Personal Fitness Plan: Development & Strategies

Instructor: Sarah Friedl

Sarah has two Master's, one in Zoology and one in GIS, a Bachelor's in Biology, and has taught college level Physical Science and Biology.

Starting a fitness program is a great way to get in shape and feel better about yourself, both physically and mentally. In this lesson we'll discuss how you can set up your own personal fitness plan to get yourself moving.

Physical Fitness

Engaging in physical activity is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Not only will it make your body feel better but it will also improve your mental well-being. Physical fitness has been shown to reduce the risk of certain diseases, as well as help you lose weight, sleep better, and more.

But if you're not already physically active and involved in a fitness program or exercise routine there are a few things to consider before diving in head first. So let's look at how to design the right personal fitness plan for you.

Starting a fitness program is a great way to get in shape and feel better.
physical activity


Before you do any exercise, you need to do a self-assessment. This will help you understand your current personal fitness level. Before you get started you should measure:

  • Your current weight
  • How many sit-ups you can do in one minute
  • How many push-ups you can do in one minute
  • How long it takes you to walk one mile
  • Your heart rate (pulse) before and after walking that mile

Other things to consider include your age, your general health, and any past injuries that may prevent you from participating in certain physical activities.

Set Goals

The next step is to set some goals. First, decide why you are starting a fitness program and what results you hope to achieve. Do you want to lose weight? Are you trying to get into better shape? There's no wrong answer here, but in order to get the most out of your plan you'll need to outline this goal first.

Your goals don't need to be outrageous. It's OK to start with something that you know you will follow through with. If you set your goals very high you may feel that they are too difficult to attain, making it harder to follow through with your plan. So, try to set reasonable goals that you feel you can meet. Remember, you can always modify your goals over time.

Getting the Right Gear

Once you decide on the activities to include in your fitness plan you'll need to get some gear. The type of equipment you use will be depend on what type of exercise you're going to do. For example, if you've decided to take up walking or running you'll need a good pair of shoes. If you're going to be biking, you'll need some wheels! And if you want to start surfing then a board will be a good start.

While it's tempting to buy something new for your fitness program, exercise equipment can be expensive and it might take a while to find the right gear given your size, activity level, etc. Used or borrowed equipment can often be a good way to 'feel out' different types of gear so that when you are ready to take the financial plunge you get exactly what you want.

Get Going!

By now you're probably rearing to get started! Actually beginning your fitness program can be both exciting and frustrating. Any time you start something new there are likely to be hiccups along the way, and it can be easy to want to do as much as possible at the start. Just keep in mind that doing too much too quickly is a good way to hurt yourself, which will put a wrench in your physical activity!

As you begin your exercise program, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Start slowly and go at your own pace
  • Try multiple short sessions at first and build up to fewer longer ones
  • Do a variety of activities to keep yourself interested and your body feeling good
  • Find the balance. It's important to include different activities in your fitness plan so that you don't get bored doing the same thing each time.
  • Listen to your body! If something hurts or doesn't feel good, don't do it! You may need to take some time off or try something new if the exercise you are engaging in isn't the right one.
  • Don't beat yourself up. You may find that you need to adjust your goals or tackle the problem from a different angle. Negative self-talk or outright quitting won't do you any good in moving forward.
  • Take some time to rest. Taking a day or two off from exercise is just as important as working out because it allows your body time to recover.

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