A person getting ready for their realistic workout routine.
April 12, 2024

Table of contents

We all know what that first day of working out feels like—equal parts exciting…and daunting. You want the results now…but that’s not how it works. It takes dedication and commitment. But that’s easier said than done. So how do you find long-term success with your workout routine? It’s actually quite simple: make your goals attainable and exercises enjoyable with a realistic workout plan.

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to set realistic fitness goals by incorporating a balanced and enjoyable mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility work, sure to help you maintain your motivation and commitment to your health.

1. Set Realistic Fitness Goals

First, assess your current activity level and personal schedule. Second, employ the SMART system by setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. If you're new to the exercise game, aim for shorter, more frequent workouts to build up your routine. Then, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your workout as you become more comfortable and confident in your practices. Remember, progress takes time—setting unrealistic expectations can lead to unfulfilled goals and total burnout.

2. Create a Balanced Workout Routine

A well-rounded routine includes strength training, cardio, and flexibility/mobility work to ensure universal and comprehensive fitness development, including muscle strength, cardiovascular health, and joint health, all of which lead to a better you.

Gym partners lifting a barbell.

Strength Training

Incorporate strength training exercises 2-3 times per week, and focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, push-ups, and rows that target multiple muscle groups. You can further augment your workout to achieve optimal results by utilizing bodyweight exercises and free weights to improve muscular strength, endurance, and metabolic rate.


It’s no secret that cardio is crucial for heart health and overall stamina. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity cardio per week. Take a brisk walk, go for a run, cycle through virtual Machu Pichu, swim, or shoot hoops—whatever gets the body moving. Not enough time to hit the court or gym? Break up your workouts into manageable segments—but always reach your time goals.

Flexibility and Mobility Work

Flexibility and mobility exercises improve range of motion and reduce the risk of injury, ensuring you can continue down your new health-conscious path. Yoga, Pilates, and dynamic stretching before workouts can enhance your workout performance, while static stretching post-exercise can aid in recovery and keep muscles ready for the next workout.

3. Overcome Your Obstaces

 There are a million reasons NOT to work out today. Don’t fall for any of these.

I Don’t Feel Like It

Staying motivated in any endeavor can be challenging, especially when progress is slow or non-existent at first. Set small, achievable milestones to help maintain focus and provide a sense of accomplishment when you need it most. And don’t forget to reward yourself with something spiritually/mentally/physically healthy for meeting your mini-goals—it’ll keep your motivation up.

I Don’t Have Time

Don’t have the time? Not a good enough excuse. Short high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions are both effective and time-efficient. Still don’t think you have time—then incorporate physical activity into your daily routine by walking or biking to work, parking the car further away from the grocery store, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to ensure you stay active without having to add extra time at the gym.

I Get Intimidated at the Gym

Gym intimidation is extremely common among beginners—you look around to see fellow gymgoers halfway through their fitness journey and others who have already arrived…years ago. Starting with home workouts or hiring a personal trainer for initial guidance can help build confidence and keep you comfortable. Remember, everyone on the elliptical, at the bench press, in the studio, or on the court was a beginner at some point. Focus on your own journey and try your best not to compare—you’ll get there.

4. Make Exercise Enjoyable

Finding activities you enjoy in life is crucial for long-term adherence to any fitness AND life plan. Experiment with different types of exercise to discover what excites you and always keep exploring. Group classes, sports, outdoor activities, or dance classes can inject much-needed excitement and fun into your routine making it feel less like a chore. Working out at home? Listen to your favorite music, learn something new from a podcast, or crush that book you’ve always wanted to read on audio to enhance your experience.

Quick Tips to Stick to Your Routine

1. Schedule Your Workouts: Treat your workout times as non-negotiable appointments on your calendar

2. Find a Workout Buddy: Add a friend to increase accountability and make workouts fun

3. Track Your Progress: Keep a log of your workouts and achievements to visualize your progress over time. Remember: progress is gradual

4. Be Flexible: At some point, you will definitely miss a workout—don’t sweat it! Instead of getting discouraged, adjust your schedule and get back on track when you can

5. Listen to Your Body: Rest when you want/need to, and never push through pain. Recovery is just as important as your workout.


Your workout journey requires patience, persistence, self-gain and self-love By setting realistic goals, incorporating a variety of exercises, and getting creative when it comes to obstacles, you can develop a sustainable fitness regimen that enhances your health and well-being for decades to come. 

Pro tip: the best workout routine is the one that fits your lifestyle, interests, goals, schedule, and personality. Stay committed, be adaptable, be easy on yourself, and cherish each step forward—you’ll get there.

People in a gym class.

How Does Nutrition Factor In?

When it comes to maximizing your workout performance and recovery, timing your meals is just as important as the content of those meals.

Eating Before Your Workout

The key to staying energized during your workout is to time your pre-workout meal correctly. Ideally, this meal should be consumed 2–3 hours before your workout, giving your body enough time to digest and convert the carbohydrates into glycogen. Your body utilizes glycogen more efficiently than recently ingested carbs during exercise, leading to a more successful workout.

When it comes to the composition of your pre-workout meal, aim for a balance of macronutrients with 60% or more of the calories coming from slow-digesting carbs, 30% from protein, and the remaining from fat. If you need to eat closer to your workout, opt for faster-digesting carbs, preferably in liquid form, as they digest more quickly than solids.

Post-Workout Nutrition

The post-workout meal is arguably the most crucial meal of the day. Skipping this meal can negatively impact your metabolism and undermine your workout efforts. Unlike the pre-workout meal, fast-digesting carbs are preferred over slow-digesting ones post-workout.

Intense exercise can deplete your body's glycogen stores, triggering a desire to replenish energy supplies immediately. If your body can't find protein or carbs in your GI tract, it may begin breaking down muscle tissue to convert into glycogen. Consuming a post-workout meal provides your body with the necessary calories to refuel itself and prevent muscle breakdown.

Moreover, drinking a fast-digesting liquid recovery shake within 30 minutes of completing your workout takes advantage of your body's heightened state of repair. During this window, your body converts glycogen twice as fast as normal. A Recovery Shake with a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein is an ideal choice. As a general guideline, aim to consume ½ - ¾ of a gram of carbs per pound of body weight immediately following your workout.

Boost Your Gym's Amenities with Nutritious Shakes and Smoothies

Fueling a new workout routine with the right nutrition is key to achieving your fitness goals. Performance Food Centers can help gym-goers an downers by supplying gym or fitness facilities with delicious, all-natural shakes and smoothies made from whole food ingredients. Our turnkey solutions include equipment, products, training, and ongoing support to make operating a successful smoothie bar easy. 

Turnkey Nutrition Solutions for Your Gym

Performance Food Centers offers turnkey solutions that make it easy for your gym to provide your members with the nutrition they need to fuel their workouts and achieve their goals. Our comprehensive package includes:

  • Equipment: We provide all the necessary equipment to set up and operate a smoothie bar, including blenders, refrigerators, and storage solutions.
  • Products: Our all-natural, whole food ingredients are carefully selected to create delicious and nutritious shakes and smoothies that your members will love.
  • Training: We offer thorough training for your staff, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills to create perfect smoothies and provide excellent customer service.
  • Ongoing Support: Our team is always available to provide ongoing support, answering any questions and helping you troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Benefits for Gyms and Members

By incorporating a Performance Food Centers smoothie bar into a gym, members receive a valuable service that supports their fitness goals and makes health more attainable. Top benefits include:

  • Convenience: Members can easily grab a nutritious shake or smoothie before or after their workout without having to leave the gym.
  • Clean Energy: Our all-natural, whole food ingredients provide clean energy without the crash associated with sugary, processed snacks.
  • Improved Performance and Recovery: By fueling their bodies with the right nutrients, your members will experience better workout performance and faster recovery times.
  • Increased Member Satisfaction: Offering a smoothie bar as an additional amenity can improve member satisfaction and loyalty, helping to retain current members and attract new ones.

Contact us today to learn more about bringing the power of whole food nutrition to your facility with a PFC Shake & Smoothie Bar.


Health - 10 Fitness Goals, Recommended by Personal Trainers

Today - I hate exercising. What can I do to make it more enjoyable?

CDC - Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity

Active - How to Conquer Gym Intimidation


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