4 Reasons to Have a Plan for the Gym

After spending lots of time in the gym over the last 10 years, I've learned a thing or two. The most important lesson has been why I always need to have a plan when I go to the gym. It's not enough to just show up. You've got to be prepared if you want to be successful!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 8 years of going to the gym, it’s ALWAYS have a plan. Seriously. If you are going to go, do the prep work so that you are making the most of your extremely valuable time.


And when I say “plan”, I don’t mean a rough idea in your head of what you will do. No, I’m talking about a commitment to a class or miles or time on a treadmill. Or a full workout, written out on paper. This was something my dad instilled in me when I was in high school. But I took that for granted — it’s a lot tougher when you don’t have someone writing your workouts for you.


I’ve tried it both ways, having a plan and winging it. The results are drastically different, so that is why I’m such a huge proponent for planning ahead for success. I’ll share with you the 4 reasons why I always recommend having a plan before you get to the gym.


4 Reasons to Have a Plan for the Gym

1. Boost Motivation

When I have my workout planned out, I walk into the gym (or on the running path) with a feeling of focus and determination. And it’s hard to stop and talk to each friend for more than a minute or so when you know how much you need to get done. And, if you are working with specific timing, you better just keep those headphones in, head down.

With a plan inked out, you’ll have some flexibility on the order of lifts, especially if a machine or area is taken, but you aren’t doing the bunny hop all over the gym, annoying everyone else in the process.


2.  Improve Accountability

If I have my workout on paper, I have a REALLY hard time “cheating”. By that I mean, I have a really hard time not doing all the sets and reps that I said I’d do when I wrote the workout. Without a plan, it’s easy for me to walk in there with the idea of doing 4 different lifts for 3 sets each, 10 reps and decide… 3 out of 4 lifts is fine. If I can’t make it through another set, that’s ok… and 7 is close enough to 10.

Having that planned out workout with me makes me actually lie to myself if I don’t stick to what’s on paper. And that’s just sad.


3.  Increase Efficiency

If you’ve already mapped out a plan for your workout, you’ll be thinking about how you’ll move through it before you even get to the gym. Then when you get there, you don’t have to think about what you feel like doing or what you could do. You won’t need to spend time on your phone researching a workout or how to do a lift. You’ll be ready to go.


4. Reach Goals

When you complete the workout that you planned out ahead of time, you can see in black and white how it went. For me, if I stick with the same workout a few weeks in a row, I see or (if you aren’t writing down your weights) know what you have done in the past, so you are more likely to increase and try something new. You’ll be more likely to PUSH YOURSELF. And when you are pushing yourself, you can attain those goals you thought you might never hit.


Now I challenge you try some structure with your workout. Do your homework. There are TONS of workouts out there and some great classes! Plan ahead to get the most out of your workout. Try this for 6 weeks and I’d love to hear how it’s going for you!

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