The Ultimate Guide to Finding The Perfect Workout Routine for You

Sydney McAvoy
The Ultimate Guide to Finding The Perfect Workout Routine for You

If you've ever made a Google search for the best workout routine, you have probably gotten hundreds of different answers. It can be confusing, right? I’m going to let you in on a little secret- there is no “perfect” one-size-fits-all workout routine. However, you can find the perfect workout routine for YOU and your individual needs! Read on to find out how. 

What's Holding You Back From A Workout Routine?

Most people understand that exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall health and longevity. However, it is one thing to know that and another to put it into action. In fact, only 23% of American adults meet the physical activity guidelines for aerobics and strength-training, according to the CDC. So, what is impacting our ability to stay consistent with exercise? You may be surprised by some of these barriers. 

Most common reasons

  • Lack of time: Across multiple surveys completed looking at exercise among Americans, lack of time is the most cited reason for missing workouts. 
  • Feeling too tired to workout
  • Weather: People may skip a workout due to the weather being bad if they workout outside. Others may skip a workout if the weather is too nice and they exercise inside.
  • Feeling full: If you don’t plan for your workout, you may find yourself with free time only after meals. Because of this, you feel too full to go workout. Plus, you really shouldn’t complete any high intensity workouts right after eating.
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social influence: If friends or family members around you are not regularly working out, that can influence your priorities when it comes to exercise. 
  • Lack of resources or equipment

Do you relate to one of those barriers? Or even multiple? The good news is that there are ways to overcome these barriers and incorporate exercise regularly. Research has shown that consistency with exercise is more important than the length of time you spend exercising or even the intensity of your workouts. As we hinted at earlier, the very best way to stick with exercise consistently is to find a workout routine individualized to you! If you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t even know where to start,” we got you! Let’s look at the steps you can take to find your perfect workout routine. 

Finding the Perfect Workout Routine for You

Before we get into it, take some time to think through the following questions as they relate to you.

  • How many days a week do you currently workout (this includes exercise such as walks and yoga)?
  • How many days a week can you realistically commit to working out?
  • What is your WHY for exercising? Think through your goals- overall health, weight loss, improving flexibility, building muscle, etc. This will inform the types of workouts you choose.
  • What are barriers to working out?
  • What time of day would be best to workout?
  • Realistically, how much time on those days you picked can you commit to working out?
  • How can you create accountability for your workouts? Think about friends, family, workout classes with a late cancellation fee, a reward system, or even putting your set aside workout time on your work calendar.
  • What setting do you want to workout in? Outside? At home? A gym? A studio? This may change with the time of year.
  • Do you like variety or do you prefer consistency when it comes to exercise?

These questions will set the stage as you are finding your perfect workout routine.

Choose Your Workout Setting and Type

Before building the rest of your workout routine, it is best to start with where you will be working out. As you answered the questions above, what setting did you feel would be best for you? If you like multiple kinds of settings, we can absolutely build that into your routine! Once you have your setting, you can start looking at the types of workouts that will fit that setting. 

  • Did you decide home was the best bet for you? At home, you can incorporate online workout videos, invest in an indoor cycling bike or treadmill, or create personal workouts. This option can be free, or you can spend more to invest in equipment like weights, bands, or online subscriptions for specific workouts. When it comes to the types of workouts, the options are endless! You can do at-home barre, yoga, and pilates, cycling, body weight exercises, hand weights, or weight-training in your own at-home gym.
  • If you are more of a gym person, now take some time to consider which gym you’d like to be a part of. Maybe you already have a gym membership, but for some reason don’t feel inclined to go. It might be time to look for a different gym! Whatever your situation, take into account the cost of different gym memberships, distance from your home or work, and if they offer amenities such as childcare or classes you’d be interested in. 

Don't worry, there's more!

  • If you decided outdoor workouts would work well for you, you have many options! You can do outdoor bootcamps, go on runs or walks, ride your bike, ski or snowboard in the winter, or swim laps. Many of these can be done with friends or with your kids! Just keep in mind any barriers related to weather, and form a backup plan if you live in a place where your chosen outdoor workouts may be interrupted. 
  • Do you like the idea of working out in studios? Studios can be a great option because many of them have late cancellation fees that typically encourage people to stick to the classes they’ve already scheduled. Many of them offer childcare as well. You can join one studio, such as barre, pilates, or indoor cycling, or get a flexible membership option to multiple studios if you know you’ll want to mix it up. 

Make a Time Commitment

Now that you have chosen your workout setting and type, let's take a look at the time commitment you can make to yourself. You should have hopefully thought realistically about how many days per week you can commit to working out, as well as how much time you can commit to each workout. Here are some examples of commitments you can make:

  • I commit to prioritizing going to the gym for 30-45 minutes Monday through Thursday mornings before work. 
  • I commit to going for an hour-long walk outside with my friend Stacey on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays after work. 
  • I commit to attending barre class Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm, and going for a walk at the park near my house for 30 minutes before work on Mondays and Wednesdays. 

The more specific you can be about the days, length, and time you will workout, the more likely you are to stick to your goal. 

Plan for Any Barriers

Now that you have made this commitment to exercise, plan ahead of time for any barriers you are able to predict. Then, you’ll be prepared when they come up and less likely to miss a workout. Take some time to think these through and write them down. Here are some examples-

  • You have made the commitment to go to yoga every weekday morning at 7am, but you will need to find someone to watch your young kids. Think about finding a yoga studio with childcare, finding a gym that offers yoga classes and childcare, asking your partner to watch the kids, or adjusting your “where” to a yoga video at home with your kids. 
  • You made the commitment to go for a run four days per week in the evening after work. However, you have a hard time stepping away from work at the end of the day. You can try setting explicit boundaries at work, putting your runs into your work calendar, or stepping away for a quick run and then returning to work.
  • Your commitment to yourself is to complete at-home barre workouts using videos on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday during your lunch break while working from home. However, you are often so tired and hungry that you may not be able to keep that commitment. Plan to have a mid-morning snack to hold you over and give you a boost of energy!

Tips to Enjoy Your Workouts More

Now that you have made a plan for your workout routine, the key is to stick with it! Remember, depending on life circumstances, seasonal changes, or other factors, you may need to tweak your workout routine over time- this is totally normal! Just because you chose one or a couple of exercise types now, doesn’t mean you can’t change these in the future!

Enjoying your workouts is one key component to sticking with it. Some ways you can support your enjoyment of exercise include:

  • Ask for help when you need it- whether you are at home, in a studio, or at the gym, ask for assistance when you need it!
  • Make friends, or workout with your friends- Making friends at your studio or gym can help you look forward to your workouts!
  • Choose exercises you don’t hate- This may be obvious, but when you were planning your workout routine, you hopefully didn’t choose cross-fit as your primary exercise if you hate it. If you dread a form of exercise, you probably won’t stick with it.
  • Mix things up- Getting tired of your workout routine? Time to tweak it! Try out new exercises, new studios, new outdoor locations, or a new time.
  • Don’t compare yourself or your exercise journey to others. Comparing yourself during your workouts can inhibit your ability to be present in your body and enjoy the way it feels. Remember, your fitness journey is completely your own!

Get Started! 

If you made it this far, congrats, you have found your perfect workout routine! If you would like additional accountability, our Nutrition Coaches here at Vessel can be your accountability buddy. Any Vessel member has free access to our Nutrition Coaches on chat, so we would definitely recommend taking advantage of this feature!

Remember, the most important thing is that you stick with exercise consistently, regardless of what type it is. Your workout routine is personalized to you and can be changed as you need. You know what is best for your body and your lifestyle!