make a workout plan

This is Why You Need to Make a Workout Plan

Going to the gym is the first action, the trigger. But if you don't know what to do, it will be a waste of time. If instead of just going to the gym you know how to make a workout plan, the process will be much smoother, and results will come faster.

In this post, we'll see the different aspects of making a workout plan, and the reasons why you should consider doing it! Here, we'll focus on the importance of making a plan for a resistance training discipline (e.g lifting weights). However, the principles can be extrapolated to any other sports discipline.

Principles of Muscle Building

Resistance training is the best exercise to build muscle and improve your body composition (study). This discipline is specific to the goal of building muscle.

By using external loads we can make our muscles workout. If the exercise is intense enough, it will serve as a signal for our body to build more muscle mass and adapt to the new stimulus.

muscle building

If you want to build muscle, the best and fastest way is to get into resistance training. Either going to the gym or elsewhere, but lifting weights and working on your strength and resistance with weights. That will be key to build muscle.

Muscle Hypertrophy

In the 'scientific world', the process of muscle building refers to muscle hypertrophy. This concept is defined as an increase on the volume of our muscle fibres (source). Rather than increasing the number of muscle fibres, we are interested on making the muscle fibres bigger.

muscle hypertrophy

The mechanisms underlying muscle hypertrophy are; mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage. By regulating and playing with the different variables in our workout plan, we can optimize these three mechanisms to increase muscle hypertrophy

Training Variables

During our workout session, we can play with different training variables with the goal of maximizing muscle hypertrophy. This will make sure we are in the 'sweet spot', and we are giving to our body everything it needs to build muscle optimally.

Although there are many ways to look at this, there are three main training variables. These are intensity, volume, and frequency

  1. Intensity: How hard should I train?
  2. Volume: How much should I train each muscle per session and week?
  3. Frequency: How many times should I train each muscle?

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Progressive Overload

Before getting into why you need to make a workout plan, you must understand the concept of progressive overload.

Progressive overload refers to a gradual increase of the stress placed upon the skeletal muscle system. By increasing the training variables explained before, we can put more stress in our muscles to keep building muscle adaptations (study)

progressive overload

There are many ways to induce progressive overload, but the main principle is to gradually increase one or more training variables from week to week.

The main goal of making a workout plan will be to make sure we are inducing that progressive overload. The workout plan will be your guide to follow from week to week. By doing a workout plan, you'll know to perfection which training variables to change in order to put that progressive overload in practice.

And yes, this will give you much higher muscle gains. There's a strong scientific evidence claiming periodized trainings to be better than non-periodized trainings (study)(study)(study)

Why You Need to Make a Workout Plan

Making a workout plan is 'must' when it comes to building muscle fast and efficiently. And if you are not sure yet if it's for you or not... In the next couple minutes we'll convince you to start making your workout plan an put all your knowledge about training into practice!

why you need to make a workout plan

Workout Plan to Induce Progressive Overload

We've already talked about it, but I wanted to emphasize it again. The main and ultimate goal of making a workout plan is make sure progressive overload is present. Planning ahead the upcoming weeks of training will enable you to think about the progression model you want to follow, and perform to perfection.

By making a workout plan, you'll have a clear idea of how your progression will be, and how you'll do to get from point A (where you are now) to point B (where you want to get).

Workout Plan Serves as a Template to Evaluate

The first workout plan might not be perfect at first. As weeks move one, you may start realizing the workout plan could be better. If this is the case, the workout plan will serve as a guide to then make changes to fit your trainings depending on your needs and goals.

Take your workout plan as a template. Put time and effort on making is as accurate and realistic as possible, and stick to it as long as you can. However, you must be open for changes, and make them when you feel it will benefit your progression and overall gains.


Making a Workout Plan Increases the Probability of Success

This might be obvious, but it's noteworthy to mention. Making a workout plan boosts your motivation for exercise. It gives you the solution to get from point A to point B.

Making a workout plan creates self commitment to keep up with the workouts. It increases the probability of success, and lowers (almost to null) the probability of failure. This is, in fact, one of the best and most important things about making a workout plan. It will motivate you to go to the gym and keep up with the initial plan.

The Workout Plan will Set the Road to Achieve your Goals

When going to the gym, we aim to go from Point A to Point B. However, that might be difficult if we don't know which road to take and how to get there.

Why you need to make a workout plan

With no workout plan, the road will be confusing, uncertain, and slow. Making a workout plan, we can take the fastest and shortest road to achieve our goals. 

Making a Workout Plan will Help you Organize Your Week

Modern society is driven by busy and packed lifestyles. Our days are subjected to a lot of obligations and 'to-do's , and it's often difficult to find some free time.

To solve this, organization and time management is key. By making a workout plan, you'll know to perfection when to workout and how to fit each of the workouts of the week on your busy schedule´.

You need a workout plan to be able to fit your workouts in you week schedule. Plan carefully how many days will you train, and fit them as you like in your schedule. Before work, before dinner, first time in the morning... it doesn't matter. But get it done

Making a Workout Plan Makes the Process more Enjoyable

We hate uncertainty. One wants to walk on safe streets, and your workout plan can be the safest of all. It will tell you everything about your trainings in the upcoming weeks.

But not only that. Making a workout plan is also useful to get a better overview of the overall process from your start point to your end goal. Understand better what you are doing, and why you are doing it.

That will help you enjoy more the process. It will put sense to your actions, and it will help you engage and enjoy your trainings. The goal isn't just to get where you want, it's also to learn how to enjoy the process.

You Need a Workout Plan to Optimize the Results

If you want to go 100% ( I hope you do), making a workout plan is an essential. You simply need it.

If you want to optimize, you need to evaluate. And the best way to make an evaluation is by taking objective measurements on how the progress is going. The workout plan will tell you everything you need to know to make a proper evaluation and be able to get the best results.

If you don't have a workout plan, you completely rely on your capacity to improvise "on the stage". And that requires a lot of knowledge and experience behind. So, unless you are a pro bodybuilder or something alike... make a workout plan

training periodization

Training Periodiozation

When making a workout plan, we are aiming for periodizing our training. Science shows how periodized trainings are more effective at gaining strength an muscle hypertrophy when compared to non-periodized training (systematic review).

We can build muscle and get nice results without periodization nor making a workout plan. But it will be far from the optimum. If you want to go 100%, you need a workout plan.

time management

Making a Workout Plan Saves you Time and Energy

Time is precious. Time wasted is time we can't recover. Going to the gym without a workout plan can get tiring in terms of energy and time.

If you don't know exactly what to do, you might end up walking around more than doing the actual workout. And, even in the case you plan your workout at hoe right before going to the gym, that is valuable time you could have saved if you had planned your workout plan ahead.

If you care about your time, you need a workout plan. Your training sessions will be much more efficient, and you'll be saving a lot of time every day. Get it planned and you are ready to go for the upcoming weeks.


If you want to build muscle, it's not enough to just go to the gym. It also requires of some planning from our side to get going.

In this post we explained why you need to make a workout plan. It will help you know what you have to do at each moment, enjoy the process, and get better results.

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