To accomplish your fitness goals, consistency is arguably one of the most important components. Making a commitment to a regular workout routine increases your fitness level, improves your overall health and offers a greater sense of your mental well-being. But what are the tricks to staying consistent?
Step One: Create a Workout Plan.
Committing to a fitness plan, regardless of your goals, means mapping out and physically writing (or typing!) an actual plan. Whether it’s for a single activity or a series of activities, they are a written commitment to put your fitness goals into action. It’s common to get energized about working out and jumping in, but without a long-term physical plan in place, there’s often a drop-off in enthusiasm, and then ultimately inaction.
Programs keep you on track. You won’t have to think about what you’re going to do that day – it’s already written out. Depending on what your end goals are, each program or part of your program can have a different focus – endurance, strength, cardio, etc. Be realistic. Each day should be designed with your goals in mind – follow your plan consistently!
Step Two: Adapt.
If you have a program and don’t follow it, your body can’t adapt because there isn’t an opportunity for progressive overload (we want this!), which is when the amount of stress on your body is gradually increased over time, leading to increased strength and performance.
A lot of things happen inside of your body during exercise. Over time, your body changes, becoming stronger, growing, or running more efficiently. Different factors affect adaptations in everyone and there’s no way to know when changes will occur. However, being consistent with training will increase the likelihood of seeing adaptations sooner!
Different exercise elicits different adaptations. For instance, endurance training will produce different changes than resistance training. Check out this report “Physiologic Responses and Long-Term Adaptations to Exercise” from the CDC for more examples, including:
- Improved ability of muscles to use fat as energy
- Stronger ligaments and tendons
- Increased VO2 maxand lactate threshold
- Increased number of capillaries in muscles
- Cardiac muscle hypertrophy
- Increased force production
Each of these changes is beneficial for different reasons. The body is either becoming more efficient or stronger, or performance is enhanced. But remember, these long-term benefits are seen only after consistent training over a period of time.
Step Three: Create Habits.
We’re all creatures of habit. The more we practice, the more natural it becomes. Think about babies learning to walk, or when we learned to drive – it’s the same with exercise. It’s completely normal to feel out of your element if you’re trying a workout, fitness regime, class, etc, for the first time – but the more you do it – the more comfortable you’ll feel.
Now, the science factor…research suggests that to actually make something a “habit” it needs to be performed for 68 consecutive days. I get it. The idea of sticking with something for 68 days can feel overwhelming. Focus on taking it day to day.
Once you’re comfortable with one small change, add another, and then another. Small changes are more sustainable long term, and can add up to form new (healthier!) habits. Don’t give up. There are going to be days that don’t pan out the way you want, but that doesn’t mean all your progress is gone!
Outlaw FitCamp CAN and WILL help – on all fronts. We’re here to help you create a plan. We’ll help you gradually adapt to exercise and work with you on the consistency to help you reach your goals. We can even help you figure out your goals, determine what’s practical and the best way to reach them. Take the first step. Walk-in to one of our JJF or Outlaw FitCamp locations. Call the location nearest you. Take our “Find your Fit” quiz here. Become an Outlaw family member today.