How to Design the Perfect Workout Routine: 3 Factors


I often just go to the gym and do a little of this and a little of that. I would like to improve my fitness level. What are the factors I should consider when designing my workout routine?

There are three primary components of fitness and one main factor to consider when designing your workout routine.

Primary Components

1. The first component is your cardiovascular ability/capacity. In fitness, we also refer to this as your aerobic ability/capacity which includes aerobic endurance (how long), aerobic strength (how hard/intensity), and aerobic power (how fast).

2. The second component to consider is your muscular ability/capacity. This can be thought of as your muscular endurance. How long can your muscles apply force? How many repetitions can you complete? (i.e., how far or how high you can lift an object) What is the maximum amount of force you can use? (i.e. can you really kick down a door?)

3. The third component to consider is flexibility. We are not necessarily talking about whether or not you can do the splits (pat yourself on the back if you can), we are talking about the range or amount of motion that each joint in the body is capable of performing.


When assessing your fitness level you should examine your body composition. This is the proportion of fat-free mass (muscle, body, blood, organs, and fluids) to fat mass (adipose tissue deposited under the skin and around the organs). Your basic bathroom scale will not reveal this information, but there are several other methods to determine this including skin-fold thickness, underwater weighing, and bioelectrical impedance.

One of the most reliable is Body Mass Index or BMI, which estimates your body fat level based upon your weight and height. While the BMI calculation is an indirect measurement, it has been found to be a fairly reliable indicator of body fat measurement in most people. BMI is a simple calculation that you can use to determine health risk due to excess body fat levels.

A good fitness program should include each of these primary components. Your workout should include a cardio portion, which challenges how long, how hard and how fast you can perform; strength training, which challenges how much you can lift/push, how long you can sustain your strength, and how many repetitions you can complete; and flexibility work, which will improve the range of motion of your joints. By including each of the 3 components in your fitness program you will improve your fitness level and improve your body composition by increasing the amount of lean muscle in your body and reducing the amount of fats.

There are several secondary components of fitness that are involved in all physical activity and are necessary for daily functioning. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, these are the factors that help you achieve different levels of success on your ‘get fit’ mission.

Balance: Your ability to maintain a specific body position in either a stationary or dynamic (movement) situation.
Coordination: Your ability to use your body parts together to produce a smooth and fluid motion.
Agility: Your body’s ability to change direction very quickly. (think of sports like soccer, basketball and hockey).
Reaction time: How long does it take you to respond to a specific stimulus?

Your mental capability, is your ability to focus and concentrate during exercise to improve training effects as well as the ability to relax and enjoy the psychological benefits of activity (endorphins). So strap on your running shoes, focus on your three fitness components and enjoy your work out, which will help your fitness level soar.

Author by Sarah Brown

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