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What Are the Benefits of a Fitness Plan?

by
author image Marie Mulrooney
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. A retired personal trainer, former math tutor, avid outdoorswoman and experience traveler, Mulrooney also runs a small side business creating custom crafts. She's published thousands of articles in print and online, helping readers do everything from perfecting their pushups to learning new languages.
What Are the Benefits of a Fitness Plan?
A step-by-step approach helps you meet fitness goals. Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Overview

Building a fitness plan isn’t rocket science, but it is critical to the success of your exercise program. Embarking on a new exercise program without a fitness plan is a bit like trying to drive in a foreign country without a map; you’ll always get somewhere, but the place you arrive may or may not have anything to do with the place you actually wanted to be. Without a proper fitness plan, your workouts might not lead toward your end goal.

Build a Lifelong Habit

To achieve and maintain your fitness goals, regular exercise, good nutrition and the other components of fitness have to become a regular part of your life. Establishing a fitness plan eliminates the danger of falling into an “I’ll do it tomorrow” thought pattern and makes you accountable for following the daily plan. Because of this, you Don't simply accept any old workout plan you’ve pulled out of a book or been given by a trainer; you must review the entire plan and, for every element, ask yourself “Am I willing to make, and sustain, this change?” If not, modify the plan to a change that you’re better able to handle. Once you start putting the plan into practice, you’ll see that having simple, achievable steps laid out in front of you helps motivate you to succeed.

Keeping Track of Progress

One of the first steps in creating a fitness plan is to establish your long-term goals, then break them down into smaller, achievable short-term goals. Think of your fitness plan as a blueprint for success. Every time you achieve one of your goals, you’re passing a milepost on the way toward your long term goal. By looking back at how you’ve progressed through the stages of your plan, you’ll have a visual record of your progress, much needed positive reinforcement in moments of weakness. More importantly, having a fitness plan laid out means that you never lose track of what you’re supposed to do next. Staying on track is as simple as reading and implementing the instructions you’ve left for yourself.

Nothing Falls Through the Cracks

A comprehensive fitness plan will also include keeping track of less-obvious elements of fitness, such as your sleep, hydration and nutrition. It might also contain reminders to practice stability or balance exercises and to stretch regularly. While you don’t necessarily need to focus on these elements to the degree that an elite athlete or bodybuilder would, you’re more likely to meet your fitness or weight loss goals if you’re well rested, well hydrated and properly nourished, and if you have regular reminders of what you need to be doing. Keeping track of these small details helps make you more conscious of them on a day-to-day basis.

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