Program Design: Designing the road map to your dream body

Hello old friends! I apologize for my absence as I have been interning at a sports performance institute in Florida. I’m learning a lot from some of the brightest and best trainers in the industry. One of the most important lessons is program design.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail.” If you have a goal in mind (which is why you’re probably at the gym) don’t wing your workouts. What I mean by that is, have a game plan before you get to the gym. Without a plan, it is very difficult to be successful. How do I design a program Lizzy? I’m so glad you asked, here are some basic starting tips for laying out a program.

1. Determine how many days per week you can workout

It’s important to be realistic on how many times a week you can make it to the gym or fit in a workout. The average person works out 2-3 times a week. Based on how many times a week, you can assess the volume. This means if you can only make it in twice, the workout will need to be longer then if you could fit in 3 sessions.

2. Primary Exercises

There are primary exercises that should never be excluded from any program. Squat, Deadlift, Push and Pull. Every woman should know how to squat properly, perform a pushup correctly and pull themselves up. If you’re not sure what a deadlift is, say hello to your butt’s new best friend. Include one or more of these primaries in your workouts and you’re good to go.

3. Pairing

When creating your routine, there are important things to keep in mind. First thing, always perform twice as many pulls as you do push. The muscles in your posterior chain are more important for posture. You won’t get many dates looking like hunchback. Examples of great pulling exercises; single arm row, cable row, TRX row, and pull-ups. For your legs, pairing single leg exercise with double leg exercise works well.

4. Intensity and Volume

A brief overview of intensity and volume. When you have many of one, have less of the other. If you plan on going heavy on squats (so intensity high) then your volume will be less. (4-6 reps). For 15 reps of a lunge, go lighter weight.

5. Cycles

The body is an incredible adaptable machine. You will need to cycle your workout routine every 3-4 weeks to avoid a plateau. A plateau just means that your body will adapt to the exercises and will not progress. Typically I like to use the 4th week as a ‘deload’ week. This means I drop the number of repetitions performed and let my body recover.

Hopefully these tips will help you when creating your own program. Just remember to keep things simple and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at

About Lizzy

Lizzy is a lifelong motivator and a transplant to the Chicagoland area. She moved around quite a bit when she was younger, but has been happily calling this city home for the better half of a decade. She works as a personal trainer and youth performance coach. Her life’s passion is helping others achieve their goals. When she’s not coaching you can find her on the path training for an ultramarathon or landing tackles on the rugby pitch. She also volunteers weekly for a non-profit company helping adults with long term care disabilities. Lizzy is nationally certified in personal fitness as well as sports performance. Her enthusiasm and energy can’t help but be contagious. Helping make the site more well rounded, Lizzy is going to infuse us all all with a new sense of health and wonder. She is super excited to lend her unique voice to The L Stop and help people get excited about fitness!


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