Creating a workout schedule is an important factor in actually reaching your fitness goals. A workout schedule is important for us to consistently to put in the necessary effort for progress. Workouts, particularly training-oriented ones, are less effective in the grand scheme of things when a concrete schedule is missing.
The Effect of a Schedule
Workouts – like those meant for cardiovascular and respiratory improvement or for muscular improvement – are stimulus-response activities. Proper weight training, for example, subjects muscle to an uncommon load (the weight requiring an application of musculoskeletal force to be overcome), i.e., weight that it is not used to handling. It is technically an “overload.”
The microtrauma to muscles (supported by proper diet and rest) actually results in muscular growth and strength gains. Given an opportunity to recover, the human body amazingly becomes more durable after experiencing a little damage.
Since the body responds to the uncommon load and repairs the damage, progressive overload is vital to continued growth. The progression in “progressive overload” implies
- Lifting heavier weights,
- Doing more reps with the same weight,
- Doing more sets,
- Doing the same amount of work in less time or
- Doing more work in the same amount of time.
Hence, a workout schedule! We have to lay out plans and set a timetable for constructing the body we desire: intelligently planning our days and weeks to consistently incorporate workouts and progress over time. Scheduling supports the physiological requirements and the self-discipline to follow the steps of a plan for success since the date and time of a workout is pre-arranged.
A workout here and there is immeasurably productive or unproductive and working out too often is counterproductive.
Declare Your Goal
It’s key to make a decision and stick to it. However, you will be disappointed if you simply say “I want a perfect body.” This pipe dream trivializes your real-world results and can be discouraging.
A better approach is vowing something like, “I will gain 10 pounds of muscle and reduce my body fat levels by 7 percent over the next 6 months” or “I will run 3 miles in 25 minutes.” A specific statement of your measurable objective establishes exactly where you want to go.
While a “perfect body” is more or less undefined, gaining 10 pounds of muscle while reducing body fat by 7 percent is a tangible and attainable goal. Tangible stuff is that which you are capable of understanding and evaluating; it’s real, you can measure it. It’s attainable because it’s a specific condition that can be reached. You don’t start off with a lousy physique and jump to a perfect one. It takes time and dedication.
In 6 months, it will be clear if you achieved your goal or not. You might have improved with 10 pounds of added muscle and a 7 percent reduction in fat. The satisfaction of reaching a nearer term goal will provide a huge boost to your confidence and wet your appetite for the next challenge. You will believe in yourself! Then, the next goal should follow, “in 4 more months, I will gain 6 pounds of muscle and reduce body fat by 3 percent more.” As in much of life, a big success is usually the sum of many smaller successes.
Mark Your Calendar
A concrete workout schedule puts ideas into motion! Whether you decide on days per week or days per month, morning, afternoon, or evening, commit yourself to a certain number of workouts. Schedules put into motion plans and ensure we apply the necessary effort for actual, consistent progress.
Set smaller, near-term goals and embrace the pressure of being on a timeline. All along the way, you can evaluate your progress weekly or even daily. Entering an amateur fitness or an amateur bodybuilding contest is a great way to stay on schedule. Doing so establishes dates, objectives, and competition.
The no-goal-no-plan-no-schedule alternative is to be full of unnecessary criticism and the daunting task of becoming perfect with workouts on occasion.
Okay, so we’ve establish our desired outcome, it is objectively measurable, and our workouts part of our weekly schedule. Is that all? No.
To put a schedule in proper context, we should also measure our progress. A milestone or objectives-along-the-way let you know how close you are to your intended goal.
Every person serious about the results of their fitness regimen should keep a proper workout log. Neglecting to keep a log is gambling, for most people, on training by perception, mood, instinct and memory. If you train without a log, you had better hope that you have a rare gift for reaching the correct conclusions from an array of seemingly unrelated facts. Sure, your growing strength on certain basic lifts is a good indication of progress as is your bodyweight and appearance; but, the scale and mirror can be misleading when not taken in context. There’s more to a workout than what we might see on the surface, taking a glance on an off (or on) day.
How long did it take to achieve your results? How long did it take to lose them? What worked and what didn’t? How did you feel and why? Is your workout schedule aggressive enough, or too aggressive?
Some people make no apparent physical changes in months and even years! They never seem to get any more energetic, muscular, stronger, leaner, faster, or flexible. Led by their perceptions, moods, instincts, and memories, they remain on a seemingly endless plateau. Without a log, they just don’t have the information they need to figure out where they’re going wrong.
A thorough log actually captures the dynamics of a workout regimen: how the right exercises work in conjunction with the right diet in conjunction with the right amount of rest in conjunction with the right amount of repetitions in conjunction with the right order of exercises and so on. To help you tailor a plan for your body and smartly tweak your practices, keeping a proper workout log means recording a variety of information, including:
- Date to explore the impact of training frequency and consistency and reveal patterns over time
- Time of day to determine when you are most energetic and focused
This gives you the power to adjust your schedule as necessary. Declare a tangible goal, make a plan, and get on a workout schedule tracked with a log. You will do yourself a big favor toward making your fitness dreams a reality.[stextbox id=”grey” caption=”About the Author”]Michael Chapdelaine is a professional writer and a drug free, health-conscious athlete. He is both an equipped and a raw powerlifter who has competed in the American Powerlifting Federation (APF), United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF), and with USA Powerlifting (USAPL). Michael has qualified for and competed in national and international events such as the 2010 Raw Nationals, the 2011 Arnold Raw Challenge, and the 2011 State Games of America.[/stextbox]