Creating an exercise routine is not easy. One of the biggest problems we face when giving advice is the vast variety of people and reasons why they want to create a routine. Variants can include age, weight, ability, goals…just to name a few. So, hopefully, you can see our dilemma.
In this blog we will give you the general scope of things, just to get you into the flow. From then on, there will be a bit of trial and error, but that’s okay, no one ever has the perfect routine from day one. Different schedules and exercises work for different people.
The number one thing you need to do is to figure out when you are going to fit your exercise routine into your pre-existing daily routine.
Can you set aside time specifically for exercise? If you can then do it. If you don’t designate time for your workout the chances are that it won't happen. You’ll say that I can do it later, or it won’t hurt if I miss a day, or I’ll do it tomorrow instead – that almost never happens, and you know it. If you have heard yourself say a similar phrase to these then adding in an exercise timeslot is an absolute must for you! Treat it as an equal to a work commitment or a social engagement.
There is no right time to exercise. If your day get busy as it drags on, maybe it’s best if you slot it in the morning, before work drains you of your time. However, if the evening is when you have time to yourself, by all means exercise then.
NOTE: Remember that it is advised that you have a bare minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (roughly 30 minutes for 5 days). It doesn’t have to be all in one go either. You can split it up into smaller chunks, say 10 minutes. One session in the morning (before work), another during your lunch break and then another in the evening (after work). Done. Easy.
HOW MANY DAYS?
The number of times you exercise per week is quite subjective to your needs and goals, though it is recommended to have at least a day or two of recovery/rest per week.
Think about dedicating 3-5 days for exercise. If you train a certain muscle group remember to have at least 48 hours between your next session on the same group, to allow your body to recover.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY ROUTINE?
Again, this is dependable on your goals, but in general for a five-day week aim to have 3 days of strength training, 2 days of cardio as well as 2 days of rest.
If you are a beginner start with 2-3 days per week and gradually increase the number of days depending on how your body copes. To gain more strength and muscle it’s reasonable to have more strength days. If you want to build up your endurance then maybe side with cardio. However, it’s good to have a mixture of both.
You don’t have to split your routine strictly between strength and cardio. You can combine the two and focus on different functions of the body. For example, the push areas such as the chest, shoulders and triceps; the pull areas like the back and biceps; and finally the legs for you know…the legs. Or focus on different areas of the body such as the chest, back, arms, shoulders and legs.
If you decide to have a full training schedule it is imperative that you make time to rest! Your body needs time to recover, if it doesn’t it is more susceptible to injury. Have at least 48 hours between working the same muscle group, as not to overwork your body, and have at least one full rest day. You’ll thank yourself later.
I know you might want to get your results fast and you just want to power through, but injuries can take a long time to recover, so do yourself a favour and slow it down now, before it’s too late.
HOW MANY EXERSISES SHOULD I FOCUS ON PER SESSION?
Although there is no set answer for this, but aim for around 5-9 exercise per session. The amount of reps and sets you do depends on your goal.
If you want to gain more strength and body volume opt for a lower amount of reps, say 4-6, with heavier weights. You should be able to complete all reps, but only just. If you can’t then choose a lower weight. Form comes over frequency! Aim for 1-2 sets.
If you want to have better endurance, then you want a lighter weight with reps ranging from 8-12 for 2-3 sets (though one set if fine for beginners). Again, you should be able to complete all the exercises in proper form.
Once you have that going, as a rule of thumb stick with this routine for around 4-6 weeks, then you can start making changes, like increasing weight or doing more reps and sets.
HOW LONG SHOULD MY TRAINING SESSIONS BE?
If you’re a newbie try to aim for 30 minutes, but you can also do 30 minutes if you are advanced as well. There’s nothing wrong with that. Once you are more comfortable in your routine and have a good footing in what you are doing, then you can increase your training sessions to 40-60 minutes as well as including a 5-10 minute warm up routine and a cool down/stretching slot.