5 Effective Ways to Stay Consistent with Your Workouts
So, you’ve made the big decision to exercise. After years of “planning” on starting an exercise program that never seemed to materialize, you’re taking the plunge. Congratulations! It’s never too late to get into shape and change your fitness level and life. The benefits of a regular exercise routine are many — it can help improve both your physical and mental health and even delay the onset of certain age-related illnesses.
The Importance of Exercise Consistency
It’s clear that exercise is a powerful prescription for health and well-being but sticking with it isn’t always a piece of cake. Even the pros will tell you it’s easy to make excuses and get off track, even if you have the best intentions. It takes an ongoing commitment to show up every day to train and move your body consistently.
The good news? There are ways to make exercise consistency a habit. By instilling healthy habits, you’ll be more likely to stick with your exercise program in the long-term. While it may not be easy in the beginning, it will become a part of your life if you push through the initial inertia. It’s true what they say: The hardest part of exercising is lacing up your exercise shoes. Once you get rolling, momentum helps you keep moving forward.
The key to any goal is consistency. When you are consistent with your training and diet, you are more likely to reach your goals. But how can you maintain that consistency when you have a busy life and other commitments? Let’s apply the KISS approach and keep it simple. Here are some strategies for keeping being consistent with your workouts.
Schedule Your Workouts
Your health is as important as your job, even more so. Without health, you won’t be as effective on the job or you might not be able to work. That’s why it’s important to treat our health with the same respect and concern as your job. Make it a priority! One way to do that is to schedule your workouts, so you’re committed to showing up, just as you have to show up at your job. Once it’s on your schedule, you won’t have excuses when that day rolls around and you have a billion things on your agenda. Also, research shows exercising at the same time each day increases the odds of success.
Know Your Why
Unless you have a compelling reason to get more active, you’re unlikely to follow through. Most people have vague, poorly defined reasons they need to exercise, and those reasons aren’t convincing enough to get them off the couch. Sit down with a journal or a piece of paper and think about why you need to exercise. Doing it to “be healthy” is too vague. More persuasive might be that you have a mildly elevated blood sugar, and you don’t want to develop type 2 diabetes. But take it a step further. How would type 2 diabetes change your life? It might cause other health problems, like cardiovascular disease, and give you less time to enjoy life with your grandchildren. Get specific with what drives you and you’ll be more motivated to stick with exercise.
Take on Less
Big fitness goals will smother and intimidate you. You might want to get fit fast but having that as your goal is a recipe for failure. Think in terms of micro-goals, small well-defined goals that encourage you without the intimidation. Achieving micro-goals will help you build confidence and keep moving forward. Invest in a fitness journal and write your mini-goals down. Start with one or two and build from there. Make them specific too. If your bigger goal is to walk 5 miles, 5 days per week, your mini-goal might be to walk around the block. Mini-goals feel less threatening and you’re more likely to follow through.
Can consistency and flexibility coexist? They can! You’re more likely to be consistent with your exercise goals if you give yourself wiggle room. Exercise can be more than a structured workout. If you have a day where you’re too tired to lift weights or do a more intense workout, do something active that you enjoy, like take a leisurely walk outdoors. Some people, when they encounter an obstacle, give up entirely. Be flexible enough to modify what you do, based on your schedule and how you feel, but do something to continue moving toward your goal.
Nothing can replace action and taking the first step. Some people spend weeks and months planning to exercise and never get started. They invest in exercise equipment they never use and join classes they may never attend. Nothing gets accomplished without taking the first step. Don’t let a belief that you can’t find the time or lack of motivation keep you from getting fit. If you want to get into shape or start a new healthy habit, take action, even if it’s only a small step.
The Bottom Line
It’s a no-brainer; if you want to achieve a specific goal, you need to put in the work and be consistent with your workouts. Hopefully, these tips for exercise consistency will help you do just that.
NIFS.org. “In Training, Consistency Is the Key to Your Fitness Goals”
Schumacher LM, Thomas JG, Raynor HA, Rhodes RE, O’Leary KC, Wing RR, Bond DS. Relationship of Consistency in Timing of Exercise Performance and Exercise Levels Among Successful Weight Loss Maintainers. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2019 Aug;27(8):1285-1291. doi: 10.1002/oby.22535. Epub 2019 Jul 3. PMID: 31267674.