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Regular physical exercise is one of the best things an individual can do to maintain fitness levels and stay healthy. For some people, the desire to exercise leads them to design their own workout program, which can be both fun and challenging. Such a program will require constant updates, but once an individual commits to it, they can start to see the results of their efforts.

Personal trainer Bernard McGowan knows the sense of excitement people get when they consider designing their own training regimen. As a qualified personal trainer with years of experience, he knows that while the process is an eye-opener, there are several variables to consider when getting started.

Assess Your Fitness Level

Many fitness enthusiasts have an idea of their fitness level. However, by assessing and recording it, they have a baseline against which to measure progress over time. Assessing fitness is possible by undertaking various exercises (push-ups, for example) and measuring aspects such as body mass index, pulse rate and waist circumference.

Set Goals

An effective workout plan is built around a set of goals that an individual has in mind. Goals such as maintaining fitness or training to build strength, speed or power for competitive purposes are common. If an individual wants to build up endurance for long races, they’ll need to incorporate training routines that help to achieve this outcome. For some people, the goal could be to include as much exercise as possible into a short training period, so they’ll likely consider circuit-style training routines that involve different workouts within a limited duration.

Create the Program

With a goal in mind, identifying the particular exercises to incorporate forms the next step. As an individual crafts this, they should avoid scheduling multiple workouts that have similar patterns. Doing similar activities continuously increases the risk of an overuse injury, mental burnout and plateauing. A good program has different exercises lined up across several days, allowing the body to address any athletic deficiencies.

Challenge Yourself

Over time, aim to increase the repetitions, distance, volume and speed of completion of the exercises to build up fitness progressively. The key to doing this successfully is to not make exercises harder too quickly, which can induce injury or demotivate the individual. Training at a particular level for about four to six weeks before increasing the intensity is recommended.