Notebook For a Weight Loss Plan

Exercise workout plans are a funny thing. I often get asked for advice regarding exercises and nutrition, but it’s very difficult to just hand out answers, as everyone is different.

In this article, I will be discussing how you can create your own workout plan, so take notes! I will of course be offering advice and all the rest of it.

 

You Need a Goal

I’ve been saying this for a long time now, and I’m going to keep saying it. You need a goal. Before you are going to craft yourself a workout routine, sit down and determine your goal. To make it easy for you, I’ve compiled a small list of general goals you could have.

  • Physical improvement, i.e. more muscle mass
  • Muscle strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Agility and speed

These are questions you’ll need to answer in order to make a workout routine for yourself.

I also feel the need to inform you on the fact that having a workout routine is not by definition a guarantee for losing or gaining weight. Increasing or decreasing your weight is mostly dependent on your diet.

Therefore, I urge you to calculate your BMR. Subtract at least 10% in order to lose weight, and add at least 10% in order to gain weight.

 

How Often Should You Train?

To give yourself peace of mind, I’d recommend you to determine how often you want to work out every week. Let’s say you play basketball two times a week. You can definitely count this as intense cardio sessions.

Needless to say, make sure you don’t get overtrained by asking too much from your body.

To answer the main question of how often you should train: well, it depends on your goals. The most efficient approach would be to work every muscle group 2 to 3 times a week. Determining the frequency and volume of your workouts is an extensive subject that I’ve written an entire article on.

Click here to learn more on frequency and volume.

 

How Long Should You Train?

Right of the bat I will state that you should train how you like. However, certain ways of training is better to reach certain goals. For example, if you’re training for strength, you want to take your time. Resting periods between sets should be longer, up to 5 minutes.

Are you training to gain more muscle mass? Keep your resting periods short and use slightly less weight for your exercises.

 

How Many Sets Should You Do?

If your goal is to become stronger or more muscular, I’d recommend you to perform at least 12 relatively heavy sets per muscle group per week.

Click here to learn more on how to effectively reach your goals.

How Long Should I Rest Between Sets?

Once again, it depends on your goal. Different goals require different workout routines. In general, the following rules apply:

  • Are you training for strength? Rest between 3 and 5 minutes between sets.
  • If you’re training for muscle mass, rest between 1 and 2 minutes between sets.
  • Endurance can also be your thing. Rest between 0 and 60 seconds between sets.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that heavy compound exercises, such as deadlifts, require longer resting periods than isolation exercises such as the biceps curl.

If you’re noticing a fast decrease in performance from set to set, it might indicate that you’ve not taken enough rest.

Now all of this is fine and dandy, but you should remember that these ‘rules’ are more like guidelines. It’s good to mix your training routine up every once in a while. For example, as the week goes along, you can decrease the amount of weight you’re using for your exercises, as well as the resting periods.

What you’re doing in this scenario, is lowering the intensity and increasing the volume. That way, you’ll train for both strength and muscle mass.

Changing up workouts on a regular basis has worked for me and a lot of other people. Give it a try!

 

How Many Reps Should You Do?

When you’re writing a workout plan, you will want to take the amount of repetitions in account. Once again, it depends on your goals. These are the main guidelines:

  • If you’re training for strength, your sets should contain between 1 and 6 reps. *
  • If you’re training for muscle mass, your sets should contain between 6 and 12 reps. *
  • If you’re training for endurance, your sets should contain between more than 12 reps.

I’d recommend to not go all out in the first set, as you might get tired too fast. This will then result in you being unable to perform the amount of reps of your other sets in good form.

If you’re performing a set, try to be able to perform another 2-4 reps after you’ve done them all. For example, if your first set of squats requires you to do 6 reps, try to squeeze another 2-4 out if possible. If you’re unable to do so, no worries. You can try again next time.

* Even if your focus is gaining strength, you will develop muscle mass. The same can be said for workouts that require more than 12 reps. The main takeaway is that you reap what you sow. If your focus is gaining strength, then this is where you will see most of your progress.

 

How Heavy Should You Train?

Again, it depends on your goal. If you want to gain more strength, then about half to two-thirds of your exercises should be performed with high intensity (1-6 reps with heavy weight). The amount of weight should vary between 85% and 95% of your 1RM. The rest of your workout can then be used for performing more reps with a lower weight.

The reason for not going all out during every set, is that this increases your chances of injuring yourself.

Like I mentioned before, don’t push everything out of every set. Plan ahead so that you’re able to perform another few reps when you’ve finished a set.

Let’s say you’re able to perform a 200 lbs deadlift 5 times, and your workout scheme states you should perform 4 sets of 5 reps. If this is the case, you don’t want to start your first set by picking up 200 lbs, because you can only lift that for 5 times, let alone 20.

Go ahead and do 4 sets of 5 reps, while using 190 lbs. You can then slowly increase the weight in the next weeks.

For example:

  • Week 1: 190 lbs, 4 sets of 5 reps
  • Week 2: 195 lbs, 4 sets of 5 reps
  • Week 3: 200 lbs, 4 sets of 5 reps
  • Week 4: 200 lbs, 4 sets of 6 reps

Yes, this might sound slow, but then again, I never said you’d be making astronomical gains within the blink of an eye. This way of training though, works.

After week 4, take a week to let your muscles rest for just a bit. Keep doing the same exercises, just with a lighter weight. Week 6 then is the beginning of a new cycle. The rate of progress depends on what your body can handle.

Make sure you respect whatever your body is capable of! Slow progress is progress nonetheless!

 

How Many Muscle Groups Should You Train Each Session?

The most important thing to factor in, is how much exercise your body can handle. This can differ from person to person. Person A for example, can easily deadlift 20 sets per week, while person B can “only” handle 14 sets.

When it comes to beginners, I’d recommend a full body plan that requires about 5 sets per muscle group per workout. This can be done by a singular exercise, as well as by performing super sets.

Another option is by using a split as your workout routine. A split allows for a higher volume. For example: Monday is push-day, which means training the chest, shoulders and triceps. Since you’re not doing full body exercises, you’ll have more energy to train the muscles you want to.

Which one should you pick? Well, it’s up to you. I prefer cycling through my workout plans every once in a while. It is personal preference. However, it’s also a matter of time. If you only have time to train 3 times a week, I’d recommend a full body plan.

If you have all week, you can easily try a split. For example, here is a plan that I followed until recently:

  • Monday: Push, high intensity
  • Tuesday: Pull, high volume
  • Wednesday: Lower body, high intensity
  • Thursday: Push, high volume
  • Friday: Pull, high intensity
  • Saturday: Lower body, high volume
  • Sunday: Rest

Did it work? It did for me. Once again, it is personal preference.

 

How do You Sort Your Workout Plan?

I’d recommend training each muscle every week. You can mix and match as you like. I am going to describe the basic workout structure.

Warming Up

You start your workout off with a warming up, such as stretching. This way you are preparing your body for what’s about to come. For example, doing a bench press with just the barbell. Another pro of doing warming ups is that you are increasing mobility and flexibility of muscles and joints.

The goal of a warming up is in the name. Warm up, don’t go all out!

Strength

For this part, I’d recommend training with proper weights, rather than machines. You can learn why in this article.

Another thing that I would recommend, is doing compound exercises prior to isolation exercises. It’s important to gradually build up the weight that you’re using to prevent injuries.

Also, make sure you target weaker muscles first!

I know, it can be tempting to train your stronger muscles first, but if you go that way, you will have less energy to train your weaker muscles.

Cooling Down

A cooling down involves stretching exercises or a light form of cardio.

 

When do You Get to Lift More Weight?

Have patience. You will notice that your strength will slowly increase over the weeks. You can increase the weight by about 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) every week. It’s up to you, really.

Just make sure you don’t increase the weight substantially every week, or your body will simply not keep up and you might get injured.

Once again, your goal has a big part to play. If you want to gain muscle mass, it’s recommended to perform sets of 6-12 reps. You can increase the weight so that your reps will always be in that range.

Sometimes, increasing the weight by 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg) is just too much. In that case, increase the amount of reps. It’s simple, really. Just challenge yourself!

 

How to Switch Between Workout Plans

I switch up my workout plan every 1.5 to 2 months. This doesn’t necessarily provide me with better results, but it feels good to do something fresh.

This has its downsides, though.

By switching between workout routine often, it’s harder to effectively learn an exercise. This is very important, as performing an exercise the right way will lead to better results.

An example would be the deadlift. This is one of the exercises that I’d recommend doing over longer periods of time, as you can slowly increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. This means progress. Throwing away the deadlift every so often, will decrease the effect.

If your progress has stagnated and you’re unable to add weight, just play with the volume a bit. You can start by increasing volume in order to work towards a higher intensity. Cycling this way will make you stronger.

Other methods of playing with your workout involve increasing or decreasing the frequency of your workouts, as well as taking a break mid-exercise. For example, hold the weight during a squat when your bottom faces the floor.

 

Take it Easy!

If you are a beginner, and you don’t notice any form of progress after three training sessions, try to lower the weights you are using by about 5.5 lbs (2.5 kg). This will allow you to perform the exercise with full focus on the movement.

A lot of intermediates take a break every 5-6 weeks. This is called deloading. During this week, intermediates train with maintenance volume.

Advanced and professional sportsman/sportswomen are recommended to take a full break about 4 times a year so the body can fully recover.

 

In Conclusion

It’s difficult to just say “here’s a workout plan, good luck”. It depends on a lot of factors and it is up to you to learn what your body can do. That knowledge should be the foundation for creating a solid workout plan.

If you have any questions or thoughts regarding personal workout plans, make sure to leave a comment or to contact us!

34 thoughts on “Everything About Workout Plans

  1. I have to admit that I don’t have a concrete workout plan. I had a weekly plan just like you have suggested (Mon-Sun), and it was working great! Now I go with the flow because I’m busy with some other things, so I exercise just to stay in shape. However, your article made me think twice. I’m going to stick to your recommendations here and see how it’s going to work out. 

    Do you have any meal plans for maintaining the weight and muscle mass?

    1. Hi Ivan,

      I worked out without a plan as well for a while. It did it’s job. However, I found to make more progress when things were structured.

      Regarding meal plans: I am currently working on an article that discusses this topic. It won’t contain a meal plan that works for everyone, but I think it will give you enough information on how to maintain muscle mass.

      I hope this answers your question! 

  2. I think it’s the same like when you have a business, you need to see where you’re heading to. If you don’t have a goal, you have no motivation. And you also cannot follow your progress. I used to go to gym regularly when I was studying at university and my goal was to achieve certain measurements (like waist, hips etc.) as I wasn’t aware of muscle mass measuring that time. I was writing down my progress and finally did achieve what I wanted.
    Your article is very informative and helpful, thanks for that. Do you also create individual plans for clients if they tell you what’s their particular goal?

    1. Hi Lenka, 

      Exactly! You got the point! Writing down your progress like you did, is definitely effective, as it shows you the numbers. This can absolutely help to reach certain goals.

      Regarding personal plans and coaching: this is in the works, so thanks for asking! Strength Perfected is going to be offering online coaching, personal workout plans and personal nutrition plans, depending on the clients wishes. This will probably take form in the coming month. Keep an eye on the site!

      Have a great day!

  3. I could have really done with this plan a couple of years ago, it’s comprehensive and makes so much sense. I used to have a fairly robust workout system, well maybe not system exactly. Running and a couple of other physical sessions and I’d throw in some free weights two or threee times a week.

    Problem was, I never knew what was right and what wasn’t. I had the patience but couldn’t maintain the interest. I built the weights up over a number of months and only ever did chest and arms. I must have got it wrong though, as it became painful to hold the weights, nasty pain in my palms.

    I’ve been itching to get back into to doing something, even though it has been a couple of years, I think with proper regard to your plan I should be able to balance it out better and not sustain any injuries.

    1. Hi there,

      Knowledge is power. A lot of people tend to not know a whole lot about the body, exercises and everything around it. This knowledge is of course available, but it requires a lot of extensive reading.

      I’m glad you dropped by here. If you’re looking to get back into it, there’s a lot of useful information on the site. If you want to, you can absolutely achieve whatever you like. Within reason, of course.

      You know the saying ‘no pain, no gain’? Well, it’s true when it comes to post workout muscle fatigue and such. Pain in the palms is never okay. It probably indicates a weakness in the lower arms, 

      If you are serious about returning to the world of strength training, go for it! If you have any questions, just shoot and I’ll make sure to get back to you.

      Cheers!

  4. Thank you so much for the awesome post!  I have been working out for about two months, kind of blindly because I don’t always understand what I’m doing, and I really don’t have a goal in mind.  I think my main goal is endurance, as I do a lot of MMA style workouts.  Thank you for showing how to properly do this!

    1. Hi Jessie, 

      You might not have a real goal yet, but you’re working out nonetheless! Back when I started working out, I didn’t really have one either. It took a while for me to define one. That could be the case for you, too. Endurance though, is a great objective to have! 

      Have a great day! 

  5. This is excellent information! I was trying to explain to my daughter that different people will have different work outs because they have different goals. For myself I’m typically trying to build mass, but she is trying to tone up for sports in school. I will be sure to send this to her so she can read it and set her own goals, thank you so much for the information. Have a great day! 

    1. Hi Travis, 

      Thanks for the compliment! It seems like both of you have different goals in mind, and like you said: different goals require different approaches. 

      Cheers, have a great day! 

  6. Wow this really is everything a person needs to know, what a comprehensive list!  

    I think this is actually so helpful for anyone who has this vague notion of wanting to work out but never quite makes it to that point. I really appreciate how much detail you’ve gone through and put into this!

    1. Hi Sonia, 

      Exactly! A lot of people do want to work out, but simply don’t really know how and where to start. This guide hopefully helps those people along. Thanks for leaving your thoughts!

      Have a great day! 

  7. Hi Kevin,

    thanks for another really informative article – this time on workout plans. Personally I don’t do much cardio and due to time constraints (too busy at work), I am only getting to the gym twice per week. I am finding that as long as I do the big compound lifts (deadlift, squat, chest press, and overhead press), in roughly the 5 rep range for 3 or 4 sets, that my strength and physique have remained around the same. Thanks again for your article. Regards, Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      You are right: high Intensity workouts at a low volume often times is enough to increase your strength (and therefore muscle mass) by a large amount. Keep it up! 

      Have a great day! 

  8. Im not a great one for exercising… I have particular sports I do like to do but thats not going to the gym. I find it so boring. Recently though I have torn my meniscus in my knee and have just had surgery. I am so looking forward to getting back to doing exercise, I think it comes from being laid up and not able to do what I want to do. I plan to start with walking first. My son is an elite tennis player and he takes his strength and conditioning very seriously so I can appreciate the level of information in your article, the detail and enthusiasm that you clearly have. I  understand the importance of exercise though for me, and will start again very soon. 

    1. Hi Helen, 

      You’re not the first one I hear saying they find going to the gym boring, so that’s absolutely fine. Exercising does make you more mobile and keeps your body in shape, which is worth a lot. 

      Since you just had serious, you will have to take it easy. Starting with walking is a perfect start! 

      Have a great day, and good luck with your recovery!

  9. This is a great post on what we need to know about exercise workout plans. As a matter of fact I’m  familiar  to the  process mentioned in the post, there is nothing to appreciate the quality of your contents,  I am  sure it will be helpful to a large audience. 

    1. Hi Randy,

      Thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you’re satisfied with the quality of my content!

      Have a great day.

  10. Hi, Kevin.
    Thanks for sharing the exclusive information on exercise workout plans. Changing up workouts on a regular basis is a good idea. The weekly plan starting from Monday to Saturday is awesome and looks very practical, this way we shall not get disoriented from our goal as it brings motivation of change.
    Warm Regards,
    Gaurav Gaur

    1. Hi Gaurav,

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts. The Monday to Saturday routine sure delivers on results. However, I’m currently working on a workout plan that requires only 3 training days per week, while still giving amazing results. 

      Have a great day!

  11. Hey Kevin, Your exercise workout plan is very useful for me. Your article help me to find a goal to make a wonderful workout routine. My first focus is strength. I have do it step by step following your guide. Earlier I continue do 20 reps only one set. If I try to do second set then only 5 rep I can do. Now I understand. we have to increase the no. of times. 

    In 1 sets should contain between 1 and 6 reps for me while building strength.

    Your guide is awesome for me.

    Thank you

    parveen

    1. Hi Parveen,

      If your primary goal is strength, I would indeed recommend 1-6 reps per set with a weight that’s between 80 and 95% of your 1RM. You might not feel sore after a workout. However, you are getting stronger. Muscle mass will follow! 

      Have a great day!

  12. Thanks for this post on how to make our work out plan, sometimes ago when I was sick I went to the hospital and the doctor said I should be having a lot of exercises that It will help me , but then I just used to go the gun without having my work out plan which really affected my work and my body also, but with this post you have posted on how to make a plan on working out i think it will really help me a lot , thanks 

    1. Hi Rose, 

      Training with a solid plan will indeed promote a lot of progress! I hope this article will be of use to you in the future! 

      Have a great day.

  13. Hello, I really want to appreciate your effort in putting together this website and writing this article. I never really had a workout plan before but I do notice that after each sets of exercises I rest for about 60 secs. I believe if I follow your steps and routine I will be able to achieve more results and so will others who does that. Thank you very much

    1. Hi Benny, 

      Thank you for dropping by. I hope that you will experience the progress you desire! 

      Cheers!

  14. I believe having a goal is a good idea. I personally have a hard time keeping my muscles because I have such high metabolism. I also have a very physical job that involves lots of hard work. So having all that extra muscle is annoying in some ways because you have to eat all the time.  Not to mention the cost and time.

    when I take breaks in between  sets I will listen to body and go anywhere from 1 to 2 minutes. 

    I also love chocolate milk for post workout. 

    1. Hi Jake, 

      I would agree with you that having to be physically active all the time, can really mess with muscle growth. The only thing I could think of that doesn’t involve eating thousands of exta calories, would be to take a weight gainer. It’s basically a protein shake with a lot of other nutrients. Having one of two of these shakes will increase your overall calorie intake, which might prove to be useful to you. 

  15. Thanks alot for this awesome article it would be of great help to the public as it has been of help to me.i love working out as I make me stay fit both physically and mentally but I have always had issue with work out plan as I have not had the plan that has help me in the specific areas that I need changes but I think this article bhas what I need I would dive in more.

    1. Hi there, 

      I hear what you say quite often. A lot of people have no issues with working out, but having a solid a plan or guidance is often the missing factor. I hope that this new knowledge will prove to be useful in the future. 

      Have a great day! 

  16. It is very difficult and maybe impossible to achieve a set goal without proper planning. Thanks for sharing these exercise workout plans as it is very important to me because I am considering starting workout asap and I know it will not be effective without proper planning. I love the fact that it all starts with a goal and followed by every other thing. Timing and techniques is also very important which you have convered extensively and comprehensively.

    Regards!

    1. Hi there, 

      You’re right! A good planning covers half the effort. I’m glad you distilled some useful information from my article, and I hope it will help you in the future! 

      Have a great day! 

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