How to Create a Workout Schedule

A busy week can derail your fitness goals. Learn how to plan ahead to make sure you have time to exercise without neglecting other important commitments.

gripping the dumbbell

Celebrity fitness trainers love to throw out admonitions like, "there's no excuse for skipping a workout."

Sometimes, though, you have a valid excuse for missing a workout. On some days, class, work or other commitments take precedence. But you know that exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. So formulate a weekly workout schedule. It will allow you to meet your fitness goals even when time is tight. Here's how to create a workout schedule:

Define Your Personal Goals

Each week identify your target goals. This will make sure you get the most out of every workout. Is there a specific muscle group you wish to focus on this week? By identifying it, you will make sure to target it two or three times. (Currently in the off-season? See 5-Point Checklist and Sample Plan for Off-Season Training Programs.)

Look at Your Schedule

What does your weekly schedule look like? Ask yourself how many days you can exercise. Know your limits to avoid overdoing your workout schedule and injuring yourself.

Plot Each Workout

Once you've defined your goals and set up your weekly schedule, decide what exercises you will perform in each session. Create a regimen that's not too complicated or strenuous so you can accomplish your goals.

For example, let's say Monday, Wednesday and Friday are light, but the rest of your week is jam-packed. On the three light days, schedule full body workouts. Rest on the other days. Or, on one day you have early morning classes and a free afternoon, followed by a free morning and afternoon practice. On the first day, you can perform a strength workout in the afternoon, then wake up early the next day for a morning cardio session.

Allow for Rest

Make sure you are allowing sufficient recovery time. You need to give your muscles time to heal and rebuild. (Learn how to Balance Your Workouts to Avoid Overtraining.)

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