There are many workout plans available both online and offline, from fitness experts, personal trainers, men, women, workout plans for the gym, workouts for at home, the list goes on. Just how do you decipher which plan will work for you? How do you pick a workout a plan that suits you? This post was inspired by Shen, one of my lovely readers who asked me for workout inspiration. Once I’d written her quite a lengthy email I realised I’ve tried many workout plans over the years. I now know which type of plans suit me and what I need from a plan. So today I’m going to help you to decide which workout plan is right for you by working out what you should look for in a plan. This is incredibly important as it will give you the right set of questions to ask before handing over your hard-earned cash, or before committing your time to something that’s not right for you.
1. Choose a workout you enjoy
This might seem obvious, but sometimes we can be so desperate for results we’ll sign up to a plan even if we don’t enjoy that type of workout. We’ll convince ourselves we’ll grow to like it once we start seeing results, only to dislike it so much we don’t stick at it long enough to see results. I say we because I’ve been there too my friend, I’ve been there. Instead, have a think about what type of workouts you enjoy and make sure the plan incorporates or focuses on that. Do you enjoy exercising outside? Do you love to run but hate to cycle? Are you more of a dancer than a swimmer? Are you more of a HIIT girl than a spend-hours-in-the-gym girl? We all enjoy getting active in different ways and there is no shame in that. Understanding what gets you excited to work out and what fills you with dread will give you a good idea of which workout plan be good for you.
2. Understand your weakness
We all have a weakness when it comes to working out, if you don’t then please do tell me your secret. Understanding what your weakness is will help you to combat it. For example, do you often cancel your gym plans last minute? Then book onto classes at gyms or studios that charge you for cancellations. Are you fine at getting to the gym but then feel lost once you’re there? Hire a PT for at least a few sessions so that they can show you how to use the equipment and write a tailored plan just for you, or find a cheap/free plan for the gym online. Do you already have workout plan but don’t always do the full amount of reps/sets/time specified? If you slack on the plan then get a workout buddy to push you to do the full workout. This can be a friend, colleague, boyfriend etc. Sign up to the gym together (if you live with your boyf some gyms offer couples discount), or workout in the park together, or if you workout at home, have your mum or boyf watch you and make sure you do all of the reps. Or better still, have them do the DVD/YouTube workout with you! Are you always short of time? Then choose a plan that takes no longer than half an hour to do each workout. Whatever your weakness, there’s sure to be a workout plan just right for you.
Related: Stay on track with your workouts by downloading my Free Meal Planner and Workout Tracker.
3. Decide on your goal
How you workout will depend on what your goal is. Do you want to lose weight? Make sure the plan incorporates fat burning exercises such as cardio and HIIT. Do you want to tone up? Pick a strength training workout plan. Do you want to get fitter? Consider a running plan such as couch to 10k. Do you want to get stronger and more flexible? Try yoga and pilates. Do you want to challenge yourself? Try a tough workout such as Barry’s Bootcamp or sign up to Tough Mudder. It’s no good doing a workout that won’t achieve your goal, unless it’s something you enjoy of course!
4. Look at your workout history
Unless you’re completely new to working out (welcome!) it’s probably fair to say you may have tried a few workouts in your time. If that’s the case then look back at what you’ve done before. What did you enjoy the most? What gave you results and what left you feeling disappointed and unmotivated? For me, I was at my slimmest (I call it skinny fat) when I was at Uni and spent ages on cardio machines. Then I discovered weights and fell in love with my new found muscle tone and strength. I slowly started forgetting all about cardio before I then avoided it like the plague. I realise now that I got the balance wrong (there was no balance!) and I need a mix of both strength training and cardio in my life, therefore I make sure any workout plans I consider incorporate both cardio and weights.
Now you should have a better idea of what you should look for in a plan so that you can assess plans before choosing any in future. Don’t part with your money unless you know that workout plan is a good fit for you! At the moment I am currently doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide plan and so far I really like it. The workouts are half an hour long so I do them in my lunch break with some girls from work. I’m really enjoying working out with others and not being alone in the gym. My weakness is that I slack on reps or intensity when I workout alone, so having the girls push me to keep going is great for me.
What workout plan are you doing now or have you tried in the past? Which would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below. Share your thoughts on different workout plans.