How to design a workout to suit you – Ross Mortimer

galway daily gym fitness

It’s not like you’re stuck for choice but how do you know if you’ve made the right one?

A quick Google search and you can find thousands of different workout styles and plans, some vague, some in depth.

I’m sure that those plans worked for the person writing them and if you were able to maintain what they have laid out, I’m sure they would work for you too.

But what if they’re using some equipment you don’t have access to, what if you find the treadmill boring or find it really hard to motivate yourself to plan out your reps and sets for any resistance training.

If you follow my Instagram you’ll have seen some videos of the training I do to prepare for Tough Mudder but this does not mean that you need to follow along exactly with the same frequency or intensity to be Tough Mudder ready, it’s just the style that works for me. 

Exercise plans that can be found online are designed with no one person in mind, they’re not meant to fit your personal parameters or limitations so committing to them can sometimes be an uphill battle.

I’ve been training for years and have fallen in and out of love with tons of different routines and styles.

It’s only recently that I’ve latched onto the calisthenics focused workouts and even then I keep a CrossFit spin involved and that’s the trick – Don’t feel like you’re stuck to any one type of training.

Take the best parts of each discipline and figure out your own by using the FITT principle.

FIIT stands for Frequency, Intensity, Type and Time. I can only use myself as an example here so let’s look at how I plan.

Frequency –

I train every day, sometimes 2/3 times per day (Working as a personal trainer, I teach a lot of fitness classes).

There are weeks where I train less when things come up or get in the way, that’s going to happen regardless of how often you plan on training.

When you’re trying to figure this out, take a look at how often you’re happy to train.

Exercise should work around your life, not the other way around. Maybe you enjoy a certain type of group class and it’s on twice a week. That’s a hell of a good place to start.


I love the feeling of leaving the gym, knowing I have nothing left in the tank. Lungs burning and hands shaking. For me, that’s the intensity I aim for.

Plan how intense your workout will be based on where you are in your fitness journey. Anywhere from a 10 minute, gentle walk to 30 minutes of incline suicide sprints.

If you’re attending a group class, all of this is planned out for you and if you’re a member of a gym, talk to your instructor and get a plan written up.


Repping out hundreds of abdominal crunches is all well and good for building endurance in your abs but on its own it’s not going to go too far towards preparing me for a Tough Mudder.

For me it’s the functional style of calisthenics with the fast paced, high intensity of CrossFit mixed in that keeps me in the mindset of “I enjoy this” when planning a workout.

Feeling how comfortable my body is in the more complex movements and obstacles from the calisthenics and the aerobic capacity being able to carry me through from the CrossFit is what determines my “Type” of training.


How long you’re working out for per session. This can vary greatly depending on the intensity and type that we’ve already figured out.

If I’m training a strict calisthenics routine my workouts can last about 60 – 90 minutes but if I’m going all in on CrossFit for the day my workouts could be 10 minutes.

I make sure to change this regularly for two reasons. !. It keeps my body guessing so I can’t fall into a routine and coast along and 2. It keeps it exciting and challenging.

So if you’re planning out the next stage of your training, all you have to do is fill in each section of the FITT principle with what suits you.

As often as you can manage, as hard as you’re comfortable to go for as long as you’re happy to do it in whatever style suits you best. And there you have it, you are your own personal trainer.

Time to get to work.

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