Everything You Need to Create a Realistic Workout Plan for 2021

  |     |   Self Care

Did you know more than 40% of Americans make health-related New Year's resolutions, including improvements to diet and starting a new workout plan? We've all been there, saying this will be the year we get in shape or take our fitness level up a notch.

Unfortunately, many or these lofty goals become distant memories by February. We all like to go into January with hope for the future and a belief that the coming year will be better than the last, but many of us set ourselves up for failure by setting unrealistic goals that are nearly impossible to achieve.

Your health should be one of your top priorities, so here is what you need to know to create a workout plan that will last you through 2021 and beyond.

Understanding Realistic and Unrealistic Goals

goals

Setting unrealistic workout program goals is a recipe for self-sabotage. One helpful tool is the SMART goal setting strategy, which means making sure yours are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Attainable

  • Relevant

  • Time-Bound 

A realistic goal is one you can conceivably achieve within a specific time frame. Unrealistic goals may sound impressive, but they often involve more time than you can devote or don't take your current fitness level into consideration. 

If your end goal is to run a marathon but you haven't started training, you wouldn't want to sign up for a race next month. You would want to set short-term goals to run a mile, then build up the time or distance you run consecutively, then work to improve your speed by a set number of minutes, however. If you're a beginner, set a goal of X days per week for at least 30 minutes. 

5 Tips for Creating Solid Workout Plans

Starting out is one of the most difficult parts of training or building workout routines, especially if you're a beginner or just getting back into the fitness space after some time off. Here are a few tricks to help you create a training plan you can stick to and enjoy.

workout plan and routine

1. Remove the guesswork.

Getting to the gym after a long day of juggling work, family, and additional responsibilities can be daunting without preparation. Stay motivated by taking out the questions that may derail your efforts.

  • First, know where you're planning to exercise, whether in your apartment community's 24-hour gym, the comfort of your own apartment, at a local gym, or outside in a park. Have a backup plan in place should the intended location be too busy or experience inclement weather.
     

  • Second, write out your workouts for the entire week. Include stretching and a warm up, a time limit on whatever cardio machine, time for strength training, and a cool down.
     

  • Third, know which days you're taking classes or need a plan to do your own thing. Perhaps you want to take yoga twice a week so your body has time to recover. Maybe you want to run three times a week as part of a half-marathon training regimen. Factor these into your weekly schedule.

Lastly, pack your bag the day before. Shoes, workout clothes, dry clothes for after, a water bottle, personal products to freshen up, headphones, yoga mat, snacks, and whatever else you need should be ready to go so there are no reasons to skip.

2. Utilize the time you have.

One of the biggest factors that prevent people from sticking to a workout routine is time. We're all busy, so it's important to utilize the time you can control. If you're a morning person, it may be easiest to hit the gym before work. If you prefer the pick-me-up of an afternoon/evening workout after your workday is over, set that as your go-to. Stick to the same slot every single day to create healthy habits.

3. Choose exercises you like. 

yoga exercise

You're already juggling a ton of to-do items, so the last thing you want is to feel like your workout is one more thing on that list. Your workouts should be something you like doing, at least to start. It's probably best not to start out assuming you'll only be doing 10-mile runs if you hate running, for example. If you enjoy high high-intensity exercise, devoting yourself to just yoga is probably not a good fit right off the bat. Doing something you enjoy will be easier to maintain, especially on the inevitable days you don't feel like working out.

4. Mix it up.

If you thrive on the same thing every day, this one can be tricky. Variation is the spice of life, and changing up your exercise can be great for making sure you see results. Mixing in full-body cardio and strength exercises like squats with overhead press, jumping jacks, and burpees will be good for cardiovascular and respiratory health, aid in fat loss, and improve your muscle groups' definition, among other benefits. You'll want to use moves that raise your heart rate as well as help you build muscle mass in every category, including upper body groups like biceps, chest, shoulders, and arms or lower body muscles like quads, glutes, and calves.

5. Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable.

workout with a friend

We're a lot more likely to stick to something when someone is checking up on us. A gym buddy can be a fun way to stay on task, plus give you a boost when you need encouragement to try something new or harder than normal.

Bonus tip: Don't feel like you're committed to what you wrote down in January to get started. You might find out you love muscle building moves like bench press in April, learn that your gym is doing a squat challenge that you want to join in June, develop a passion for exercise videos, or progress faster than anticipated and need harder options. Be open to shifting to get the most out of your training plan.

4 Don’ts When Planning Your Workout Schedule

It's easy to get overly ambitious when planning a workout. Just remember, some things look good on paper that are not so good in actuality. Here's some information to keep in mind.

workout plan

1. Don't do too much too soon.

Keep your routine and goals manageable. Set a realistic time frame for small, attainable goals that build up to bigger ones.

2. Don't go all-in on one type of exercise.

Variety helps keep things balanced and gives you the best opportunity to experience growth and results. Be sure to include different types of exercises like cardio, strength training, and stretching.

3. Don't forget nutrition and hydration.

stay hydrated

Making sure you are staying well hydrated is crucial to keeping your body healthy both at the gym and throughout your day. Your diet helps you build strong and healthy muscles, so it doesn't hurt to have a meal plan to keep your energy up — or at least be mindful of what you're consuming.

4. Don't ignore stress relief.

Exercising relieves stress, so keep that in mind when you've had a long day and consider skipping your workout. It may take an extra push, but it will help you relieve some of that stress.

Taking the time to create a balanced and achievable workout plan will set you up to reach your goals. Look for the amenities available in your community to help you on your road to success, and get excited about the new year full of opportunities ahead.

Are you looking for an apartment community in the D.C. area to call home? Contact The Vintage on 16th today to speak with an expert about any leasing questions you may have.

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