How To Start and Maintain A Consistent Exercise Routine
Struggling to maintain a healthy exercise habit? Here are my top training tips on how to start (and KEEP) a consistent exercise routine.
It’s pretty easy to start doing spin class, or eating healthy, or foam rolling after your workouts, but sticking with it in the longterm is a much more difficult task.
You get busy. You’re too sore. Life happens.
And sooner than later, the excuses start to pile up. You end up skipping a few days, a week, maybe even a few weeks. Before you know it, you’re back at square one feeling defeated. It’s a vicious cycle.
In fact, learning to keep a consistent workout schedule is one of the main components of my Strong Body Beautiful coaching course. I teach you how to create a fitness habit that sticks. It doesn’t have to be that difficult.
With a slight change of your mindset, some simple planning and a little motivation, you can start (and keep!) a consistent workout schedule — for good.
Here’s how to begin:
Create a ritual
One of the best ways to start any kind of habit is to create a ritual around the habit you want to create. And working out is no different.
For example, maybe you want to work out first thing in the morning before you go to work every weekday. You might create a ritual where every morning before work, you get up, eat a small breakfast while listening to your favorite podcast, then do a workout, shower, and commute to work.
The idea is to get your mind and body so used to including a workout in your morning routine (or whatever time of day you like to work out) that you no longer have to think about it — it just comes naturally to you.
To give you a better idea of what this really looks like, here’s my weekday workout ritual:
- I get up around 7:30, have coffee + breakfast, and work for a couple of hours.
- Around 10 to 10:30, when I start getting sick of sitting at my computer, I put on my workout clothes.
- I walk to the gym or the pool (usually Equinox — you know I’m obsessed)
- I work out.
And my weekend/vacation ritual:
- Get up and put on my workout clothes.
- Have coffee and a small breakfast
- Wait 10–15 minutes, then work out.
- Shower and go do something fun!
Plan it in your calendar
Another way to make sure your workouts are ingrained in your schedule is to simply put them on the calendar — just as you would any other appointment.
Schedule time in your calendar every week for your exercise. Make this time nonnegotiable time expressly for you. If a potential conflict comes up, try saying something like “I’m so sorry, but I have plans” or “Thanks for thinking of me! I’d love to another time.” If you must make a change, reschedule your workout time for another day that week and stick to it. Treat your exercise appointments like any other essential appointments you can’t miss. Remember: you are the boss.
Commit for 30 days
Most of us have heard that it takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days to build a habit that sticks.
The key is to commit to the habit you want to create — such as working out 4x a week — and giving yourself a 30 day “trial” of doing that habit consistently. Tell yourself that if you want, you can go back to your old habits at the end of your 30 days.
When the end of the 30 days is up, see how you feel. Do you feel stronger, more confident, more energized, fit? My guess is that you’ll decide you prefer the way you feel after working out consistently, and not want to return to how you were beforehand.
If that’s the case, congratulations, you’ve created a workout habit.
When you first start working out on a regular basis, it’s never a good idea to commit to six days a week of hard core workouts.
Why? Because before you know it you’ll be sore, exhausted, burnt out, and possibly even injured.
A better tactic is to start small — try out two or three days a week of exercise for a few weeks or even a few months.
Only then, when you’ve stuck with the workouts for a while and feel like you’re motivated to do more, should you push yourself to increase the frequency or intensity of your workouts.
Baby steps now equal massive success in the long term.
My Strong Body Beautiful course teaches you how to make small, realistic changes that help you reach your goals. There are no extremes, just simple effective strategies and small steps that move you forward towards success that lasts.
Don’t make excuses
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to form a lifelong workout habit is constantly making excuses when something comes up.
People make all kinds of excuses for not working out — they’re on vacation, they’re sick, too sore, too busy, they’re too tired.
While it’s certainly acceptable (and important!) to take a day off, letting yourself make too many excuses will break you of the habit and make it harder to stick with it in the long run.
And the solution is simple: just stop making excuses.
Busy? You’ve no doubt got 5–10 minutes — and you could probably use a break from your hectic schedule to exercise and take some time to yourself anyway.
There will always be things to do and people who need you, but if you don’t have your health you won’t be able to do any of it well. YOU are the secret to accomplishing everything on your to-do list. A one hour workout is less than 4% of your day, and you don’t even need all 60 minutes to be effective! Instead of finding reasons you can’t exercise, start finding reasons you CAN. Stop the excuse habit and start the exercise habit. You’ll thank yourself for it.
You have to start
No matter how you go about it, the only way to really, truly keep a consistent workout schedule and establish working out as a lifelong habit is to start.
Stop waiting. Start Doing. You are worth committing to. Keep challenging yourself to be good to YOU.
And don’t quit. Never quit.
Need support in starting a consistent exercise routine that sticks? My Strong Body Beautiful program is 6 weeks of comprehensive training to help you start and maintain a sustainable workout routine. There are NO extremes, quick fixes, or false promises. Just simple, effective, DO-ABLE healthy lifestyle hacks that create habits which last. Which means you get fitter and feel better both in your body and within yourself. It also means you get results without going nuts in the process.
Every day is detailed and full of support to help you in your fitness, nutrition, stress, and self care. You can take the program at your own pace and customize it to meet your unique schedule, goals and needs. The program is intended to be used more than once and repeated to help you stay motivated and maximize results.
One of the best parts about enrolling in the course is that it connects you to strong women all over the world who share in your healthy lifestyle goals. Who can support you in honoring your commitment to yourself. Who can cheer you on when the going gets tough or motivate you when you need a little boost. That’s one of the reasons I created the course in the first place: to help women like US come together over living a strong life.
Ready to go? Enroll here.
Taking care of yourself regularly takes courage, consistency, and work, but the payoff is in the quality of your life. Small changes net big results, and any time you invest in feeling your best will pay you back in health. What is one hack you use to stay on track with working out? Let me know in the comments below.
Love and squats,
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Originally published at www.carolinejordanfitness.com on August 16, 2017.