It’s time to finally get into shape, but if you’ve jumped on and fallen off the fitness bandwagon in the past (maybe more than a couple times), you already know that staying consistent with your fitness plan is one of the hardest parts of the whole process. You aren’t alone! Up to 67% percent of people who buy gym memberships never use them. So, how can you beat the odds and actually stick to your fitness plan? It all has to do with turning your workouts into a habit so you don’t have to negotiate with yourself about whether or not to lace up your shoes in the morning or hitting the gym after work!
Here are five powerful tips to stay consistent with your fitness plan and turn exercise into a permanent, body-reshaping habit.
1. Create an Exercise Schedule
In order to exercise consistently, you need to carve out time to hit the trail, the gym, or your treadmill in the basement. The last thing you want to do is tell yourself, I’ll exercise whenever I have free time. Free time is hard to find, especially when you’ve got a zillion shows to binge watch.
Instead, commit to a consistent exercise schedule. This means exercising at the same time and on the same days as much as possible. By maintaining a consistent schedule, you will begin to build a routine. For example, instead of telling yourself that you’ll exercise three times a week, commit to exercising for 30 minutes at 6:30 AM on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Make your exercise time sacred. This is for your health and wellness, so don’t let other priorities push exercise off your calendar!
2. Create an Exercise Plan
One of the biggest reasons people struggle to consistently exercise is they show up at the gym without a plan. When you don’t know what you’re doing or why it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsatisfied with your workout routine.
Instead, start by clarifying your personal goals and motivation. What do you want to achieve and why? Your goal may be to lose ten pounds in two months, run a 5k in June, or increase your back squat by 10 percent. Be as specific as possible. Now, think about your motivation. Why do you want to achieve your goal? Maybe you want to set a healthier example for your children or fit into your favorite pair of jeans again. Consider writing down your goal and motivation and sticking it somewhere you’ll see it regularly.
Now, it’s time to plan your workouts. Since you know what you want to achieve, you just need to figure out the steps to reach these goals. Want to run a 5k race in three months? You’ll need to start designing running drills each week.
If you are new to exercising, creating a fitness plan can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The internet is filled with resources on how to design different workouts; and, you can find tons of free guided workout videos online as well as paid programs. You can even hire a personal trainer to help you get started. The point is, know why you are going to the gym and what you want to achieve with your exercise time, and it’ll be far easier to sustain your motivation.
3. Remove Barriers to Exercise
It can be so easy to skip the gym after work if your stomach is grumbling and you have to stop into your nice, cozy home to pick up your gym bag. If you find yourself missing exercise appointments, figure out what’s pulling you off the righteous path and work to eliminate those hurdles. You might be surprised by how a few small changes make it much easier for you to follow through with your fitness plan.
For example, bring a healthy meal bar with you to work and eat it an hour before leaving so that you don’t feel drained and hungry. Keep your gym bag in your car, so you can go straight to the gym and avoid the temptation of stopping home first. If you are a morning exerciser, set out your gym clothes the night before, so they are ready to go. If you plan on running, walking, or biking outdoors, always have a Plan B ready in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
One other option is to invest in a home gym. Many exercisers struggle to find the time to drive to the gym. Others may feel uncomfortable working out in front of others for various reasons.
Working out at home can save you time and give you the privacy you need to work out without feeling self-conscious. Even without equipment, there are so many ways to exercise at home. You can perform body weight exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and squats or aerobic exercises like burpees and jumping jacks. Over time, add pieces of equipment to your home gym to give yourself more options and to diversify your exercise routine. For example, a simple set of bands or a weight vest are small investments that can give you lots of new exercise options. Over time you may also want to consider adding dumbbells, barbells and weight plates, and even aerobic equipment like a treadmill or bike to your home gym.
4. Do What You Enjoy
If you find running on a treadmill to be boring, uncomfortable, and unfulfilling, then you’ll never be able to stick with your fitness plan if treadmill work is all you do. Instead, design a fitness plan you actually enjoy or change your mindset to discover fulfillment in your current plan.
Fortunately, there is an almost endless number of ways to get your body moving. Some people love doing fitness classes. Depending on which class you take, you can dance your way to a great cardio workout, work with weights, focus on stretching and balance, or kick and punch away the calories. Some exercisers focus on weightlifting. Others love swimming, cycling, or join a sports team.
The key is to find what gives you joy and what you actually look forward to doing.
Another option is to make your current routine more enjoyable. If your goal is to run a 5k, then running has to be part of your training. Instead of running on a treadmill, try hitting a local trail. Another option is to listen to your favorite music or podcast series to keep your mind engaged.
There are endless options to spice up your workout routine so that you look forward to every session.
5. Recruit a Workout Partner
It’s easy to skip the gym when no one will hold you accountable for your slip up. It can also feel intimidating or even boring to work out by yourself. While some exercisers prefer to work out alone, (which is totally okay), many others benefit from working out with a friend, family member, or other fitness buddy.
Your workout buddy does more than hold you accountable for showing up to the gym, the trail, or the boot camp you both signed up for. A workout buddy cares about your progress. They can cheer you on and motivate you to do one more rep. They can even provide a bit of friendly competition!
Look around at the people in your life. Do you know anyone who also wants to get in shape? Don’t be shy about recruiting the people you know. Are you signed up for a 5k next month? See if your sibling, your partner, or even your neighbor will sign up with you so that you both have an excuse to train together. Recruiting a workout partner doesn’t just help you, it also means you can help someone else you care about achieve their fitness goals.
Build the Habit and You’ll Shatter Your Fitness Goals
Every time you repeat a certain action, like doing a workout, you strengthen and reinforce that great habit. Over time, if you stay consistent with your fitness plan, it will become second nature; you won’t have to think about driving to the gym or jumping onto the treadmill in your home gym, your body and your brain will already know all the steps! You will also begin to enjoy your workouts more and more, especially as your muscles adapt to the new routine.
Following your fitness plan consistently may seem difficult and foreign in the beginning, but keep at it. Over time, you’ll build a lifelong healthy habit that will pay dividends throughout the rest of your life. If going to the gym is a big hurdle, then consider working out at home. At Marcy, we offer the equipment you need to build a fantastic home gym. Check out our strength, cardio, and other home gym equipment.