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Building your own training program

Building your own training program

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July 1, 2022

 |  Gabriel Elnoufi

With everything you see on social media, it’s easy to get lost when creating a workout plan. When it comes to creating your own workout routine, the key is to keep it simple. Here are some tips to help you create your first training plan.

Find a goal

As innocuous as it may seem, it is important to have a goal in mind. This goal should be specific and important to you. Go beyond: I want to be fit! Can you write a SMART goal? (A goal being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Related to your goal, set in Time) Try to answer questions such as: Why do you want to achieve this goal? Is it important for you, for your loved ones? A specific goal will help your membership during more difficult times. Remember in difficult times why you started!

With a clearer goal, now is the time to find a training frequency appropriate to your level and your goal.

Establish a schedule

You don’t need to spend hours every day to achieve your goals! You don’t have to train twice a day either! Take a moment and look at your schedule. What are your daily responsibilities, do you have to take care of your children or a loved one, are you at work at regular hours, what moments do you have for yourself and of these moments, what moments do you want dedicated to your goal. To do this, printing out a one-week calendar can help you establish opportunities for training. A frequency of two to three times a week for a period of 30-60min can be more than enough to achieve your goals.

Choose simple and varied exercises working the whole body

The world of social media demonstrates a false reality of gym life. High performance training can sometimes be complex but only applies to a very small minority. Exercises with machines can be an excellent option to start since they are simple to use. To help you with your exercise selection try choosing one exercise from each category

  1. Upper body push: Shoulder press with machine, Chest press with machine
  2. Pulled Upper Body: Lat Pulldown Machine, Cable Seated Horizontal Tirade
  3. Trunk (anti-rotation/flexion): Horizontal arm extension under tension, incline plank
  4. Lower body push: Squat, Machine horizontal leg press
  5. Lower Body Pulled: Trap-bar deadlift, Hip raise with barbell

With 5 exercises and light cardiovascular activation on a machine such as the treadmill, stationary bike or rowing machine, you are ready to start your own training plan and take your first steps towards your goal.

Sets, repetitions, rest, intensity/load, …

A set represents the number of times you will do one rep. A repetition is the completion of the exercise once, for example, doing a squat repetition. Between each set of repetitions there is a rest period of varying duration depending on your goals. Intensity is often described as load, it reflects the effort you will give during your repetitions. A high intensity on a treadmill could be a sprint or a weight that you can lift only once or twice. Here are some tips for selecting your sets, reps, rest, load

  1. Set: Aim for 3-4 sets per exercise
  2. Reps: Stay between 8-12 reps to start. If you are unable to complete 3 sets of 8 reps, start at 2 sets and try to adapt the load, or exercise, to complete 3 sets.
  3. Rest: 30sec-120sec. If your goal is related to your cardiovascular system, work with a 30-60 second rest. If your goal is related to strength development, aim for 60-120 seconds of rest between your sets.
  4. Intensity: start at low intensity, gradually increase the number of reps per set. Once your reps are maxed out, increase the load.

Several other factors exist when it comes to creating a training program. This article is a guide that can help some people who want to take the first steps on their own. If you have any limitations, medical conditions or prefer to have someone qualified to take care of your training plans and make sure you reach your goals, see a kinesiologist at the center.

If you want to write your workout plan, consider our CMSWorkouts mobile app, allowing you to easily write your own program and try many of our available programs.

This article does not answer all your questions? Would you like to make an appointment with a kinesiologist? Send me an email or come and make an appointment with me so that I can help you achieve your goal(s).


Gabriel Elnoufi, kinésiologist


Sources :

Desmond McEwan, Samantha M. Harden, Bruno D. Zumbo, Benjamin D. Sylvester, Megan Kaulius, Geralyn R. Ruissen, A. Justine Dowd & Mark R. Beauchamp (2016) The effectiveness of multi-component goal setting interventions for changing physical activity behaviour: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Health Psychology Review, 10:1, 67-88, DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2015.1104258

Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition (

American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Mar;41(3):687-708. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181915670. PMID: 19204579.

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