How to be consistent with your exercise program

There are lots of “rules” when it comes to exercise that are designed to ensure that you get results from your workout. For example, overload means challenging your body to adapt by doing ever more intense workouts while specificity means choosing workouts and exercises that are appropriate to your wants and needs. While each of the rules are important, and there are quite a lot of them, there is a strong case for arguing that consistency is the most important of all.

 

With so much information online and in magazines about exercise it can be very daunting to about what is the right way to tackle exercise, but if you lack the habit to even exercise, all the information in the world is useless unless you put it into practice and without persistence and consistency.

 

Lots of people spend a lot of time worrying about the little things regarding fitness. Which exercise is better – deadlifts or squats? Which food is better for fat loss – chicken or turkey? How many sets of each exercise should you do – three or five? In the grand scheme of things, none of these decisions make a blind bit of difference if you do not exercise and diet with consistency. The best diet or workout in the world won’t do a thing if you don’t actually do it! Too many workouts, programs and diets never go from the planning stage to the doing stage and so a lot of people never reach their fitness goals.

While you can argue all day about which diet is best or which workout is most effective, the important thing is to actually get off your butt and do something – and that’s what a lot of people fail at. We call it “paralysis by analysis”.

 

Being consistent means sticking to your diet and sticking to your workout; not just for a few days or a week or a month but until you reach your fitness goals if not forever.

Here are a few tips to help you be more consistent…

 

Get a baseline

What is your body fat percentage? What’ s your waist circumference. How’s your blood pressure? What should these numbers be for your gender, age and height? Knowing where you are starting from can a) scare you into action and b) show you how well your exercise program or diet are working.

 

Set goals

So you want to get fit, build muscle and lose fat; excellent! But, how fit do you want to be? How much muscle do you want to build or how much fat do you want to lose? Unless you can accurately answer these questions, your training and diet are likely to lack focus and a lack of focus soon leads to a lack of consistency. Decide exactly what you want and by when you want to achieve it so that you have a reason behind each and every workout and meal you eat. Working toward goals is a great way to maintain consistency.

 

Train with a friend

It’s all too easy to skip a workout if you are not accountable – no one else cares that you didn’t go to the gym and you can kid yourself you’ll go tomorrow. However, if you agree to meet a friend at the gym, you are much more likely to show up even if you are tempted not to go – you won’t want to let your friend down. Of course, the motivation to exercise cuts both ways and your friend is less likely to skip out on their workout too.

Make workout appointments

If you have a doctor’s appointment, I bet it’s pretty rare that you fail to go. If you need to be at the airport at a specific time to catch a flight, I’m positive you’ll be there too. Use the same strategy and make workout appointments. Treat exercise like any other engagement – be there and do it! Rather than just loosely say “I’ll exercise today”, say “I will exercise Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 4pm” and then make sure you don’t break those appointments. Guard them jealously and if anyone asks you to do something that will make you break your workout appointment just say you have something else planned already.

 

Prepare in advance

Life sometimes gets in the way of even the best intentions; you ran out of time in the morning and had to skip your healthy breakfast in favour of a donut or you got stuck in traffic so you were late to the gym so you missed your boot camp workout and went home to watch TV instead. These things happen to the best of us but such crisis can often be avoided by simply preparing in advance. For example, make your breakfast the night. Try preparing healthy meals and snacks in advance or packing your gym bag the night before to ensure you are properly prepared for tomorrow. One of the best ways to ensure consistency is to remove potential stumbling blocks before they happen – be proactive rather than reactive.

 

Have a contingency

Even the best plans sometimes go awry so make sure you have contingencies in place for when they do. If you are going to miss your evening gym session, do a lunchtime bodyweight workout instead. If the weather is bad and you don’t want to run outside, know when a suitable indoor exercise class is on and go to that instead. Too many people have an “all or nothing” mentality where they fall apart the moment they have to veer away from their normal routine and just give up when things aren’t going their way. Don’t be like that – plan for when things go wrong and you’ll never have to break from your plan! At the end of the day, any exercise is better than no exercise – even if it isn’t exactly what you wanted to do on that particular day. Have a plan A and a Plan B as back up.

 

Hire a trainer

If you find it hard to be consistent yourself then maybe you need to hire someone to make you be consistent – like a personal trainer. A personal trainer can help motivate you, organize your workouts, help you plan your diet and make you accountable for your actions. They won’t let you cancel your workouts at the last minute (they’ll probably charge you if you do!) and they will make sure you work hard and effectively when you are at the gym. Having a personal trainer can really help you make your efforts consistent. In the words of Anthony Robbins “if you can’t get your ass up a hill, hire someone to yell at you till you can do it for yourself!”

 

Remember, the best workout in the world won’t get you anywhere unless you actually do it so make being consistent your first priority.
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

* Testimonials found on Dinny Morris Fitness have been sent to me by past and present customers and may not reflect the typical customer’s experience and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. The testimonials are meant to be a showcase of the best results personal training with me can produce, and should not be taken as the results a typical user will get.