How to create your perfect training schedule
How often have you or someone you know started a new workout routine or schedule and then life just "got in the way?" Making changes to your lifestyle can sometimes feel overwhelming. Especially when you already have so many other family and work commitments.
One way to reduce the overwhelm brought about by new routines and behaviors involves time management and realistic expectations. Sometimes we get so excited to embark on a journey to impact our health, that we fail to realize that life happens and it's not always going to be smooth sailing. When we feel like we are spending more time and effort than anticipated, it may create frustration and dissatisfaction to sticking with the healthy changes.
Basically, "this is harder than I thought, it's not worth the stress, or I am just not good at this." All lies.
You are good at creating and sticking to habits. You can do this.
It is worth it. Let's find a way to create a schedule that is consistent and doable.
It might be hard. True. You might have to make sacrifices or hard choices. But when you have a clear goal and vision, it will be easier to make those choices.
When trying to figure out your perfect training schedule, it makes sense to schedule your resistance training, cardio, and restorative leisure activity, but you could also benefit from setting aside and scheduling time for food shopping and preparation and self-care activities.
Simply creating events for these in your calendar or weekly schedule might help you see where you need to dedicate a bit of extra time to feel prepared and ready for the week.
How to lay out your training schedule:
STEP 1: Determine how many hours and days per week you can devote to working out. This is how many hours you have on your craziest week, this might look like the least amount you can imagine. This is a good starting spot, any extra time you have is a bonus!!! STEP 2: Based on Step 1, determine how many hours you will resistance train. Typically I suggest 2-4 days. STEP 3: Choose the days of the week you will resistance train, and put them on your schedule. STEP 4: If you have more time each week, add one 15–40 minute cardio session to your schedule. STEP 5: If you still have more time, add one 5–10 minute HIIT session to your schedule.
Try this for a couple of weeks. If you find that you have the time, energy, and desire to add more cardio to your program, you can add another cardio or HIIT session and continue adding sessions until you’re doing no more than four cardio sessions and two HIIT. But remember, more is not always better. If you are not recovering well or are spending more time working out than with your family or friends, it might be necessary to make time for other things in life.
After you have scheduled your training, sit down with your calendar and take a look at what you’ve got going on.
Schedule all of your training sessions on your calendar.
Decide when you’ll go grocery shopping and when you’ll prep and cook food. Batch cooking is great if you have time, but also just make extra food each night and then having leftovers can be a time-saver. I also love frozen meals.
After dinner, go ahead and portion out your lunch for the following day.
Block out time to spend with kids/family/friends, personal development, meditation, stretching, and allow blank space to allow the inevitable last-minute thing to happen.
Phone reminders and scheduling apps are great ways to organize your time.
It's important to remind yourself that the schedule is organic and can be changed, especially if you feel overwhelmed or frustrated. Managing your time should be life-giving and provide added value to you. You are not a slave to it.
Each week, my husband and I do a Relationship Board Meeting. We check in with each other emotionally, unpack what we have going on in our lives and take a look at our schedules. You can also do something like this by yourself.
Your personal inventory appointment might include asking yourself:
How stressed am I? What is going on right now that is adding to my stress bucket?
Consider how much quality sleep you’re getting.
How are work, school, and family life going?
Notice how your training is making you feel? Are you overdoing it? Or perhaps you are planning on increasing the resistance.
This quick check-in should help you identify where you may need to make some changes. Allowing yourself grace to make changes as life happens will increase the likelihood that you’ll stick with your healthy habits and routines long term. Instead of starting and stopping all the time, imagine that your schedule is flexible and dynamic, everything is up to consideration and can be adjusted. In this mindset, you can respond and make changes when you need to. Find ways to make it easier to be consistent. It might not create a fast transformation or immediate progress, but in the long run you will have better results.
This worksheet from Girls Gone Strong is a great starting point!