How To: Develop And Stick to a Workout Routine

One of the positives to come out of this pandemic time is a renewed motivation to have healthy habits. More than ever we can see just how important it is to have a strong, healthy body that’s able to fight infection & allow you to live your #bestlife

If you’re still struggling to develop a workout routine that you can stick to and that covers all your bases — this article should help!

Step 1: Get Clear on WHY You Even Want to Start a Workout Routine

You likely already know that motivation is not reliable. It’s going to come and go and that’s 100% normal. So we need something else to help keep us coming back for more.

What’s really going to keep you invested in a healthy workout routine is knowing why it’s important & beneficial for you.

Example: I know flossing is important, but simply telling myself it’s important isn’t that helpful. Having a dentist that explained the benefits (less stains/whiter teeth) & detriments (periodontal disease) was so much more helpful.

So rather than just reminding you why exercise is important (because you already know this), I’m going to remind you of some of exercise’s benefits & the detriments of not exercising:

Benefits of Exercising

  • Increased bone density
  • Increased lean mass
  • Increased metabolism
  • Looking “better”
  • Feeling “better”
  • Increased insulin sensitivity
  • Improved brain health
  • Improved heart health
  • You can try new activities and enjoy them without being as exhausted or at risk for injury
  • Stress relief
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Confidence improvements from seeing your discipline & strength/cardio improvements
  • Longevity

Detriments of Not Exercising

  • Potential loss of bone mass (increased fracture risk)
  • Potential loss of lean mass (increased sarcopenia risk)
  • Potential loss of balance/coordination (increase fall risk)
  • Regular activities seem harder
  • Decreased insulin sensitivity
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Increased disease risk

Some of the items above will stick with you more than others. When you want to quit your workout routine, remind yourself of the reason that really sticks with you!

Step 2: Make it INCREDIBLY Easy to Start (aka start small)

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is biting off more than you can chew. It’s so tempting to jump in with a complete like overhaul, but data continues to show that starting small is the way to go.

In addition to starting small, you want to make it incredibly easy to get started. You may think starting with 30 burpees a day is small, but it’s not exactly easy to make yourself do that.

Lay your clothes out the night before a workout. Buy home gym equipment so you don’t have to drive to the gym. Hire a personal trainer so you are motivated not to lose money & don’t have to think. Whatever “easy” looks like for you, do that.

Step 3: Set Reminders & Alarms

One of the hardest parts of creating a new habit is remembering to do it! There’s often so much going on in our lives that it’s impossible to spontaneously just remember to do something new. So set reminders that take care of the remembering for you.

Set an alarm for 15 minutes before you want your workout to start to remind you to get changed. Set another alarm for when your workout should start. You may not need to do this forever, but when you’re getting started it really helps!

Also subconsciously, you have to ignore the alarm if you decide to skip the workout that day 🙂

Step 4: Make It Fun or At Least Dwell on the Positive Outcomes

If all you can think of when you think about exercising is negative things, you’re never going to keep doing it. “This is so hard.”, “I’m bad at this.”, “I’m so far away from doing a pull up.” Thoughts like this aren’t going to encourage you to continue exercising.

Instead try thinking, “I’m proud of myself for showing up today.”, “This used to be so much harder.”, “I can’t wait until I’m stronger and this feels easier.”, “I will feel great when this workout is checked off.”

In addition to controlling your thoughts, make your workout routine fun. If you don’t like lifting weights, don’t do it! There are plenty of ways to strengthen your muscles, bones and improve cardiovascular health that don’t involve an upper body/lower body workout split. There’s calisthenics, yoga, running, biking, hiking, dancing, martial arts, group classes, trx training, etc. I think you should probably still lift weights once a week because it’s so good for you (refer to Step 1), but the other days — do whatever moves your body and makes you happy.

Step 5: Find Community

Like it or not, humans are social creatures. We do best with support and encouragement from others in our pack. You don’t have to be in a running group or group class, but having a partner, friend or even a social media tribe that you relate to can help give you the positive social pressure to keep at it. You can see other people with real lives and busy schedules that continue to make it work. You can share tips and have a little friendly competition. You can even just follow a few people on instagram who inspire you and think of that as your group! The community aspect of fitness looks different for everyone, so find what works for you.

Step 6: Have a Plan for When You “Fail”

Pilots practice worst-case scenarios so they know how to deal with problems when things go wrong. You should do the same! Already having a plan for when life goes sideways, will make it so much easier to get back on track. The best time to make this plan is when things are going great. You might think “I don’t need a failure plan, I’m perfect!”, but I promise this will come in handy.

Maybe your failure plan is that if you fall off the wagon, you will start back up with one yoga class per week. Or you will hire a trainer. Or you will call Becky and make her drag you on a walk/jog. Expecting failure helps make it so when you actually “fail” it’s not so devastating. It’s something you’ve prepared and planned for. You’re okay with it because it’s really not a big deal. You know how to start small and get back on the wagon and you know to remind yourself of your “why” 🙂

What do you think? Was it hard for you to develop and stick to a workout routine? Are you still working on it? Let me know in the comments!

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