Sticking with Your Workout Program
A word to the wise:
Starting a new workout program is easy. Sticking with a workout program is much harder. Think about why you are doing it, break it down into stages, use motivation, use variety to your advantage, get outside help, track your progress and never overlook a good cheat day. Use these steps to stick with your workout program and achieve the highest results possible.
As someone who’s spent many working out both consistently and not consistently, I’ve learned a few things about what keeps me on track. Because I would rather you not make the same mistakes I have made, I have created a list of eight steps you can take to stick with your workout program.
Step 1) Think about why you are doing it.
Who are you working out for? If you find a good reason to workout for yourself, it will be easier to stay consistent. If you are working out just to impress someone else, there won’t be any true feeling of accomplishment and passion. If you find a reason for yourself such as the following, you will be more likely to succeed:
- Athletic performance
- To look good naked
- To feel better physically
- To feel better mentally
- To fit your clothes better
- To fight off an illness
- Stay fit for your children
Step 2) Break it down into stages.
One of the quickest ways to fail at a workout program is to go 110% right from the beginning. It’s hard for people to understand that you do not need to push yourself to the limits to see results. If you want long term results, what is needed is consistency.
- Start small to get into the routine and allow your body time to adjust
- Focus on form not weight
- Focus on slow consistent progress, not fast dramatic results
- Once you’re are adjusted to the new program, begin to add weight and intensity
Step 3) Use motivation.
Have you ever read an inspirational quote and felt a rush of motivation? Or perhaps you watch someone else do something amazing and unbelievable and felt that you would love to do that as well. There are plenty of ways to find motivation. Use motivation to push yourself through tough workouts or get your butt off the couch on lazy days!
- Motivational quotes
- Inspiring examples
- Workout early while motivation is high
- Celebrate progress and achievements
Step 4) Use variety to your advantage.
One common rule of thumb is to follow a specific routine for 4 weeks. Once the 4 weeks is up, you switch up the workout, exercises or rep ranges to keep the muscles progressing. This rule also helps us mentally because it is very difficult to do the same movement day-in and day-out. If you find that you would prefer to stay home rather than go do the same old workout, its time for a change!
- Mix up exercises to make your workouts more exciting
- Variety will help you push through plateaus
- Switch locations to give yourself a new atmosphere
- Use different rep ranges to keep yourself focused
Step 5) Getting outside help.
For something people, it’s just way to hard to stay motivated and focused on their own. If that sounds anything like you, see if there’s an outside source of help you can utilize. Perhaps you could hire a trainer to put you on the right track, or you can bet a friend $50 that you will lose 2 pounds this month.
- Having a couch or trainer will help push when you aren’t feeling up to it
- Training partners will help keep you accountable
- Make a bet on your progress with someone close to you
- Join a class
Step 6) Tracking your progress.
I will say it again, consistency is key. To help you stay consistent track your progress. In my opinion it is important to track your progress properly. Keep track of your reps, sets and weights daily. This will allow you to monitor your progress with the actual workout and strength progression. However, I believe when it comes to weighing yourself, taking before and after pictures and etc. it is important to have scheduled times.
If you weigh yourself daily, you may be frustrated and feel that you are making no progress. If you instead weigh yourself every 2 weeks on Monday morning, you are likely to see more appealing and dramatic results. Proving to yourself that you are making progress will be a huge boast of motivation!
- Keep daily workout journal
- Don’t weigh yourself daily, pick a longer duration such as bi-weekly or monthly so you see greater results
- Set scheduled measurements and physical progress observations.
Step 7) Cheat days!
One of the most effective ways to stay on track with your workout program is to have scheduled cheat days. Giving yourself a break to treat yourself with some junk food and have a lazy day of no exercise will be great for your morale.
- Have scheduled cheat meal days and days off from the weights
- Refrain from having to many cheat meals and days off because it will ruin your progress.
Step 8) Eliminate Distraction.
Possible the hardest step of all is distraction. We live in a world of distraction and it is very easy to allow ourselves to take the easy route rather than the hard route.
I love looking into new workouts, trying new techniques, and learning new movements. But that isn’t necessarily good, it is its own form of distraction. I often need to remind myself that I need to stick with my current workout for a few more weeks before I can try new things.
- Don’t sit in the gym texting
- Be polite, but don’t spend your time talking in the gym
- Prioritize workouts before other things so you don’t get distracted and miss a workout
- Be consistent and don’t get sidetracked by new fancy workouts before your finish your current one
One final point before this post is complete. I have said it before and I will say it again. The greatest lesson you can learn is that consistency is the key to your success. This is true for almost all things in life, but it is easily recognized in fitness. If you are consistent it will become easier and easier to stick with your fitness routine. The more consistent you are, the more results you will see. The more consistent you are, the stronger you will become. The more consistent you are, the less likely you are to fail.
You get the point. Being consistent is hard, it is something I work on every day. On the bright side, the more consistent you become, the easier it gets. So just keep trying your best and moving forward towards your goals.
What motivates you? What keeps you on track? Leave a comment below and let us know. Maybe it will help someone else out with their goals and progress!
Here’s some motivation I like below: