Effective workout plans take into consideration your fitness level and goals. Check these tips to understand its importance.

Many times I write about the importance of hiring a Personal Trainer. The reason is that they are able to assess your fitness level and assign workouts you will benefit from.

I am not saying that the workouts you find online are not good enough. But the truth is that most of these plans are designed for intermediary or advanced athletes.

If you are starting from scratching or has some experience but do not know concepts such as proprioception or homeostasis, you may be putting your wellness in danger.

Before writing down my plan, I had my boyfriend taking assessment-like pictures of me. Based on them I could go through the same analysis Personal Trainers do in their first session.

Those “weird” positions or exercises they put you through are meant to evaluate you. It is not a “good” or “bad” evaluation, though. They only observe your posture and movements so that they can fix an efficient plan for you.

If you have a session together with another colleague, you might be asked different things. It has nothing to do with being more or less advanced. No need to worries about it.


Your Personal Trainer will be assigning specific exercises for you depending on:

  • your fitness level
  • goals
  • compensations
  • medical conditions

In the case of compensations, when caused by muscles imbalances, it is necessary to work towards minimizing their effects.

For example: imagine you have one grocery bag in each hand. One is slightly fuller and heavier than the other. If you need to add another item in one of these bags, which one will you choose? The lighter one with fewer goods inside? Or the heavier that is already overloaded?

Now let’s bring this analogy to your body. Because of habits such as sitting for long hours, some of your muscles will be more “used” than others. The ones always under stress will be overactive (or tight muscles) while their antagonist(s) will be underactive (or weak muscles).

If you do not take it into consideration when developing your workout plan you risk increasing this imbalance, causing injuries. Instead of putting too much weight in the bag that is already full, you need to distribute it equally.

Ideally, before thinking about increasing muscle mass or improving your performance, you should train to correct muscle imbalances.

 If applicable, your Personal Trainer may advise you to contact a health-care provider (if not yet done).

Never be satisfied, always look for improvements.
Life is about getting better every single day.

My plan

One thing is sure: my fitness level is close to the one of a beginner at the moment. After months of total inactivity, I lost muscle mass, flexibility, and mobility. I spend most of the time sitting which can cause serious hip and back problems.

Since I really want to get back to CrossFit as soon as possible, I want to not only get fit again but work on my mobility.

With that in mind, I am focusing first on the stabilization of the muscles. My training consists of:

  • slow and controlled movements
  • little to no weight
  • extra attention on the form (my proprioception is not what it used to be)
  • static stretching
  • cardio only during the warm-up and cool-down
  • no agility movements
  • high repetitions

3 times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I am following the workout plan I put together. Each session takes between 65 to 70 minutes. It includes an average 15 minutes of warm-up and another 15 minutes for cool-down.


A photo posted by Debbie Rodrigues (@debbieinshape) on

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I do at least 15 minutes of yoga. Yoga is great for balance, breathing, and mindfulness. It works perfectly for me in conjunction with Reiki. I focus on different yoga goals each time:

  • joint health
  • better sleep
  • back
  • and others.

The exercises


  • Self-Myofascial Release (or SMR): Adductors, Calves, Hamstrings
  • Static Stretch: Adductors, Calves, Hamstrings
  • Cardio: Elliptical machine for 5 minutes

I use my TriggerPoint foam roller for SMR. Yet I noticed that my calves and hamstrings needed an intenser approach. So on them, I am using a Rumble Roller.

I opt for the elliptical machine because it is the one we have at home. A treadmill, stationary bike or rowing machine would also be perfect.

Core and Balance

  • Core: Floor Bridge and Floor Prone Cobra
  • Balance: Single Leg Balance Reach and Squat Jumps With Stabilization

It is still too soon for plyometrics. During jump squats, I realize my knees turning inwards and my feet flatten. I want to get it as close to ideal as possible before working on speed.


  • Full Body: Cleans and Jerks
  • Chest: Ball Barbell Chest Press
  • Back: Ball Dumbbell Row
  • Shoulders: Seated Ball Barbell Military Press
  • Legs: Ball Squat

The only weight I have been using so far is the weight of the barbell itself.

Dumbbells could be a better alternative for the shoulder press, but we do not have light ones at home.

You may have noticed that I am not training biceps nor triceps for now. I am leaving them for a later phase.


  • Cardio: Elliptical machine for 5 minutes
  • Self-Myofascial Release (or SMR): Adductors, Calves, Hamstrings
  • Static Stretch: Adductors, Calves, Hamstrings


I had lots of difficulties completing the first session, but as I progress, there is already some improvement. For example, I was not even able to a single jerk on the first week. The solution was sticking to the clean technique. Last Friday, I was already able to do a couple of them.

This plan was put together based on the NASM methodology and I will be following it for 4 weeks.

Each time, I make small adjustments to this training so I can experience some progression. Whether it is by shortening the rest periods or doing the exercises in a circuit, I am always adding something new to the plate.

Take away

There is no perfect methodology or a perfect plan. It all depends on many factors such as:

  • your fitness level
  • availability
  • motivation
  • goal
  • health conditions

Even if your ultimate goal is related to physical appearance, health still must be taken into consideration.

Miraculous plans and diets may even help at first, but they are hard to follow and represent risks long-term. Make sure you develop a sustainable lifestyle that you can keep.

Weight is the only thing that matters. The scale may give you an idea of your stats, but it is not everything. The results of your next blood test are the real deal.

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For more fitness and healthy lifestyle tips read also:

Do you have any questions about workout plans? 

What You Need To Know About Workout Plans

Please check the list of link parties I join here.

Have a great workout!


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Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Debbieinshape/  (em português)

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Debbie Rodrigues
Debbie Rodrigues is a Productivity Expert. She helps busy career women create a productive routine that fits their lifestyle. She does this through coaching, online courses and through the blog debbieinshape.com.