007: How to set up a workout plan

How do a create a workout plan for maximum results?

How do I combine the classes I love into a solid plan?

How can I make sure I’m getting enough cardio, strength, and rest?

This is something that used to completely mystify me when I first got started in the fitness world and something I’m so passionate about today:

putting together and creating effective, sustainable fitness plans.

In this episode, I break down the science (and the art!) of putting together a great plan, especially if you love to take fitness classes and/or are strength training without seeing results.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

-How much cardio you REALLY need

-Typical muscle training splits and how to put them together

-Reps and sets for various goals

-My favorite exercises if you’re looking for physical changes


some of the mistakes I typically see as a personal trainer.

As always, check with a doctor before making any fitness changes. If you have any questions about form cues or have particular health considerations/injuries, please reach out to a local certified fitness professional for a full assessment.


I created a how-to just for you for this episode. If you’d like to print it out and use it for creating your own fitness plan, here is the sign-up:

If you love the info but would prefer to have someone else (me!) create your plan, get on the waiting list for our next round of Fit Guides here. <3

Thank you so much for listening! If you enjoyed the show, please consider leaving a rating and review on iTunes. It helps to increase the visibility of the podcast so more people have access to these healthy living tips.

Listen and subscribe on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play.

For full podcast notes for all episodes, check out fitnessista.com/podcast

Post Navigation:


  1. Mayacook on July 25, 2018 at 7:34 am

    Thank you soooooo,much. Working out from home, this is exactly what I need. I look forward to listening to it!

  2. Meghan on July 25, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Hey, I have a logistical question for you. So say that I mostly do indoor cardio without equipment. So no treadmill or elliptical. The cardio videos I do (21 day fix type) seem to sometimes be leg-heavy, include push-ups, squat jumps, etc. If I am trying to give my arms or legs a break because I trained them the day before, am I harming myself with these videos? Sometimes I will just do jumping jacks or high knees in place of heavy muscle cardio but sometimes I don’t and I have been wondering this for sooo long! What do you think?

  3. Lindsey on July 25, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    I noticed you said you’re a personal trainer, I didn’t know! How often are you training clients? How do you fit that in wit classes, kids, etc!?

  4. Stephanie Woods on July 26, 2018 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for this! I get stressed when I think about planning out my own workout plan and have used your shape ups and fit guides to alleviate that. I need to add in more HIIT but my knees concern me. My family has a long history of knee surgeries and replacements and when I go too long or hard on the treadmill they are always sore after. What HIIT options would you suggest if you are working out inside (b/c it is so hot and childcare is key) and trying to protect your knees?

  5. Molly on July 26, 2018 at 4:50 pm

    Loved this podcast episode! So helpful! Random question: I appreciate how you mentioned orange theory counts as strength and cardio, but how often would you recommend doing OTF in a week? I just rejoined and have been loving it, but I feel like I’m probably doing it too much (I’ve been going 3-4 times a week and usually earn at least 20 splat points bc my competitive side takes over during class hahaha). Thanks in advance for your input 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 31, 2018 at 1:14 am

      i definitely wouldn’t do OTF more than 3x a week on non-consecutive days. i feel like the sweet spot is twice a week <3

      • Molly on July 31, 2018 at 11:17 pm

        Thanks girl! That sounds about right 🙂

  6. Kelly on July 26, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    So lately I have been enjoying lifting heavy weights and building muscle and I love it! But my husband and I have recently decided to do a half marathon (Vegas at night!) but the training requires so much running! My plan is to do one day legs, one day total upper body, one day total body strength and run the rest of days with one day rest per week. Am I going to lose all my muscle?! I don’t want my body to eat itself!:(

    • Fitnessista on July 31, 2018 at 1:17 am

      ok… so i’m not a running coach, but i PRed by running twice a week: once for speed/intervals and once for time/distance. i feel like with all of the strength you’re doing, if you are running 3x or more a week, you might burn out or overtrain. i would focus one day on sprints and hills and the other day on distance (take it slower!) and really push yourself on the weights. you can build the strength and endurance without running so much if you’re lifting heavy and challenging yourself there.

      • Kelly on July 31, 2018 at 9:13 am

        I love that answer! Thanks Gina!

  7. Katie on July 30, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Hi Gina. I enjoyed listening to this episode walking on my lunch break today…best one so far I think!
    I hope you will consider doing follow up episodes on this topic for those of us looking to refine our workout plans a little bit and get more specific results. For instance:
    -How long should you follow a plan for before changing it up?
    -Are there benefits to following 1 type of lifting plan for some time and then changing it up for another period of time? For example, lifting 8 weeks of high reps/low weights, followed by 8 weeks of lifting for hypertrophy?
    -What kinds of accessory exercises can you do to increase your weight on a specific lift, eg. deadlift?
    And so on…

    • Fitnessista on August 1, 2018 at 12:46 am

      thank you so much! i’m so happy you enjoyed the episode
      YES, i can definitely do follow-up episodes. thank you for sending these questions along <3

  8. […] So tell me friends, how do you structure your workouts each week? Do you go with the flow or try to plan in advance? If you need help setting up a workout plan, I have a podcast episode and PDF all about this here! […]

  9. Jessica on October 25, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    This was immensely helpful. No nonsense and very straightforward. Thank you!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.