Using a custom workout planner is a great way to make your fitness routine more effective.
Whether you do this with the traditional pen and paper, or leverage a fitness app to automate all of this for you, we’ll discuss some key things that you should consider when making a workout plan that is personalized to your goals.
Ultimately, we would recommend using the Alpha Progression app to create your custom workout planner. They offer a free version and when you sign up, you can also try the premium version for 14 days which includes more data on your workouts and tailored recommendations.
At a Glance – Build a Custom Workout Plan
- Define you goals
- Exercise frequency
- Workout length
- Types of exercise
- Access to equipment
- Preferences and excluding exercises
Define Your Goals
Firstly, you need to define your goals and have a clear vision of what you want to get out of your workouts.
Are you doing it to lose weight… to get stronger… for mental health?
By defining your goals, it becomes easier to ultimately decide what sort of training plan you should follow.
A workout plan focused on losing weight, might look very different from one focused on regaining flexibility.
Once you’ve defined your goals, you now have something to work towards.
The second step to creating an effective custom workout plan is to think about exercise frequency (i.e., how many times a week do you want to exercise).
This refers to what many call “workout splits” – which is based on how you split your week up.
The number of days you want to exercise will, again, influence what sort of fitness plan is best suited to you.
For example, if your goal is to get stronger, and you want to exercise 3 times a week, you may decide on a workout split that focuses on “pushing” movements one day, “pulling” movements another, and “legs” on the final day (this is referred to as “PPL”).
However, if you only want to do a strength training workout once a week, you would be better off doing a full body workout on that day.
Another factor to consider that will help make your workouts feel more personalized is deciding how long you want them to be.
One of the biggest issues with following some online fitness programs, or YouTube workouts, is that they might be longer than you hoped for.
By defining how long you want your workouts to last, you can work backwards and select exercise reps and sets that fit that schedule.
You may also want the workout length to vary from day to day… perhaps on Mondays, you can spare 40 minutes, but on Wednesdays only 20 mins. Having this inputted into your custom workout plan will make the whole experience feel really personalized.
Type of Exercise
You may also want to decide what type of exercise you want your workouts to focus on.
If your goal is to get stronger, you could do all sorts of workouts, from Olympic weightlifting to HYROX to bodyweight exercises (and much more). If you have a preference, you can make sure these types of exercises feature in your workouts.
Access to Equipment
Your access to equipment will also be an influential factor to creating a successful custom workout plan.
If you’re exercising at home, you may not have any equipment, in which case, having a workout that includes the use of gym equipment isn’t useful.
The equipment in local gyms can also vary too. Planet Fitness, for example, doesn’t have barbells and bumper plates, so you’d want exercise alternatives like Smith Machine hip thrusts.
Our guide on the different types of free weights is a good place to start if you’re unfamiliar with fitness equipment.
Preferences and Excluding Exercises
Another great feature of a truly customized workout plan is to identify your exercise preferences and start excluding exercises you simply don’t like.
If you just don’t like doing back squats, instead of trying to force yourself to fall in love with this exercise, you could exclude it and find relevant alternatives that work the same muscles.
You may also find you need to temporarily exclude exercises or entire muscle groups due to injury, for a period of time.
This will help keep you motivated by focusing your workout plan on exercises you enjoy most… increasing the likelihood you’ll adhere to the weekly routines.
Having a workout plan that adapts to your progress offers significant benefit. This is difficult to do with pen and paper, but apps like Alpha Progression mean that without even noticing, your workout plan will adapt to your previous performances.
If you’ve been struggling, it will recommend easier workouts… and if you’ve been powering through them with ease, it will make them harder.
This helps you progress quicker and ultimately, reach your overall fitness goals more efficiently.
One of the big trends we’ve seen in the fitness industry of late, is the push for more personalized fitness recommendations and workout plans.
From low-impact exercise alternatives, to those who only have a short window each day to exercise, the “one-size-fits-all” approach just doesn’t match the way most of us need exercise to fit in within our daily lives.
The bottom line is that this is where fitness apps can provide users with a lot of value by delivering very personalized workout recommendations that are based on real-time data.
As well as Alpha Progression, apps like Fitbod and Hevy are worth considering too. You’ll need a paid membership to use Fitbod, but the features are really intuitive and allow you to follow incredibly personalized workouts with just a few clicks.
For those who have perhaps followed more structured training plans and struggled to see progress, this personalized approach may help you reach your goals quicker.