Sometimes the toughest decision out there regarding your fitness is how to choose a training program. There are so many programs out there – probably hundreds of thousands! How do you find the right one for you?
To start, consider your current situation, your goals, schedule and lifestyle, and equipment availability. I’ll walk you through it. Read along to discover how to choose a training program for you.
What Are Your Training Goals?
Your goals are going to be the largest determinant of which program is best for you. Before you go any further, I need to remind you that many, many programs will work for you. Lots of programs can get you where you want to be. Please do not stress about finding the right absolutely specific perfect one.
First, write down what your goals are. Pen and paper. I mean it, write it down. Be honest with yourself here. Be selfish! These are your goals, your body, your time, effort, energy. You deserve to get what you want for your investment.
- Fat loss in general
- fat loss in specific areas
- overall muscle gain
- building size or muscle definition in specific body parts
- bigger butt
- more toned arms
- bigger arms, bigger calves, lol good luck just kidding 😉
- more definition
- increase in performance, such as faster running times
- increasing strength, stronger squat, deadlift, bench press, clean, or snatch
- Increase in the amount of steps each day
- increase in time standing each day
- increase in number of exercise sessions done per week
The list can go on and on. Make your goals very specific for you. Know that you won’t get all of them accomplished from a six week program, but you can work toward them in a methodical way.
Find a Workout Plan That Fits Your Lifestyle
Finding a workout plan or fitness routine that is compatible with your lifestyle is crucial.
Choose to do hard work but make it easy on yourself.
If you have to drive an hour and a half to the training facility you want and you want to do it five days a week, make sure that you can maintain that. Otherwise, try to find a great gym near you or invest in a home gym. If you are into jogging and you live in northern Canada, you might want to invest in a treadmill for harsh times of winter. These are extreme examples, but the easier you can make your workout program fit your specific situation, the greater chance you have of committing to it .
Additionally, I want you to pick some thing you enjoy. This should be good for you in the short term and long term. If lifting gives you a little post workout high, embrace that and do it.
One summer when I was 19, I got an intense runner’s high after a specific jog I would do. It was a route that covered about 2 miles and included running stadium bleachers. I loved it and I looked forward to it. I sometimes feel a little giddy after lifting weights also.
Some people feel like a million bucks post yoga or Pilates. Some people don’t get runner’s high, but just feel accomplished and proud that they checked their physical investment off for the day. Find what makes you happy and work that into your program.
Remember, do try to make it fit your schedule. If you are into endurance exercises that take a large chunk of your time, you might have to schedule that on the weekend with supplemental shorter training sessions during the week. If you like to spend a good hour and a half in the gym when you lift but you also have family obligations, you might do that 3 days a week instead of 7. Or if you are looking to simply lose a few pounds, establish good habits, and stabilize your blood sugar, taking 10 minute walks a few times a day can help you more than you think.
Coordinate Exercise and Diet
Having an optimal diet and training program will help you toward your goals exponentially. Let me repeat that: you will get there way faster when you are eating well in addition to your physical training. Ensure that you are getting enough protein, several servings of fruits and vegetables, a day and plenty of plain water. Add those things in first.
Then be honest with yourself about taking out the things that you know do not help you reach your goals. I’m not saying go on the strictest squeaky clean diet you’ve ever heard of. I am saying that you know the bad habits you can tone down a little bit. if you drink, maybe drink on fewer days of the week or have one less. If you’re big big into desserts, enjoy a smaller portion.
If you are into cokes and sodas, try having less or having a substitute. Sparkling water really scratches that itch for me. Experiment and see what you like. You might love tea! That would be great, since there are countless varieties out there. Try and try again, to find something that is healthy and enjoyable for you.
Whether you end up following a formal diet or just adjusting yours, a little bit know that every little bit will help you toward your goal.
Fitness Programs for Beginners
If you are a brand new beginner in the gym, I am so excited for you! It’s like you haven’t read the best book of your life! It’s like you’re just about to start the best most bingeable TV series ever. I’m so excited for you!
I created a course just for beginners. This assumes you want to learn the ins and outs of the gym from square one. This program is very creatively titled Square One. It is six weeks and $15 because I want this to be available to everyone!
If you have questions, please let me know and we’ll discuss if this is a good fit for you. If you have other questions in general, about your program or what program is a good fit for you, I am happy to help! I read every email. Kathryn@kathrynalexander.com.
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.