The word consistency may provoke a yawn and the thought of boredom. Yet consistency really holds it’s worth. Read any book on exercise, or any article on getting fit and one of the key points is always consistency.
Many of us start out keen, full of enthusiasm and focus yet in a short while we lose that passion and motivation, even forgetting what it was that we were aiming for and why. Before you know it, you arrive back to square one (or in many cases, 1 step back from square 1!) As the winter draws in, motivation can fly out. Heading for the kitchen for a hot drink feels more inviting than heading out of the door to the gym. Relax on the sofa or follow your exercise DVD???
I want to get you back on track before you fall too far behind and feel helpless to re-start.
Improvement and change occur when you do things often. Frequently stopping and starting kills any momentum, and with it success. You must find ways to stay in the game. Understanding why consistency is important and how to be consistent, will help you keep on track and committed to your goals.
• Creating a workout plan, and staying committed to it will help you achieve higher fitness goals. When creating your plan make sure you include things that you know you will enjoy doing on a regular basis. Ideally you should be looking to exercise 3-4 times a week, so make sure your plan is both fun and achievable. There needs to be a mixture of intensities and activities in your weekly plan. If every session is Pilates, no matter how difficult it may seem, it is not going to have the same effect as a weight training session. Likewise, if every session is a high intensity CrossFit class, then you may get to the end of the week feeling exhausted and feel unable to do two back-to-back weeks the same. This leads to inconsistency!
• To be consistent you also need to be realistic about the amount of time you can devote to your workout plan. Start with less sessions per week, and as you prove consistency, over time, you can add in more sessions.
• Know your plan. Write your schedule down on paper and put it somewhere where you will see it. Set reminders on your Smartphone, or create some way of scheduling it into your day. This will help you remember to actually do it!
• Working with consistency is important for your physical health. Doing one session every two weeks will only leave you feeling sore and exhausted. These sporadic outbursts of intense exercise are extremely stressful for your body. To achieve optimal results, you need to build on your fitness and strength levels week-in, week-out to see any marked improvements. This way your muscles, tendons and ligaments adjust to this gradual increase in intensity, leaving you less likely to get injured or rundown.
• Consistent workouts are good for your energy levels and mood. When you workout, your body releases endorphins that leave you feeling positive. Leaving numerous days between exercise sessions can leave your body depleted of these feel good chemicals, allowing stress and low energy levels to kick in. Staying consistent will improve your mood and increase your day-to-day levels of energy.
• Skipping too many days of exercise effects your motivation and confidence. The longer the gap you leave, the less likely you are to feel like exercising. When you’re in a routine with a good rhythm, it seems easier to stay en route. Research has shown that exercisers can bathe in the feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction after an exercise session for a day or two afterwards. However, as time passes, so do these feelings, leading to waning enthusiasm.
• To see marked improvement and progress, you need consistency. Exercising sporadically lowers the chance of progress, leaving you feeling like a non-achiever. Hence many people desperate to lose weight or get fit go from year to year without ever achieving their goal. They make some progress, but then lose consistency. When they re-start, they are back to where they were before.
• Have a least one of your sessions during the week where you exercise with someone else. Have a friend come round to the house and do an exercise DVD together. Create a mini circuit in the house or garden that you can do together. Meet a friend for a power walk in the park with your pushchairs, doing bursts of intervals where you walk hard for 1 min and walk at a normal pace for 1 minute. If you make a meeting time and point you can’t opt out at the last minute!
Happy consistent training!