When was the last time you sat down to do a gym workout plan? Do you ever find yourself not making the best of your time spent in the gym? Are your gains and performance level not quite what you expected? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this will help you solve those problems.
Our recommendation is for you to have an annual gym workout plan. It’s a great way to be able to measure and maintain your progression in the gym. Having this plan to guide you helps give your workouts direction and purpose. You need a vision of where you’re heading. It’s like Napoleon Hill said:
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
By having a planned routine for gym workout ready, you can avoid a plateau in performance. Set yourself up for success so that you don’t find yourself with a loss of motivation. When most people hit this point they get bored of workouts and even stop going to the gym all together. Having that vision, coupled with a gym workout plan, is going to help you go the distance.
The best workout plan is one that encompasses an entire year. This type of planning provides structure and targets that must be met at certain times of the year. It helps keep your motivation high and performance at its sharpest. Also, it allows you to plan out a variety of different exercises that will keep the gym fresh.
How to make your annual gym workout plan
A year goes a long way, so the first thing you should do is divide that time into different stages. Determine for each stage, with the help of a training diary, a goal and a specific work method. You can use specially designed tools or just plan it on paper and put it in your calendar.
1. Analyze the physical condition you are starting from and set a general goal
Be honest with yourself in regards to what level you are starting at. The worst thing you can do is go too hard early and then spend the next sessions struggling while you recover.
You can start with collecting information about the basics like:
- body measurements
- notes of how you feel about your overall health and skin
- a general medical assessment by a GP
- blood pressure levels
A trainer at the gym would be able to do an assessment so you know:
- pulse rate after cardio
- measure the thickness of fat under your skin with calipers
- record how far you can stretch
With your information think about what your goal is. It can be something as simple as transforming your body from skinny to muscular. But it might be worth having more specific intention for your goals. For example, your challenge may be to:
- lose a certain amount of weight
- increase muscle mass in certain muscles
- improve your physical endurance
- develop a six pack
You could have all these goals in mind or just one, the choice is yours!
2. Divide the gym workout plan for the whole year into medium and short cycles
Do not forget that it will take time and effort to see the results of your gym workout plan. There is no substitute for hard work. A good idea to keep focused and motivated is to set goals with timeframes.
There is evidence that suggests that 90 days is a good format for reachable and measurable goals. It is not so far away that you feel like it’s a struggle to keep going.
Then, for every 90 days or 3 months, you reassess. At that point you will be able to see your results, where you need to make adjustments and what to change in your plan.
The annual gym plan all together helps you to head towards your ultimate goal. It should be realistic but just out of reach. You have to challenge yourself to reach it but not so hard that you set yourself up to fail.
An example, a first outline of your plan, may be:
- First trimester:
- a general tune-up to get your body accustomed to the workout routine
- aerobic exercises to aid weight loss
- increase cardiovascular capacity and endurance.
- Second trimester:
- strength training in the gym
- combines exercises that help you to gain volume and then definition in muscles.
- Third trimester:
- individually focused strength training on the different muscle groups
- special emphasis on strengthening the core (if your goal is to achieve a 6 pack).
- Fourth trimester:
- cross training routine
- combine different aerobic maintenance activities with strength sessions in the gym.
3. Determine specific times and routines
Now it’s time to go into detail and establish the number of weekly sessions and the rest! This is in addition to the type of exercises to include in sessions, as it is important to maintain a good variety. A good target to aim for would be to have 3 to 4 gym sessions a week.
The key to good muscle building workout plans is consistency. Plan around what you think you can manage along with the other things in your life. If you are too busy on weekends to get to the gym, then plan only for sessions during the week.
The amount of sessions you can do in a week does not matter as much as the consistency and effort put in to each one. Find the right balance for you and make sure you stick to it!
Tips to make your annual gym workout plan work
It must be emphasized that any workout plan for the gym must be personalized. There are many factors that you should take into account when making your own. Some tips that can help you make it are:
Be flexible and realistic.
Make sure to include the necessary rest periods as you build a workout plan. Life is unpredictable so you cannot guarantee that you will be able to follow the same routine each week. Just accept that you may not be able to do every session, and be flexible in adapting to that. For example, if you can’t make a morning workout because of work, try to move that session later at night. Think of a plan that, in principle, you can follow through.
Include variety in your workouts.
Repeating the same sessions over a whole year can destroy any motivation you have for the gym. Most studies found that the body will adapt to a specific stimulus over a period of approximately 8 to 12 weeks. After that you may notice a lack of progression between sessions. So it is important to cycle through full workouts sessions every 2 to 3 months to maintain growth. Utilise different types of training to receive the best results!
Mix up the resistance and intensity of the workouts.
For optimal stimulus for muscle growth and definition you need variety. It’s important to alter the resistance and intensity of workouts between sessions. An example of this is changing the equipment used every couple of weeks. You could shift from body weight exercises to kettle bells to bench presses.
Keep an eye on other aspects that influence your plan.
It is important to consider other things outside of the gym that can play a major role in your plan. One of the most influential things on your progress can be your diet. It is important to have healthy eating habits in place that give you the fuel required to perform at your best. It may be worth consulting a nutrition expert to help provide an ideal diet for your plan.
Discuss your doubts with a personal trainer.
If you are working with a personal trainer, which is highly recommended if you are starting out, they can help address any of your concerns and questions. They are the ones who will assess your needs and limitations and advise you on ideal exercises for your current capacity.