So the next step is determining where you want to go and plan your free workout plan. In this article I will teach you how to build that program to achieve your goals that we listed in the goal setting worksheet. If you haven't taken the time to read through the first few articles on height weight tables or the calories to maintain weight be sure you go back and do that before jumping into building your own program. A weight lifting routine or weight loss plan won't do you a bit of good if it is designed without first looking at where you are and setting your goals for where you want to be.
Instead of building their own free workout plan, lots of people jump right into a weight lifting routine that their buddies are doing or they read about in a fitness magazine without any thought about what they hope to accomplish. This kind of thinking reminds me of a dialog from Alice in Wonderland between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.
That pretty much sums up my point so I'll quit beating that dead horse and get on to how to build your very own free workout plan.
There are several criteria you need to include in your custom free workout plan in order to ensure success and I will cover them all in detail. A weight lifting routine is absolutely critical to your success whether your goals are to burn fat or build muscle. The second most important aspect is a solid nutrition and diet plan. After that it is all up for negotiation and different experts will tell you different things.
When you start out building your free workout plan I believe the first and most critical aspect of you program should be a weight lifting routine that supports your goals. Lifting weights builds muscle, shapes your body, increases your metabolism, and raises your Basal Metabolic Rate. If you disagree, go find another website because you won't find a single free workout plan here that doesn't include lifting weights. More specifically all my programs are based on using compound lifts that involve multiple muscle groups and lifting heavy weights. The reason is because lifting heavy and building strength equates to more muscle and muscle produces the results I just stated.
Build your free workout plan around the big three lifts (Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts) and you can't go wrong. For anyone that can't currently pass the strength test of bench pressing your bodyweight, squatting 1.5 times your body weight and deadlifting twice your bodyweight I recommend going with the time tested Starting Strength Program by Mark Rippletoe.
Workouts A and B alternate on 3 non-consecutive days per week
Or you could go with the variation he made in his Practical Programming Book.
Mark Rippletoe is a strength training guru who has trained thousands of Olympic Athletes, foot ball players, wrestlers, and is currently the top trainer for Crossfit. Google him and click on videos and it is loaded with clips that will teach you how to perform these lifts safely and with proper form. Although he has numerous books his work is so popular that it has become a free workout plan.
If you are already beyond this strength level and have no desire to be bigger and stronger then you might be better off with a body building routine. That is really outside my area of expertise so I recommend checking out BodyBuilding.com or hop on over to Men's Health and piece you together a program that hits every body part separately. Don't worry, this will result in a free workout plan as well. For the rest of you I hope this puts you on the right path. Train your whole body with big lifts and heavy weights until you are strong (1-2 years if just starting). Then start tweaking your program to push the envelope even further.
This is a difficult subject to cover because there are a ridiculous number of "experts" out there who all say something different. That being said, there are several things all these diets have in common.
If you can pull off those three things you are going to be healthier than 80% of the population. If you are already eating small frequent clean meals and drinking plenty of water your nutrition is probably pretty solid. If you are not losing weight you might want to adjust your calorie intake and make sure you are not eating more than you think. If you are not building muscle or gaining weight same thing applies. Check your calories and shoot for 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
That hits the high points and should take you pretty far in your planning and training phase. Start with a solid strength program like outlined above, get your nutrition right and tweak as necessary. It doesn't have to be difficult to be effective. These basics should take you from novice all the way up to the advanced level. There are numerous professional athletes who still train like this so the sky is really the limit. For more options in your free workout plan just browse the site, I have them all over the place and call out the favorites in the left hand side navigation under workout programs.
I'm personally not a big fan of extra cardio because I reserve that for sports and entertainment. As long as you remain active it is really not necessary but some people thrive on it and if you need to shed some pounds it is a necessary evil.
For those of you who are interested in doing cardio the most effective form of cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Interval training burns the most calories, gets your heart rate up the fastest and is well documented to produce quick fat loss results.
If you can't take the high impact workouts then go for an elliptical machine or treadmill. The most effective time for cardio is immediately following your weight lifting routine. At this time your body has used up most of its glucose reserves and your heart rate is already in the weight loss zone. It is equivalent to training first thing in the morning after fasting all night long but really quite better because of the pre-elevated heart rate. I recommend about 20 minutes which should be enough but if you are hardcore and need more just keep it under an hour.