If you have been wanting to learn how to create a custom workout plan, you have come to the right place.
The whole fitness industry tries to sell you on the myth that there is an easy pill for your fitness goals. There is absolutely not, and the sooner you realize this fact, the sooner you will be on your journey to getting your best body.
I tried listening to the fitness industry for 7 years before I actually started doing research myself. All of the fitness fads were the next shiny object for me. Luckily, I finally figured things out, and was able to put on over 50 pounds of muscle in a few years.
These types of results are definitely possible as long as you stick to a workout plan and eat right. Eating right starts with learning how to calculate your maintenance calories.
Once you establish your base goals, to either lose fat or build muscle, then you can move onto the next step. The next step is choosing a workout plan.
I personally created my own custom workout plan when I was trying to build muscle. As a skinny young adult, I desperately wanted to put on muscle, and do it fast. I used to workout 5 days a week, but it wasn’t working for me. I dropped the days down to 3, and upped the intensity.
That is when 3 DAY OVERLOAD was born. For those that don’t know, this workout plan is exclusively available on our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). And if you don’t want that plan, we have a custom workout plan creator in the app!
Let’s learn about how to create a custom workout plan.
When and why should you create a custom workout plan
The best time to create a custom workout plan is when you have established your goals. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to become muscular? If you already know the answer to this question, then you are ready.
Unfortunately, the fitness industry clouds our judgment with these things. You might hear things like “this protein powder will get you jacked” or “this pill will eliminate fat.” It’s time to learn that nothing will change unless you do.
This is why it is fun to create your own workout plan. You are telling the industry that you aren’t going to rely on their so-called quick fixes. You are going to put in the work and get in the best shape of your life.
Creating your own workout plan puts more power in your hands. And now that you have your own workout plan, you will hold yourself more accountable to following through every day and every week.
How to create a custom workout plan
It’s time to get into the how portion of creating a custom workout plan. This is when you will sit down and plan what you are going to do to hit your goals. It will be fun as you envision what your life will be like when you are in the best shape of your life.
Choose your recording method
Are you a paper and pen person? Do you prefer excel or google docs? Would you prefer an app?
It doesn’t matter what method you choose, do what is best for you. My father in law is a paper and pen guy at all times. He has documents upon documents and he knows where everything is. From the outside, he looks extraordinarily disorganized, but he seems to have a method. This might be you too.
Before creating our app, I used to be the excel type. I would type in my phone my workouts, and then record the progress when I came home. That way I didn’t need to carry around papers with me.
The best method is to download our app if you have a smartphone. You can create a whole entire custom workout plan. Then, the app automatically records your progress and sets up charts to visualize your goals.
Establish your goals
If you don’t know your goals, just ask yourself if you want to lose weight or put on muscle. It really is that simple.
It doesn’t matter which path we choose, we must establish that eating right is a major point in all of this. The formula is simple. If you want to lose weight, eat 500 calories per day under your maintenance calories. If you want to gain muscle, eat 500 calories per day over your maintenance calories.
I cover the full details of the formulas and steps in An easy guide to calculating maintenance calories.
If you can stick to the eating portion of this, you will not have issues hitting your goals.
Prepare the plan
Now it’s time to get started on making the actual custom workout plan.
First, decide how many days per week that you want to workout. For a beginner, I recommend 3-4 days per week.
Next, decide how much cardio you want to add in. For someone looking to build muscle, I recommend minimal cardio. In fact, here are some tips for going from skinny to muscular.
If you are looking to lose weight, I recommend 3-4 days worth of high intensity interval training (HIIT). A great start would be our article 4 of the best high intensity interval training workouts for beginners at home.
I personally do my HIIT after my weight training. So if I were to have a 3 day custom workout plan, I would do 3 days of HIIT after each day of weight training. That way, I am still only working out 3 days a week, but still burning enough calories to burn a ton of fat.
Others may prefer to split up their HIIT workouts. For example, if you were to do weight training 3 days per week, on alternating days, you can do 3 days of HIIT. This way, you would be working out 6 days per week with 1 day off. I don’t recommend this for beginners.
Create the plan
You now have everything you need in order to create your custom workout plan. Let’s go over 2 different styles of custom workout plans.
4 day custom workout plan to build muscle
Monday: Back and Biceps
Tuesday: Chest & Triceps
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves
Friday: Shoulders, Traps, and Forearms
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Rest Day
3 day custom workout plan for fat loss
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps (HIIT Workout After)
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: Back & Biceps (HIIT Workout After)
Thursday: Rest Day
Friday: Legs and Core (HIIT Workout After)
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Rest Day
6 day alternate workout plan for fat loss
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps
Tuesday: HIIT Workout
Wednesday: Back & Biceps
Thursday: HIIT Workout
Friday: Legs and Core
Saturday: HIIT Workout
Sunday: Rest Day
Main Point: How to create a custom workout plan
You have learned a lot about creating a custom workout plan at this point. The main takeaways are that you should create a custom workout plan based on your goals.
If you want to gain muscle, eat enough calories, and don’t do too much cardio. If you want to lose weight, eat under your caloric maintenance, and combine HIIT with weight training.
Yes, it is that simple. Simple, but not easy. The most difficult part of all this is consistency. If you can stick it out for months at a time, you will enjoy massive success.
Another thing to remember is that your diet and workout plan will need constant tweaking. It is important to measure everything that you do so that you know what works. I also highly recommend taking before pictures of your body as it is right now.
You are going to need these pictures later on when you are in a rut. Since you see your body every day, you might not notice the drastic changes. It isn’t until you look at a previous picture of yourself that you see how far you have come. I know I was shocked when I looked at an old picture after 6 months of consistency.
Hard work pays off when it comes to working out. And in this case, hard work is eating right, showing up at the gym, and doing both for a long period of time. You won’t remember what life was like before being in epic shape if you can stick this out for a while.