One of the things that we hear time and time again from clients is the age-old struggle of maintaining a consistent training routine. Whether it’s the January running bug that runs out of steam by March or the gym classes that become less and less consistent, many people struggle to stick to their fitness goals. The difficulty in sticking with our exercise plans can stem from numerous causes, be it busy lifestyles, a lack of immediate results or mere boredom. Whatever the cause, however, the consequence is clear: individuals who are frustrated from the lack of benefits they feel from their fluctuating routine, with diets and moods that follow these highs and lows.
How do I feel about working out?
Be honest with yourself. If you’re not a fan of working out straight off the bat, there’s little point in forcing yourself to take up a gruelling high intensity interval training (HIIT) plan five times a week. If you’re the kind of person who is committing to exercise purely for health reasons, rather than for leisure, then be honest with yourself and set realistic goals, trying to make the process fun.
“Forget what you’ve been told about exercise and just focus on moving your body every single day. I’ve seen people drop 100 pounds or more simply by walking. Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated – just move your body in a way that feels good.”
What do I want to achieve from my exercise plan?
This is important to establish early on. So many people make the mistake of following a strict routine for a few weeks, only to cease exercise entirely because they’re not seeing the results they hoped for. Of course, physical results take time, but often the problem is that we’re doing the wrong exercises for our aims. For example, if you hope to slim down to become lean, focussing solely on weight-bearing toning activities will not help you achieve this – running and bodyweight exercise such as climbing might be more suitable. Consult a personal trainer to find out how to reach your goals in the most effective manner.
How do I like to work out?
This question has a couple of layers to consider. Firstly, think about where you like to work out. Do you thrive off the structure of the gym, and love the many different machines there to help you tone different muscle groups? Do you prefer to exercise in the comfort of your own home? Or do you love the rush of getting into the great outdoors as you work out? Think about where you feel the most inspired to exercise, and choose a few exercise routines that complement this.
It is also key to consider how sociable you are when it comes to fitness. Some of us are driven by having a friend to work out with, someone to turn to for support, encouragement and perhaps a little healthy competition to make the process more fun. Others, however, find working out to be a very personal affair, and prefer to exercise alone so that they can focus on their own goals, and have a little time to themselves. Either way is completely fine, but try to be honest with yourself about which way you lean.
So now you might have a better idea of what kind of your fitness personality, all that remains is to formulate an exercise plan that truly suits you, one that you can stick to and, most importantly, enjoy.
Finally, consider getting yourself a fitness partner. Even if you prefer to go it solo when you’re actually exercising, having someone to consult about your progress can really help you to stick to your plan. Whether it’s going for a run with a friend to motivate you to keep up the pace, hitting the gym with a colleague before work, or simply checking in with your partner about your progress each week, getting a ‘fitness buddy’ will make you accountable and nudge you to keep going.