Let me tell you a secret. When you are trying to lose weight or get fit, the program you follow isn’t as big a deal as many people will lead you to believe. We’re often told that x program is better than y program but that z program leaves both x and y in the shade. And while it MIGHT be true that one program is better than the other, it’ll only be a matter of degrees.
The truth of it is, it’s not the program you follow but your consistency that matters most. So interval training burns more calories than steady-paced cardio? That really doesn’t matter if you cannot exercise consistently. Which is better – 300 calories once a week or 200 five times a week? The answer is pretty obvious even to a math-midget like me!
So how do you ensure your exercise efforts are consistent? How can you avoid your workouts from being flesh-in-the pan events? Use these tips to help improve your workout consistency!
1) Seek out activities you enjoy
If you hate your workout, you are very unlikely to do it consistently – even if it’s the best calorie burner, fitness booster or muscle builder on the face of the planet. Forget whatever is currently being touted as the “best” workout and, instead, find something that you love to do.
It really doesn’t matter what it is you choose to do for exercise, so long as you can do it often enough to be beneficial. Sure, other workouts might get you there faster but not if you don’t do them consistently.
- Don’t like to run? Walk or cycle instead
- Prefer to make fitness a social event? Join an exercise class
- Don’t like to lift weights? Try a bodyweight workout
- Hate getting hot and sweaty? Give swimming a go
Being healthy needn’t be hell – just seek out activities that you enjoy and forget about what is “best”.
2) Use an activity tracking app
Using an activity tracking app like Stepz App makes exercise fun. Day by day and week by week, you’ll see the amount of exercise you have done accumulate and as the total amount of work grows, so too will your results. Set daily and weekly targets and then work hard to achieve them. Make your workouts a game as you try and reach and surpass your goals. Tracking your progress is a sure-fire way to make your workouts more consistent.
3) Get social
Logging your workouts on any one of the many social media sites is a great way to be more accountable. As your followers start to increase in number, they’ll soon let you know if they spot more gaps than workouts in your weekly reports.
Share your workouts, your diet, your progress, and anything else that is pertinent to your fitness journey and remember; it’s not just you who will know that you have skipped a workout but all your followers too.
4) Find your “why”
Your “why” is your reason for exercising. It should be a powerful motivator that got your fitness journey started. It also needs to be powerful enough to keep you going too!
Spend some time thinking about your personal “why”. It’s not enough to simply want to get fit or lose weight – think about the underlying motivator for your actions.
Good examples of powerful “whys” include:
- Reducing your risk of suffering a disease that is common in your family
- Living as long and healthy a life as possible so you are there for your kids
- Being strong enough to always be able to live an independent and productive life
- Getting in shape so you feel good about yourself and can meet your perfect partner
Once you have your why, make sure you remind yourself of it each and every day and especially when you feel like skipping a workout. You won’t achieve your “why” if your workouts aren’t consistent.
5) Make a plan
Failing to plan means planning to fail. Period. Exercising as and when you feel like it or can fit it into your schedule will NEVER produce meaningful results. In the same way you’ll never save a million dollars by occasionally tossing your loose change into a jar, you won’t get fit and lose weight unless you commit to a structured, sensible, plan.
Plan the days of the week that you are going to exercise and what workout you are going to do. Shoot for three or four workouts per week. Six might be better but if you can’t hit all six, you might feel your efforts are wasted and become demotivated as a result. Make your plan doable and if you manage to do more – that’s all gravy; under-promise and over-achieve!
Once you have your plan in place, including what you are going to do on which days and at what time, make sure you honor your plan too. Do not allow yourself to be double-booked so you have to skip your workout. Treat your planned workouts like any other important appointment. Remember, consistency is the key to your success.
While it might sound like a line from a country and western song, you need to keep on keeping on if you are going to enjoy the many benefits that can be gained from exercise. REGULAR exercise can literally save your life whereas IRREGULAR workouts are little more than a waste of time and energy. Sadly, you cannot store fitness so look for ways to make your workouts consistent and remember, even the “wrong” exercise performed frequently is better than the “right” exercise performed infrequently.