Planning Your Workouts

This is the first week in years that I have not had a “workout schedule.” Basketball season meant 6 practices and/or games, 3-4 lifts and 3 conditioning workouts each week. The off-season meant getting in shape for the upcoming season – playing 4 times per week, lifting 4 times per week and runs/sprints twice a week. Since basketball ended, I started making my own workout schedule. Yes I’m a planner by nature but it’s also what I’ve known.

On Sunday I did not make a workout schedule because I was waiting to hear the doctor’s thoughts in regards to my knee. Upon seeing the doctor yesterday, running and Crossfit are still no-gos. Not fun, but I don’t want to whine so I won’t; I’m trying to focus on what I can do. This recovery is taking longer than anticipated so I renewed my membership at the spinning studio and made a plan for the next few weeks. Some people may think I’m neurotic but for me, it is being prepared, goal oriented and making time for something that I love to do.

Kanye Workout Plan
Sorry Yeezus, I make my own.


[Image source]

I think planning your workouts is a great way to stay organized and on track with whatever goals you may have. If it’s written down, in your phone or on your mind, it holds you accountable. However, as I’ve come to learn, sometimes you need to adjust the plan. Just like my meal plan, my workout plan is not set in stone. If something comes up, I adjust. But that “something” isn’t usually I don’t feel like it — it’s getting together with a friend or a family commitment. I’m all for getting your workout in but not if it’s taking away from other things in your life.

These are the four strategies I employ when making my workout schedule for the week.

Workout plan text

Find your time: I am a morning person and I love starting my day with a good sweat — I feel so energized to take on the rest of the day. Another perk to working out in the morning is that it almost always fits into my schedule. But if the thought of 5am makes you cringe, figure out what time works best for you, your body and your life to exercise. Read: 5 Ways to Become a Morning Workout Person

Alternate workouts: Crossfit, yoga and running are my main forms of fitness — well spinning is becoming a close fourth. Crossfit and running are physically taxing so I try not to do those on back-to-back days. Depending on the level of yoga class I go to, I consider it to be “active rest” so I try to sandwich yoga or a lighter activity in between more intense forms of exercise.

Rest days: My rest days follow this pattern too. Crossfit, yoga, run, yoga, Crossfit… REST! I typically have a rest day once a week but if I don’t have a rest day scheduled and I can barely walk up the stairs from dead-lifting, I’m not about to push my beyond beyond its’ limits. Read: Listen To Your Body.

Other factors: Before making my plan, I go through my other commitments. If I have a late night on Thursday, I’ll likely make Friday my rest day. If I’m working at the yoga studio on Saturday and Sunday, I’ll likely plan to go to a class one of those days because it’s convenient. Do what works for you.

Do what works for you

Today, I’m taking a rest day. Whatever is on your agenda, I hope it’s awesome!


Questions of the day…

What are your thoughts on scheduling working out?

How do you plan your workouts for the week or do you “wing it”?

47 thoughts on “Planning Your Workouts

  1. Sorry to hear your Dr. appointment not going as well as you hoped for. I’m glad your looking at the positives and not allowing it to get you completely down. I know it’s hard, so good job hunnie!

    These really are awesome tips. I posted a challenge on my blog today that is a good one to keep you on track. If you have 15 minutes or less your good to go.

    Have a wonderful day, Amy

  2. So sorry to hear about your doctors appointment lady :(

    I plan my workouts but I’m now more relaxed with taking extra rest days or moving days around if I need to where I used to hate deviating from ‘the plan’.

    Love all these tips.

  3. Oh boo, what a bummer about your knee. :( I hope another week or two is all it needs!

    I generally have a rough idea of what days I’m going to go to the gym and what time (it’s always at 5 pm these days), but I usually plan what workout I’ll be doing. I prefer to just wait and see what I feel like doing that day!

  4. : / That stinks about your knee but positive thoughts! With regards to planning workouts I think you nailed some of my key things that keep me on track. When I plan out my workouts a head of time I’m so much more likely to get up and do them.

  5. I wrote about this same thing a few months ago because I am just like you! I need to plan my workouts and follow the same steps. I am sorry about your knee :( Is there anything to help it or just rest?? Enjoy your rest day!

  6. I LOVE this post! I also like to alternate my workouts, doing a less intense workout in between the more intense ones during the week to allow my body to rest, stretch, and heal while still being active. I have loose tendons in my knees, so I can’t do the treadmill or a ton of running, so I feel your pain (at least some). I’m glad you’re finding other things you love though! Sometimes those struggles in our lives become blessings in the end. :)

  7. Hope the rest helps your knee! I’m such a planner. I think it keeps things exciting (as exciting as deadlifts get I guess!) and also means I’m more likely to stick to it.

  8. Yesss focusing on the positives is so important when injured, especially when the injury lasts longer than anticipated. ….I’m learning this day by day. But every Sunday I also like having a plan. I don’t always stick to the plan but having one usually helps me stay on track. And thanks for the Yeezus pic hahha too good.

  9. I’m proud of you for taking a rest day, and really sorry to hear about the no running. Look on the bright side, once you ARE able to run, you are going to be the best cross trainer EVER because you’ll know about every other kind of workout imaginable :)

  10. Great post, Amy! I attempt to schedule my workouts each week but inevitably things come up so I have found that it’s best for me to be flexible. Sometimes I make it to the gym in the morning and other days it’s after work. What matters is that I find time to fit it in :)

  11. I love that you ended this with do what works for you. That’s so, so true when it comes to fitness and life in general. Yesterday I didn’t do those burpees… but I did them this morning! And now my arms are shaking an hour later… but I digress. It didn’t work for me on Sunday or Monday, so I catered it to my needs! I think you & I are getting good at that through our injuries.

  12. I’m sorry you can’t run still but I love spinning so it’s an almost win-win situation. I try not to plan my workouts too strictly because it turns into an obsession. Instead, I now say Im’ going to run 9ish miles 4 days a week and do yoga once. Sometimes I run 5 days, sometimes i don’t run 9 miles, and it makes it a lot less stressful. I do like having a rough outline of what my workout schedule might look like though so I can fit it in! Enjoy your rest day, you deserve it :)

  13. Aww, sorry to hear that the doctor’s appointment didn’t go as well as you hoped!
    Right now, I’m taking a more ‘go-with-the-flow’ approach to my workouts. I have a general idea of what classes and workouts I like, but I generally plan them the day before or the day of. I have a bit of history with exercise addiction, so I find that pre-planning my works absolutely sets them in stone for me, to the point where I’ll blow off other engagements to fit in my planned workout or get anxious or annoyed if I have to miss it, or attempt to work out when my body is begging for a rest day. Flexibility is definitely key for me to make sure that I’m listening to my body and enjoying my exercise! I may look for a plan again in the new year, but for now this is making me happy.

  14. Great tips Amy. Sorry to hear about your knee! Sending healing thoughts :)

    I’ve found for me it works best to write out a list of what I want to accomplish each week and then decide on the day what I will do! I’ve tried in the past to assign specific things to specific days but it just never happens! Haha

  15. Almost identical to my own planning process (no surprise there). I need to have a plan or things don’t happen. I’m always flexible, but without my color-coordinated google calendar, I’d get absolutely nothing done, fitness or otherwise. For my workout plan, I definitely make changes based on how I’m feeling – because I’m super tired like in your example, or if I’m just “in the mood” for a certain workout.

    So sorry to hear your knee still isn’t better, but you’re a rockstar for actually listening to the doctor (soooo many people don’t).

  16. When I was just playing beach volleyball I’d sort of wing it (just as long as I did something just about every day). But now that I’m training for my first half marathon I’m sticking to a pretty tight schedule. Usually the only thing I decide the day before is how I will cross train. I also like to change up my running surfaces and location.

    1. So exciting about your half! I can’t wait to run another one as soon as this silly knee gets better. Great idea to change up the running surfaces… the pavement certainly is not easy on the body.

  17. I usually just go to crossfit, but If I need to plan a workout at home ill try to write it up the day before or day of so I at least have a plan. I try to have my rest days on my long work days.

  18. Great tips! I usually plan the night before what I’m going to do. It gives me a little shove out the door in the morning, but it’s not planned so far in advance that it feels regimented. I like having the flexibility to do what I feel like doing that day and it feels more like a choice than something I “have” to do!

  19. Hi Amy! I just started following your blog and I love it. Being 4’10 and an avid Potter fan.. I can certainly relate! What happened to your knee? I just sprained my MCL and was curious how you were staying active? Thanks Lady

    1. Hi Diana! Thanks for the kind words — your blog is super cute and I love the name. I just ran my first half marathon in October and the week leading up to it my knee got very swollen. I have pre-patellar bursitis which is an inflammation of the bursae sac aka swollen and painful. I was still able to run the half but since then I have been staying active with spinning classes, yoga and light strength classes (like boxing). I’m itching to run again but don’t want to re-aggravate it.

  20. i love this! (and the 5 ways to become a morning workout person…i need this!!!)

    i usually stick to my hot yoga routine most nights (~6 days per week) and try to run in the morning (usually unsuccessfully). my HIIT and other strength training i typically wing based on my mood, I’m trying to get a more planned/consistent schedule though! thanks for the tips babe!

    Lisa @ TSOH

  21. Always the smart little bee you are!

    I love the morning workout fact- I find the more I put off a workout, the less likely it is to happen! Depending on the goal at hand, I usually follow a structure, but the last couple of weeks- been winging it and enjoying it more :)

    Sorry to hear about the doc appointment… although its probably the necessary precaution so you can go back with 100%!

  22. Planning is SO important to me! Between working full time, my husband, the dogs, the house, cooking, friends, family, and blogging I have to really MAKE time for what’s important. I love all of your tips!

  23. I used to wing it, but winging it just does not work for me anymore! I lift split body parts now, so I have to schedule on/off days etc. But it’s good, it keeps me on track! And then my body gets the rest it needs to rebuild.

  24. These are awesome tips Amy. I like that you do yoga for active rest. I really wish my gym had a yoga class that didn’t suck, haha. I agree that you shouldn’t let a workout plan get in the way of more important things like friends and family.

    I’m sorry to hear about your knee but at least you are learning to love something else in the meantime.

  25. I can either wing it or follow a plan and it really depends on how I’m feeling. If I follow a plan though, I would actually follow it a hundred percent, which makes me a little too inflexible when ‘life’ does come up. I guess finding the balance between those two helps! Love your tips. :)

  26. I’m so sorry about your knee, Amy :(. I really admire your patience and dedication to healing – you’ll get there!!!! I’m happy you’ve found other activities that you enjoy – spinning gets me soo sweaty and tired that I wish I would do it more! I admit that I do love a schedule – I am almost always “training” for something so that I have my schedule, whether or not it’s a serious race or not. I will pat myself on the back for listening to my body most times – if I need an extra rest day I will allow it, or if I need to cut short (or add on), I will do it. Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between mentally wimping out and needing a rest day, so there’s always room for improvement, but I’m getting there!

  27. Sending positive thoughts and lots of love your way for a speedy recovery! I love spin, so I know you’ll make the best with what you have :) At least you’re able to do SOMEthing, ya know? Anything is better than nothing!

  28. I have never really tried actually writing down my workouts before the week.. I usually have a general idea, but I don’t always stick do it exactly. It is usually something along the lines of .. “I am going to run 2 miles and do … blah” .. I try to alternate the blahs.

  29. Scheduling helps me through stressful times, like an injury or when the semester gets really busy. I just made one this morning for the rest of December. My Sundays are for yoga, Monday + Friday are for sure CrossFit, and for the first three Saturdays, I have Olympic lifting. The best part? I get to pick my Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, one of which will most likely be a rest day. I think its a great plan! =)

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