When it comes down to structuring a workout or learning how to make a long term workout plan, things get tricky. There are a lot of different factors at play that you need to keep in mind. You need to do your homework and have a good, solid workout plan if you want to make the most of your time and your efforts.

Doing that, however, is much easier said than done. They come in all shapes and sizes, and every single one has different advantages to suit different needs. There aren't many bad examples out there, but there are, however, a lot of bad fits. To learn how to take the perfect workout plan to suit you and your personal needs, we're here to help.

We have some of the best tips you can find on how to make your own, and better still, to make a successful workout plan that you can actually stick to, too. Let's jump in.


Want to move fast? Jump to the right section below.

  1. Set Your Fitness Goals
  2. Pick Your Training types
  3. Nail the Specifics
  4. Plan the Time and Duration of Workouts
  5. Plan the Frequency of Workouts
  6. Get to work!


1. Set Your Fitness Goals

To have a clear idea about what structuring a workout plan really is about, you first need to think about what you want from it. What is it that you actually want to achieve form your training?

You need to have a clear-cut idea of what it is that you want to achieve and what you can realistically do within your means. If you want to lose 2lbs a week for three months, for example, your workout plan is going to be dramatically different from someone who is trying to structure a workout to help them be able to deadlift their own body weight. give it thought, but above all else make sure you keep it realistic. 

2. Pick Your Training types

Once you’ve got your realistic and practical goals set, it’s time to delve deeper. Different styles of training all have various benefits, and a lot of the time, it means that you need to mix and match to find out what is going to work best for you.

Weight loss, for example, should be much more cardio focussed in order to burn a lot of calories, with strength training mixed in so that you’re getting the optimum calorie burn both in and out of the workout. Muscle building is the opposite. You need to be weight training and focusing on your progressive overload. It's all a part of how to lose weight and how to build muscle. Do your homework to find what you need.

3. Nail the Specifics

So, we have the training types to suit you and the goals you want to achieve, but how do you get there? Well, this is where learning how to plan your workout need some serious forward-thinking. Make sure you're thinking about exercises per workout too if that is applicable.

With building muscle, for example, you have a huge number of options. You can use compound exercises to hit the same muscles multiple times a week. You can use a workout plan style like our push pull legs routine to have 3 split up workouts per week, or you can go really granular ad do one muscle each day. It's your call.

On the flip side, if you’re training for a marathon or some kind of endurance feat, lifting huge weights four days a week isn’t going to be the best thing for you. When it comes to this type of training, you need to be looking more into your specific sport or other things that compliment it.

Weight loss is the same still. You need to focus on the calorie burn you're looking for and not concentrating too much of your performance where you can. Some prefer to do long slow-burning workouts and others prefer short shart bursts. As long as you burn your calories to reach your calorie deficit then it's very open.

4. Plan the Time and Duration of Workouts

Knowing what you need to do is one thing, but working out how long your workouts should be is a different game altogether. You need to be honest with yourself, your preferences, and your needs here.

When you are planning how to make a workout plan, you may well find that sometimes you’re hitting the gym for 45 minutes to get a good pump, but other times, you might be running for 20 minutes, or walking for 2 hours with LISS. It is all down to what works best for you, and it all works if you use it correctly. Just make sure it's going to fit into your plan, especially if you're squeezing it into your day.

Generally speaking, in a perfect world, your strength workouts should be looking at around 45 minutes, give or take, and your cardio for an hour. That is the most generic possible rule of thumb that you can go by, but it is effective if you can get enough of it, and you give each workout everything you’ve got! Read more on this one here.

5. Plan the Frequency of Workouts

Last but not least, we have the frequency of your workouts. Frequency and time go hand in hand most of the time, as the two are entirely co-dependent. They have a direct impact on each other’s success, so it is vital you find the right balance.

If you’re a workaholic with children, you might not be able to go to the gym every morning before the school run or after your busy workday. This might leave you with just the weekend to fit in your exercise, and if that’s the case, a 45-minute strength workout is not going to cut it. That’s when you need to change the game!

The same applies to cardio. Just because you’re getting a good 90-minute run into your weekends doesn’t mean that you’re done for the week. You need to be fitting in strength training or other cardio exercises in there to see the proper results you’re looking for. It really is not easy, but work it out and adjust accordingly. 3-4 Workouts a week is a great target.

6. Get to work!

Overall, learning how to make a workout plan, like everything in life, is versatile.  It all comes down to what is going to work for you, and how easy it is to stick to your plan. Every single person is unique, and you need to find out what it is that works with your lifestyle in a sustainable and healthy way.

Do everything you can to make your goals become a reality, like sleeping well, eating right and taking proper rest days. Your workouts are your own, and when it comes down to looking at how to structure a workout properly, only you have the answers, but keep these in mind and you won’t go far wrong.


Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.