Hit the gym. Hustle hard. Grind, grind, grind.
Just kidding - we’re not about that life.
Well, we are passionate about health and fitness - but we’re not big fans of the ‘grind’ mindset. In fact, here at Oatein, we’ve created tasty protein snacks designed to make getting protein into your diet easier. So it stands to reason that we’re also supportive of fitness activities that fit more conveniently into your life.
Just as you might not always have time for a full protein-rich meal and opt for a protein bar, you may sometimes not have the time, willpower or even money for full gym workouts.
But working out should be all about you. It should be an activity you do for yourself, whether it’s for the endorphins and enjoyment or just to keep fit. Whatever your goals are, your workout plan should support them.
When creating a workout plan, think about:
- Goal: do you want to build muscle, gain strength, lose weight or add to your cardio fitness?
- Time: how much free time in a week do you have to train?
- Attitude: don’t force yourself to do things you hate. If you don’t like gyms and weightlifting, your plan should focus on things you do enjoy, such as running or martial arts.
With those in mind, let’s take a look at some common ways to build a workout plan that works for you and your goals.
Goal 1: Build Muscle
Many of the people searching ‘how to create a workout plan’ are looking for resistance-based exercises. These recruit the maximum amount of muscle fibres and help contribute to muscle rebuilding and growth. But while many of us know the exercises, or at least recognise them, putting them together is tough.
In our eyes, building muscle means eating plenty of protein and calories whilst performing compound resistance exercises to recruit as much muscle as you can. Then, supplementing those compounds with specific isolation lifts that focus on smaller groups (such as bicep curls), will help you build key muscle areas.
All that in mind, creating your workout plan really depends on you and your goals. If you want to target a specific area, you need to incorporate more exercises into the plan. But in general, you’ll want to be training 3-4 times per week with plenty of rest. Compound lifting should be done with heavier weights and therefore requires more rest.
If you have more time and energy, you can train more often by splitting the plan into more isolation lifts.
So if we wanted to build muscle across our whole body with a focus on our arms but only had 3-4 hours per week to spare, our plan could look something like:
- 10-minute treadmill jog to warmup
- 3 x 10 press-ups
- 3 x 10 bench press
- 3 x 10 incline bench
- 3 x 10 bent-over rows
- 3 x 10 chest flys
- 10-minute warmup
- 3 x 10 plyo box jumps
- 3 x 10 squats
- 3 x 10 front squats
- 3 x 10 overhead press
- 3 x 10 dumbbell shoulder press
- 10-minute warmup
- 3 x 10 deadlifts
- 3 x 10 pull-ups
- 3 x 10 bicep curls
- 3 x 10 tricep pulldowns
- Active recovery - exercises like swimming, jogging etc. Get the body moving but don’t overexert.
Note: If you want to see improvements, you need to stick to this routine but increase the resistance. For example, you might start at 80% of your current max lift but gradually increase it as exercises become easier.
Goal 2: Lose Weight
Losing weight is not a magic formula. Instead, it’s a combination of hard work and good nutrition. Your body burns a certain amount of calories each day, even at rest. This is known as your base metabolic rate, and there are plenty of websites and wearable tech that can help you determine yours.
Once you know it, you now know how many calories your body can theoretically burn before the excess is converted into fat. However, if you add in exercises, you increase the number of calories burned and, therefore, eat more.
With that knowledge in your head, all you need to know to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you burn. Of course, you’ll burn more with an active routine, but even at rest, you begin to lose weight if you consume fewer calories than your base metabolic rate.
That said, we love food and eating. We don’t think anyone should starve themselves in the pursuit of fitness and health - so adding in exercises can help keep you motivated and give you some calories ‘back’ to enjoy.
Perform two sets of 10 of the following with no rest in between each:
- Press-ups (can be from knees)
Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat five times, so you’ve done a total of 10 sets.
- Warm-up with three sets of 10 jumping squats
- Complete a 2-5km run depending on fitness. Aim for speed rather than stamina - you should finish it feeling like you’ve really made an effort. If you can’t yet manage a run of this distance, alternate between walking and sprinting.
- Warmup jog
- HIIT - do the following exercises for as many reps as you can in the time given:
- Burpees 30 seconds
- Squats 30 seconds
- Lunges 30 seconds
- High Knees 30 seconds
- 1-minute rest between each set, repeat three full sets.
- Push-ups 30 seconds
- Crunches 30 seconds
- Plank 30 seconds
- Plank punches 30 seconds
Remember: this article is about creating a workout plan to suit you and your goals. You don’t need to follow these exactly, and you can swap out exercises to suit your abilities and your time. Both examples are just trying to illustrate that a workout plan can be made to fit into your life, whatever you’re doing. In the first example, you’d only need a few hours per week and some weights. In the second, you’d need even less time and no equipment at all!
Whichever method you choose and whatever workout plan you come up with, remember that all it takes is consistency and planned rests. Make sure you keep your protein intake high with our convenient protein snacks like our Hype Bar or supplement with Succeed protein powder. Finally, don’t ever beat yourself up if you miss a day or mess up your plan - all that matters is that you get back to it when you can.