Why It's Important to Create an Exercise Schedule?

You've finally started your journey towards fitness. After a couple of months of hard work, you've achieved great results. You lose fat, gain more muscles and see a better version of yourself in front of the mirror. You felt happy and accomplished.

However, your journey is just getting started. Fitness is a lifestyle and not a one-time event whether you are an elite athlete, fitness enthusiast, or a complete beginner. It is crucial to realize that it has a beginning but no end.

When it comes to fitness, exercising regularly can be a struggle for many. Even seasoned lifters can fall back to their old habits and lose their progress in the gym. Sometimes, even life events can easily get in the way of getting fit and healthy. That's why scheduling your workouts and making them mentally automatic is essential.

In this article, we'll dive deep into the science of why it is crucial to develop an exercise schedule and follow them consistently.

Humans are creatures of habit. Our brain works by prioritizing tasks that have become automatic due to countless hours of consistent repetitions. That's why breaking old habits and forming new ones are always tricky.

Habit is formed by following the 4 steps of a habit loop. Our brains go through these steps in the same order each time to create a lasting habit.

Cues trigger the brain to initiate a response or behavior. They are bits of information that make the brain anticipate or predict a reward.

For example, the aroma of coffee beans in the morning can trigger a craving for a hot cup of coffee to kickstart a day.

Cravings are the driving force behind every action. Without motivation or strong desire, we lack the reason to act or react. We usually crave not the habit or behavior itself but the feeling we get when we do them.

For example, people don't crave cigarettes but seek the relief they get whenever they smoke. We are not motivated to shower or brush our teeth every day but rather by the feeling of cleanliness.

Action or response refers to the actual habit you perform. It becomes difficult to accomplish an action if it requires significant physical or mental effort.

If an action is pleasurable and we keep doing them, our mental resistance to a particular habit becomes weaker, and we tend to them even more.

The reward is the end goal of every action. Our brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine as a reward for enjoyable behaviors.

If you do an action that you feel is enjoyable, dopamine strengthens the neural pathway for that habit. When you are not doing those things, dopamine creates the craving to seek that behavior.

Just like your many habits, exercise is also a habit that you can turn into an effective routine to optimize your health and influence different aspects of your life if you do them consistently.

An exercise schedule is a structured plan that outlines specific times, days, and activities for an exercise routine. It's designed to provide a clear and organized approach to maintaining fitness and reaching your goals.

To form a habit, you need to do that activity consistently. On average, it takes about 60 days to create or break a habit.

Having a regular exercise schedule keeps you on track and helps you stay consistent. It provides you with a greater sense of fitness consciousness.

Creating and following a structured exercise schedule can dramatically lessen the mental resistance to exercising regularly and minimize the mental clutter you experience, thus making the habit of exercise pleasurable.

Ultimately, an exercise schedule strengthens the habit loop, making fitness an automatic behavior in the long run.

Here’s an effective plan for women:

And for men:

Makes you feel happier

Exercising makes you feel happier due to the release of happy hormones called endorphins, more so if you follow an exercise schedule!

Completing an exercise session written in your exercise schedule or planner allows you to feel more accomplished because you intentionally set goals by scheduling them in the past and finally completing them in the present.

On the flip side, not doing your workout schedule can decrease your mood and affect your energy. Thus, making the downside actually matter while keeping the upside significantly high for your mental and physical health.

Fitness can define different things for each person. Some want to become more muscular or flexible. Others would like to lose weight. At the same time, others want to become generally more healthy.

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Regardless of your fitness goals, it's essential to emphasize the whole aspect of your health and fitness. For example, it's common for lifters to ignore cardiovascular endurance and other fitness foundations aside from strength and power.

Creating a detailed exercise schedule can make it easier to find balance when you have multiple goals. This allows you to prioritize your workouts and not focus too much on just one aspect of your fitness.

We get it. A lifestyle of fitness can be demanding, especially if you are too busy with other things in life such as study, business, family, friends, and many more.

Scheduling your workouts can help you commit to other things in life. Planning prepares you physically and mentally to fit your routines into busy schedules. For example, short-planned movement snacks or a quick HIIT routine can make a huge difference in your daily routine.

A regularly scheduled exercise can guarantee more efficient workouts and set you up to achieve both short-term and long-term results.

An exercise schedule can minimize procrastination and enhance motivation by integrating fitness into daily life. Some people feel motivated by following a structured plan.

Studies have shown that writing down your goals can dramatically improve your chances of success and follow through with your plans.

An exercise schedule makes it easier to upload your progress in your workout apps or journal to help you keep track of your progress.

The Gymaholic App allows you to customize, plan and schedule your workouts right on your mobile devices.

Injury is one of the most common reasons people regress in their fitness. A muscle strain can lead to pain and significant mental stress to a gym goer preventing them from performing their routines in the gym.

By following a balanced exercise schedule with proper rest and workout intervals, you can ensure that you are maximizing your gains while optimizing your rest and recovery. Ultimately, this would result in a long-term and sustainable habit of working out and staying fit.

Your exercise schedule can be simple as creating a table indicating the time, date, and type of workouts you will do.

Your exercise schedule will depend on your fitness goals and current fitness level. It's beneficial to seek advice from a professional trainer or coach to maximize your training routine.

Here are some examples of exercise schedules:

Day Time Muscle Group Activity Duration
Monday 6:00 PM Chest, Shoulders Bench Press, Shoulder Press, Dumbbell Flyes 60 mins
Tuesday 6:00 PM Legs, Glutes Squats, Leg Press, Lunges, Leg Curls 60 mins
Wednesday Rest day
Thursday 6:00 PM Back, Arms Pull-Ups, Rows, Bicep Curls, Tricep Extensions 60 mins
Friday 6:00 PM Back, Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Calves Deadlifts, Squats, Hamstring Curls, Calf Raises 60 mins
Saturday Rest Day
Sunday Rest Day
Day Time Activity Intensity Duration
Monday 7:00 AM Cardio (Running/Jogging) Moderate 45 minutes
Tuesday 6:30 PM Strength training

(Upper body)

Moderate 60 minutes
Wednesday 7:00 AM Yoga / Meditation Low 30 minutes
Thursday 6:30 PM Strength training (Lower body) Moderate 60 minutes
Friday 7:00 AM Cardio (Cycling) Moderate-High 30 minutes
Saturday 5:00 PM Full body workout Moderate-High 30 - 45 minutes
Sunday Rest Day

Creating an exercise schedule can help you stick to your fitness routine and make it a long-term habit. Over time, consistently following your exercise schedule can make fitness activities automatic, allowing you to have minimal mental resistance in doing activities related to your health and fitness.

Remember: Your fitness journey has no end. It is a way of life and a roadmap to creating a better and healthier version of yourself.

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Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

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