create your individual exercise routine: plans, schedules, and workout routines

I receive several emails and messages a day with the question:

"Steve, what kind of workout should I do?"

Well, partner, today is your lucky day.

I will help you step by step to create an individual training program!

Finally, a workout should be designed based on a person's age, goals, nutritional strategy, leisure time, etc.

Not only that, but It is easy to complicate this process – There are an infinite number of exercises, sets, repetitions and programs to choose from.

If you are someone who wants to skip all of this and ONLY want to know what exactly to do:

We create bespoke workouts for our online coaching clients and we would love to have you. We Learn about your history and struggles, your goals and lifestyle, and develop a training plan that fits your schedule.

Would you like an individual training plan that you actually do? Learn more:

If you're more of a person who finds this stuff out on your own, today we're going to cover how to create your own workout plan!

We also have created a free resource for people who want to build their own workout but love more specific guidance and guidance.

You can download our free guide, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need To Knowthat covers all of these things in a single guide:

Download our comprehensive guide

  • Everything you need to know to get strong.
  • Exercise routines for body weight AND strength training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

OKAY! Ready to set up your own routine and want to know how to do it?

Great! let us do this::

Step 1: determine your situation to get in shape

In our How To Get In Shape guide, we need to answer a few important questions:

QUESTION 1: What are your goals?

Whatever your goals, it is good to write them down and be clear about what you want to achieve.

These goals determine how you will build your workout.

QUESTION 2: How much time can you spend on training?

If you can do an hour a day, that's fantastic.

If you have a wife or husband, three kids, a dog, two jobs, and no robot butler, you might only have 30 minutes twice a week.

That's a good thing!

Regardless of the amount of time you spend, developing the most efficient workout is critical.

Why spend two hours in the gym when you can do just as much in 30 minutes?

Here's the good news: Strength training is the winner of the Fat Burning Award, and efficiency reigns supreme.

Whether you want to build muscle or lose weight, strength training will bring you the results you want (when combined with the right eating strategy!).

Let me briefly mention something important as we talk about time:

Right expectations!

Make sure you think about your trip with a realistic schedule: "How soon can I get the body I want?"

QUESTION 3: WHERE do you want to train?

Where you exercise will largely depend on whether you are training with body weight or whether you can start strength training at the gym.

At this point we should have:

  • Determine your goals to get in shape.
  • Decided how much time to exercise.
  • Chosen where you want to train.

We can start now Build up your exercise routine, daily exercise plan, and monthly exercise plan!

Let's do this.

Step 2: What Exercises Should I Do to Lose Weight (or Build Muscle?)

I like to follow the motto "keep it simple, stupid."

(Hint: I don't call you stupid. You read Nerd Fitness, which means that you are smart, handsome, really funny, and most importantly, humble.)

The best workout is what you actually stick with, and people make things way too complicated and try to target a ton of different individual muscles with six types of exercise for each part of the body.

It's exhausting, unnecessary, inefficient, and intimidating.

So keep it simple!

We are going to choose 5 exercises and get really strong with these movements.

This is the ENTIRE philosophy behind our Strength 101 series.

Unless you've been strength training for years and don't know what you're doing, we recommend that you choose a full body routine that you can do 2-3 times a week.

You want a workout routine that includes at least one exercise for your:

  • Quads (in front of your legs).
  • Buttocks and hamstrings (hind legs).
  • Chest, shoulders and triceps: (push muscles).
  • Back, biceps and grip (pulling muscles).
  • Core (abdomen and lower back).

By targeting compound movements that recruit multiple muscles at once, you can create a full-body routine that uses just four or five exercises.

How's that for efficiency!

Here's a quick breakdown of which exercises work for each of these movements:

  • Quads – Squats, lunges, one-legged squats, box jumps.
  • Buttocks and hamstrings – Deadlifts, hip lifts, straight leg deadlifts, good mornings, step ups.
  • Push (chest, shoulders and triceps) – Overhead presses, bench presses, dumbbell presses, pushups, dips.
  • Pulling (back, biceps, and forearms) – Pull ups, pull ups, body weight rows, curved rows.
  • Core (abs and lower back) – Planks, side boards, exercise ball crunch, mountaineers, jumping squats, hanging leg raises.

Not sure how to do any of these moves?

Do you want more examples? Check out:

The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

For each workout, choose an exercise from each of the categories above, and you'll be working out almost every single muscle in your body.

Get stronger with every movement every week and you will have a recipe for great physique of your own.

Here's an example of a great, effective simple workout in the gym:

You don't have to make things more complicated!

(Not that we humans tend to complicate things to the point of paralysis and inactivity …)


If you are unsure how to perform any of the above movements, click their links for full descriptions and video demonstrations.

Select an exercise from EVERY category above. especially the ones that scare you the least and that will be your workout every other day for the next week.

The good news: The exercise routine outlined above works whether you are building or trying to build muscle, or trying to lose weight.

You just adjust your calorie consumption – that's 80% of the equation – and that's how you start transforming your body.


Get really good at these basic moves and focus on getting stronger each week (I'll get into that below).

If you get really strong on the squats, deadlifts, pullups, and pushups, you will build an incredible physique to be proud of.

Once you become comfortable with these movements, you can add variety.


If you do the exact same routine three days a week for months, you may get bored, and Start slacking off or you could hit a training plateau.

So if you are bored, feel free to stick to the formula above, but change the ingredients:

If you hit a plateau or get bored, choose another exercise to improve it You stay challenged and actually train!

Then focus on getting stronger! (You write down your workouts, right?)

I know, IIt is really easy to complicate this process as there are an infinite number of exercises, sets, repetitions, and programs to choose from.

And yes, we have a solution for people who should ONLY be told what exactly to do: Our hugely popular 1-on-1 coaching program combines you with your own nerd fitness coach who will get to know you, your goals, your lifestyle and develop a training plan that is not only specific to your body but also your body is schedule and life:

Our coaching will change your life. Learn how!

Step 3: how many sets and reps should I do?

SIMPLE ANSWER: Without a warm-up kit or two, I recommend:

  • 3 to 5 sets per exercise.
  • 8 to 10 reps per set at start.

LONGER ANSWER: As described in our How Many Sets and Reps? Leader, a "Set" is a series of repetitions that you do without stopping.

For example, if you now fall down and do 10 pushups, you have just done 1 SET of 10 reps (or REPS) of pushups.

I have it? Cool.

Some general rules for repetition You can follow as you start creating your training plan:

  1. If your aim is to burn fat while building muscle, keep the number of repetitions per set in the range of 8-15 per set.
  2. If you can do more than 15 repetitions without much challenge, consider adding weight or difficulty of movement. This applies to things like lunges, bodyweight squats, pushups, pullups, etc.

There are some other generally accepted "rules" – as outlined in Starting Strength – how you can use your goals to determine how many reps you should aim for per set:

  • Representative in the 1-5 area Build super dense muscles and strength(1)
  • Repetitions range from 6-12 Build somewhat equal amounts of muscle strength and size(2)
  • Representatives in the 12+ area Build muscle endurance.

A 2015 study (3) questioned the best rep strategy for building muscle or size:

“It appears that high-intensity resistance training (sets of 3 to 5 reps) for men who did strength training during a short-term training period (compared to sets of 8 to 10 reps) produced greater improvements in some strength and hypertrophy measurements. ”

What it means: Don't worry if you should be doing 4 sets or 5 sets of 8 or 10 reps.

Our advice would be to start with lighter weights and more reps as you learn the movement, and then decide whether to stick to higher reps and lighter weights, or vice versa.

They do them because both produce results!

Only thing to worry about: get stronger on the next move: either pick up a heavier weight or repeat 1 time more than the last time.

"Just give me the answer!"

Keep the total number of sets (all exercises together) for all exercises in the range of 15 to 25 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions per set:

A total of 5 exercises, each with 4 “work sets”, are a good start.

Remember, the most important part is getting started – you learn how your body reacts and can adapt at any time.

What you do NOT have to do: several exercises for each body part with 10 sets.

A big cave: How you eat determines whether you get bigger or stronger. Diet makes up 80-90% of the equation. So choose an area that feels good, then focus on nutrition.

And if you don't want to find out about it and I just want to know exactly how to do the exercises, sets, and repetitionsOur online coaches can do this for you.

Step 4: how long should I wait between sets?

Keep it simple, you "smart, good-looking, funny, humble person" you.

Below is a basic formula that you can use to determine how long you should wait between sentences. However, this can be adjusted depending on the state of health.

The goal is to wait as little time as possible, but still rest long enough that you can safely and properly do all of the reps for the next set!

Here are some guidelines on how long to rest based on how heavy you are lifting (no rules set in stone!):

  • 1-3 repetitions (heavy lift for strength / strength): Let rest for 3 to 5 minutes between sentences.
  • 4-7 reps (lift for strength): Let rest for 2 to 3 minutes between sentences.
  • 8-12 reps (lift for size / strength): Let rest for 1 to 2 minutes between sentences.
  • 13 reps + (lifting for endurance): Rest long enough to rest and make the next long ace set!

If you need more or less rest than the recommendations above, that's fine.

Do the best you can, write down how long it takes to rest between sets, and try to rest for shorter periods in the future.

Your body will adapt as you get stronger and healthier!

For more information on how much to lift, how many reps, and when to scale certain movements or adjust your workout, check out ours Power 101: All you need to know.

It's free if you join the Rebellion using your email address in the box below:

Download our comprehensive guide

  • Everything you need to know to get strong.
  • Exercise routines for body weight AND strength training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

Step 5: how much weight should I lift?

We have a FULL resource on how to determine your starting weight for a lift, but I'm going to give you the basics here.

The easy to learn but difficult to implement answer:

"Lift enough to get through the kit, but not too much so that there is NO fuel in the tank at the end."

How do you determine how much that is?

Trial and error.

ALWAYS err on the side of "too easy" versus "too difficult" when starting.

Better to say, "I bet I could have done more!" instead of "that was too much and now I have to go to the hospital!"

If you only train with your body weight, You have to make each exercise harder when you are in shape. Once you've passed the 20 repetitions for a particular exercise and haven't gassed, it's time to mess things up.

Can you do 20 pushups not a problem? It's time to mix them up to get more challenging. Pick a variation from this article and let yourself work for it!

20 body weight squats too easy? For the next set, hold some weights high above your head. Finally, you can scale to perform exercises like the squat:

Are you looking for more body weight exercises? Check out the list of our 42 most popular bodyweight exercises to do anywhere.

And if you're not sure how to scale body weight movements, or if you're interested in messing things up and want a guide …

Our online coaching will change your life! Find out how here:

Step 6: how long should I exercise? How long should my training last?

Simple answer: 45 minutes to an hour.

Longer answer: If you work out a total of 15-25 sets (3-5 sets for your 5 exercises)You should be able to do anything within that 45 minute block.

Now consider doing a five or ten minute warm up, followed by a stretch, and the workout may take a little longer.

If you are on the road for more than an hour and are not completely exhausted, increase the intensity.

Less time, more intensity, better results.

What if you don't have 45 minutes?

Give your best!

You might want to incorporate some cardio into your strength training.

This is where this next section comes in.

Step 7: Creating Supersets and Circuit Training Workouts

Circuit training strength training is the most efficient way to burn fat while exercising:

  • You can get a cardiovascular workout by consistently switching from workout to workout.
  • You train different muscles back to back and give each muscle group the opportunity to recover, but in less time. Efficiency for victory!

Once you are familiar with CrossFit, many of the workouts are based on circuit principles.

It is also the most effective way of making you involuntarily swear by inanimate objects because you're so tired and beaten up

We're going to cover TWO things here:

  • Supersets (or alternating sets).
  • Training circuits.


Do a series of squats, wait a minute, then do a series of dumbbell presses, wait a minute, then do your next squats, and so on.

Because you are training two completely different muscle groups, you can train one while the other is "resting".

The same workout is done in half the time.

As you rest less, your body has to work harder to keep your heart working. Jackpot.

Let's see how this would work out in a sample training:

  • Lunges alternating with Oblique dumbbell pressesfour sets at a time, one minute between sets.
  • Wait a few minutes to catch your breath and prepare for the next two exercises.
  • Straight leg deadlift alternating with Wide grip pull-upsfour sets at a time, one minute between sets.
  • 3 sets of boards, stretch up and get out of here!


A circuit requires you to do a set for EACH exercise in turn without stopping.

After you've done a set of each exercise in turn, repeat the process two, three, or four times.

I wrote about several body weight circles here on the website:

You can also download our Beginner Bodyweight Worksheet to get you started:

Grab your beginner body weight routine worksheet. No gym required!

  • Do this workout at home, without any equipment
  • Avoid the Most Common Mistakes Everyone Makes While Exercising Body Weight
  • Learn how to finally get your first pull-up

We also have 15 FREE routes for you to follow in our great roundup of circuit workouts!

Finally, we love creating circuit training routines for our coaching clients – and we'd love to create them for you too:

Let our trainers put together a program for you!

Step 8: how many days a week should I exercise?

We get this question quite often, usually from overzealous beavers who decide to go from "sitting on the couch and watching the office repeats" to "exercising 7 days a week."

I would advise otherwise.

I mean you can still see The Office …

… But you don't have to train 7 days a week!

We don't want you to burn out quickly and fall back on first place, an issue we addressed in our How Often Should I Exercise Guide? Mention.

Instead, focus on developing the right habits and set a goal of 2-3 full-body workouts per week.

For starters, your muscles aren't built in the gym.

You are actually broken down in the gym and then rebuilt stronger while you rest … and look at the office.

Giving your muscles 48 hours to recover between workouts, especially if you're exercising heavily, will keep you injury free and get stronger.

A Monday Wednesday Friday The exercise routine works well for giving plenty of time to rest, especially if you're just starting out.

If you want Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday, or Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday, Great.

Personally, I stuck to a full-time routine of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for almost 10 years, just focusing on getting stronger with each movement.

Nowadays I train on Monday-Wednesday-Thursday-Saturday (my workouts on Wednesday and Thursday don't train the same muscles!)

"But Steve, what if I want to exercise on my days off?" It's good!

Choose "exercise" that you enjoy and that doesn't exhaust your muscles.

Here's a lifehack too: Program your workouts in your Google Calendar (or Outlook).

You are much more likely to complete a workout that is scheduled for your work week!

Alternatively, hire a trainer to program your workout for you so you know exactly what to do every day!

Step 9: keep track of everything!

Last but not least, keep a training diary!

As they say, what is measured is improved.

You should get stronger, faster, or fit with each training day.

Around these parts we say, "Improve your life every day."

So track and measure your progress!

Maybe you can lift more weight, lift the same amount more than before, or finish the same routine faster than before.

Personally, I keep track of all of my workouts in Evernote.

I write down the sets, reps, weight, and the date.

I have over 1,000 workouts in my folder which makes it very easy to see what I did last month or even last year and to make sure I get better!

You can use an up-to-date notebook, bullet point, Excel spreadsheet, training app, or Word document.

Not overcomplicated it:

  1. Write down the date and your sets, repetitions, and weight for each exercise.
  2. Compare your exercises with your previous workout.
  3. Focus on getting stronger (more reps, heavier weight, an extra set, etc.)
  4. To repeat.

Do this with any workout you created and you will get results. I promise.

Learn how to properly track your progress and set a new personal best with every workout.

Steve, just build a workout for me!

If you're looking for sample workouts to build on, try one of the 6 workouts in our Gym 101 guide.

Or if you'd like a plan to follow, choose one of our 15 circuit training routines!

If you want to build from scratch, great! Let's break it down into simple parts with this summary:

  • ALWAYS warm up – 5-10 minutes by bike, rowing machine, jumping jacks, running up and down stairs etc. Let the blood flow and the muscles warm.
  • Choose an exercise for each major muscle group – Quads, buttocks and hamstrings, push, pull and core.
  • Do 3-5 sets for each exercise.
  • Do 5-10 reps per set for each exercise.
  • Determine how many repetitions and how long to wait between sets for each exercise. Keep it simple 60 seconds.
  • Increase your efficiency and train your heart by doing supersets or circuits.
  • Keep your workout under an hour.
  • Stretch after exercising.
  • Write everything down!
  • Give yourself permission to screw it up, learn a little and keep improving as you exercise more regularly!

Most of the time when I email people back telling them how to set up their own workout, they reply with:

"Steve, can't you just tell me what to do? I'm scared of building a shitty workout."

Why we developed THREE options for people like this:

1) If you are someone who wants to know that they are following a program that is tailored to their life, situation and goals, check out our online coaching program.

You will work with our certified NF teachers, who will get to know you better than you and will program your workouts and nutrition for you.

Do you want an exercise program that you actually do? Great! Find out more here:

2) working out at home and needing a plan to follow? Check out Nerd Fitness Journey!

Our fun habit-building app will help you exercise more, eat healthier, and (literally) improve your life. NF Journey will also create a training course for you!

Try your free trial here:

3) Join the Rebellion (our free community) and I'll send you free guides, workouts, and worksheets for you to read at your leisure.

We need good people like you!

Download our comprehensive guide

  • Everything you need to know to get strong.
  • Exercise routines for body weight AND strength training.
  • How to find the right gym and train properly in one.

I definitely encourage you to build your own workout routine.

Getting in shape from your workout can really help you develop a sense of excitement and pride!

If you have any additional questions or have an exercise program that you are really proud of, share it in the comments below!


PS: Check out the rest of our beginner content. I promise it kicks the ass 🙂


Photo sources: mdwombat, joshtasman: Question Finger 6, black.zack00: Yeaaaah…. Surprise ladies !!, Sterling College: Sterling Gym, ako_law: stopwatch, black.zack00: boxing a gentleman’s sport, photographing Travis: kettlebells. ahockley: DDC Stuff Sheath and EEEK Field Notes, Ivan Kruk ©

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