The Single Most Important Training Element
With an overwhelming amount of information on working out at your fingertips, it’s hard to tell what you should make your focus. Cardio before weights? Lift heavy with low reps or light with high reps? Full body or upper and lower splits? Machines, dumbbells or bodyweight? First thing in the morning or wait until evening? Do group classes or workout on your own? Try looking up the best way to improve your fitness and you can easily end up more confused than when you started!
Luckily all these plans depend on one single component: Consistency.
Every training plan from a training-for-your-first-5K to an intricate upper/lower body split with heart rate based cardio intervals won’t do anything if they aren’t done with consistency. Naturally you aren’t going to see drastic changes in your physique or be able to run a 3 hour marathon without hard work and a rather strict adherence to a well planned training program, but to reap the vast number of benefits exercise can bring all you need to do is consistently get moving for 30 minutes most days of the week.
Picture this: You haven’t worked out in 7 days and suddenly go for an hour long run (good luck with that, by the way!) then are too sore to do anything the next 4. So you’ve gotten 60 minutes of exercise in 12 days. But, if you fit in 30 minutes of power walking in between errands on 4 of those days, run for 30 minutes 3 days and lift weights for 30 minutes 3 days you have successfully gone ABOVE the minimum without spending over 30 minutes exercising and throwing in 2 full rest days!
Many people are daunted by the feeling if they can’t fit in a straight 30-60 minute sweat fest they aren’t getting any benefits. Wrong. Every bit adds up. Get your heart rate up for a few 10-15 minute bouts a day and you’re still benefiting. Only time for 15 minutes? It’s better than nothing so go for it!
Here are just a few ways you’ll improve your body and mind through consistent exercise:
Here are a few tips:
Set the right goals
Your motivation to workout should come from within and is best if not tied to something external (extrinsic goal). Fitting into a dress for an event or slimming down for a vacation are both fine (and common) goals, but what happens after the event passes? Extrinsic goals are great to have for the short-term so do set them, but focus on an internal (intrinsic goal) as your “big picture” motivator. Having more energy, lowering your blood pressure and feeling less stressed are just a few examples.
Do what you like
Hate running more than a root canal? Don’t run! There’s no one way to workout so get creative and find something you’ll actually enjoy doing. Swimming, team sports, kickboxing, outdoor bootcamp, dance workout DVDs, etc . The list goes on and adding variety will keep it fresh so you don’t burnout.
Write it down and check it off
Schedule your workouts like you would any other commitment. On Sunday block off the best times for you to get in a workout and you won’t find yourself with “no time”. Better yet, get it done before work, that way no matter what the day throws at you, you already got your sweat on! Write it in your schedule/calendar and check off the days you workout, or use an online fitness tracker for an additional social media boost, and feel great about yourself as you see all the work you put in.
It’s not all or nothing
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a scheduled day, it’s not the end of the world! Life happens and you can’t always fit in everything. Get back to it the next day possible and remember it’s consistency, not perfection that you’re aiming for.
Eliminate as many barriers to exercise as you can. Have snacks in your car and at work so you aren’t famished and have energy to workout. Have shoes and workout clothes at work so you don’t have to go home in between. Can’t leave the house? Print out a go-to at home workout you can do with no equipment (check out the workout tab here or type in “home workout” online for ideas) so you don’t have to waste time coming up with a routine.
If nothing else, keep in mind that something is better than nothing. Once you’re consistent with exercise it will become part of your routine and be easier and easier to not only find ways to fit it in, but feel easier to do.
If you have no idea where to start and want help developing and being consistent with a plan made specifically for you and your goals, I can help! As a Certified Health Coach, I work with clients one-on-one in discovering what’s holding them back from living their ideal life. Our sessions are focused on you, your goals and the lifestyle you envision. Shoot me an email and let’s see if my 4-Week Kickstarter Program is the right fit for you!