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Not everyone can afford a personal trainer and as amazing as they are, you need to learn to tailor workouts yourself if you want to progress without one!

running track going off into foggy distance with text overlay - be your own personal trainer and tailor workouts yourself

You should always ask a professional, if you can afford it. But if you can’t here are some ways you can tailor workouts yourself. This can be useful when saving money, time and still seeing a progression or the results you have always wanted.
Successful training programs require specificity and once you know how to do this you can adapt it to all of your programs in the future. Before making your own program, ask yourself these questions to identify your needs and where to go next:

1. What do you want to achieve?

What do you want? Everyone has different goals and aspirations but you need to know exactly what you want to achieve before you do anything else! Do you want to Build muscle? Stamina? Lose weight? Tone? Maintain your weight? Just be a little healthier? There are a lot of reasons for a training program, you can even have more than one. But before you can focus your training you need to know EXACTLY what you want to do.

2. What do you enjoy?

Exercise and training regimes can help you achieve your goals, but they don’t have to make you miserable. I love running, netball, swimming and HIIT so I try to incorporate these into my training and add exercises that compliment these. Strength training is my least favourite but I incorporate exercises that will help what I enjoy. For example, plyometric exercises are a type of dynamic strength particularly useful in helping my response and explosiveness for netball.

3. What are my weaknesses?

This part is key because you need to understand you own limits, any exercises that might not be suitable AND where you need to pay particular attention to. My ankles are fairly weak because I broke them playing netball so I do extra strengthening and stretching on them to accommodate the rest of the training program. Learning and accommodating for your weaknesses allows you to build them back up and avoid injury as well as any hindrances you come across.

It doesn’t have to be physical either, your weakness could be speed when running which means you need to incorporate speedwork and dynamic exercises to help your fast twitch muscles. Just look at what you really need and see how you can match it with what you want to do.

personal trainer tailor workouts

Once you have answered these questions you can then move on to choosing some specific exercises that help to target the areas you identified whilst ensuring you will not cause injury or further weaknesses. This can be one of the hardest parts as you aren’t a professional but you can start with the basics and work your way up from there. 

Defining Your Plan

Now it is time to create your tailored workouts and plan to suit you. Start by creating a grid which has enough spaces for 7 days of the week. With the exercises you have chosen, also consider these points to give your plan more definition.

  • Time – what time scale are you setting yourself to achieve your goals? It needs to be a challenge and yet achievable! A common option that I choose is anywhere between 10 and 16 weeks which means I can maintain focus and motivation the best for me.
  • First Focus – While you can work on things simultaneously e.g. losing weight and improving speed, you need to decide which is your primary focus for this plan and where you are going to aim your efforts first.
  • Limits – Is there anything to avoid? Medically or otherwise.
  • Exercise Type – Are you looking for stretching, cardio, strength, HIIT or a combination
  • Progression – Don’t keep it the same type and intensity each week. Give yourself the option to go harder or longer in the training but ensure not to spike to high. For example, for beginner runners you shouldn’t look at increasing by more than 20% each week as this can lead to injury.

define your plan to tailor workouts yourself

5 Tips To Tailor Workouts

1. Mini-Goals

Inside your training program you need to have goals and milestones. These help to keep you motivated, interested and pushing to aspire to certain points. They can also help to tell whether you are going to reach your targets or if you need to adapt your program. I use the SMART layout (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) to help.

For more info check out my post “The Importance of Goal Setting

2. Keep It Interesting

A boring training program is going to be unsuccessful because even the most motivated won’t want to do it day in and out. Tailor workouts mean that you can include the fun elements as well as the hard work, you just need to find what your favourite parts are. This also means keeping your program interesting and changing it so that you have progression and different elements keeping it interesting too!

3. Write it down

You need to keep track of progress, notice trends and see how far you’ve come for motivation. This means making a note of your plan and potentially keeping some kind of journal or record. I have a combination journal that allows me to have day-to-day entries that I can look back on as well as an area for the month and my whole program! If you aren’t a big writer, at the least print or write out your program and cross or tick if you achieved that day as a way to remember your progress.

4. Recovery

The one that everyone forgets and loathes. The recovery day! It’s so important not to get too carried away and to include appropriate recovery time for your body to avoid burnout and injury. Most of the improvements your body makes are during the rest times so ensure you have minimum one per week and for beginners two or three. When I was heavily overweight I started exercising 2-3 times a week at the recommendation of my doctor to ease my body, and joints into it!

5. Appreciate Yourself

Learn to appreciate what you have achieved, even the small steps and they will help to push you forward. There is a mental truth to weight loss or any fitness program and it’s important to remember to work on that as well. Appreciate that you aren’t a personal trainer and your tailored workouts are the best you can do. Learn everything you can from a wide variety of sources, consulting the experts where possible as well!

write it all down to tailor workouts yourself

Ultimately in order to tailor workouts yourself, you need to learn as much as you can about yourself which is a good thing because who knows more about you, than you!

For more Health & Fitness check out our Pinterest Board along with the Health & Fitness Index

*Always consult a healthcare professional before you make changes to your lifestyle. 
 Personal trainers are amazing and incredibly helpful, however, not everyone can afford them. Here's how you can save some dosh and tailor workouts yourself.

16 comments on “Be Your Own Personal Trainer & Tailor Workouts Yourself”

  1. I think this is a great idea. I don’t think I’d ever get a personal trainer so doing it myself would be a much better option!

  2. I am starting beach body for the first time and I love that it is encouraged to track goals and progress. Something I have never done before.

  3. That’s a pretty good guide for people who would like to workout but aren’t really open to getting a trainer. I think it’s always important to have a plan!

  4. This is a great help. I need to get back in shape but the thought of hiring a personal trainer and getting to the gym is too much commitment to me!

  5. I’ve been considering trying this on my own. I don’t have a ton of discipline, but these tips are certainly helpful!

  6. It’s definitely going to save you more money if you decide to not get a personal trainer. I think this is an awesome idea and that way we can also choose the workout that works for us.

  7. I love the idea of doing it on your own. It saves you time and money. My kids need me so much too!

  8. I love the idea of mini goals. I always tell people that things need baby steps and they need to see the smaller picture. It really helps

  9. I work out almost every day and have really gotten into a rut. I do watch my diet but I can’t lose those last pounds. I will try some of your ideas and write down things which will be fun to see how things progress.

  10. Such Great tips and valuable tools to be used for many aspects. I can see myself applying these ideas to a few areas of my life.

  11. This is so helpful! I would love to be able to afford a personal trainer but all of these tips definitely make it seem like I can do it all myself!

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