How to Create a Workout Plan and Stick to It


Hi! My name is Madison Skakle, and I am honored to be the new Fitness Columnist for Forsyth Family. I’ve been in the fitness industry for eight years and currently teach fitness classes at the Robinhood YMCA and Forsyth Country Club.

Spring is here, and that means tank tops and bathing suits are right around the corner! Are you planning the ultimate beach vacation and do you want to feel your best? Do you have a wedding you are attending in May and need some motivation to fit into your bridesmaid’s or mother-of-the-bride’s dress? Developing a weekly workout plan and sticking to it could be just what you need to see results and feel amazing.

Why Develop a Plan?

Starting and maintaining a fitness program is easier than you think. The main reason why people stop working out is that they don’t have a plan and thus don’t have the motivation to keep going to the gym. It’s important to develop a schedule each week and make appointments with yourself. I, personally, develop my workout plan on Saturday and then set appointments on my phone for each day. That way I know what to expect each day, and I don’t even have to think about it. At this point, it’s about plugging and chugging.

What’s Your Goal?

Sit down for a moment and think to yourself, “Why am I working out?” It could be as simple as wanting to feel great, getting in shape for a high school reunion, training for a marathon or fitting into your wedding dress again! My personal goal in working out has shifted over the years. It used to be more about aesthetics, and now I am working out because I feel myself when I work out. That’s my motivation: working out actually makes me a better person and keeps me healthy. When my motivation shifted to a deeper meaning, I actually stuck to my workouts and made them more intense. Think about your real reason why you’re developing a fitness plan and write it down…put it on your phone, write it on a sticky note and tell your family and friends. Getting your family and friends involved is another key to success, because we’re all a team and we need to help each other out. Another major bonus: you could inspire others to get healthy!

The Actual Plan

Everyone’s workouts, motivations, abilities, and schedules are different, so your weekly workout plan should look unique to you. However, depending on your health restrictions, I think everyone needs to make sure your workouts each week include the following:

  • Intensity Aim for three intense workouts a week—this is where you are challenging yourself and sweating: for me this is either a Hot Power Yoga, a HIIT workout or PiYo. Make sure you have strength training in your weekly plan, two to three times a week. This is important for our muscles, bones, AND actually helps us burn more calories.
  • Cardio – Try for 120 minutes of cardio a week. This doesn’t have to be strictly running, but can be included in your strength training workouts when you do interval training. Or you can do four 30-minute cardio sessions, which could be walking your dog at a brisk pace, running, dancing or elliptical.
  • Stretch – I recommend everyone do one yoga or stretch class a week. Ever since I started practicing yoga, my muscles and body feel amazing. The more fluid your muscles are, the harder you can work in your workouts and the less likely you’ll get injured. Stretch it out, y’all!
  • Frequency – If you are brand new to fitness: start small and aim to work out three times a week and then increase it every two weeks until you’ve reached five to six workouts a week. Working out regularly not only helps keep our weight at a healthy number but also keeps our heart and bodies healthy.
  • Change It Up – Don’t do the same thing every week! If you stop breaking a sweat and stop looking forward to your workout, then you need to change it up. There are a million ways to switch your workouts up; for example: include a new friend, try a new fitness class, increase your weight in strength training, check out the new equipment at your gym, go hiking, and much more!

So, give it a go…develop a workout plan that makes you excited and helps you feel your best!

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