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How to Plan Your Workouts: Plans, Schedules, and Food

How to Plan Your Workouts

Background workout image - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

One of the pervasive commonalities we all have is that we are all busy. All of a sudden your days are suddenly filled with way too many activities to keep track of and things to keep organized. Gone are the days when you could wake up early, take your time getting to the gym, and then take 2 hours for your workout.

Now you have to figure out how you are going to make your workout happen in the midst of everything else going on during your day. You know you need to lose the baby weight that is now just extra weight because your kid is 10, you know you need to so you can sleep better, have more energy to drive your kids to all their sports practices, and generally just feel better.

You also know that between carting the kids around to their various activities, their school, your work, managing a household, and attempting to go to bed before midnight, your days are full to the brim with a To-Do List that only gets longer. But on a deep down level, you want to figure out your workout game so you can finally get your jeans on without having to lay on your bed to shimmy the zipper up.

Being mindful about working out will help you achieve those goals faster and in a more efficient manner. It means that wearing the “mom sweater” will soon be out of choice, and not out of necessity because it is the only thing that feels comfortable.

Where do you even begin? Before you even approach what the workout will actually look like and what you will be doing, you have to figure out how it will work into your day with all the other activities you have to do.

When we all have different demands on our time and our schedule, how can we maximize the time that we do have for our health so we can maximize our physical transformation?

1. Pre-Plan Your Workouts Every Week:

Exercise Calendar

Once a week, grab your calendar and schedule in your workouts. Not just the time you can workout in the day, but also the duration of the workout. Treat your workout like an appointment with your doctor or your hair dresser. When those workouts are scheduled, when that time is blocked into your day, you will be more likely to do it.

  • Take it a step further and plan what the actual workout. We waste our workout time when we are spending the majority of that time figuring out what to do. Plan it before you even get into it so you can maximize the time you have available. That way you are not getting stuck in the scroll hole on YouTube trying to find a workout, you have it prepped and ready.
  • Go even a step further and factor in the time it will take you to get ready post workout. If you know that you have 1 hour in your day to workout, but it will take you 30 minutes to get showered and ready, plan for a 30 minute workout instead of the full hour.
PRO TIP: Have a back up plan. Life can so easily get the best of us and our days can very quickly get out of hand. Have a back up time you can workout in case your initial time does not work, and have a back up workout as well. If you do not end up needing those options, awesome, but if you do, you know they are ready for you.

2. Keep the Workouts Short:

This goes back to the first point, when you are planning your workouts for the week, if you know you will not have the time in your day to commit to a long workout, then plan something shorter. You can always save the longer workouts for the days when you know you will have the time, but be realistic with the demands of your day.

Working out is not something that should be causing you stress because you feel like it’ll push you behind schedule or have you running late to your next appointment. This is supposed to be a form of stress relief so you can be working not just to those goals you’ve set for yourself (hello LBD hidden in the back of your closet) but also so you can adult more effectively.

  • Shorter workouts don’t necessarily mean easier workouts. Consider investing in a heart rate monitor so you know you’re pushing your body and maximizing the time you have for your workout.

High intensity interval training

PRO TIP: Dedicate some of your workouts every week to HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts. HIIT can definitely be shorter in duration but will have you working so hard, you won’t mind that it’s over fast, and you’ll see results quickly too!

3. Don’t Forget About Your Food:

Obviously, for general well-being and health, we need to be mindful of what we eat, which goes without saying if one of your goals in regards to working out is achieving some sort of physical transformation. It’s true, abs were made in the kitchen, and if physical change is what you want to see, it will not be done by working out alone.

Workout Pre and Post Meal

One of the easiest ways to see the physical benefits of the workouts you are doing is by being intentional with what you are eating especially within the first few hours of the workout ending. By focusing on what you are eating pre and post workout, your body can potentially continue to burn calories and build muscle long after the workout ends.

  • Talk about getting the most bang for your buck. When your body continues to work long after the actual workout is over, not only will you see the non- scalable victories faster (like increased energy levels and better sleep), that physical transformation (hello skinny jeans) will not be far behind.


While these hacks work, remember to be patient with yourself. It might take a couple weeks to figure out how you need to implement these changes to work the best in your life, but don’t give up.

Give yourself time to get used to the planning aspect of things, ask for help in the areas you feel like you need guidance in, and mostly be kind to yourself. You will definitely get the hang of all of this, you’ll learn how to best work it into your life, and before you know it, planning workouts into your hectic schedule will be second nature!

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Lisa Peranzo

Founder and CEO, A Healthful Life

Highlights In addition to being the founder and CEO of A Healthful Life, Lisa has been featured in various ma...

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