It can be difficult to incorporate gym time and workouts into your daily schedule, especially if you work a 9-5 job. That is why you need a routine that aligns with your schedule and allows you to maintain your fitness nonetheless.
Your gym routine should be designed to support you, so whatever tips we share here are only as effective as what you are willing to commit to.
Your routine should take a lot of things into account, and it should be one you can follow consistently. Your gym schedule should also not overburden you. Having said that, here are some useful tips on how to create a good gym routine when you work 9 to 5.
- Set Your Fitness Goals:
Firstly, you need to define your goals or expectations for going to the gym. Are you trying to lose weight? Are you trying to gain muscles or stay toned? Are you trying to burn some calories, detox, or build physical or mental stamina? Determining your fitness goals will allow you to know the type of exercises to include in your schedule. It would show you the time you need to spend working out to achieve those goals. Your fitness goals are an essential part of your routine. Defining your goals can also be the springboard of motivation when the going gets tough and you feel like throwing in the tongue.
- Determine your available time:
How many hours or minutes do you have available to you in a day or week for gym exercises, runs or walks? What time of the day or week can you create the time to do your workout? Can you wake up by 5 am to jog or use the treadmill? Don’t make imaginary plans? Carefully look at your daily work schedule and find where you can fit in time for exercise. You do not need to carve out one full hour in your day or one whole day in a week for workouts. You can easily incorporate three 10-minute sessions into your daily routine, which equals 30 minutes of exercise. The secret here is for you to build a consistent routine.
- Where will you workout?
You do not need to always go to the gym to be able to workout (just in case you want to make the excuse of not having a gym around). It will be easier to include exercises you can do at home than going to a gym 30 minutes away. Likewise, you may not need all the complicated equipment to achieve the fitness goals you have set for yourself. If the gym equipment is necessary for you, relegate gym days to the weekends or days when you have more free time. A home workout using your body weight and equipment like dumbbells can be very productive.
- Stick to the possible:
Your routine should only have exercises that are possible for you. For example, including a ten-minute run on the Stairmaster when you cannot access one at home is unwise. Also, including exercises that you cannot complete is a big no-no. If you are a beginner and add a five-minute plank to your workout routine, you would only get frustrated and abandon it halfway. It is better to start at lower benchmarks and gradually scale up as your strength increases. If all that is possible for you is a 30-seconds plank, then start there. You can move up to 45-seconds and then a minute as you progress. Since you are working a 9-5 job, it will be difficult and stressful to go to the gym seven days a week, so don’t include that in your schedule.
- Be Disciplined:
You need discipline to achieve anything meaningful in life. Achieving your fitness goals is no different: it demands discipline. You must learn to follow the attainable routines you set for yourself if you are ever going to make any progress. Without discipline, your schedule just becomes a list of unfulfilled objectives, leaving you more frustrated and disappointed than you started. It doesn’t how much dreaming you do, if you do not apply the discipline of action, nothing will change.
Here are some simple exercises to include in your workout routine
Your workout routine should have exercises you want to complete for that day in the schedule. On Mondays, for example, you could have five activities in your workout plan. You can include exercises like deadlifts, planks, push-ups, squats, or pull-ups. The exercises in your routine should correlate with your fitness goals. Therefore, if your goal were to build your chest muscles, you would want exercises like bench presses, push-ups, and dips.
It would be best if you also chose exercises that do not require heavy equipment. If you don’t have access to a gym, you will probably not be able to do a bench press safely. For beginners, we recommend starting with bodyweight exercises.
Some bodyweight exercises for beginners include the following:
- For your lower body, try squats and lunges.
- For the upper body, try push-ups, dips and pull-ups.
- For your core and abdominal muscles, try reverse crunch, knee planks, and hip bridge.
- Try jumping jacks and burpees to work the entire body.
- Reps and Sets
After you have determined the exercises on your schedule, you need to determine the number of reps and sets you want to do. A set is a series of repetitions (reps) of one exercise without stopping. For instance, if you do ten jumping jacks in a row, that is one set of jumping jacks. Your routine should contain how many sets and reps for each exercise. Your fitness goals determine the number of reps and sets you do.
If you want to gain muscles and improve strength, you should look at carrying heavier weights and doing more intense exercises. For this, we recommend 3-5 reps per set.
If you want to lose weight, we recommend lighter equipment and less intense exercises with 6-12 reps per set.
For beginners, we recommend starting with lighter weights and less intense exercises for longer reps. We also recommend starting with four sets of 10-15 reps for five sets in your workout plan.
- Compound and Isolation
Compound exercises target multiple muscle groups, while isolation exercises target a single muscle group. For example, push-ups work your chest, shoulders and parts of your core, while a bicep curl only works your biceps.
We recommend incorporating more compound exercises in your routine over isolation exercises. Compound exercises are a great way to reach several muscles in a limited time. You can save isolation exercises for weekends and days when you have more time. Some compound exercises are squats, planks, deadlifts, lunges and push-ups.
- Progressive Overload
Progressive overload is a way to improve your strength training and overall fitness. With progressive overload, you gradually increase the weights, sets and repetitions of your exercises. If you are into running and cardio, you can increase the distance you run within the same period. However, note that the keyword here is progressive. The increments should not be too big and shouldn’t come too quickly. Baby steps make a huge impact.
Variation is vital if you want your plans to be effective. Do not do your exercises like a robot. Try mixing things up periodically. You can add weights to some workouts you did without weights, do a different exercise on a different day or try an exercise you have not tried before. A variation prevents your workout plan from being boring, monotonous, or overbearing.
If you would prefer home workouts to going to the gym, here are some equipment you can get to help you workout at home:
- Resistance Bands: These are a great way to improve your strength without using actual weights. You can also carry them around and use them whenever you have the time.
- Dumbbells: A dumbbell is essential for your gym kit. It is used in exercises to improve strength.
- Kettlebells: These are a great alternative to dumbbells. They offer the same benefits as dumbbells but have more grips.
- Exercise Balls: Exercise balls are fun. They are the easiest way to add variety to your exercise.
- Skipping Ropes: these are perfect for cardio. Skipping for 5-10 minutes will leave you in a sweat and work your heart and lungs.
We trust that you find these tips to be valuable. Remember, you can still have a great workout routine without compromising your 9 to 5 job. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, and don’t make excuses for yourself.