When working out, especially when you first start out, it is essential to be consistent in your regime in order to achieve good results. As with a healthy diet, exercise is not something you can just do once a month and hope to reap the rewards, it needs to be done on a consistent basis in order to make improvements to your cardiovascular fitness, lose weight and to build muscle.
Consistency is also important to prevent injury. If you don’t work out for weeks, then hit the gym with vengeance, you are likely to damage your body in some way as it is not used to working out.
However, if you exercise on a regular basis, your body adapts to this regime and becomes stronger and more capable of intense workouts. Consistent exercise also helps to reduce stress levels and gives you a time to unwind, so it can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health.
Being consistent in your work out depends on will power, as well as careful planning and motivation. When starting out, it can be difficult to develop a consistent work out regime as people are often put off and disheartened when they start exercising again after a break or for the first time.
The first few weeks of any exercise program are always difficult, but if you strive to develop a consistent regime from the beginning, it will be much easier later on and you will see the benefits of your hard work much more quickly.
How to build work out consistency
If you start your workout regime with heavy weights or intense cardio sessions that leave you in a world of pain, you are unlikely to feel like doing this on a regular basis. Starting with a workout that is not suitable for your level of fitness is the quickest way to make sure you never go back, so instead choose something more low key to start and give yourself room to work up.
Try to choose a work out that you find enjoyable as you are more likely to do this on regular basis and start out easy. This also gives you room to develop goals for the future, which can be added motivation. Starting small will also help prevent injury caused by putting your untrained body through too much, too soon.
Have a back-up plan
Even the best laid work-out plans sometimes go wrong and it’s quite common for life to get in the way of your exercise. In order to still work out with consistency, whilst allowing for the inevitable interruptions, it is a good idea to have a backup plan.
For example, if you cannot attend your normal exercise class due to a work commitment, have an alternative work out that can be done quickly and easily at home when you finally do get home from work.
A gym ball, resistance cord or a skipping rope are simple purchases that allow you to work out anywhere at any time, be it at home while the kids are asleep or in a hotel on a business trip. Work out videos also good for this reason and can be more motivating than simply exercising alone.
Create a schedule and routine
By getting yourself into the routine of working out at certain times it can be easier to complete your work out on a regular basis. Put aside a certain time slot at least three to four times a week that are dedicated to working out and you are more likely to get it done.
Developing a routine that involves physical activity such as getting up early and going for a run can be difficult at first, but after a while you will find you do it without thinking and in fact don’t feel right if you don’t do it.
If sticking to a schedule is difficult for you, sign up for a class that forces you to come at a certain time or hire a personal trainer. Knowing you have paid for the work out in advance can be enough motivation to get you there, even if you don’t really feel like it.
Similarly to starting small, it is essential to be realistic about what you can achieve with your workout. Set yourself some goals for motivation, but make sure they are attainable. For the majority of people six pack abs or fat free thighs are never going to happen, so setting these sorts of targets can cause you to lose motivation when you are not achieving what you want.
It may be useful to consult with a personal trainer to work out some personal goals that are appropriate for you and the time you have to exercise.
The biggest reason people stop working out is lack of motivation or boredom. It is easy to blame other things, but when it comes down to it, if you want to work out and are committed to it, you will find the time and the energy to do something. Continuing motivation is the key to consistency in working out, so figure out what motivates you to see better outcomes.
The best motivation is that the exercise you choose is something you love doing, so find a sport that is not a chore, but actually enjoyable and interesting. Joining a team or working out with friends can be great motivation too and often makes working out a lot of fun.
Small achievable goals that can be modified as you reach them are a great way to motivate yourself, as are rewards for achieving your work out goals, although try to make these none food related or you may undo all your hard work. Entering a race or competition can also bring out your competitive spirit and provide extra motivation.
In the end working out consistently is down to your own ability to plan your workouts and motivate yourself to continue, so find whatever it is that motivates you the most and use this to your best advantage.