Weekly Workout Planning 101

By Elizabeth Villa

You’re here so I’m going to assume we’re on the same page about one thing: planning ahead helps.

Planning ahead helps and not planning ahead is one of the reasons we find ourselves repeating “It’s (insert month here) already? I can’t believe it’s (insert month here) and I never got to (insert activity I find important here)!”

Planning ahead helps but it can also be intimidating. Maybe it’s intimidating because it makes us confront the reality of our crazy lives. Or maybe because we’re not “detail oriented” or “the planning type.” Or perhaps because if we plan it, then we might actually have to do it.

The good news though is that we don’t have to do it alone. We can approach planning together right here in this guide.

The Guide

Let’s spend as little time planning and as much time reaping the benefits as possible! To do that we’ll need to come up with a template for our weekly workout plan that we can adjust at the beginning of each week using v little time and effort.

Step 1. Set an Intention

An intention like “I’m going to sweat for 30 minutes three times each week” (Hey, that’s mine!) is a great place to start your planning, because it gives you a good end goal to use as a guideline.

For example, now I know that I need to find space for three thirty minute workouts!

Step 2. Define Your Style

Knowing what type of plan fits you and your lifestyle best will help make sure your plan is actually useful.

  • Structure: If your schedule is pretty predictable and/or you thrive within structure, aim for a plan that schedules appointment-like workouts throughout your week.
  • Flexibility: If your schedule is unpredictable and/or you thrive with flexibility, aim for a plan that carves out “time slots” throughout your week that you can take advantage of as they fit.

Step 3. Look for Opportunities

In order to create your plan, you need to find both time and resources. Here are a few places to look for them.

  • Natural Habits: If you’re an early riser, consider starting your day earlier to find more time. If you’re a night owl, consider indulging that instinct to find more time.
  • Multitasking: If you watch TV nightly, consider TV-Ready workouts. If you have regular coffee dates with friends, consider walking while talking instead.
  • Transitions: If you drive home from work every day, consider finding a park or a spin studio on your way home for a HIIT workout or a spin class. If you have a lull in your day, consider fitting in a workout to re-energize.
  • Existing Resources: If you have existing gym or studio memberships, look for new ways to put them to use. If you have workout apps you like, look for ways to make them more readily accessible.
  • Support Squad: If there are people in your life you can rely on to support you, find ways to incorporate their support throughout your week with group workouts or reminders.

Step 4. Carve Out Space

Once you find the time and resources, name ’em. Think of this as your database of options!

  • Day: Which days work best?
  • Time: Which time slots do you have available on those days?
  • Location: Which locations are available to you?
  • Activities: Which specific workouts or self-care practices will you do?
  • Resources: What resources will you need to have ready (like a yoga mat or jump rope)?

Step 5. Plan Your First Week

Now that you’ve done the heavy lifting, take what you’ve learned and apply it to the upcoming week. This is now your template moving forward to be adjusted weekly or as you need to!

You Did It!

Now, see how it works for you. I recommend setting aside 10 minutes every week — I do this on Sunday evenings — to check-in with yourself and set your weekly plan.


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