Let’s face it – if you had a choice, exercise would probably not be on the top of your list of things to do every day. Chilling on your couch, and watching TV sounds like a much more relaxing and rewarding thing to do. That being said, there is no denying that physical activity has a vast number of benefits for you.
Working out on a regular basis can help to keep your weight in check, boost your energy levels, ward off diseases, and even promote a good mood. So, as you can see, it is important for you to grab your gear, get up and get moving. However, since this isn’t the most pleasant of options, here are some guidelines for you to create a workout plan that you will actually enjoy:
Figure Out What Time Works Best for You
Depending on who you ask, people will swear that either morning or evening workouts are the best. Now, each of these times does have their own set of advantages. For instance, working out in the morning means that you start your day off in a healthy manner while exercising in the evening could provide you with a way to wind down. However, it really is up to you to decide what time works for you.
If you really aren’t a morning person and getting out of bed is difficult, then exercising after work will be less tedious for you. On the other hand, if you are just too tired after a long day, a morning workout may be a better fit. The best way to determine which option is right is to give them both a try – spend the first half of the week exercising in the morning and the rest in the evening. This should give you some idea about what you prefer.
Determine Where to Work Out
This can actually be a tough question for most people – should you pony up for a gym membership or should you try to get your workouts done at home? This is another case of “it depends on you”. If you have a history of signing up for gyms and never going then clearly, this is not a good fit for you. What’s more, the idea of actually having to commute to the gym every day or to work out around other people can be off-putting.
At the same time, exercising at home isn’t without its disadvantages. Since you will have to buy your own equipment, you may be limited by the number of machines that you can own or use. This means that in most cases you will have to rely on your own body weight, which can have its restrictions. Also, exercising at home can make it a lot easier to slack off as the TV and fridge are only a few feet away.
It also depends on how much free time you have every day. If you work crazy hours or have a lot of responsibilities then a home workout may prove to be the simplest option. However, if you have plenty of time on your hands, then it can be worth hitting the gym every now and then. As with the above point, you are only going to figure out your ideal location with a bit of trial and error. Give both avenues a chance and you will soon come to realize which one you prefer.
Understand How Long You Should Workout For
Another aspect of exercise that can get rather confusing is how long you need to work out for. Some programs swear that just ten minutes a day is enough while others recommend around an hour each day. Well, the truth is that if you want to lose weight, then you will need to exercise for around 150 to 250 minutes a week. If you are really serious about keeping the weight off, then you should aim for the longer time slot.
While this can sound rather daunting, it doesn’t have to be. So, let’s break it down so that it seems a bit more possible. To start with, let’s imagine that you are going to be exercising for around 200 minutes a week. This means that if you work out for all five days of the work week, you have to exercise for just 40 minutes a day. If you want to break this down, you can try exercising twice a day for 20 minutes at a time.
In case this seems a bit much as well, keep reading to find out how you can tailor your workouts so that you alternate your activity levels.
How to Structure Your Workouts
Now, it’s time to figure out how you should split your workouts so that you are doing more than your body can handle on any given day. To stick with the example mentioned above, let’s look at how you can break up a five-day workout schedule.
To make the most out of your physical activity, you are going to need to engage in High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises, low-impact exercises, and moderate activity. Let’s begin with HIIT – here you will need to warm up with a moderate level of exercise and follow it up with the same exercise performed at your highest possible capability.
For instance, imagine that you will be doing a running HIIT exercise. This means that you will need to jog for about thirty seconds and follow this up with a full-on 30-second sprint. To cool down, you will need to jog for another 30 seconds. Now, these type of workouts take a lot out of you so when you are starting out, you should limit your workouts to around 15 minutes. Even when you have built up an endurance, you really shouldn’t exceed thirty minutes.
The next thing to consider is your low-impact workouts. These are exercises that help you to burn calories but are easy on your joints and muscles. The best example of such a workout is swimming but yoga is also quickly becoming a popular option. If these aren’t options for you, try going for a leisurely walk. Now, since these exercises aren’t intense, you can increase the amount spent working out from 30 to 40 minutes.
Last but not least, you have the moderate workout days. These are when your activity levels are high but they aren’t as exhausting as your HIIT workouts. Weighted lunges or squats and burpees, etc. are excellent instances of a moderate workout. For this type of workout, you should try to extend your exercise time for between 45 to 90 minutes. Of course, when you first begin, it is best to ease yourself into the workouts and then progressively make them longer.
Now it is time to determine how many times a week you should do each of these forms of exercises. For optimal results, you commence your routine by having one day of HIIT, followed by a day of low-impact workouts. The rest of the three days should be moderate exercises. Once your body has adapted to this schedule, try increasing the HIIT to two days so that you can push your body a little further.
Keep It Fun and Interesting
It is easy to scoff at this suggestion, especially if you don’t like exercise. Nonetheless, it is important for you to remember that there are lots of ways to exercise. This includes playing a sport, dancing, hiking, and more. So, if regular workouts are difficult for you to adhere to, the least you can do is to make sure that you do a physically intense, fun activity a few times a week. In fact, even if you are able to stick with your exercise plan, it can be helpful to break it up every now and then with an interesting yet intense activity.
Another way to keep things interesting is to switch up the kind of workouts that you do every month or so. This way, your mind will be preoccupied with mastering these new exercises. As a result, you are less likely to feel bored or lethargic with what you are doing day in and day out.
Get Others Involved
There is a good chance that you have already tried working out regularly before, only to give up after a short period. This is actually not all that uncommon. If you want to find out how to stay motivated and stick with your plan, the answer is easy – get others involved.
Find a friend or family member who is also looking to get fit and come up with a schedule together. When you have a partner, you are more likely to actually adhere to the plan that you have come up with. Not to mention, your workouts will also become a lot less boring too. In the event that you can’t find anyone to join up with you, consider taking a fitness class so that you are surrounded by other people anyway.
This is what you need to know about creating an efficient workout plan that you will actually be able to stick with. In turn, you will find yourself getting fitter and stronger every week.