How to Make a Workout Schedule That Works for You

woman walking across a parking lot toward Planet Fitness
Have a fun Saturday night planned? Try scheduling your workouts so you can sleep in on Sunday.

Anyone can find success in the gym. All you have to do is create a plan and stick to a schedule that works for you. Simple enough, right?

If you just joined the gym for the first time, you may be wondering where to start. Well, fear not! Learning how to make a workout schedule is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Determine How Much Time You Can Dedicate to the Gym

Creating a workout schedule for the gym doesn't just increase the likelihood of you actually showing up, it also allows you to plan your workouts in terms of progress, rest days and recovery.

There are a few things to ask yourself when you are planning your workout schedule. First, how often do you want to work out, and how many rest days will you take? Whether you want to spend two days a week in the gym or five, find a schedule that feels right to you. Just make sure you allow yourself some days off — since it's important to rest your muscles — and consider what kind of training you are doing. You want to strike a balance between high-intensity workouts like weightlifting and low-intensity workouts like walking on the treadmill.

Also, remember to consider the extra time involved in working out, like how long it will take you to prep for the gym (eating and changing) and clean up afterward. If you like to shower immediately following a workout, you might want to add 20 minutes to your plan.

2. Make a Workout Schedule That Works for You

Have a fun Saturday night planned? Schedule your workouts so you can sleep in on Sunday. Only have time to work out three times per week? Schedule sessions evenly throughout the week to balance your work/rest ratio. Only able to work out during peak times? Schedule workouts that don't involve popular exercise equipment.

It's important to prioritize your workouts and plan around any special events you might have coming up. Setting aside time on your calendar can help you squeeze in some well-deserved gym sessions between everything else you have going on.

Take a look at your calendar at the beginning of each week, and ask yourself: Is your schedule realistic? Make sure it's all doable, and try not to overbook yourself or squeeze too much into one day. If you have a particularly busy day on Tuesday, schedule a gym session in the morning so you're already finished with your workout by the time you get bombarded. Also, be prepared with a contingency plan! This will allow you to adjust your schedule and still fit in a workout, even if your plans change unexpectedly.

3. Include Complementary Workouts

As noted above, it's important to make sure your workouts are balanced. If you focus on exercises that complement each other throughout the week, you can target different muscles and body parts at an appropriate frequency. This way, you know you're getting a full-body boost by day seven.

If you need professional guidance in order to make sure your workouts are balanced and you're targeting the right areas, Planet Fitness members can meet with a [email protected] trainer for free (as many times as you need). The certified trainers can help you build a customized weekly schedule that keeps you on track to meet your fitness goals and ensures your workouts work together.

As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.