If you want to make sure that you reach your fitness goals, then keep a workout planner by your side.
Around the new year, everyone sets the same new year’s goals to be healthier and fitter. We wake up bright and early to hit the gym. We eat our greens with every meal. And we go to bed at a decent hour.
But then, around February, our motivation drops, and the excuses start to grow. We’re too tired. It’s too cold. It’s too much work. And before we know it, our big, ambitious goals are a thing of the past.
Instead of falling into these same patterns every year, you can choose to do something different. You can create a support system that will help you follow through on your goals.
We’re not going to lie: workout goals are tough. They require hard work, discipline, and commitment. But that’s exactly why we can’t rely on our good intentions alone. The most effective way to achieve workout goals is to put a plan in place.
Writing things down makes it easier to formulate a plan and stick to that plan. A workout planner can help you do just that.
Here’s why it’s important to keep a workout planner:
You have a specific target. Writing down your goal means that you’re more likely to commit to it. Why? The goal is no longer an abstract concept floating in your mind. Now that you’ve written it down, you have a specific target to work towards.
You have an action plan. Writing down your goal helps you develop an action plan. Now that you have an end point in mind, you can start plotting the steps to help you get there.
You can be realistic. With a workout planner, you can actually see if you’ve been putting in the work or not. By seeing the data right there on the page, you can hold yourself accountable and make sure you stay on track.
Here’s how to use a workout planner to help you achieve your health and fitness goals.
Set a workout goal for the month
Health and fitness goals tend to fall into the long–term goal category. Goals like reducing your cholesterol or running a marathon take time and effort to achieve. They also require building new habits and making changes to our current lifestyle–these changes don’t happen overnight. Because of all this, long term goals are very easy to abandon.
That’s why it’s helpful to set short-term goals to help you stay committed.
Use your workout planner to create a short-term goal that supports your long-term goal. For example, if your big goal is to run a marathon, a short term goal is to run for 15 minutes without stopping.
Short-term goals are great because they don’t feel as far away and ambitious as long-term goals, and they keep you motivated month-to-month.
So set a monthly workout goal that’s connected to your long-term goal. Some examples of monthly workout goals include:
- Run 3x a week for 30 minutes
- Attend a yoga class 3x a week
- Take a one-hour walk everyday
- Do 15 minutes of morning stretches everyday
- Do 10 pushups a day
This short-term goal will give you something to pursue every month. And instead of having to wait an entire year before seeing results, you’ll get to experience the satisfaction of meeting your goals on a monthly basis.
Create a workout schedule
To help you stick to your fitness goals, make sure to create a workout schedule in advance. This way you’re not wasting time wondering what to work on and when. You’ll have a schedule that you can depend on.
Use your planner to schedule your workout days, identify the type of workout or muscle groups you’ll focus on, location, etc.
Here’s an example of a workout schedule:
Having a set schedule will also help turn your workouts into a regular part of your routine. And when activities become routine and second nature to you, they become easier to stick with.
Log your workouts
With a workout planner, you can record your workout details and see how you’re progressing from week to week. This is a much more effective way to track your workouts than relying on your own memory.
Here are different ways you can log your workout
For strength training:
Number of reps
You can also use your log to see how far you’re coming along on your goal. If you find yourself exceeding your monthly goal target, then try to make the workout a little more challenging. If you’re running 30 minutes consistently, then add intensity by running on trails or trying to increase speed.
If you find that you’re not meeting your goal, don’t lose hope. This could be a sign that you might need to reduce the intensity. So, for example, if you’re skipping the daily pushup workout, then try setting a lower target like doing push ups 3x a week instead of everyday. Then, steadily, increase the number of days or reps to make it more challenging.
Journal about your challenges
A workout planner isn’t just for logging your reps and weights. You can also use it to write about any workout challenges and better understand yourself and your patterns.
Did you find a workout to be particularly grueling? Did you drag your heels going to the gym? Try to pinpoint why you were feeling this way.
Maybe you didn’t get a good night’s rest the night before. Then you can ensure you go to bed on time the night before a workout. Or maybe you got stressed rifling through your closet for workout clothes. Then you can set up your workout clothes the night before.
Through journal writing, you’re getting to know yourself better and understanding what you need to perform well. Journaling can help you find solutions to improve your workout experience.
It’s also helpful to write about the good feelings you experienced after a workout. Did you feel energized? Were your spirits lifted? This can serve as powerful reminders the next time you need extra motivation to work out.