A Basic Guide to Creating an Exercise Schedule
For some of us, scraping together the motivation to work out regularly is nearly impossible without the inspiration of an exercise schedule. A great way to kick yourself into gear is to create exercise reminders along with your schedule. Leave these in an obvious place where you will be reminded of your commitment to your health. I’m not saying you have to post a huge sign on your fridge reminding you to get in some exercise, but something as simple as a post-it note on your computer monitor or a reminder placed on your bedside table is a great (and subtle) way to ensure that you don’t forget to exercise.
Before you can create reminder notes, you need to figure out what your routine is going to be. What days do you have enough spare time to squeeze in a thirty minute workout? Say your ideal workout days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Both the exercise schedule and reminder notes should specify these days as your exercise days.
You may find your exercise schedule easier to manage if you create a separate schedule for each day. This allows you to dedicate one day a week to three different types of exercise. For instance, Tuesday could be cardio day, Thursday could be weight training, and Saturday could be Yoga or Pilates. This is only a suggestion and may not work for everyone. It’s really a matter of asking yourself what kind of results you aim to achieve with this workout schedule and plan accordingly.
A good example is if you’re in good overall health but simply want to tone up. In this case, you might instead want to create a list of exercises you will perform on each of your workout days. For instance, Tuesday may be curls and chest presses with free weights and a round with the boxing bag. Thursday you might choose to work your lower body with lunges, leg curls, and a brisk run. Then Saturday you may want to concentrate on your core muscles with a round on your ab lounge, oblique crunches, and a couple of reps of the bicycle exercise. The idea is to decide what kind of results you want and to map out a plan of action that will help you achieve those results.
Putting the plan together on paper will play a big role in ensuring you don’t waste time starting out. You won’t have to putter around thinking to yourself, “Which exercise shall I do next?” With a written or typed schedule to give you direction, you will make the most of the time you’ve specifically designated as your workout period. As I mentioned before, you may choose to make a separate schedule for every day of the week that you intend to work out. If you need to, include the start and finish times at the top. This is good for those of us who need some serious motivation (i.e. “Only 10 minutes of exercise left until I can shower!”), but isn’t a necessity—you know your schedule and you know when you can squeeze in your workout. Create a section for each type of workout, such as Cardio, Core Strengthening, Upper Body, Lower Body, etc. If you are working out at the gym, you may choose to create a section for each room of the gym, like Weights or Pool.
Once you have your different sections laid out, you can start specifying the exercises that will fall under that section. So say you’ve created a section for Core Strengthening. Under this, you can specify Standard Crunches, Oblique Crunches, Bicycle, Leg Raises, etc. Be sure to put each exercise on its own line so that you have plenty of room to specify the number of repetitions and can easily read the directions at a glance. If it helps, try printing out a couple of instructional photos from the Internet. This may not be necessary if you have a history of working out, but a novice could really benefit from the guidance of photos.
Once you have your schedule for every day of the week, you can decide how and where to keep them. If you’re fortunate enough to have a dedicated workout room in your house, you may choose to simply hang the schedule on the wall. If you’d like your schedule to be a little more private (hey, some of us like to keep our exercise business to ourselves!), you can put the exercise schedule pages in a folder and store that in a place you can readily access when it’s time to work out.
The detail that you put into your schedule is completely up to you. Those of us requiring a little more motivation or guidance may choose to be quite specific in our schedules, while others may simply need a quick reminder to glance at as they plow through their work out. Best of luck creating your exercise schedule!