How to create a personal fitness program

How to create a personal fitness program
How to create a personal fitness program

If you want to gain strength or speed, lose weight, or just improve your quality of life, you may want to consider creating a personal fitness program to achieve your goals. There are many types of programs and most incorporate a mix of aerobic, resistance and flexibility exercises. Start by assessing your fitness level, then come up with a plan that suits your needs.


Part 1 of 4: assess your fitness

Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 1

Step 1. Get started with the basics

You have decided to get back in shape: it is already a very good step in the right direction. But don't rush off without thinking. Start with the simple things: is there anything that could keep you from getting back in shape? Do you have any health problems? Do you need to go see a doctor first?

  • It is probably not necessary to see a doctor if you are under 50 and in good health, but it is still recommended before embarking on a new exercise program.
  • If you are over 50 or have any health problems (such as high blood pressure, heart problems, dizziness, or arthritis), talk to your doctor first.
  • Remember that balance and strength decrease with age. This may limit your ability to exercise or increase your risk of harder-to-heal injuries. However, by exercising carefully and following a few tips, you can still improve your balance and strength while exercising.
  • If in doubt, talk to a doctor. She or he can tell you which activities to avoid.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 2

Step 2. Test your current fitness

Basic physical fitness is made up of four components: cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength, muscle endurance, and flexibility. What is your level ? Test yourself to see if you're in good shape and identify where you can make progress. You will need a watch, tape measure, stallion, tape, and a scale.

  • Take a 2 km brisk walk to test your cardiovascular health. Before you begin, take your heart rate in beats per minute and note the time. When you are finished, take your pulse and write down how long it took.
  • To measure your pulse, simply place your index and middle fingers on the side of your neck. Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six.
  • To test your muscle strength, count the number of push-ups you can do until you can't do any more with good posture. If you are a woman, you can do modified push-ups (by bending the knees) or regular push-ups. Men should do regular push-ups in the plank position. Record the number obtained.
  • To measure your flexibility, attach a yardstick to the floor with tape at the 38 cm indicator. Sit next to the stallion, with your feet roughly flush with the tape. Go as far as you can, holding the position long enough to notice how far you manage to reach. Do this exercise three times, noting the distance reached each time.
  • Then calculate your body constitution: height and body mass index. First, measure and record your waist measurement at your belly button, where your waist is narrowest. To get your BMI (a rough indicator of the percentage of body mass), use an online calculator or divide your weight in kilograms by your height squared in meters. So, BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters)).
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 4

Step 3. Make a plan with personalized fitness goals

Planning your program in detail will help you stay motivated. You can do this alone or with help. A structured plan will allow you to define your goals and stay on track.

  • For example, try writing your plan on a piece of paper. Ask yourself specific questions: what are my goals? What do I want to improve with this training program? How am I going to achieve this? Am I being realistic?
  • Be specific in your answers to these questions. For example, do you want to be able to run for 30 minutes four times a week? Do you want to lose 2 kilograms in a month? Just saying “I want to be in good shape” is not a concrete, measurable goal to achieve. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to know when you have achieved your goals.
  • Put your plan where you see it every day, like on your desk or in your bathroom mirror.
  • If you wish, you can also work with a personal sports trainer. Personal trainers are conditioning experts and make sure you are using the right positions when working out, as well as exercising appropriate for your level of fitness. They finally help you set goals and motivate you to achieve them.

Part 2 of 4: create a cardio exercise program

Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 5

Step 1. Choose exercises that you can do and enjoy

Cardio is the foundation of any fitness plan. When you do cardio exercise, you work several muscle groups in your body, your heart rate increases, and you breathe faster and harder. It strengthens your heart, increases your stamina, and burns calories. It will also improve your mood and help you sleep better.

  • Cardio is also called aerobic exercise or endurance exercise. The goal is to get your heart and respiratory rates up.
  • Walking, running, rowing, swimming, cycling and dancing are cardio exercises. This is also the case with most team sports, martial arts and even golf.
  • Choose exercises that appeal to you, but also make sure that you are physically able to do them. Running places a lot of strain on the knees and feet, for example, so if you have weak knees, you may want to prefer low-impact exercise like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.
  • Also take into account that you will be exercising frequently and therefore it is better to choose several types of exercises and alternate them. For example, you can ride a bike, swim, and play golf on different days of the week. Or, you can play soccer, run, and rollerblade.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 6

Step 2. Start sparingly

Slowly start building a routine until you have more stamina. The French government recommends practicing 30 minutes of moderate to high intensity physical activity at least 5 days a week, avoiding going 2 consecutive days without practicing. You can therefore spread your exercises over the week.

  • Aerobic exercises must pass the "speaking test" which means you must be able to chat and hold a conversation while doing your exercises. If not, your heart rate is too high.
  • Ideally, you should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. If you can't do this, try breaking up these exercises. For example, start by going for a 10-minute walk several times a week. As your body gets used to it, increase the walk to 15 minutes, then 20, then 30.
  • Don't feel like you have to do high-intensity exercise at first. Go at your own pace. This will prevent you from hurting yourself.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 7

Step 3. Divide your sessions into three

Doing cardio is not about making a permanent effort. To get the most out of each session, incorporate three elements into your routine: warm-up, conditioning, and cool-down. Practice quietly, increase your effort to reach your plateau, then slow down.

  • Warm up before each session for five to ten minutes to stimulate your heart and increase blood flow to your muscles.
  • A low intensity version of your exercise should allow you to warm up properly. If you are cycling, for example, take a leisurely stroll for a few blocks. If you swim, do two or three laps at a moderate pace.
  • Try to do about 30 minutes of conditioning after your warm-up. Conditioning is about reaching a “sweet spot”: a level of intensity that you can maintain, but where your breathing and heart rate are higher than at rest.
  • Finish with an additional 5 to 10 minutes of cool down. Take it more and more slowly until you are at rest and slowly lower your heart rate. You can also stretch your major muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, calf, chest, shoulder, quadriceps, and back muscles.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 8

Step 4. Workouts of the right length and frequency

Keep going and take stock of your progress after a few weeks. You will most certainly have acquired the ability to train longer and harder, by gaining aerobic capacity and endurance. Increase the duration or pace by 10% each week to gain stamina. Try to follow the advice of the doctors: practice 30 minutes of physical activity developing cardiorespiratory capacity of moderate to high intensity, at least 5 days a week, avoiding going 2 days in a row without exercising. Ideally, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio activity per day.

  • Adding five minutes to your training per week is a decent and achievable goal. And after a month, that will give you 20 more minutes of exercise.
  • If your goal is to lose weight, you may need to push yourself harder or perform more difficult exercises. Rather than working out for 30 minutes three or four times a week, go straight to 45 minutes five or six times a week.
  • Some aerobic exercises are better than others at helping with weight loss. Aerobic dance (like Zumba) and cross-country skiing burn between 700 and 600 calories per hour, for example, compared to brisk walking (150) or golf (350).
  • Always listen to your body. Take a break and let your body recover if you are feeling exhausted. Stop exercise and see a doctor if you have pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.

Part 3 of 4: increase your physical strength

Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 9

Step 1. Learn to adopt the right positions

Strength training is another type of exercise. It helps strengthen both muscles and endurance. Then you get stronger, your bones are strengthened, your stamina is better and it also helps you mentally and moodily. The key to a good strength training program is to work large muscle groups like the legs, arms, and core.

  • To do weight training, weights are used to build resistance and to make the muscles work harder. You can use weight machines, free weights, exercise bands, or even just your own body weight.
  • Resistance puts pressure on your muscles and joints, so always take the time to learn - and adopt - the right positions. Otherwise, you risk sprains, strains, fractures or injuries related to this overuse. In general, it is best to start with good posture to protect your spine.
  • Start with a weight that you can lift 12 to 15 times without straining too much (whether on a machine or free weights) and move your joints fully. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.
  • Talk to the specialists at your gym. A sports trainer or fitness specialist will be able to guide you through each exercise to make sure you are doing it correctly.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 10

Step 2. Choose exercises that target major muscle groups

A good strength training program will work all of the major muscle groups. Do exercises that isolate them or work several groups together. Adapt your program to your needs as well as your physical limitations. Take into account your strength, balance and age.

  • Push-ups are especially exercises that work your upper body well. You can strengthen your arms and shoulders by doing horizontal barbell presses and military presses. Bench presses work well on the chest muscles.
  • Exercises that engage multiple muscle groups at once are really helpful. For example, squats (or thigh curls) work your quads and gluteal muscles at the same time. Lunges are another great example of this kind of exercise.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 11

Step 3. Divide your program into rotations, sets and reps

Your training should be cyclical. Plan to dedicate certain days to certain muscle groups and to do a number of specific exercises each day. It is not necessary to exercise all the muscles in your body for each session.

  • For example, your routine might look like this: bench presses, back bench presses with dumbbells, push-ups and planks one day to work your back, bicep and tricep curls another day to work your arms, and squats, lunges, bridges, calf raises, balance exercises and hamstring machine for your legs on day three.
  • Each day, divide the exercises into sets and repetitions. A repetition is a complete exercise. A series is a set of consecutive repetitions.
  • How many reps and sets is it advisable to do? It depends. The Delorme program recommends 3 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Another rule of thumb is that using a light weight and doing lots of reps builds endurance and muscle tone, while using a heavy weight and doing fewer reps (but lots of sets (five or more) saves you money. in strength.
  • How long should you spend training? Answer: not too long. Most people will be able to see the first results of their efforts after about eight weeks with two or three 20 to 30 minute sessions per week, covering all groups. Avoid hitting a plateau by thinking about changing your routine every eight weeks or so.
  • Give your body time to rest and heal: always allow at least 48 to 72 hours between sessions for each muscle group.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 12

Step 4. Divide your session into thirds

Much like your cardio exercises, divide your strength training sessions into three: aerobic warm-up, post-strength stretching, and cool-down. This promotes blood circulation, relaxes the joints, and stretches and relaxes the muscles when you are finished.

  • Do a few minutes of low-intensity cardio, such as walking or jogging, before moving on to the dumbbells. “Hot” muscles are less prone to injury than “cold” muscles.
  • Do not stretch before a weight training session.
  • After your workout, let your body cool down and stretch (one or two minutes for each muscle group).
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 13

Step 5. Attack with your large muscle groups

Experts recommend starting with large or multiple muscle groups. This allows you to do those more difficult exercises that require more energy. You can then isolate smaller or individual muscles.

  • Prioritize exercises that use multiple muscle groups at the same time. Also work several joints before moving on to exercises that require only one.
  • You could work your legs and back first, for example. Squats work in particular on your legs, but also the gluteal and abdominal muscles, and should be done from the start.
  • Do the exercises that target a single joint and a single muscle later. Bicep curls or shoulder shrugs can be done later in the session.

Part 4 of 4: Add stretching and flexibility exercises

Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 14

Step 1.Target your main muscles and joints

Flexibility sometimes takes a back seat in exercise programs. However, you need to make sure you add basic stretches to your routine. Stretching makes you flexible, increases joint range of motion, blood flow to muscles, and can prevent injury. It can also help prevent posture problems and joint misalignment.

Stretch the main joints and muscle groups that you use every day, whether during your workout or your usual activities. Among the most common are stretches of the legs, arms, back, chest, shoulders, and hips

Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 15

Step 2. Always warm up first

Don't stretch when your muscles are cold. You could injure yourself. Instead, do a few minutes of cardio warm-up to get the blood flowing before you start stretching.

  • For example, you can walk, cycle or jog at low intensity for 5 to 10 minutes before you start to stretch. You can also stretch after your workout when you are already warm.
  • It may be best to avoid stretching before a weight training session or doing an intensive activity such as running or other athletic sports. Some research shows that pre-stretching can actually reduce your performance.
Create a Personal Fitness Plan Step 16

Step 3. Hold the position

As you stretch, gently pull on the muscle and joint in a fluid motion and stay in place for about 30 seconds. In problem areas, that is, areas that are not very flexible or pulling you, it may be good to hold on for 60 seconds.

  • Also, try incorporating yoga postures. To do the balasana pose (or child's pose) which is very simple, kneel on the ground with your knees slightly apart. Then lean your hips forward, touch your forehead to the floor, and hold your abdomen against your thighs for 20-30 seconds. Stretch your arms out in front of you. This pose will gently stretch your lower back and upper body. The elderly should be careful while doing this stretch, as it can hurt the spine.
  • Do not hold your breath as you stretch, but rather breathe in as you begin the movement. Don't bounce either. You shouldn't bounce to shoot more. This "ballistic" stretch can tighten the muscle or worse yet, cause injury.
  • Pay attention to your spine and don't stretch it too much in an unnatural direction. The same goes for the other joints: always keep a certain flexibility and beware of blockages.
  • You shouldn't feel pain when you stretch. Feeling a bit of tension or discomfort is normal, but if it hurts, you've strained too much.


  • Never exceed your limits. You risk serious injury, muscle or joint pain, and a feeling of exhaustion that will make you want to let it all go. Rather, take it little by little and work incrementally every day to improve yourself.
  • Exercising while eating an extreme diet can be dangerous. Eat enough healthy foods.

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