7 Tips To Stay Consistent with Your Fitness
Updated: Jan 16, 2019
Building fitness into your lifestyle can initially be challenging but staying consistent with this routine can often be even more difficult… However, there are steps we can take to change this.
One of the biggest issues we face, in staying consistent with fitness, is our ‘all or nothing’ approach. With fitness we have a tendency to operate in extremes – sometimes we are all in, pushing 110%, or alternatively we are calling it quits before we even start. There’s no happy, healthy, medium in between, often leading to a vicious cycle of continuously starting and stopping fitness routines, which makes it basically impossible to achieve our fitness / healthy lifestyle goals.
Ultimately, the key to succeeding is in changing that mind-set. It’s the consistent behaviours and habits, day in and day out, that make the biggest changes to how we look and feel. Only then can we achieve our goals. Therefore, below are seven practical tips to overcome these challenges and make fitness a consistent part of your lifestyle.
Tip 1: Find Something You Enjoy
This isn’t about doing what everyone else is doing or following the latest crazy fad – it’s finding something that works for your body. However you want to move your body – whether it’s home exercise dvds, dancing, cycling, running, swimming whatever – it’s just about finding some activity or range of activities that you can and will do regularly. Ideally you want to find something that makes you feel better after you have finished doing your workout than before. Something that makes you smile or at least gives you a sense of satisfaction once you are done. This doesn’t have to be a static thing, you can try different activities and see what you enjoy and of course this may change over time as your tastes / mood / experience changes. Trying to force yourself to do something you hate or dread may work in the short term but it is not sustainable (and not so good for your stress levels or wellbeing either..)
So find something you love or a least like doing. If you are shaking your head vigorously and saying “it’s exercise – how can I love that?!” Then you just haven’t found fitness your style yet… Try thinking outside the box here – it doesn’t have to be running or working out in the gym. Be adventurous, explore different classes - try paddle boarding or rock climbing or even kickboxing, whatever appeals, just keep trying until you find something that works for you. Home Exercise dvds can also be useful here – they offer a huge range of different styles, levels, workout lengths and approaches. You can then experiment in the privacy of your own home with no one watching and if you really hate it you can turn it off and try another one…
Tip 2: Make It A Habit
You wouldn’t go the whole day without brushing your teeth would you? So don’t go the whole day without moving your body with purpose and intention. Make exercise and movement a habit that you do everyday. You make time every day to clean your teeth – do the same for fitness. I’m not saying you need to go all out every day, as rest is also important, but even taking time to stretch or go for a relaxing walk is important.
If you need to schedule it in your diary, by making an appointment with yourself, and prioritise it the same way you would a meeting with your boss (or the dentist etc) then do so. Whatever works to make sure that it happens!
Some people also find lying out their workout clothes the night before (or even sleeping in them!) can be helpful to make that commitment to themselves. You set your intention for the next day and then you know that you will follow through on it and complete that workout. It acts as a visual reminder (the same with packing your gym bag and taking it in the car so you can go straight to the gym or for a run etc after work or in the lunch hour).
Fitness isn’t a crazy fad or 60 day program that you complete and are done with – this is a lifestyle to enable us to become better, healthier, happier versions of ourselves. Afterall, we all have days when we don’t want to do anything but if you commit, you just need to be consistent, show up every day and after a period of time it becomes a habit.
Tip 3: Remember Something Is Better Than Nothing
Even if you don’t think you can fit in a full workout today – just do something! Some days it isn’t going to be possible to have the luxury of a 45 or 60 minute workout and that’s okay – that’s just life. However, even 10 minutes can make a difference – both to your mood / mental health and towards your fitness goals. So even if it’s just dancing, all out, to a few favourite tunes or doing a few squats and lunges as you make dinner – just get your body moving and raise that heart rate a little!
Tip 4: Make a Start!
There are going to be days (and even weeks sometimes…) when you just don’t feel like doing a workout. We all have those times – when we just don’t feel great, it’s just not a good time or you are recovering from an illness or injury and have gotten out of the habit of regular exercise. In those cases, think of something fun to do – a workout dvd you love (with rockin' music!), a walk in your favourite park, a bike ride in the countryside – whatever it is and say to yourself it’s okay not to do it for a long period of time / or do the full workout just say I will start and then see… Inevitably once you have started you will end up going longer than you expected or end up finishing the full workout (and feel so much better for doing so!)
Tip 5: Involve Others
Whether you recruit a workout buddy or just use family and friends as a support network to help keep you accountable – involving others can be really useful in helping you stay consistent with your fitness.
Roping in others to work out with you is a great idea to ensure that you complete your workouts and also adds a social element to the process. However, even if your family / friends don’t wish to join you – telling them what you are trying to achieve means that they can help support you in achieving your goals or at the very least understand when you need time to work out without interruptions.
Tip 6: Mix It Up!
Doing the same thing over and over becomes mind-numbing and ultimately you will start to dread your workouts, find excuses not to do it (or worse still just go through the motions but not focus) and often times give up all together.
Mixing up your workouts and challenging yourself, in different ways, is key to making it sustainable and enabling you to be more consistent. Additionally, your body adapts to the stress you place on it through exercise so ideally you should change up your workouts every 6 weeks to keep seeing gains. Varying your workout might include:
Different types of workouts, for example, body-weight training, circuit training, different cardio styles, flexibility etc
Varying the intensity, for example, if you always do steady state cardio try introducing intervals into your workout
Changing the rep speed, pattern or number of reps
Changing the order or type of exercises, for example, if you always start with back – start with chest or legs instead. If you focus mainly on isolation exercises (e.g. bicep curls) then try building more compound moves into your routine (e.g. deadlifts, overhead press etc)
Tip 7: Set Small Goals & Celebrate Small Wins
Rather than setting big flashy goals that seem too far off and unattainable, try setting smaller goals that will build towards your overall goal. This way you can track your progress far more effectively, you won’t get discouraged and the goals are far more manageable and achievable. This means you are also far more likely to stick to them than something that you might achieve in 6 months or a years’ time.
As you progress it’s important to celebrate the small wins – for example, that you completed 20 minutes of cardio 3 days this week or that you used 12# dumbbells for your upright rows this week rather than 10’s last week….
Remember small changes add up to big results – this is the way to see real results and to feel success.
These simple habits act as a system for success. It doesn’t take much – it’s just the little things that enable consistency and it becomes part of your routine – just like brushing your teeth! Ultimately, you don’t need motivation to work out – you just need to be disciplined and consistent… Someone doesn’t constantly tell you to brush your teeth – you just know that it’s necessary and the right thing to do (and you know the consequences of not doing it!) so just view exercise and fitness the same way… afterall you already know the benefits and the consequences of that too – right?!
Take Action: Give them a try and let me know how you get on! Do you have a tip to add to the list? If so, share them in the comments below - I would love to hear more!
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