Back to All Stories

Want to Get Fitter Faster? Plan Your Routine in Advance

Boost consistency, train smarter, and establish better habits by scheduling your workouts.

Routine planning on Tonal

If you use a digital or paper calendar for your work responsibilities or social events, you know that it’s easier to follow through with your plans if you schedule them in advance. 

You can do the same thing with your fitness routine. Exercise is much more likely to slip through the cracks on a busy day if you only have the vague idea of “working out” at some point. Instead, planning for a specific workout at a specific time can help you keep that commitment. 

When something is a standard scheduled event, it’s a lot easier to build that habit and make it part of your life,” says Christian Hartford, Senior Performance Manager of Applied Sports Science at Tonal. 

Tonal now allows you to schedule your programs and workouts in advance, view your workouts for the upcoming week, and receive notifications on the mobile app when you have a session planned that day. Here’s how to plan your routine on Tonal and why taking advantage of these new features will set you up for success.

Animated gif illustrating how to join a program on the Tonal mobile app and set your workout schedule.

How to Plan Your Workouts on Tonal

With the Tonal mobile app, you can now plan your workouts weeks in advance. When you join a program, Tonal will give you the option to select the recommended workout schedule  (for example, Monday/Wednesday/Friday for a three-days-per-week program) or choose the days that work best for you. Those program workouts will then be automatically added to your calendar. 

If you see a standalone workout you want to do, simply tap the “+” sign in the top right corner and you’ll be able to choose a day to schedule that workout. You can also schedule custom workouts. Simply search for the name of your custom workout in the Explore tab on the mobile app or filter workouts by Type->Custom Workouts. Once you’ve selected your custom workout, tap the “+” sign to schedule.

Now, when you open the app or turn on your trainer, you’ll see the workout you have scheduled for that day. If there’s no workout scheduled, Tonal will suggest one that complements your current program or, if you’re not enrolled in a program, a workout that fits your goal and level. Sign up for push notifications in the app, and you’ll get a daily reminder whenever you have a workout planned.

Benefits of Planning Your Fitness Routine

Train Smarter

Whether you prefer programs or standalone workouts on Tonal, planning your sessions in advance helps ensure your weekly routine is balanced and effective. 

Each program on Tonal has a recommended schedule, or the days of the week you should complete each workout. “We’re setting the routine to make sure that our training isn’t random. It’s not done on a random cadence, it’s done on a set cadence that gets you closer to your goal every day,” says Hartford.  

Tonal’s coaches and programming experts set these schedules to give your body the right amount of recovery in between workouts and make sure you’re lifting an appropriate volume each week. When you join a program on the app, you’ll see the suggested schedule. If those days don’t work for you, you can also modify the schedule at that time. You can also change the schedule at any time during your program. From the program summary screen on the app, tap the “…” in the upper right-hand corner and select “Program Schedule.” 

Routine planning on the Tonal mobile app; how to schedule a workout and a notification.

If you choose a new one-off workout each day, you might pick a jumping-heavy cardio session, forgetting that you just did a heavy leg workout yesterday. By planning your workouts in advance, you can take the time to preview your routine and make sure you’re balancing different muscle groups, different modalities, and allowing your muscles time to rest in-between workouts.

Establish Habits and Improve Consistency

Motivation comes up a lot when we talk about fitness—how it’s important to “know your why” and how to spark your enthusiasm by working out with a friend or trying a new class—but we can’t always rely on motivation to keep going. That’s why establishing good habits is essential. 

Think about brushing your teeth in the morning. You probably don’t jump out of bed excited and motivated to pick up your toothbrush—you do it because it’s a well-established part of your routine. Fitness works the same way. Motivation ebbs and flows over time, but it becomes less necessary when you lock in your habits.

If you’ve had trouble with motivation in the past, planning ahead may be even more effective. According to one study, creating a daily action plan increased physical activity among participants who had “weak habits” in the past even more than among those who already had strong habits. 

“This feature allows you to have more ownership over your fitness routine. Treat it just like you treat your personal calendar.” 

– Christian Hartford, Senior Performance Manager of Applied Sports Science at Tonal

“Building a habit requires establishing a routine,” says Hartford. Planning your routine in advance on Tonal allows you to use another proven habit-forming skill: cues, or triggers in your environment that signal you to complete a task. Studies have shown that people who use cues are much more likely to hit their physical activity goals. When you plan your workout on Tonal, you’ll get a mobile push notification each day you have a workout scheduled. 

Ultimately, habit-building is key because it keeps you consistent with your workouts, and consistency is what creates results. “The actual achievement of physical outcomes is easier when you have routine training,” says Hartford.

In one study of new gym members, it took six weeks with four workouts per week to establish an exercise routine. With Tonal’s multi-week programs, it’s easy to hit this target with just a couple of programs. If you’re doing programs that are only two or three days per week, fill in the additional days with recovery or mobility sessions. You won’t just be supporting your strength gains, you’ll be reinforcing your exercise habit and boosting consistency.

Plan for Flexibility 

Even the most carefully planned routines can get thrown off track if you wake up with a cold or nagging injury, or your day fills up with other obligations. 

Instead of throwing your whole routine out the window in these situations, modify your plan to fit your new reality. With the ability to reschedule a workout with a few taps on your phone, Tonal simplifies the process of dealing with an unexpected interruption. When you’re signed up for a program and miss a workout, Tonal will automatically move it to the next day in your program schedule and shift all your program workouts to accommodate the change. 

Combining pre-scheduling workouts with the ability to be flexible on Tonal allows you to build habits and train consistently while allowing for realistic adjustments for those inevitable hiccups in life. 

“This feature allows you to have more ownership over your fitness routine,” says Hartford. “Treat it just like you treat your personal calendar.”

Read More