning or get you to the gym after work?
These are important questions to ask. Pursuing a goal without a reason is like getting in a car with no fuel. The right parameters don’t exist to get you where you want to go.
We’ll ask you again. What are your reasons? Perhaps:
- You want to live longer and have a better quality of life
- You want to run around with your kids and/or grandkids
- You’ve lost family members to heart disease or other obesity-related illnesses
- You’ve been overweight all your life and it’s time for a change
- You’re tired of feeling self-conscious
- You’re getting married soon and want to look good in your wedding gown
Whether you’re looking to build mass or shed body fat, your “why” is going to be your primary source of motivation.
2. Do Some Research
Next, take some time to do your homework. Now that you know what your goals are, you need to look into how to achieve them. It’s also important to learn about safe forms of exercise for people who have limitations, chronic pain, or vulnerabilities.
Research your options for cardio. Doing the same thing over and over again can get tedious and lead to abandoning your goals. What are your other options?
For cardio, we recommend:
- Running outside
- Running on the treadmill
- The elliptical
- The rowing machine
You’ll also want to look into the best workout styles for your goals. For example, H.I.I.T. workouts are fantastic for burning fat, but if you want to get bigger and stronger, you’ll need to look at the best muscle-building exercises.
3. Consult With a Trainer or Experienced Gym-Goer
Lifting with poor form is one of the worst weight-lifting mistakes. It can lead to acute and chronic injuries. But don’t let this dissuade you from lifting weights.
Lifting weights is incredibly beneficial. The more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your metabolic rate becomes. This leads to more efficient fat burning.
Additionally, lifting weights:
- Increases strength
- Improves balance
- Increases bone density
- Helps you sleep better at night
- Burns calories longer throughout the day
- And more
However, you must lift weights properly and safely. We recommend spending your first few weeks with a coach, trainer, or experienced weight lifter to learn the proper form and technique of lifting. You can learn a lot from videos, but most of us benefit from having a hands-on coach who can correct mistakes we don’t know we’re making.
4. Find the Right Workout Space
For any workout schedule to work, it has to be enjoyable. At the very least, it must be tolerable.
Few people like working out, especially in the beginning. Don’t set yourself up for failure by choosing a gym or environment you’re uncomfortable in. You may feel too self-conscious to start out in a public gym.
Alternatively, however, home gyms can sometimes lack the necessary motivation you need to get in the mood when it’s time for working out. You may be better off exercising in groups or with a trainer.
5. Design a Program Based on Your Goals
No matter what workout environment you prefer, you must design a workout program. If you rely on “winging it,” you’ll soon find out that just results in skipping your workouts. You need a program with specific workout days and rest days.
If you’re lifting weights, you need to challenge yourself. Lifting moderate to heavy weights is essential for getting stronger and building lean muscle mass.
And, women, before you ask – no, you will not get bulky unless that is your goal and your strive for it. It’s difficult, genetically, for most women to put on bulky muscle without extra help from supplements.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you need to design a program that implements cardio exercise with resistance training. If you get bored easily, experiment with the different options for cardio, as listed above, to keep things interesting.
6. Implement Progressive Overload Theory
No matter what style of exercise you’re doing, you must progressively push to be better if you want to improve your fitness level. For example, if you run a mile three times a week at a 10-minute pace and never push for faster times, you’re going to stay at the exact same cardio level. Similarly, if you bench 100 pounds for three sets of 10 once a week and never increase your numbers, you’re not going to get stronger.
Progressive overload is essential for creating an effective workout schedule. Progressive overload is the art of gradually increasing the intensity of your workout. Each week, you push for slightly more weight, more sets and reps, faster times, etc.
Thes small advancements, over time, lead to big results. Here are some examples:
- Each week you run a mile on the treadmill, increase the speed by one or two points (5.0 to 5.2)
- Perform two more reps for each exercise than last week
- Do the same reps but add weight to each exercise
- Do an additional set from last week
With progressive overload, the added exertion will hardly be noticeable. However, if done properly, you can significantly increase your strength and conditioning over the course of a few months.
7. Get Your Diet Right
Diet is ever-important in the fitness world. It doesn’t matter how hard you run, lift, bike, or swim. It doesn’t matter how many days are on your workout schedule
You cannot out-perform a bad diet. This is especially important when trying to lose weight.
For those looking to lose weight:
- Make sure you’re consuming fewer calories than you burn each day
- Carbs are not the “bad guy” but consume the majority of them immediately before and after your workout
- Make whole foods a staple of your diet
- Stay away from added sugars (candy, soda, sugary coffees, cake, donuts, etc.)
- Look into weight-loss supplements to boost your results
For those looking to build muscle mass:
- Consume more calories than you burn each day
- Do a clean bulk (don’t eat a bunch of junk food in the name of consuming calories for making gains)
- Consume a lot of lean protein
- Look into muscle-building supplements
Remember, the quality of your food can severely impact your performance and results.
8. Make Your Workout Schedule a Priority
To achieve your fitness goals, your workout schedule must be a priority. Your family needs to respect your goals and allow you time to workout. Similarly, you need to exercise self-discipline – when it’s time for working out, that’s the end of it.
In the beginning, waking up before work to workout will be miserable. If you work out after work, it can be just as difficult not to come home and flop down on the couch. When you get into a routine, it will be easier, but you must first develop these new habits.
9. Track Your Progress
To make true, measurable progress, you must write everything down. From your daily food intake to your workout performance, you need to track everything.
Otherwise, it’s easy to slip an extra candy bar here and there and not hold yourself accountable. Similarly, failing to write down your workout numbers can result in lifting the same weights for weeks on end, wrongly assuming you’re getting stronger.
Have a food journal to track your diet and a workout journal to keep track of your workouts. Seeing the changes in your workout journal can be very rewarding after months of hard work.
10. Change Things Up
Finally, when creating a workout schedule, it’s important to understand that it shouldn’t be permanent. While you are creating a new, long-lasting lifestyle, your workout program can (and should) change every couple of months.
Our bodies are incredibly adaptive machines. They acclimate to their environments and become stagnant without change. You don’t have to change your workout days or times, but you should adopt new programs and different styles of working out.
For example, instead of jogging the same two-mile loop multiple times a week, run sprints on one of your cardio days. There are also different types of weight-lifting you can experiment with, for example:
- Drop sets
- Pyramid sets
- Eccentric movement sets
- Tempo sets
The goal is to keep your body guessing. This will lead to getting stronger, faster, and more fit.
Are You Ready to Get in Shape?
You’ve done the research, you’ve talked about it, and you’ve set goals. Now it’s time to do the work. If you’re ready to get in shape and commit to a workout schedule, we can help.
Our blog is dedicated to helping people like you learn more about health and fitness. Be sure to check out some of our other articles for more tips before you go. We also have an impressive line of supplements that can help you reach your goals faster!