Follow my step by step instructions below to create your own personalised training plan. Get started & smash your goals!
Your Starting Point
The starting point of all training plans is to decide on your goal. What do you want to achieve and by when? Then go and grab a calendar and mark down the date of your target goal. This could be a race, competition, a holiday or an event you want to be fit for.
Next, add in any weeks or dates you know you won’t be able to train so you can accommodate those times into your recovery periods. This might be a holiday, a busy time at work, or an event you are going to. Count backwards to calculate how many weeks you have available to achieve your goal. Check it is realistic and modify your goal if needed.
Once you have your overview you need to add the detail. The more detailed the better. What fitness level are you currently at, and how much will you need to do to achieve your goal? How many training sessions can you commit to each week? Be realistic with what you can actually commit to each week. It must be sustainable and allow for continuity.
Just planning to ‘go for a cycle’ or ‘go to the gym’ won’t be enough. What training you will need to do will all depend on what your end goal is. Training for a particular sport or event will require different ways of training compared with training for weight loss or making muscle gains.
Here are some questions you will need to answer before you start:
How many sessions will I need each week?
How long will each session be?
How long do I need to warm up and cool down for and how will I achieve this?
What speed and intensity will I need to work out to get the desired results?
How much cardio will I need?
What type of cardio? What intensity? How will I measure the intensity?
Will I benefit from doing weights?
What lifts will I do? What sequence of lifts will I use (yes, it matters)? How many reps and sets? How heavy?
How much recovery will I need within each session and between sessions?
Will I need to do cross-training?
Will I carry out ‘active recovery’?
How will I combine your sessions for maximum efficiency and effect?
When will I need to change my programme?
Does my plan have enough flexibility for unseen circumstances, such as illness?
How will I monitor my progress?
How will I know if I am working hard enough?
How will I check that I am not over-training and risking burning out?
What foods and drinks will you need to consume or avoid to maximise your training effects?
How will I ensure adequate hydration
After about 6 weeks, your body will have adapted so unless you increase the intensity or voume of the exercise, you will plateau and stop seeing improvements. Continually increasing the volume and intensity without adequate recovery can result in injury, especially over-use injury or over-training. Consider periodisation with the different mesocycles and microcycles within your long term macrocycle plan. If you are training for a specific event, you will need to consider how you will get maximum benefit without being fatigued when it comes to race day.
Of course, you could always ask your favourite PT to organise it all for you ;-)