Exercise routines are like fingerprints – they look identical on the surface, but each is unique.
Whether you are just starting out with your first consistent exercise routine or are an experienced athlete searching for a new fitness regime to follow, it is crucial that you find a routine that works specifically for you.
Naturally, deciding upon the right exercise routine can be a daunting prospect, though, (particularly if you are a beginner), so it is crucial to approach the decision process step by step in order to make the right call.
This is how to find an exercise routine that works for you:
Think about your goals
You won’t be able to find the best exercise routine for you if you don’t have a clear idea of what your long-term fitness goals are. This could be to lose or gain weight, build muscle mass, compete in a particular sport or event or develop your cardiovascular health.
Everyone has different goals when they exercise. Unsurprisingly, the exercises you complete will vary depending on what you want to achieve.
For example, if you are trying to build serious muscle mass, then a weight-training regime is your best bet. Alternatively, if you want to lose weight, a cardio-centric routine is more appropriate at first.
Exercise routines aren’t just about the types of exercises you do, either. You will also have to decide upon the level of weight or resistance you apply, the number of repetitions, and the frequency of your workouts per week.
Knowing your goals will enable you to help narrow down some exercise routine options.
Then, set a precise fitness target
Once you have an idea of a goal you want to achieve, you must be as specific as possible. If you don’t have precise body weight or body fat targets (or an amount of weight you want to lift), you can stick to a more general goal, of course, but selecting a more specific target could help you edit your routine to help you meet your goal quicker.
By setting this target, you narrow down your routine options considerably. If you want to build muscle mass, for example, then a rough routine of compound exercises like the bench press, deadlift, weighted squat, and pull-up will work well.
Work with a personal trainer
Joining a gym and embarking on a particular exercise regime for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Not only are you learning an entirely alien skill, but you are also doing it in front of countless other people, many of whom are vastly more experienced than you.
The prospect of this is enough to turn many people away from ever embarking on their own fitness journey, so it is important to pat yourself on the back for making it this far. The next step is to work out which exercises are best for you – which is where a personal trainer can help.
A personal trainer will use their fitness expertise to assess where your current level of basic proficiency is and how you might best achieve your fitness goals.
Once you have both agreed on a routine, they will teach you the correct technique for each exercise. This is invaluable because learning correct posture can take a long time if you go it alone, and you can risk injury if you get it wrong.
Be realistic with your routine
As with any new routine, it can be easy to overestimate how much you can get done with a single exercise regime – especially if you are just starting out.
Trying to cram two or three hours’ worth of intense exercise in and expecting to complete it three or more times per week is simply unrealistic and is far less productive than sticking to a shorter, simpler routine.
Achieving your fitness goals is a gradual process. It will test your patience as much as your persistence because progress will feel painfully slow.
Accept this, and avoid the temptation to speed up the process by cramming more exercise in. It will exhaust and overwhelm your body, leaving you back at square one.
Consistency is key
One of the most crucial qualities you will need to achieve your fitness goals is consistency. Those who go for an occasional glory run in the gym, lift overly heavy weights, and spend hours completing circuits may look impressive, but it is doubtful they can complete their routine very often.
This is counter-productive because they will lose more gains in their lengthy recovery period than if they had completed a slightly lighter and faster routine more consistently.
You should therefore aim to make your routine as simple as possible, to give yourself a fighting chance of completing it day in, day out.
Muscles respond best to the consistency of effort rather than occasional exhaustion, so if in doubt – simplify.
You may have to try different exercises to start with
When constructing your ideal exercise routine, it is key to remember that you may not get it right the first time. Exercise routines should constantly be tweaked and adapted in order to find the optimum settings for you.
This might change over time as your body shape, weight, and proficiency change, so be prepared to experiment with several different exercises.