How to Create a Complete Personal Fitness Program Plan
Are you planning to design and develop your own personal fitness program plan? You are in the right place.
A complete personal fitness program plan includes activities you enjoy most and exercises that will help you improve what you have to develop with yourself. It mainly depends on your current physical fitness status including your body compositions (weight, height, age), cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility.
By carefully developing your plan, you will increase your chances of success. To guide you properly in designing and developing your fitness plan, below is a following step-by-step procedure that will guide you in the creation of an exercise program that is right for you.
1. Set Goals
"What do you want from your fitness program?"
That is the first thing you should ask yourself. The first thing to consider in developing your fitness plan is to set your goals. You should know how to create several types of goals- general and specific, long term and short term.
General or long-term goals might include lowering your risk of contracting chronic diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, and diabetes, improving posture, having more energy, and improving the fit of your clothes.
It is also a good idea to develop some specific, short-term goals based on measurable factors. These factors are those involving quantities. Specific goals might include reducing the time it takes you to jog a definite distance from 30 minutes to 25 minutes, increasing the number of push-ups you can do from 10 to 15, and lowering your BMI from 25.8 to 24.6.
As a preliminary step in setting your goals, you must determine the current status of your physical fitness. There are two necessary evaluations to conduct in determining that - health-related component and sports talent component.
The health-related assessment includes your BMI, muscular strength and endurance tests, flexibility tests, and physiological tests. On the other hand, the sports talent assessment involves anthropometric analysis and muscular strength analysis.
Assessment of Health-Related Components of Physical Fitness
A. Measurement of Body Composition
- Body mass
B. Muscular Strength and Endurance Tests
- Partial Curl-ups
- Trunk Lift
- 90-Degree Push-ups
C. Flexibility Tests
- Shoulder stretch
D. Physiological Fitness Test
- 1-Kilometer Run/Walk
Assessment of Sports Talent Related Components of Physical Fitness
A. Anthropometric Measurement
- Sitting Height
- Arm Span
B. Muscular Power Test
- Standing Long Jump
- Basketball Pass
- 50-Meter Sprint
The result of your physical fitness assessment tests is essential in determining your goals. The results will help you decide which types of exercises you should focus on, and help you understand the relative difficulty of attaining specific goals.
Having particular goals will allow you to track your progress and enjoy the measurable changes brought about by your fitness program. Even if you lose ground occasionally, stick with your plan, and you will be able to accomplish everything.
2. Select Activities
The next thing you need to consider in creating and developing your fitness plan is selecting your activities. It is usually best to include exercises to improve each of the health-related components of fitness.
a. Cardio-respiratory Endurance - At least three 15-minute bouts of continuous aerobic rhythmic exercises each week. Aerobic conditioning activities include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, and rope jumping.
b. Muscular Strength - A minimum of two 20-minute sessions per week that include exercises for all the major muscle groups. Lifting weights are the most effective way to increase strength. There are already available fitness weights in the market for both genders.
c. Muscular Endurance - At least three 30-minute sessions per week that include exercises such as calisthenics, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and weight training for all the major muscle groups.
d. Flexibility - 10 to 12 minutes of daily stretching exercises performed slowly, without a bouncing motion. That can be done after the warm-up or during the cool-down.
e. Healthy Body Composition - combining a healthy diet and a program of regular exercise, including cardio-respiratory endurance exercises to burn calories and resistance training to build muscle mass.
If you select activities that support your commitment rather than those that turn exercise into a chore, the right program will be its incentives for continuing. Consider the following factors in making your choices.
- Fun and interest. Your fitness program plan is much likely to be successful if you choose activities that you enjoy doing. Begin by considering activities you presently engage in and enjoy. Often, you can modify your current pursuits to suit your fitness program.
- Consider your current ability and fitness level. Although many activities are appropriate for beginners, some sports and fitness activities require a moderate level of skill to obtain fitness benefits. To guide you in selecting activities, a book of Kusinitz and Fine entitled "Physical Fitness for Practically Everybody" has a summary of sports and fitness activities perfect for everyone. The book will help you determine the minimum level of fitness required for participation in the activities you are considering.
- Time and convenience. Unless exercise fits into your daily schedule, you are unlikely to maintain your program over the long term. As you consider activities, think about whether you need a particular location or facility.
- Cost. Some sports and activities require equipment, fees, or another kind of membership expense. If you are on a tight budget, limit your choices to exercises that are inexpensive or free.
- Special Health Needs. If you have special exercise needs due to a particular health problem, choose activities that will suit your needs and develop your ability to cope. If necessary, consult a doctor.
3. Set a Target Frequency, Intensity, and Time for Each Activity
The next step is to apply the FITT principle and set a starting frequency, intensity, and duration for each type of activity you have chosen. FITT principle stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.
Cardio-respiratory Endurance Exercise
3 to 5 times a week
Depends on your target heart rate zone
20 to 60 minutes, depending on the intensity (20-30 for beginners and 30-60 for moderate to high)
Muscular Strength and Endurance Training
2 to 3 days per week
One or more sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of 8 to 10 exercises
30 seconds to 5 minutes
At least 2 to 3 workdays per week
4 repetitions per exercise
10 to 30 seconds
4. Set up a System of Mini Goals and Rewards
To keep your program on track, it is necessary to set-up system goals and rewards. Break your specific goals into several steps and establish a target date for each.
For example, if one of your goals is to improve upper body strength and endurance, you could use a push-up test to set intermediate goals. If you currently perform ten push-ups, you can begin with 12, 15, or 20 as your intermediate goals.
Reaching a small series of goals is more satisfying than working toward a single, more challenging goal that may take months to achieve. Realistic goals, broken into achievable mini goals, can boost your chances of success.
5. Include Lifestyle Physical Activity in Your Program
Your daily physical activities play a significant part in having a fit and healthy lifestyle. As such, you should also consider your daily routine when you develop your fitness program plan. Think of ways by which you could be more active as you go about your daily routine.
6. Develop Tools for Monitoring Your Progress
A record that tracks your daily progress will help you remind of your ongoing commitment to your program and give you a sense of accomplishment.
If you have specific, measurable goals, you can graph your weekly or monthly progress toward your goal. To monitor the overall development of your fitness program, you may choose to reassess your cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition every three months or so.
Since the results of different tests vary, be sure to compare results for the same assessment over time. Here are some tools in monitoring the progress of your fitness program plan.
- Recent pictures
- Workout Log
- Food journal
- Physical measurements
- Performance assessments
- Routine health screenings
7. Make a Commitment
The final step in planning your program is to make an obligation by signing a contract. Find a witness for your contract-signing - preferably one who will be actively involved in your plan. Place your agreement in a visible area to remind you of your commitment.
Fitness is like a relationship. You can’t cheat and expect it to work.— Brinutrition
- FITT Principle for Cardiovascular Fitness
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- Muscular Strength and Endurance | HealthLink BC
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- Physical Fitness Testing (PFT) - Testing (CA Dept of Education)
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- Reference Guide to Strength Training | SparkPeople
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© 2018 John Ray