Design your perfect Fitness Plan for a Healthy Lifestyle, Step by Step Guide with Visuals.

Introduction

Having an effective fitness plan is extremely important for achieving your fitness goals. You cannot just have a goal and expect to achieve it without having an effective and detailed plan. Your time and effort would be wasted without any direction. We also need to acknowledge the difference in people’s health/fitness goals and one plan is not enough to fit in all solutions. Age, goal, fitness level, health condition, and lifestyle are some of the main factors in creating an effective fitness plan. Workout, diet, and healthy behaviors are the main domains to take care of in order to achieve fitness (Marcell et al., 2011). Fitness is not only achieved by mere working out and eating junk, or eating healthy and being sluggish.

Here is some useful information about workout plans with different exercises.

Components of Workout-Plan

There is not any seprcific perfect fitness plan, but we can add different components to our plan to make it clear, efficient, effective, and detailed. These components are applicable to people with different age groups, lifestyles, and required goals.

Consistency:

It can be described as a long-term commitment that needs discipline with no shortcuts. Consistency is the number one factor that can get you results. You just need to train frequently across a long period of time. The first step is to assess your lifestyle and create a personalized program that will be consistent for you.

Ask yourself questions such as:

  1. How many days of a week can I dedicate to working out?
  2. How long can each workout session be?
  3. What time of the day is best for exercising according to my lifestyle?

Such questions will help you decide on a weekly plan (Navratilova et al., 2007).

For example, you need to decide your workout days and rest days per week and schedule them accordingly. Be specific and realistic in deciding the plan because it should be doable, not something that you will give yourself excuses for down the road. 20 to 30 minutes are absolutely fine rather than 1 hour, only if you remain consistent. The same goes for working time. There is no best time for working out. The best time is when it’s most convenient for you. Working out for a longer period of time does not necessarily assure you better and quicker results, rather it’s about how consistent and efficient you are with your workout (Corbin & Masurier, 2014).

Variety:

The first thing that comes to your mind while planning a fitness plan must be “what kind of workout should I do?” There are so many workouts but it’s difficult to figure out where to start and what to do (Corbin & Masurier, 2014).

For beginners, it is important to experience a total body workout that includes all your muscles in order to burn fat and increase lean muscle mass. We cannot spot reduced fat. There are two types of training i.e. strength training and cardio. Some workouts combine them both such as hit, interval, and circuit type training. These training are the most efficient way to burn fat and tone up your body in a short period of time.

Strength training helps in improving your strength and building lean muscles. The more lean muscles you have, the higher your metabolic rate is. It means that your body will be burning fat more efficiently even when you are at rest. Pushups, lunges, triceps dip, and squats are examples of strength training.

Cardio training is intense enough to increase your breathing and heart rate at a continuous and consistent rate. They are important in building stamina and burning calories, and excessive fat. Running, cycling, swimming, and treadmill are examples. The type of exercise you choose depends upon your goal. If your goal is to lose weight, you should do a combination of both but if your goal is to gain weight, you should do strength training.

Volume:

It is important to figure out your workout volume. You should decide while making a plan how many reps (the number of times you perform an exercise during a set, for example, 10 reps in one squat) and sets (repeating the same exercise a certain number of rounds, for example, 10 squats in one set) should be done, how heavy to live, and how long to rest in between exercise? For example, the amount of weight you have to lift depends upon your own strength and goal (Corbin & Masurier, 2014).

As beginners, two sets are good and you can gradually increase your number of sets with time. 12 to 20 reps are important in building muscular endurance, and size. 6 to 12 reps are good for hypertrophy training, tone ups, and improving muscular definition (Anderson et al., 1994). Rest time will be according to the weight you are lifting. You need to adjust the weight according to your goal and the body parts you are training for. For example, if you are training for hypertrophy, you need to lift high weights. You cannot stick to one weight and perform it for the entire body. Your shoulder muscles are weaker than your leg muscles, so leg muscles can comparatively lift heavier weights. Proper form is extremely important in order to engage the right muscle and avoid injuries.

Progression:

Now that you have a solid workout plan, and you are consistent with it, the next important factor is progression. To keep improving and seeing results, your fitness plan needs to get harder over time. If you fail to progress your training, that’s when you will hit a plateau. Do not make things harder too quickly and don’t be impatient with your plan. It takes time to build strength and endurance, and your progress depends upon your consistency.

You will still create change slowly and gradually, without the risk of injuries (Anderson et al., 1994). You should train for 4 to 6 weeks at any given level of difficulty before adding more challenges to your training. Training progression can be done by increasing the workload, workout volume, workout time, reducing rest time, and introducing tougher moves. Make adjustments in your training in order to challenge yourself, and to keep things fun and fresh.

Track:

Tracking your workout plan is extremely important. You should review each session, and keep a track of your progress along the way. You can keep a journal for this purpose and note down every workout detail (objectively and subjectively) in it. Objectives can be exercise, weight, sets, reps, workout duration, and rest time, while subjective refers to how your body feels, your recovery level, and mental state (Navratilova et al., 2007). These records will help you to decide what works and what’s not working so you can skip it. By keeping track over time, you will be able to create an effective and efficient plan for you. Having a record will keep you accountable for your goals. Put this knowledge into action and stay fit.

Fig 1: Workout Plan Factors:

fitness plan

Components of Diet-plan

While many fitness and diet plans promise exceptional results for every participant, they frequently fall short of their fake claims. In reality, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to dieting (Gonzlez & Miranda, 2014). A plan that works wonders for one person may be disastrous for another. As a result, there is a need for a targeted system that considers your unique situation, a customized nutrition regimen designed with your specific goals and fitness level in mind to deliver real results.

While it’s easy to see why a targeted approach is necessary, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available. To that end, we’ve outlined some critical steps you can take.

Outline your goals:

You’re unlikely to make significant progress unless you have a clear goal in mind (Sukiennik et al., 2013). Your current goals may differ from those of your friends and family members, and you may adjust your goals over time to reflect on your changing life circumstances. Some common goals to keep you fit are:

  • Weight loss
  • Increasing lean muscle mass
  • Lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels

When deciding which objectives should be the focus of your diet and fitness efforts, always choose SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) goals. This commonly used acronym assists you in developing goals that are realistically achievable with minimal planning and effort.

First Meal of the Day:

According to a Harvard Health Letter article, eating breakfast on a regular basis has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. A healthy breakfast can help replenish your blood sugar, which your body requires to power your muscles and brain. Eating a healthy breakfast is especially important when you plan to exercise. Skipping breakfast can make you feel dizzy or lethargic while working out.

It is critical to select the proper type of breakfast. To begin their day, far too many people rely on simple carbohydrates (Gonzlez & Miranda, 2014). A plain white bagel or doughnut will not keep you satisfied for long. A fiber- and protein-rich breakfast, on the other hand, may keep hunger at bay for longer and provide the energy you need to keep up with your exercise routine. One of the perfect breakfast option is Candida Diet Breakfast.

To eat a healthy breakfast, follow these guidelines:

  • Instead of sugary cereals made from refined grains, try oatmeal, oat bran, or other high-fiber whole-grain cereals. Then, add some protein to the mix, such as milk, yogurt, or chopped nuts.
  • When making pancakes or waffles, substitute whole-grain flour for some of the all-purpose flour. After that, fold in some cottage cheese to the batter.
  • If you like toast, go for whole-grain bread. Then top it with an egg, peanut butter, or another source of protein.

Well-balanced Diet:

A well-balanced diet can help you get the calories and nutrients you need to fuel your daily activities, such as regular exercise (Zuo et al., 2016). It’s not as simple as choosing vegetables over doughnuts when it comes to eating foods to fuel your exercise performance and keep you fit. You must eat the right foods at the right times of the day. Discover the significance of healthy breakfasts, workout snacks, and meal plans.

Healthy Carbohydrates:

Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation as a result of low-carb fat diets. On the other hand, these are your body’s primary source of energy. Carbohydrates should account for  45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories, according to the Mayo Clinic. This is especially true if you engage in physical activity.

It is critical to consume the right type of carbohydrates. Many people rely on simple carbs such as those found in sweets and processed foods. Instead, focus on eating complex carbs like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans. Because they digest more slowly, whole grains have more staying power than refined grains.

They can keep you fuller for longer and provide fuel for your body throughout the day. They can also help to keep your blood sugar levels stable (WHO, 2019). Finally, these high-quality grains contain the vitamins and minerals your body requires to function optimally.

Protein in Snacks and Meals:

Protein is required to keep your body growing, maintaining, and repairing itself. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, red blood cells die after about 120 days. Protein is also necessary for muscle building and repair, allowing you to reap the benefits of your workout. It can provide energy when carbohydrates are scarce, but it is not a primary source of fuel during exercise (WHO, 2019). According to the Harvard Health Blog, adults should consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. That works out to about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Exercisers and the elderly may require even more.

Protein can be obtained from:

  • Poultry (chicken and turkey)
  • Red meat (beef and lamb)
  • Fish (salmon and tuna)
  • Dairy (milk and yogurt).
  • Legumes (beans and lentils)
  • Eggs

Choose lean proteins that are low in saturated and fats for the healthiest options. Reduce your consumption of red meat and processed meats.

Intake of Fruits and Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables are high in natural fibers, vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that your body requires for proper functioning. They are also low in fat and calories. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, aim to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Try to “eat the rainbow” by selecting fruits and vegetables of various colors. This will allow you to take advantage of the full range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants available in the produce aisle (Sukiennik et al., 2013). Consider purchasing a new fruit or vegetable to try every time you go grocery shopping. Keep dried fruits in your workout bag and raw vegetables in the fridge for snacks.

Healthy Fats:

Unsaturated fats have the potential to reduce inflammation while also providing calories. While fat is the primary fuel for aerobic exercise, we have enough stored in our bodies to power even during the most strenuous workouts. Getting healthy unsaturated fats, on the other hand, helps to provide essential fatty acids and calories to keep you moving.

Healthy alternatives include:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  •  Olives
  •  Oils such as olive oil

Pre-exercise Refueling

When it comes to fueling up before or after a workout, it’s critical to strike the proper carbohydrate-to-protein ratio (Singh & Deol, 2018). Pre-workout snacks that combine carbohydrates and protein can provide you with more energy than junk foods high in simple sugars and fat. Consider keeping some of these simple snacks in your workout bag and refrigerator:

Bananas:

Bananas are high in potassium and magnesium, both of which are essential nutrients to consume on a daily basis. A banana can help replenish these minerals while also supplying natural sugars to fuel your workout. Enjoy your banana with a spoonful of peanut butter for extra protein.

Oranges, Berries, and Grapes:

All of these fruits are high in vitamins, minerals, and water. They’re gentle on your intestines, provide a quick energy boost, and keep you hydrated. Proteins can be added by combining them with a serving of yogurt.

Nuts:

Nuts are high in heart-healthy fats, as well as protein and essential nutrients. They can provide you with sustained energy for your workout. Pair them with fresh or dried fruit for a healthy dose of carbohydrates. However, put these options to the test to see how they fare. High-fat foods can slow digestion and cause food to sit in your stomach for an extended period of time if your workout is coming up soon.

Nut Butter:

Many supermarkets sell single-serving packets of peanut butter that don’t need to be refrigerated and can be easily stored in a gym bag.

You can spread peanut butter on:

  • An apple
  • A banana for a tasty protein-carbohydrate combination
  • Whole-grain crackers
  • Whole-grain bread

If peanut butter isn’t your thing, try almond butter, soy butter, or other protein-rich alternatives.

Calorie Intake

Don’t restrict your calorie intake. If you’re trying to lose weight or tone your body, you might be tempted to eliminate a lot of calories from your diet. Calorie restriction is an important part of weight loss, but you can go wrong. Diets for weight loss should never leave you exhausted. Those are signs that you aren’t getting enough calories to maintain your health and fitness.

A diet containing 1,200 to 1,500 daily calories is appropriate for most women who are trying to lose weight safely, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trusted Source. Most men who want to lose weight should stick to a diet of 1,500 to 1,800 calories per day.

If you’re very active or don’t want to lose weight while exercising, you may need to consume more calories. Consult your doctor or a dietitian to determine the number of calories you require to support your lifestyle and fitness goals.

Balance is essential

As you become more active, you’ll probably discover which foods give you the most energy and which have the opposite effect (Singh & Deol, 2018). The key is to learn to listen to your body and balance what feels right with what is healthy for you.

Some tips and tricks are given below:

  • Make breakfast a habit.
  • Eat complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep healthy workout snacks in your fridge and gym bag.
  • A proper carbohydrate, protein, and nutrient balance can help fuel your exercise routine.

Fig 2: A guide to well-balanced diet-plan

Healthy Behaviors (Lifestyle)

Lifestyle plays an important role in keeping you fit and healthy. an optimum balance is required between diet, workout, and lifestyle so that your goal can be achieved and maintained (King et al., 2009).

Here are some of the healthy behaviors that are written and easy to follow:

  • Brush and floss your teeth and gums daily to keep them healthy and disease-free.
  • Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. People who get enough sleep not only cope better with stress but may also have better control over their appetites. According to research, a lack of sleep can throw our “hunger hormones” out of whack, potentially leading to overeating (King et al., 2009).
  • Have regular family meals. This allows parents to be good role models, promotes more nutritious eating, and sets the stage for lively discussions. Being connected to family and/or friends is an important aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.
  • Smile and laugh aloud. It helps you stay grounded and cope with situations that would otherwise drive you insane. To bring out those happy feelings, read comics, watch a sitcom, or tell jokes.
  • Spend at least 10-20 minutes each day meditating, praying, or otherwise finding solace. Contemplation is good for your soul, it helps you deal with the stresses of everyday life, and it may even help lower your blood pressure (Reeves & Rafferty, 2005).
  • Purchase a pedometer and use it to motivate you to walk. Forget about how many minutes of activity you require; simply do everything you can to incorporate more steps into your day. Physical activity, no matter how you get it, can help reduce stress, burn calories, and boost self-esteem.
  • Maintain a straight posture. Standing tall and tightening your abdominal muscles will make you appear 5 pounds lighter. Think “tall and tight” whenever you walk to get the most out of the movement (Reeves & Rafferty, 2005).
  • Experiment with yoga. The poses help to increase strength, flexibility, and balance. These are critical areas, particularly for the elderly, and both men and women can benefit from yoga.
  • Boost your protein intake. This nutrient is essential to your diet and can account for anywhere from 10% to 35% of your total calories. Protein keeps you full for a long time in your stomach; combine it with high-fiber foods to feel full on fewer calories (Divine & Lepisto, 2005). 
  • Finally, maintain a positive attitude by eating small amounts of nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, poultry, or fish. Stay optimistic and make an effort to view life as if “the glass is half full.” To succeed, you must believe in yourself, have strong support systems, and think positively (“I think I can, I think I can…”).

Fig 2: A guide to a healthy Lifestyle

Conclusion

As it is discussed earlier, there is no single road toward fitness. You have to keep adjusting things around you that including your lifestyle, diet, and exercise. Only an optimum balance can assure you a fit life. Every aspect of a fitness plan has its own perks. Positive healthy behaviors can increase not only longevity but also reduce the risk of losing mobility and independence later in life, and there is already evidence that lifestyle behavior varies with age, with older people constituting a large but distinct target population for interventions.

Exercise helps people maintain a healthy weight and reduces their risk of certain diseases (Divine & Lepisto, 2005). Regular exercise can aid in the prevention of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Exercises that strengthen the bones, such as jumping, running, or lifting weights, can help keep bones strong (King et al., 2009). A nutritious diet is critical for good health and nutrition. It protects against a wide range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars, saturated fats, and trans-fats from industrial sources are essential for a healthy diet.

References

Anderson, J. W. (1994). Dr. Anderson’s High-Fiber Fitness Plan. University Press of Kentucky.

Corbin, C. B., & Le Masurier, G. C. (2014). Fitness for life. Human Kinetics.

Divine, R. L., & Lepisto, L. (2005). Analysis of the healthy lifestyle consumer. Journal of Consumer marketing.

Gonzalez, M. J., & Miranda-Massari, J. R. (2014). Diet and stress. Psychiatric Clinics37(4), 579-589.

King, D. E., Mainous III, A. G., Carnemolla, M., & Everett, C. J. (2009). Adherence to healthy lifestyle habits in US adults, 1988-2006. The American journal of medicine122(6), 528-534.

Marcell, B. (2011). Putting fluency on a fitness plan: Building fluency’s meaning‐making muscles. The Reading Teacher65(4), 242-249.

Navratilova, M. (2007). Shape Your Self: My 6-step Diet and Fitness Plan to Achieve the Best Shape of Your Life. Rodale.

Reeves, M. J., & Rafferty, A. P. (2005). Healthy lifestyle characteristics among adults in the United States, 2000. Archives of internal medicine165(8), 854-857.

Singh, K. I., & Deol, N. S. (2018). Effect of six weeks conditioning workout plan on physiological variables of track cyclists.

Sukiennik, D., Bendat, W., Raufman, L., & Sikiennik, D. (2013). The career fitness program: Exercising your options. Pearson Education.

World Health Organization. (2019). Healthy diet (No. WHO-EM/NUT/282/E). World Health Organization. Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Zuo, L., He, F., Tinsley, G. M., Pannell, B. K., Ward, E., & Arciero, P. J. (2016). Comparison of high-protein, intermittent fasting low-calorie diet and heart healthy diet for vascular health of the obese. Frontiers in physiology, 350.