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How to Plan a Workout Routine

Planning a workout routine is one of the most important aspects of successfully accomplishing your fitness goals. Whether you are in the market for a routine that builds lean muscle or a simpler program that trims down fat, your gains are dead in the water without a proper routine.

Many people will make the mistake of putting too much effort into their routines within the first few weeks or so and burn out quickly. The trick is to make the routine a part of your daily life, rather than an obstacle that requires intense efforts.

Sets and Reps

Before you read up on your specific area of training, remember this is how gym lingo works: each exercise contains sets, and each set has a certain about of reps. This ends up working out like so:

-Exercise 1

-Set

-Reps

-Set

-Reps

-Set

-Reps

-Exercise 2

-Set

-Reps

-Set

-Reps

-Set

-Reps

Gym Rat Type 1: Mass Gainers

These people want muscle, and lots of it. They don’t care if they need a little fat to gain their strength goals, they are more concerned with putting on powerful muscle. The key to Mass Gainers is just that: gain mass! In order to put on tons of muscle, you will need to eat a lot. Specifically, you will be needing to consume about 18-20 times your body weight in calories. Calories will give your body energy to make muscle. Remember, this means good calories. Overweight/obese people may consider not eating so many calories until you lose the rest of your “love handles.” You need to lose that fat before you can focus on mass gains.

Mass Gainers will need to focus on training around 3-5 (5 is a maximum) days a week. Most people will only need about 3 or 4 workouts a week, accompanied by tons of protein (1g per body pound) and calories (good calories, not potato chips). Mass Gainers should focus on about 6-10 reps per set, no more. Aim for about 3 sets per exercise. They should have just enough sets to reach muscle failure each workout day. For the majority of people, that will mean about 4-8 exercises. When you are done with the gym, go home and rest! Rest until your next workout day, and aim for 8 hours of sleep a night. Your body will build when you are resting, and always remember to keep hydrated!

Gym Rat Type 2: Fat Losers

Arguably the most common of gym-rats are the Fat Losers. These guys want to trim down, and they want to do it as quick as possible, with minimal effort. The good news is, you guys have a much simpler routine. Your routine will focus on cardio, and lots of it. If you want to lose weight, you need to run every day. Don’t run too hard, but jog 1/8 of a mile for a while, until that is too easy and then upgrade to 1/4 of a mile. Keep progressing like that, and be consistent.

Most people who want to lose fat lack a lot of consistency. They will show up to the gym for a week, then quit. You must run a moderate amount (not too hard) every day. This will keep your body in check.

Cut down on junk foods, focus on running, and once a week do a little weight training. The main goal for Fat Losers is consistency. If you can consistently run a moderate amount every day, you will lose fat. Remember to keep your body hydrated so you won’t faint from prolonged exercise.

Gym Rat Type 3: Overall Athletes

Overall Athletes tend to be average guys (but usually girls) who want to stay healthy. They want a balance of cardio endurance and muscle mass, but not an unhealthy amount of anything.

For overall athletes, the most common training method is on and off again days. You will alternate days: one day cardio, one day muscle. Keep up the consistency, loaded with moderate, good calories (less than Mass Gainers) and lots of protein (1g per body fat). If you are consistent then you will continue to see progressive results. Aim for a routine that is 4 to 6 days in total.

Remember, with any of these routines, be consistent and you will gain consistent results.

Sources:

About: Exercise, How to Lose Weight
About: Body Building, 30 Tips to Help Get Lean
Iron Magazine, 10 Things You Must Do to Gain Mass