Craft a Fitness Plan You’ll Love

by Blake Herzog

You already could be straying from your New Year’s resolution, or maybe you’ve just gotten back some lab results that weren’t as flawless as you were expecting. Whatever the occasion, you’ve realized you aren’t meeting your fitness goals and are feeling your way back to getting on track.

Instead of simply doubling down on what hasn’t been working for you, take a moment or a week, whatever you need, to discover which movements give you joy and which goals will animate your journey.

Digging down and finding the answers will reset your attitude about working out and refuel your energy to hit your targets.

Set goals, then forget them — not completely, but try to keep them separate from your daily workout experience.

Focus more on how each session makes you feel stronger and more resilient, and ride any runner’s or lifter’s high, or any equivalent you’re fortunate enough to enjoy. Workouts become a chore for many people if they make it all about hitting specific numbers, either quitting once they’ve reached their target or getting discouraged when they aren’t meeting them quickly enough.

Motivate yourself instead with the way your workout transforms your mood and your muscles.

Try anything — talk to your friends about the workouts they love and see if they’ll buddy up with you. Mine YouTube for classes and videos of things you’ve heard of but never actually seen.

If your current regimen leans heavily on either cardio or strength training, find a gym or trainer who specializes in the other. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, but don’t stick too long with something if it just doesn’t click for you.

Find the right mix — compile a list of the activities you enjoy the most and categorize them as cardio, strength or flexibility exercises. If one of the three is lacking you may have a little more exploration to do until you have a well-rounded selection to draw from.

Once you do, set up a schedule tailored to your specific needs but includes roughly 30 minutes of cardio training five days a week and strength training for 20 to 30 minutes two or three days out of the week. Stretching exercises can be done for five to 10 minutes most days of the week to maintain and improve flexibility.

Evaluate your results — this is where your goals come in. After following your new fitness plan for four to six weeks consider the trajectory of the numbers you are tracking: weight, heart rate, blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio or whatever is most relevant to you.

Consider how well you were able to follow your plan and how much progress you’re making toward your goals. Consider how you can alter your schedule to make the changes you need to and have more fun while doing it.

Celebrate all of your wins, and don’t beat yourself up over the areas where you’re not where you want to be. Life is all about growth!