How to Set Up an Advanced Workout Routine

How to Set Up an Advanced Workout Routine

Even if you've achieved some of your beginner exercise goals, there are more mountains to conquer as you start a more advanced workout routine. When you're determined to get stronger and leaner, having a plan is the best way to stay on track. Scheduling your workouts and tracking your gains means you'll be more motivated to hit the gym and really push yourself for the most benefits.

Evaluate -- or have a trainer evaluate -- your current level of fitness. An advanced workout for you may not be the same as an advanced workout for someone else. A fitness test can help you assess your current fitness level. The President's Challenge Program recommends checking your time and heart rate after a 1-mile walk or a 1.5-mile run and recording how many sit-ups and push-ups you can do in one minute. This will give you a clearer picture of your fitness level and allow you to set realistic goals for a more advanced workout routine.

Set goals for your new routine. Not only will those goals help you stay motivated, but they'll also highlight areas you need to work on and what types of exercise should make up your overall workout. Remember to make long- and short-term goals. A 20 percent increase in weight for bicep curls could be a short-term goal, while a long-term goal could be to train for an event or see a difference in your body over one or two months.

Build your advanced routine around at least 30 minutes of cardio, five days per week, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As an advanced fitness enthusiast, you can try a variety of high-intensity cardio workouts, like running or Spinning.

Add at least two or three days of strength training to your workout. As you begin to see improvement, you'll be able to increase weight or resistance. Whatever your current level of fitness, you should perform a maximum of eight to 12 repetitions, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. That means you should be able to do at least eight and no more than 12 reps at a specific weight. As soon as you're ready, go up to the next weight and you'll continue to see improvement.

In addition to cardio and strength training, practice flexibility training once per week. Yoga or intense stretching helps you retain muscle pliability as the third component of an advanced workout routine.

Exercise at a moderate to vigorous level to get the most from your workouts. Moderate intensity is best for strength training, which requires slow and precise movements. Vigorous intensity works better for cardio, which helps to get your heart rate in your target zone, suggests MayoClinic.com. You can calculate your target heart rate for exercise by subtracting your age from 220. Then, try to get your heart rate to around 50 percent of that number for light to moderate exercise and within 70 to 85 percent to constitute vigorous, intense exercise.

Track your progress. Keep a journal or use a smartphone app so you can record things like miles run, heart rate, reps performed at different weights and your daily routine. As you continue to progress, your notes will let you know when to move into a higher weight, when to add time to your cardio and when you're plateauing and need a new challenge.