How to Develop an Exercise Program Based on Your Strengths (and Your Weaknesses)

Everyone needs exercise, but not everyone has to go about it the same way. In fact, the ideal exercise plan for you will capitalize on your strengths and accommodate your weaknesses.

Think about Your Schedule

You'll be more likely to exercise consistently when you design a plan that works with your schedule, so make use of the open spaces on your calendar.

Your goal should be to get 150 minutes of exercise a week. If your schedule allows for daily workouts, you could reach 150 minutes by exercising for 30 minutes five days a week. However, if your weekdays are packed from sun up to sun down, plan to be a weekend exerciser. Studies have shown that your 150 minutes are just as beneficial whether you fit them in over the course of seven days or do it all in one day.

Also, if all you have in your day are 10-minute time blocks here and there, then make use of those. Three 10-minute workouts in one day have been shown to be just as effective as one 30-minute workout.

Consider Your Social Preferences

Are you a social butterfly? Use this to your advantage by working out with others. Mayo Clinic recommends getting your exercise with one or more friends. Not only is having an exercise buddy fun, but also knowing that someone else is counting on you can can help keep you motivated.

A social approach to exercise can take many forms. You might want to team up with just one person by recruiting a walking buddy or a tennis partner. Those who prefer big group activities might consider joining an aerobics class, a basketball league or a martial arts program.

If you're more of a lone ranger when it comes to exercise, that's okay, too. Instead of trying to force yourself to join a group, enjoy the quiet of working out by yourself. Take up running, use workout videos in your living room or invest in a stationary bike. Listen to audio books or podcasts while you workout to help keep you interested.

Capitalize on What Motivates You

If you are a highly motivated individual who loves setting high goals and knocking them out, use this to your advantage when it comes to exercise. Sometimes just the thought of conquering a goal that you've set for yourself is all the motivation you need. If this is you, set yourself a big goal, and go for it. Possible goals could be:

  • Take part in a 5K, half-marathon, marathon or triathlon.

  • Lose a certain number of pounds.

  • Move up to the next level of weights in your strength training regimen.

Remember that goals should be specific and measurable, so set a date by which you want to accomplish yours. Writing down your goal will help keep you accountable to it.

You may not be such a driven person, and if so, you're not alone. Lack of self-motivation is one of the 10 most common reasons why adults say they don't exercise. Don't use this as an excuse not to get fit, however. Find something that does motivate you, and offer it to yourself as an incentive for meeting your goals. For example, treat yourself to a massage if you work out five days a week for the next five weeks. Everyone has something that drives him or her. Find yours and use it to your advantage.

Need help setting and sticking to a fitness goal? Check out “Obi's Goal Setting and Workout Motivation” video.