How to Build and Maintain a Fitness Routine

Written by Justin Walls on . Posted in Health & Wellness

For some people, it can be easy to find the right balance in their lives to get in enough activity and good food to keep them feeling active and healthy. For others, finding the right balance can be challenging. I’ve found that keeping an account of your workouts and meals each day gives you the clarity to see how well you have been keeping to your activity and meal commitments.


The best way to get started is by keeping regular workout or exercise times and managing meals. I’m going to show you how to make a simple spreadsheet to manage this on your own.

The first item to build is your personalized routine. You can start with something like the running or walking routines I discussed last issue, or you can build another workout. IDEA fitness professionals, such as myself, have software to create video routines for our clients. Popsugar is an example of an online resource of workout videos by fitness professionals teaching classes. The workout could also be as straightforward as push-ups, pull-ups, jump squats, and V-ups (where you begin by lying on your back, then lifting your chest and legs at the same time to make a “V” shape with your body), but that’s not a very easy workout.

Here’s an example of a goals chart after two eight-week intervals (16 total weeks):


Change in
walking pace

Change in
weight (lbs)

Change in
body fat %


1:00 faster per mile

Lost five pounds

Lost 1% body fat


:30 faster per mile

Lost three pounds

Lost 0.5% body fat


The second thing to design is your meal plan type. You can follow guidelines set up by your fitness professional, follow a prescribed nutrition plan from your nutritionist, or download a meal planning app like Ziplist, Pepperplate, or Allrecipes Dinner Spinner. The plan I tend to recommend is similar to the diet, with the caveat that each meal contain 30 grams of protein. You will be keeping a record of what you eat in your spreadsheet.

Create a simple five-column spreadsheet (day of the week, your workout, breakfast, lunch, and dinner) to begin tracking your behaviors. This way you can see if you are meeting your personal benchmarks, and you can review to see which things may need adjusting to help you reach your goal. You’ll also want to create a separate place to track your goals. Your progress toward these goals can be assessed monthly, every six weeks, or at whatever interval you’d like to set for reviewing your data.

Setting goals and tracking your progress is a great way to set your intention to changing the way that you make changes in your life. If you need further guidance in goal setting and building your own programs, then either visit my website or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a spreadsheet template and other free materials (Protein Diet Meal Plan, 5 Steps to Change).

By Justin Walls

 Justin Walls is a certified personal trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine with specialization in youth fitness, senior fitness, myofascial release techniques, joint pain/arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, aqua fitness, running and walking. Justin designs exercise programs for individuals and groups specializing in core and balance, walking, running endurance training, sports-specific training, circuit training, High Intensity Interval Training, and military-style boot camp and obstacle course programs. He also has expertise in lifestyle/health management and meal planning, and a background in psychology. Learn more at