It is no secret that your local gym will be much busier on January 2nd than it will be on a weekday morning in September. This is because anyone who values fitness wants to be consistent with their workouts by finding a routine, and in many cases expect to see immediate results. This is typically easier said than done. If you are looking for ways to stay consistent with your exercise routine and see your fitness goals manifest in your life, read on!
Find a Partner
The social aspect of exercise is one of the most important steps in seeking improvement. As with anything, you are more likely to follow through with a task if you know that someone else is counting on you. If you tell a coworker that you will meet them at the gym before work, the chances of you flaking out and hitting the snooze button a few too many times go way down. It is also a great way to track your goals alongside someone else, and keep each other accountable for completing the same number of reps that you committed to at the beginning of a workout.
Habit First, Results Later
A traditional approach to both dieting and exercise is to put an immediate focus on the results. This is why many people will tell you that you need to immediately set tangible goals, and closely track them. If you are pursuing fitness, it is inevitable that you have some type of goal in the back of your mind, and rather than get hung up on specific goals in the beginning, it is important to first think about building a habit. When you are first starting, it is more important to not miss work outs than it is to see progress. Once the habit is there and you can hold yourself accountable for being consistent with your exercising, there are hundreds of different ways that you can tailor your goals and make them more specific to what you are trying to accomplish.
Mix It Up
We all have some motivating factor behind wanting to work out. This can be fat loss, muscle toning, or even just general health. No matter what you are trying to accomplish, it is easy to fall into the trap of always doing the same thing. If respiratory strength is your primary goal, rather than going on a run every single day, take some days out of the week to swim, or even do a 30-minute aerobic exercise that might include jump roping or mountain climbers. This will help you continually renew your mindset around exercising, give you greater motivation, and help take stress off of certain muscle groups that you may be overworking if you are doing the same thing every day.
No matter what your home or work life looks like, if you want to set aside time to work out, there are likely only so many hours in the day that you commit to this. If you only have one hour of free time in your day after scheduling the rest of your life out, this will actually be beneficial for your workout habits, as you only have one opportunity to get to the gym. If you have six hours of free time, on the other hand, setting a certain time when you will be using the gym will help you build consistency over time. For example, rather than telling yourself that you will exercise whenever you have free time this week, build a habit of working out on Monday and Wednesday during lunch and Tuesday and Thursday after work. If you can slowly incorporate your workouts into a more concrete schedule, they will become a habit over time.
Lay Out Your Gear
Reducing the friction between you and the habit that you are hoping to form is a key part of setting yourself up for success. When it comes to exercising, this can be as simple as setting out your running shoes, gym clothes, and headphones the night before your workout. This will help you clear one of those mental laziness hurdles that get in your way of actually stepping out the door and starting your run or going to the gym. It will also be helpful if you are running late or are on a tight schedule.
Log Your Activity
Logging your activity is a way to help you see how far you’ve come, and you can impress yourself with how much you’ve actually done. Many runners will write down their daily miles, and then set target destinations to measure how much they are running over an extended period of time. For example, someone living in Richmond could track over the course of several months how long it takes them to run the total distance to the White House, and then set a target date for reaching another major city nearby.
The rise of technology has made working out more enjoyable than ever. By simply putting a wristband on our arm, we can track things such as how many calories are burned, heart rate, distance travelled, and even sleep patterns. Investing in a smart watch is a great way to add some entertainment to your workout routine, and gives you a way to compare your workouts over time. For those that are extra tech savvy, you can even pick up an affordable pair of bluetooth fitness earbuds to help set the tone for your workout.
Rewards are one of the biggest factors that motivate most people in their work lives, as should be the case with fitness! Of course, dropping the weight you’ve been wanting to lose or gaining that muscle mass that you’ve been working so hard for is a huge reward in and of itself, but there are other ways that you can reward yourself to stay motivated and make exercising a habit. This is particularly useful if you have been working out with a partner, as you can have someone hold you accountable for hitting your goal and then be there to celebrate you once it is achieved. Tell your training partner that once you hit a certain goal, you are going to buy yourself a new pair of running shoes, or treat yourself at your favorite restaurant.
Utilizing The Fitness Equation
At the end of the day, making exercise a habit in your life comes down to one person — you. If you can’t find the intrinsic motivation to follow through with some of these tips, then there is not much that an outside source will be able to do to help you reach your goals.
That being said, The Fitness Equation in Chantilly and Ashburn, Virginia, is proud to provide top-tier resources to members of our local community to help them chase down those fitness goals. Whether you need access to our dozens of treadmills, upper-body strengthening machines, free-weights, or even a personal trainer, The Fitness Equation would be happy to help. If you are unsatisfied with the gym you use now, or are looking to start a gym membership for the first time, give us a call!