A personal exercise plan helps you reach your fitness goals. Your plan should include:
A list of your fitness goals
A way for you to track your progress. For example, a workout book or fitness app to track how far you swam, how long you biked, or when and how much weight you lifted. You can also buy fitness monitors that you wear to track your activities. You may also need a scale, tape measure, or body fat testing device to track fat loss or muscle gain.
A workout schedule that shows the exercises and activities you plan on doing. As you improve, you can change your workout schedule as needed.
A deadline to meet your goals. Setting a deadline helps you focus and stay motivated.
A way to reward yourself when you achieve your goal
Once you have met one set of goals, you can create a new personal exercise plan.
How do I come up with my fitness goals?
Some common fitness goals are:
Lose excess fat.
Gain lean muscle.
Improve performance in a specific sport.
Get faster or more flexible.
Race a certain distance, either by biking, running, walking, swimming, or rowing.
Write your fitness goals down. Your goals should be realistic. For example, running a marathon in a month isn’t realistic if you haven’t run for years. Running a marathon in a year might be doable!
Make sure you can measure your success as you work toward your goals. For example, if a goal is to lose weight, you can track your weight each week. Keep your goals in a place where you can look at them often. Try putting them on your refrigerator. There are also web sites that allow you to track your fitness goals, and some let you share your progress with other people to keep you motivated.
How often should I measure my progress?
If your goal is to lose body fat or gain muscle mass, then you should track your progress at least 1 or 2 times each month. You need to check your progress to know if you need to make any changes to your plan. For example, if you have not lost any body fat after 2 weeks of trying, then you know you have to change your fitness plan. The more often you track your progress, the sooner you can adjust your plan.
If your goal is better performance, like improving your time for a 3-mile run, increasing how much weight you can lift, or improving your 40-yard sprint time, then you should track your progress after each workout.
What should I include in my exercise routine?
Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before you start your exercise program.
Start each workout with a 5-minute warm-up such as moderate to fast walking. Do a variety of exercises each week:
Do some flexibility exercises such as yoga, tai chi, or stretching.
Do some core exercises, such as crunches or sit ups to strengthen your stomach and back muscles.
Do some strength exercises such as push ups, lifting weights, or exercising with elastic bands.
Do regular aerobic exercises such as walking, riding a bike, or swimming.
After your workout, cool down for 5 to 10 minutes by walking slowly and doing some stretches.
How much of each kind of exercise you do depends on your fitness goals.
What if I can’t come up with an exercise routine on my own?
There are many places to look for help:
Talk with your healthcare provider.
Find a qualified personal trainer or strength and conditioning specialist.
Check online fitness web sites.
Get a book to help you learn about different kinds of fitness programs.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2014-08-21 Last reviewed: 2014-08-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Personal Exercise Plan: References
Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes M et al. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2011;43(7): 1334-1359 doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb. Accessed 8/18/14.