How to develop a workout schedule
A good friend of mine recently asked me about my workout schedule as she's needing to change hers up a bit after starting a new job. She was genuinely worried about having to change up her routine and for good reason. Having a routine makes it much easier to fit workouts into your schedule and helps you stay accountable.
When you have a routine, you know what you are supposed to do so there are excuses for not following through. For me, it's been one of the one of the main reasons why I've been able to workout consistently each week.
After telling my friend about my fitness routine, I thought it would be good to also share it with you and explain how I came up with it! I want to make it clear that this is by no means the best or ideal routine for everyone, it just happens to work for me. I hope that by reading it you will be inspired to develop your own schedule that works best for you.
How to develop a workout schedule
Step 1: Get out your calendar
First thing's first, you need to plan out your week. Take a look at your calendar, and think about all the things you have going on each week. Write down the hours you work (including commute times), add in any extra curricular activities, and any other commitments you have. If you're like me, your calendar probably changes a lot depending on the week. Here's what my calendar looks like this week:
Step 2: Pick your workout days
If you're following a workout guide or program, consider what is recommended for how many days to workout and how spread out your workouts should be. I follow Kayla Itsines' Bikini Boy Guide , which is typically 3-4 days of resistance workouts, 3-4 days of LISS, and then 1-2 days of HIIT later on in the guide. Since BBG recommends a day in between each resistance workout, I try to maintain that.
I typically start my workout week on Monday, and continue through Sunday. I try to schedule my resistance workouts for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday if there is a 4th resistance workout. I then do LISS on Mondays, Fridays, and sometimes Wednesdays. Otherwise, I leave Wednesday as my rest day since I usually have a club meeting after work. On weeks that I do HIIT, I usually do them on the same days as LISS. Here's what my schedule looks like this week:
Not all of my weeks are the exact same. Sometimes things come up or I don't feel well enough to workout as planned, so my schedule will shift slightly. If I know a particular week will be tough, I try to plan it out ahead of time so that I still stay on track.
Step 3: Pick your time of day
For most of my workouts, I prefer doing them in the mornings. Mostly because I feel too tired after work to do them, and also because there is almost no room at the gym to do circuits in the evenings.
On Tuesday and Thursday I workout with my coworker in the morning before work. I leave the house around 6:20, and start working out around 7-7:15. Having a workout buddy makes it SO MUCH EASIER to wake up that early.
Knowing that I have to meet her at the gym by a certain time helps me stay accountable, rather than hitting snooze and going back to bed. For the record, I'd probably be hitting snooze 50% of the time if it weren't for her. I then shower and get ready at the gym, then drive across the street to work around 8:30. Keep reading to Step 4 for how I manage all this in the mornings.
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I typically do LISS during my lunch breaks. I either go to the gym and walk on the treadmill, or I'll walk down the street to the outdoor mall. If I do HIIT on these days, I tend to do them in the morning before work.
On the weekends, I typically do my workouts in the morning, but sometimes I'll do them in the late afternoon. I like to give myself a lot of flexibility for the weekends so that I don't feel like working out is a chore.
Step 4: Prepare ahead of time
Since I workout in the mornings most days, I have to do a lot of prep work the night before so that I can sleep as late as possible. This means picking out my workout clothes, clothes for work, and meals for the day.
I pack a bag complete with my work clothes, shoes, and accessories. To see exactly what I pack, check out my post about what I pack in my gym bag. I also pack a makeup bag that I use throughout the week and typically leave it in my car so that I always have it. Next, I pick out my workout clothes and leave them out so that they are easy to find when I'm half awake in the morning.
I then prepare my meals for the day. I need to eat before I workout, so I typically have something light, like half a protein bar, a piece of toast with peanut butter, or a banana. I then pack a breakfast to eat at work post workout. I often make a smoothie bowl, and leave it in the freezer, that way it stays cold while I work out and thaws by the time I arrive at work.
For lunches, I like to meal prep on Sundays, so I usually already have something in the fridge for me to take. I grab all these things in the morning, throw them in a bag, and go.
That's about it.
If you have any questions about my routine, feel free to ask away! I'd also love to hear about your routines and what tips work best for you! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a direct message on Instagram :)