“I’ll just pick back up on Monday...”
That was my motto for years. I’d start my week with the best intentions but by the time mid-week rolled around; I’d trade my “diet” and workout plans for happy hours and fast food dinners. Then, I’d pledge to start over the following week. Round and round I went, spinning my wheels and never getting the results I wanted.
Some people love going to the gym 6-7 days a week, but back when I struggled to maintain my fitness, the “routine” of the gym was too mundane for me to stick with it. And my list of excuses got longer and longer.
You’ve heard it 1000 times: consistency is key. I’m not sure why it took me so many years to understand this concept. But, when it finally clicked my entire life changed for the better.
At a certain point, I decided to ditch the rigid gym plan. Each week I would jot down a list of fitness activities I wanted to try. This was anything from lifting to taking a class at the gym, meeting up with friends for sprint sessions at the park, getting outdoors for a hike, or attending a yoga class.
I discovered when you create a list of fitness activities that you genuinely look forward to, working out doesn’t seem as daunting. When you lift the restrictions, you’re less likely to find excuses, and it’s a heck of a lot easier to stay consistent.
With all that said, to be consistent you also need to be practical. If you’re full of excuses, lacking consistency and craving results, these tips will help you stay on track for the long haul:
Do something active each day, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Perform some yoga stretches or take a power walk around the block. You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym each day to improve your health and fitness. Anything is better than nothing!
Always leave an extra set of gym clothes and shoes on hand.
Back when I was a territory sales manager, my days were long and my motivation to hit the gym after work wasn’t always high. Instead of going home to change into workout clothes (which, let’s be honest, is typically a 50/50 shot, right?), I started keeping them at the office. This slight little tweak in my habits really helped make a world of difference throughout the work week.
Make your own schedule.
Just because someone tells you to workout at a certain time, it doesn’t mean you have to. You have to schedule your workouts according to your lifestyle if you want any hope of staying consistent. I enjoy grabbing dinner with friends throughout the week, so sticking to evening workouts was a challenge. I started to hit the gym in the AM before work at least two days a week. The other three I’d save for nights when I was free and weekends when I could be more flexible. Scheduling my workouts like that helped me stay on track.
Add variety to your workouts.
Don’t feel like hitting the weights each day? Then don’t! Lift weights every other day and use the alternate days for another type of workout. Switch things up to keep your workouts fresh, fun and challenging.
Get rid of restrictions and embrace a balanced approach to your nutrition and workouts. Make fitness a lifestyle instead of a temporary quick fix. When I started to ease up on strict rules, being active, making healthy choices with my meals, even skipping out on happy hour with co-workers to hit a yoga class started to become second nature.
Many people think that fitness is something daunting because it’s full of rules and sacrifice. But it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. Commit to taking small steps, making healthy choices and staying active every day to get big time results!