Exercise Should Be More Like Brushing Your Teeth
One of the biggest keys to weight loss and fitness is consistency. I will preach this until the day I die. If you're not consistent with your workouts and healthy eating, you will lose the battle. Every time.
I know, I know, you're "so busy" (*sarcasm*) you just can't seem to find the time. First of all, no you're not. And, if for some reason, you really are, you need to work on your priorities. It’s never happened to me before so I can't say for certain, but dying young doesn't seem like it would be much fun...so make it a priority.
So here's the question (and answer); how do you ensure consistency? Answer: You turn working out into a habit...like brushing your teeth. Imagine if you only brushed your teeth twice a week? You’d end up with pearly yellows instead of pearly whites. From an early age, we’ve been conditioned to brush our teeth twice a day every day. It’s become so ingrained in our heads we don’t even think about it anymore.
I know, I know, turning something into a habit is easier said than done. I’m going to help get you a few steps closer to adding consistency to your workout endeavors with the following 3 tips though!
SET REALISTIC GOALS
First and foremost, set realistic goals. If you've been sitting on the couch for the past three years with your feet kicked up and a donut in your hand, your goal should not be to workout 5 days a week. Start with a more reasonable goal and work your way up to 5 days a week.
Here's an outline I use for my clients who are just starting to help them work their way up to 5-6 days a week:
1 day should be some form of structured exercise (physicalfix.com comes to mind…hint, hint)
1 day should be some form of non-structured fun (shoot some hoops with your kids, take the dog for a long walk, etc…)
1 day of a structured workout on the weekend
Weeks 2 and 3:
2 of these days should be some form of structured workouts
1 of these days should be some form of non-structured fun (be adventurous - try hiking with some friends, go bowling, dodgeball, etc...)
1 day on the weekend of some form of a structured workout
Weeks 4 and 5:
All 3 of these days should be some form of structured workouts
1 of these days should be some form of a structured workout (seriously, give physicalfix.com a try - *shameless*)
1 of these days should be some form of non-structured fun
This type of transition schedule will not only ensure that you stick to your workouts, but it will also ensure that you avoid any overuse injuries that will put you right back on the couch.
DON’T UNDERMINE YOURSELF
Next up in our plan to get you into the habit of working out is to make sure you're not undermining yourself. If you're not a morning person, don't plan your workouts for some ungodly hour in the morning. That routine will die quickly. Instead, look for a time of day when it might be more optimal...even if you have to cut the total workout time by 10 minutes in order to fit it. You might be cutting the workout time down but your total caloric expenditure (and excess post-workout caloric burn) will be higher because your body and mind were fully awake and you were able to push the intensity.
If you truly can't find another time of day or your job is too unpredictable, your only option may be early mornings. If this is the case, remember that your body is designed to adapt…but at a reasonable, adaptive pace. Don't try to wake up an hour earlier at the start. Instead, slowly allow your body to change its circadian rhythm by waking up slightly earlier each week.
Here's a typical Wake Schedule that will help adjust your Circadian rhythm naturally:
15 minutes earlier
15 minutes won’t get you a full workout so use this time to work on your core and abs.
Start off with 1 minute of jumping jacks and 1 minute of jogging in place to get the blood flowing.
Then get down on the ground and get in 2 sets of core exercises and 4 sets of abdominal exercises.
Weeks 2 and 3:
25 minutes earlier
If you’re thinking that 25 minutes isn’t long enough to burn a ton of calories so why bother, think again. Try this on for size; alternate between 1 minute of core/abdominal exercises and 1 minute of burpees for 25 minutes. This will burn more calories than a 40 minute run!
Weeks 4 and 5:
45 minutes earlier
60 minutes earlier
Finally, and probably the most important, find forms of exercise that you enjoy doing and build your workout routine around them.
If you’re slightly claustrophobic, don’t enjoy the smell of sweat, can’t stand group fitness instructors that yell in your face, and have a sensitive butt, then don’t sign up for a spin class.
Studies show that if you find an activity that not only rewards you physically, but mentally as well, you’re 40% more likely to stick with it!
Now, go brush your teeth and get a workout in!