Establish a successful exercise plan

During my past 16 years as a personal trainer, one common observation I’ve made is the lack of planning that many people put into their health. Most of us spend time planning for our careers and finances – is our health not worthy of an equal level of attention? Here’s a few pointers to help you establish a plan for your health –


Having a plan helps to decouple how you ‘feel’ from whether or not you exercise. We all brush our teeth even if we sometimes are tired and don’t feel like it don’t we?

Get clear on why you exercise. This might be about improving some physical qualities or about how exercise makes you feel/manages your stress levels.

Set your weekly exercise budget – number of sessions per week (+ define what, when, how). These exercise ‘appointments’ should appear in your calendar as a recurring appointment. If you know that you have a calendar conflict that will cause you to miss a session, establish a makeup time in your diary that week or the next. Get into the habit of thinking ahead – is there anything that is going to come between me and any of my ex sessions next week? If so where else in my week can I move this to?

Is your plan realistic? Will it get you to your goals (are your goals realistic??) Is it sustainable?

Automate as many decisions relating to your exercise as possible. Have your exercise bag packed ready to go for early morning sessions, have an established route for your run, have a regular meeting place for the start of your exercise session.



Put in accountability. – Train with a friend who has similar goals, train with a PT! I appreciate that it’s shameless self promotion but the reality is a good PT will help you be more consistent with your exercise, train at a higher level of intensity, provide a greater safety/postural focus with a more varied program than training alone. I have regular PT to assist me with my own exercise form/posture and I’ve been a regular exerciser for the past 25 years!

Work towards an event. Fun runs, community bike rides, military inspired challenge courses – these events all provide great short term focus that will help you achieve your broader exercise goals along the way. Make sure that you have your next event booked before you complete your current event to keep you on track…..

Keep an exercise ‘diary’. Use Strava or other exercise apps to help you keep track of your sessions.



Review your progress on a regular basis (quarterly?). Much like a financial statement, you can review actual exercise sessions V budgeted exercise sessions in addition to gauging progress on physical goals.

How have you gone? What worked well/not well?

Next event?

Make any necessary changes to your plan for the next period and you are all ready to go again!


-Kristin Lewis

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