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The Science Behind the Perfect Workout Plan

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There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all workout plan. The best exercise program is largely dependent on each person’s needs, goals, limitations and circumstances. The human body is the ultimate variable. Just as our sleep patterns, stress levels, nutritional intake and mental state fluctuate day to day, our workout routines should remain flexible enough to accommodate these fluctuations.

Small Goals Yield Big Results
Every effective workout plan starts with setting appropriate goals in realistic time frames. Writing your workouts on a calendar in short segments helps you stay accountable to exercise and avoid the daunting feeling of a workout routine being too long. Setting small goals for realistic periods of time will aid in keeping you motivated, accountable and planning for the unexpected.

Professional Fitness Trainer Robert Treece suggests taking Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper’s recommendation of 150 minutes of aerobic training per week and spreading it out over three to five days. This should also be paired with at least two to three days of strength or resistance training. "Since it takes roughly 300 repetitions of an exercise in order to create muscle memory, it is best to switch up your workouts every four to six weeks," explains Treece.

Nail Down a Plan
Sometimes the hardest part in getting started is knowing where to start. Ask yourself these simple questions to create a workout plan that best suits where you want to take your health and fitness:

Who can hold you accountable? And who does the ideal version of you look like?

What are your goals? Are you more concerned about building muscle, increasing your cardiovascular endurance, losing weight? Your goals will dictate the focus of your workout program.

What days of the week and what time of day does your schedule allow you to work out? Be sure to set aside designated time slots to exercise that you are able to protect. Mark workouts on your calendar like you would dinner plans or a meeting and treat it as an appointment.

Where do you plan on working out? This is largely based on the amenities available to you and the types of activities that interest you based on your goals. Most all body weight based work outs can easily be done at home or outside with inexpensive equipment to switch things up such as resistance bands, a yoga mat and weights. Investing in a gym membership will give you more access to amenities such as weight machines, swimming pools and cardio equipment.

Recovery is Key
Allow one or two days per week for active recovery to give your muscles a break from more intense activity while still keeping your body moving. Go for a long walk, do light yoga or swim, take a bike ride or simply stretch and use a foam roller. Practicing active recovery on your off days from working out helps improve your range-of-motion, repair your muscles and maintain a habit of activity. Read more about recovery.

You have the ability to make your fitness journey enjoyable! Building your workout plan and recovery days around activities you like to do will keep you motivated to stay moving and reach your fitness goals.

Watch Exercise Move video: Building a Weekly Workout Plan

For more information about Cooper Fitness Center or to schedule a session with a Professional Fitness Trainer, visit or call 972.233.4832.