How to Create Your Own Workout: Expert Gives His Top 5 Tips

Picture of an empty gym representing the opportunity to create your own workout.

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No two people are alike, and this really shines through when people go to work out. Every athlete is different, and your needs, goals, and likes will be different from others at the gym. While certain workouts might work for the person beside you, that doesn’t mean that your body will respond the same way.

In short, there is nothing wrong with changing things up and making your own workout routine to fit your unique needs. Here are the steps to creating your own customized workout.

Set Goals

The first step in any workout routine is to set goals. You should have short term and long term goals, and you should do what you can to keep them realistic. Remember, a goal is something you plan to meet, not an impossible benchmark. It should be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and have a time limit.

Build Your Schedule

If you don’t have the time to workout, you won’t workout. You need to make the time to do your routine and stick with it. On top of that, you need to decide how best to use the time you have when you are working out. Don’t just jump into the gym at random and start pumping iron; go in with a detailed plan to get the most for your time.

Plan for Recovery

Working out is great, but afterward is when people tend to mess things up. Your body doesn’t just stop once you quit working out, and you will need time to calm down and let your heart rate return to normal. You might do this with some swimming, some basketball, or just by taking a refreshing walk around the gym. However you do it, make sure to budget for some wind down time when you’re done.

Exercises to Integrate

As you get into building your routine, look at what you can do and what those around you are doing. Explore the areas of your body you want to impact and what types of workouts are best to get your needed results. You may find that you want to do a little of this and that, and that’s okay.

Picture of a woman's back with a barbell on top of it.


When planning your workout, first create some sets. These are the individual workouts you will be doing. Are you going to start on the weights? What about doing some sit-ups and pushups? How about a run to kick things off? Each of these is called a set, or a block of intensity that you will put yourself through. You can have multiple sets of the same activity, and these can vary in length and intensity based on what it is you are trying to do.


Reps are the individual activities you do during your sets. Each time you lift a weight or perform a crunch, you are doing a rep. Most workouts will do several sets of reps, and vary them in terms of speed and intensity, not to mention how many you do. Most good workouts start with a long set of reps, followed by shorter sets. Typically, the last set is done at a high rate of speed to see how many can be done once your main goals are met.

Rest Time

You need downtime for your muscles to recoup. Downtime can occur between sets, or between different activities. It is recommended that you stretch during downtime to keep your muscles limber, and that you make sure your down time periods are of equal length.

Lift Amounts

You can only lift so much, and depending on your goals (toned body, sheer muscle, weight loss) you might want to limit the amount of weight you are working with. This really comes down to what you are comfortable doing, and how long you can work at a certain level.

Work out Duration

This is up to you, and should be measured by the intensity of the workout. Your goal is to get your heart rate to 160pbm, which is an ideal level for burning calories. The longer you are there, the more you will burn. If you are doing a high impact workout, then you should probably shoot for about 20 minutes. If you are going for a low impact workout, consider working for 30-60 minutes.

Alternating Sets

To keep things fun and engaging, and to give your muscle groups a break, consider changing up what it is you are doing. This will give you more time for working out, as your muscle groups will last longer.


Make sure you have a path worked out. You should make your circuit around the gym match your needs, and that you hit every machine and center that you plan to. This may take some time, but in the end, you should have a good feel for what works and what you can leave out.

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