How To Create An Effective Fitness Routine


One of the best thing you can do on your fitness journey is create a fitness plan. A fitness plan is a great way to keep track of your goals, progress, and organize your fitness routine. It’s also pretty simple to create too. All you need is a calendar and a backup plan for days when you are unmotivated to workout—which I’ll explain in details below; so let’s get started!


How To Create A Fitness Calendar

Step 1:


Download the calendar template.

Calendar Template


Step 2:

Type any labels you feel are appropriate to organize your calendar such as the month, the days of the week, and numbers in the areas illustrated by the arrows below.

If you don’t want to use traditional calendar labels, you can swap the labels with the following:

  • Replace the months of the year with a title for your calendar such as
    “Fitness Calendar”, “20 Days To Stronger Legs”, or “30-Day Flexibility Challenge”.
  • Replace the days of the week with the part of your body you’ll workout or the types of workout you’ll do such as legs, upper body, kettlebell, cardio, arms, chest, etc.
  • Instead of numbering the calendar according to the month, you’ll number the calendar according to how long you want the calendar to be.




Step 3:

List what, when, and how often you’ll do each workout as well as rest days.



In my April calendar, Monday-Saturday I alternated between 2-3 workouts a day consisting of morning jogs, pilates, and yoga. Sundays were my rest day and consisted of morning walks. At the end of calendar, I created 2 challenges for myself—the 4 Day Workout Challenge (which consisted of 3 workout sessions for 4 consecutive days) and the Detox Yoga Challenge (which consisted of 3 days of detox yoga). When I completed a workout, I crossed it off my calendar.




My Workout Routine


Currently, I use an exercise list to organize my fitness routine. An exercise list is what the name suggests—a list of exercises. Fun fact—I literally made it up. I never heard or read about anyone using an exercise list to create a fitness routine; so no one inspired me to make it. I created my exercise list because I was dissatisfied with my fitness calendar.

Each month, I created a fitness calendar with a fitness routine that I believed I had to follow strictly.  Since I planned my workouts in advance, I believed there shouldn’t be a reason for me to skip a workout day. Therefore, whenever I didn’t follow my workout schedule perfectly, I felt behind on schedule, frustrated, and discouraged to follow my routine.

After months of calendar adjustments to avoid feeling frustration, discouragement, and always behind, I decided to stop making fitness calendars. I learned it’s best not to restrict myself to workout criteria such as workout 3 days a week, rest only on Sundays, cardio only on Thursdays and Fridays, or be able to do specific workout goal by the end of the month. Instead I created flexible fitness rules and a system to organize my fitness routine (the exercise list).


Flexible Fitness Rules:

  • Workout as often as I can.
  • Choose a workout based on my mood that day.
  • Give my best effort for each workout.
  • Aim to complete each workout unless I become injured or sick during a workout.
  • When I complete a workout, I remove it from my exercise list except warm ups and cool down videos.
  • If I struggle through a workout, I cross it off my list to redo the workout video at a later date.


That’s it. Simple, flexible, and easy to follow. Most importantly, my exercise list and flexible fitness rules helps me focus on what really matters: exercising—not following a fitness schedule perfectly.


How To Create An Exercise List


Step 1:

Download the exercise list template.


Exercise List Template


Step 2:

An exercise list is made the same way as a fitness calendar except you’ll list the exercises you want to do in each quadrant under the appropriate category instead of assigning a workout for each day of the month.



I have 2 exercise lists. My first list is for non-yoga workouts and my second list is for yoga workouts.

My non-yoga workouts are categorized into 4 subcategories: upper body & abs, lower body & abs, warm up & cool down, and full body exercises.

My yoga workouts are also categorized into 4 subcategories: HIIT & power yoga, full body, gentle yoga & flexibility, and whatever yoga challenge I’m following. I’m currently following the Yoga Fix 90 by Lesley Fightmaster.




Categories And Subcategories Examples:

You can use the categories I used in my exercise lists, make up your own, or use some of the categories I mentioned below.

Categories: specific fitness goal (i.e. handstand, split, headstand, etc.), barre, pilates, kettlebell, cross fit, etc.

Subcategories: Time (i.e. morning, after class, bedtime, study break, lunch break, etc.), mood (angry, sad, anxious, etc.), treatment for conditions (i.e. headaches, feet pain, scoliosis, PMS, etc.), body parts (i.e. legs, upper body, calves, etc.), etc.


How To Stick To Your Fitness Routine


  • Make small commitments. Start working out 10 minutes a day or a few times a week and gradually make bigger commitments or goals.
  • Reward yourself every time you accomplish a goal with new a workout outfit, fitness gear, or anything else that will help you continue to build healthy habits.
  • Accept that you won’t always accomplish your goals and forgive yourself when you don’t accomplish your fitness goals.
  • Find someone to hold you accountable for your goals and motivates you on your fitness journey. You can join a fitness group, share your fitness journey on social media or with your friends or family.


How To Motivate Yourself To Exercise


  • Create daily reminders.
  • Create a vision board—use pictures and texts to illustrate your fitness goals, favorite motivational quotes, why you want to get in shape, and anything else you find inspirational. Then put your vision board on your wall to look at every day.
  • Create a fitness journal to keep track of your progress, write letters to future self, or anything else you’ll want to reread. When you are not motivated to work out, you can read your fitness journal to see how far you have come and remind yourself why you embarked on your fitness journey.
  • Place your workout clothes or bag (if you go to the gym) in a visible place such as in front of your bedroom door or couch with a note or picture to encourage yourself to workout.
  • Follow people with similar goals on social media.
  • Change your fitness routine. Sometimes doing the same exercises repeatedly can be boring; so try something new such as learning a new sport or trying a new yoga style.
  • Create a fun fitness playlist.
  • Set an alarm with a positive or persuasive message on your phone to persuade yourself to workout.
  • Create one of the inspiration/goal setting DIYs below.



Questions You Might Ask


  1. Where can I find online videos or guides to fill in my calendar or exercise list?


  1. Are there any websites that offer free workout calendars?


  1. Can I follow your workout routine?

Yes, however, I don’t recommend it because my workouts are tailored to meet my fitness needs—not yours. It’s best to add some of my workouts to your calendar or exercise list instead of following only my exercise list.


Fitness Routines: April’s Calendar & Exercise List


  1. I want flat abs and a tone butt so that means I only need to do abs and butt exercises, right?

Nope. Spot reduction is a myth. Doing only crunches won’t give you six pack abs. Your whole body works together, therefore, you need to work out your whole body to get your desired results.

Regular exercise (cardio, strengthen training, and stretching) + healthy diet = fit body

Besides, even if spot reduction wasn’t a myth, having one part of your body that’s fit and the other part isn’t doesn’t sound flattering.


     5. How do I design a calendar in Microsoft Word?

I used table design and layout to design my calendar. The videos below demonstrate how to create and design a calendar from scratch.

     6. How do I add links to my calendar or exercise list in Microsoft Word?


Step 1:



Step 2:


Step 3:


Step 4:


Step 5:



Thanks for reading!


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