What is the secret to getting fit? Go ahead, Google that. How many people are trying to sell you their product or potion? Trouble is, whatever they are hawking was designed to meet their needs not yours. You’ll never find your definition of fitness by reaching for someone else’s standard, using someone else’s plan.
What you need to do is arm yourself with information. Here is a no-nonsense, straightforward, step-by-step guide to make a workout program based on your goals, abilities, fitness level and schedule.
So, Let’s Get Started!
Goals – What does fitness mean to you? Do you want to live longer, look better, be active or be competitive? It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as you know what you are trying to achieve. Only then can you begin to structure your schedule and priorities around your desired outcome.
Ability – So you’re not an Olympian – me either. But, that’s not an excuse not to exercise. Find out what works for you and just start, now. Showing up is half the battle. Walking leads to jogging which will eventually turn into running. Body weight exercise is the gateway to more advanced forms of strength training. Everyone starts somewhere, so start where you are; today!
Schedule – How much time are you willing or able to devote to training? One workout is better than no workout. But, can you do 3 days a week? Set yourself up for success by creating a realistic and consistent training schedule. Then, it’s all about the follow through – it’s a little thing called consistency.
How To Get Strong and Fit
Strength Training- Increase lean muscle mass and your body’s fat burning ability by strength training three days each week. And, don’t worry if you can’t make it to the gym. With just a few dumbbells or a kettlebell and your own body weight you can get a great workout in anywhere.
Identify your strength goals and create a plan based on your own needs. Try not to focus on losing weight or gaining size. Set out to improve total body strength and fitness. As a result you will improve functional fitness that delivers results that transfers to movements outside of the gym, while sculpting a body you can be proud of.
Get Fit- Use your bodyweight or a moderate weight to complete compound, total body movements for three to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. Rest 20 to 60 seconds between sets.
Gain Muscle- Use a moderate to heavy weigh to complete compound and isolated movements for three to six sets of 6 and 12 repetitions. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets.
Increase Strength- Use a heavy weight to complete compound movements for three sets of 1 to 6 repetitions. Rest 2-5 minutes between sets.
Exercise Selection- Choose exercises and design workouts based on your access to equipment and ability level. Begin your foray into strength training using bodyweight exercises. Then, increase the difficulty of your workouts by progressing towards barbell exercises – if you’re interested, it fits into your schedule and helps you meet your goals.
1) Bodyweight Exercises – push-up, squat, lunge, dips, split squat, burpee, sit-up, pull-up, walk-out, tip over, plank, step-up
2a) Dumbbells – plank row, thruster, curl and press, suitcase deadlift, overhead press, lunge
2b) Kettlebells –swing, deadlift high-pull, thruster, lunge, sit-up
3) Barbells – bench press, overhead press, bent-row, squat variations, deadlift
Cardiovascular Exercise– a well balanced fitness program uses cardio workouts to condition your heart and shed some extra pounds. But, it’s important to keep in mind that running is not the only way to condition or lose weight. If you don’t want to run, don’t run. Instead, find a cardio based exercise to replace it – bike, hike, row, jump rope, swim, or snow shoe. If you find an activity that you enjoy you’ll actually want to exercise. And, like we said, just showing up is half the battle.
Just move- Choose an activity and do it for 30 minutes, 3 days per week. Swim, bike, walk, jog or hike. Join a sports league. Try basketball or ultimate Frisbee. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it on a consistent basis.
Pick up the pace- After creating a regular routine and building a foundation of conditioning, try speeding things up. If you walk, alternate between a walk and a jog. If you jog try to run for one minute every five minutes. Or, if you already run try to sprint for one minute before going back to your regular pace until you can recover enough to sprint again. The same approach can be applied to swimming, cycling, or a piece of cardio equipment at the gym. Go hard, slow it down, recover and repeat.
Get advanced- If you are already fit and trying to take your cardio workouts to another level try speed work and hill sprints. Head to the track and try 10 x 100m repeats. Or, four to six 400m repeats. For an added challenge you could find a hill or stadium stairs to climb. Sprint to the top and walk or jog to the base before repeating the sprint eight to 10 times.
Putting It Together: Training Splits
The Keeping it Simple Plan- For anyone who wants to get fit or maintain a strong and lean body. You can workout at home, with no equipment. Combine bodyweight exercise with yoga and cardio activities like walking, running, hiking or biking. Schedule workouts 3 days each week for 15-40 minutes, sticking to the get fit sets and reps mentioned above.
Let’s aim to workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Complete a full body workout Monday and Friday, while planning to get some cardio in on Wednesday. The Hybrid Bodyweight Training Manual is made up of workouts that will help you maintain this schedule. Give this workout a try and use it to create your own in the future.AFAP 50x Push-up 50x Bodyweight squat 25x Dive-bomb push-up 25x Alternate lunge (each leg) Then, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 of each Sit-up Russian twist (25 sit-ups, 25 twists, 20, sit-ups, 20 twists…5 of each)
The Staying Active Plan- For anyone who wants to improve overall fitness and live an active lifestyle. With a few pieces of equipment at home, or in any gym, stick to body weight, dumbbell and kettlebell exercises. Focus on total body movements and the get fit and gain muscle sets and reps. Then, complete cardio workouts that mix the just move approach with the techniques from picking up the pace. Aim for 4-5 workout days each week that last 30-60 minutes
It’s a good idea to try for training sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Two could be strength, while the other two are cardio focused. Pair the Kettlebell Fat Loss program with the Fat Burning Cardio Guide for hundreds of workouts. And, try this workout on for size and use it to you maintain your staying active plan.5 Rounds Pull-up @ max repetition – Or – 4 Rounds 12x Suspended row/lat pull-down
Then, 4 Rounds 12x Dumbbell biceps curl 24x Kettlebell Deadlift high-pull 12x Dumbbell bent row 24x Kettlebell Thruster Rest up to 60 seconds and repeat
The Weekend Warrior Plan– For anyone who is trying to become more athletic and competitive. Strength training will combine total body and isolated movements with the gain muscle and get strong tactic. Combine compound movements with explosive exercises into challenging workouts that use dumbbell, kettlebell, and barbell exercises. When it’s time to get some cardio in, use intervals, speed work and hill sprints to build endurance. Expect to train 5-6 days each week for 45-60+ minutes.
Sticking to this plan will take some serious commitment. It might not be easy, but building a better body and improving athleticism will be well worth it. A good baseline is training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Race Day Domination training program combines strength and cardio workouts around this type of training schedule. Yes, it was made to help people train for obstacle and adventure races, but that means it will help you get strong and lean, fit and fast. Try this workout from the program.5 Rounds
6x Dumbell or Kettlebell Thruster (choose a weight that is challenging, but get all 6 reps) 12x Jump Touch
24x KB Swing 3 Rounds
5x Dead Lift
15x Dumbbell Push Press 400m sprint 3 Rounds 15x Weighted In and Out 10x Weighted Sit-up How To Make a Workout Program
So what do you think; do you have enough information to create your own training plan? If not, what do you need? Be sure to let me know. I am happy to answer all of your questions.
Joe is a writer, trainer and fitness entrepreneur who co-founded Hybrid Athlete LLC, Kettlebell Cardio™ and Race Day Domination. Currently building @fittinsider, a platform for founders, executives, & investors redefining fitness/wellness. Investing in health/fitness companies