5 Steps To DIY Your Own Workout

Graphic for 5 steps to DIY your workout
Graphic for 5 Steps to DIY Your Workout, with pink dumbbells, water bottle, and shoes

How is that New Year’s workout plan going?

I know. You have tried following workouts you found online, from Pinterest or from some Instagram celeb-trainer. The workouts might have been too complicated for a fitness beginner (or too easy for an experienced person). You may have even injured yourself trying some of the ridiculous moves they demonstrated. What they don’t tell you is that trying those moves without any prior fitness training is a recipe for disaster. If only you had someone to create your workout plan for you… Well, I have a secret for you.

What if I told you, there’s 5 steps to DIY your own workout?

Programming a workout plan isn’t difficult. But it requires a basic understanding of anatomy, knowledge of exercise equipment, and fitness goals. What are your goals? Once you establish your those, it will be easier to map out your own workout plan. Write down your goals, stick them on your bathroom mirror, and read them while you brush your teeth. You’ll refer to them, I promise!

Let’s get to those steps to DIY your own workout, shall we?

STEP 1. BE SPECIFIC

This is the Principle of Specificity. Why is this important? If you want to get stronger at something, you should be doing more of it. Pull-ups, pushups, squats, anything! Avoid complicating it by doing crazy exercises that are not realistic. (Ahem, like those Insta fitspo models.) Keep it simple and specific to your goal.

Read this NASM article on General Adaptation Syndrome and SAID Principles.

STEP 2. USE OVERLOAD

Hear me out first! This concept *does not* mean throw a crap ton of weight on the bar, cable machine, or hand weights and try to Hulk-smash it. The Principle of Progressive Overload describes the method of training with planned increases in weight or resistance over a period of time. Besides, doing the same workout over and over without any changes is counterproductive to progress and a path to boredom. Therefore, progress your training sessions by increasing the weight (in 2.5lbs to 5lbs increments), reps, or sets after two to three weeks. You’ll know when it’s time to overload. It will take more reps to reach muscle fatigue and you will swear that the weight feels lighter. Also, you can add one more day of lifting to your week. So instead of doing each muscle group one day per week, try doing a 4 day lifting split with two days of upper body and two days of lower body. But never lift the same muscle group two days in a row!

*I have used MRM BCAAs and BioChem Whey after each weightlifting session for several years now to enhance my recovery.

STEP 3. DELOAD THE MUSCLES

There is a wide range of recommended deloading schedules amongst professional trainers. However, I will encourage you to deload every four to six weeks. This is an opportunity to limit the stress you’ve put on your muscles, promote recovery, and prevent the dreaded overtraining. Besides the obvious bonus of having a lighter week of workouts, the week after you deload you’ll realize how much strength you’ve gained!

Read this article from Matt Wilpers, Peloton instructor and owner of Team Wilpers, on Recovery for Athletes.

STEP 4. ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Enjoyment is the most important aspect taken for granted when embarking on a fitness journey. Planning your own workouts is no different. You have to ensure that your workout program is something you enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy it, you will not stay motivated long enough to achieve any of your goals. See that sticky note on the bathroom mirror? Yeah, don’t forget about that!

STEP 5. RESPECT THE PROCESS

Each person’s body responds differently to exercise. Understand that success will take time. Any setbacks you experience are crucial to your overall success. It’s all part of the process! Be patient and find what works best for you. 

Fall down seven times, get up eight. Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship.”

Denzel Washington

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