How to get back into a training routine

Returning to a training routine can be challenging at the best of times, not just after a long break from the gym. Personal Trainer Olivia Tyler gives her top tips for goal setting and building an effective training plan to set yourself up for success.

Whether you’ve been working out at home during lockdown, or you’re a complete beginner, setting goals and creating a training plan will help you stay focussed and motivated on your health and fitness journey. Here’s how to get started:

1. Set your goals

Thinking about what you want to achieve can be daunting. But putting the time into laying the groundwork will help you establish your priorities and encourage you start working towards them.

If you had a training plan before lockdown, have your goals changed at all? You should always try to set goals that are SMART:

  • Specific: You need to be able to really visualise your goal in order to achieve it. ‘Get fit’ would be too vague. Maybe you want to gain a specific amount of muscle, or be able to go running again after an injury or surgery?
  • Measurable: How will you quantify your progress and success? It may be lifting a certain amount of weight, going to the gym a certain amount of times each week, or losing a certain amount of fat.
  • Attainable: Make sure it’s possible for you achieve your goal, otherwise you may get disheartened. Ask yourself, ‘Is this realistic?’ Think about what other priorities you have, and whether you can put in enough time and effort to make it happen.
  • Relevant: The more personal the goal is to you, the more likely you are to stay motivated. Make sure you’re doing exercises that you actually enjoy. If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure what that is yet, why not have an induction for the gym equipment, or try out a few of our classes?
  • Timely: Giving yourself a deadline will help you commit to your goal as it gives you something to work towards. You could even give yourself a series of smaller deadlines to help you keep going.

2. Create a training plan in line with your goals

Once you’ve decided on your SMART goals, a plan will help you to make the most of your workout time, so you spend less time wondering what to do and how to do it.


A training plan should involve a well-rounded workout to help you prevent injury, maximise results, as well as rebuild your fitness steadily and safely. Planning ahead can also help you cue workouts and avoid procrastination.

3. Define your training plan

Identify the number of times a week you can commit to physical activity, including rest times, and add in some flex – even the best-laid plans will have in-the-moment changes sometimes.


Here are a few more tips for defining your training plan:

  • Set realistic targets: This will help you to reach your goals and you can always adjust these according to your progress
  • Break down the activities you want to complete: Avoid overloading your schedule and feeling like you can’t accomplish everything you wanted to do
  • Commit to a personal trainer: Adding an expert to your training routine will give you guidance, motivation and accountability
  • Keep it balanced: Even if you’re aiming to build cardiovascular endurance for a long run, you should also include exercises for flexibility and strength, such as yoga, in order to avoid injury.

It's important to remember that having a training plan isn’t about being restrictive. Putting time aside to think about your workouts can help you tick off the basics, adapt when necessary and make time to try new things.

Last updated Wednesday 23 September 2020