Why should you set fitness plans or goals? A fitness plan is your roadmap, menu and bible! They give you everything you need to know about your workout, ability and progression. The common theme with people who achieve highly in fitness, exercise and sport is the ability to track, measure and monitor their progress. A formal plan gives you accountability and motivation. It should never be underestimated and the ability for a coach/trainer to record and keep this information is a reflection of their ability and knowledge. A training/fitness plan outlines all of the key components and aspects which attribute to your goals. It is no different to a company having a business plan or having regular project meetings.
There are many online app’s and downloadable options when it comes to training plans, but you can also just use a notebook or notes app. To give you an idea of what you should be looking for we have created an outline for you:
Measuring conditioning plans
Exercise order: for consistency, the order should always remain the same. Your level of fatigue decreases as the workout elapses so start with the largest muscles first.
Sets: how many times you are performing the same exercise.
Repetitions: how many times you are performing the exercises in a single set.
Tempo: the speed at which you are lifting. This time gives you a calculation of the time under tension and should be consistent for you to know when to increase your weight load.
Rest time: how long you are resting. This should always be timed and adhered to for consistency of fatigue levels.
Load: how much weight you are lifting.
Grips/positions: if you are using a different handle, grip or position which affects the muscular contraction.
Measuring cardiovascular plans
Distance: how far you travel.
Resting heart rate: to monitor improvements and recovery levels (take first thing in the morning).
Maximum heart rate: how intense the workout is and how you are reacting to it. A consistently low heart rate will indicate you can push yourself further. Too high and you might need to take things easier.
Rest time: if you are performing intervals or the rest period between workouts so you can measure performance vs recovery.
Tempo: depending on your activity you may be able to record your averages in strokes, steps/strides or cadence.
To measure success you need to establish your starting point. Along with your training plan, you should have a test/assessment associated with your goal. This could be a time trial if you are into cardio-based exercise or profile photographs of yourself if you are looking for body shape changes. It is important though. Sometimes changes can be visual, physical or mental. You need to be aware of your changes and habits in order to progress and create a self-motivating environment for yourself.
How to start
First, you need a training diary/book. Something to record your information. This could be also a tablet or app. Next, establish your starting point and create some quantifiable goals. Record some kind of assessment or test. Then outline the days you will be training, how you are training and prepare for it.
You might find you need to make some adjustments at the start as you try out a new routine, so don’t feel pressured to stick to your first plan if it doesn’t work perfectly for you.
Success is based on your ability to be more organised, build upon your successes and progress at a sensible and manageable speed. Some sacrifices will be needed upon the way. But they will be worthwhile in the end.