Don’t Beat Yourself Up – Tips on Consistency
I’d like to share with you all one of my more recent workouts. I performed an impromptu, 15 minute, full body session with Quinn in our Halifax location. I wasn’t feeling particularly energetic or enthusiastic about the workout going into it, and this would be my first session in roughly 10 days.
My 15 minute workout was as follows:
- ARX Pull Down (performed on ARX OMNI)
- ARX Squat
- ARX Chest Press
- MedX Lower Back extension
- Triceps Pressdown
All of the exercises were performed to a deep level of fatigue and it ended up being a really great full-body workout. I felt expectedly wiped and euphoric afterwards. I was glad that I had done it and felt really great muscle stimulation the days following the workout in the way of muscle tone, and an overall energy boost. All of this despite not having planned the workout ahead of time; a lack of motivation on this particular day; and following a longer than usual break between workouts.
So, what’s my point?
There will be a constant flux of variables that will shape your training throughout your lifetime. There will always be randomness that throws you off track. It has been my experience that when you learn to expect the randomness you are better able to roll with the punches and to not beat yourself up because you didn’t achieve perfect execution in your health and fitness plan. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the great as they say.
It is no secret that exercise is crucial to health and the evidence suggests that we should be performing at least one really hard resistance session every 3 to 7 days. No doubt, there will be times when we miss the odd workout; don’t get the sleep we were hoping for due to a late work night; didn’t have an adequate meal; aren’t particularly motivated or energetic; etc. In the face of all this I think it’s important not get bogged down with the set backs life throws our way, or the minute details of a perfect regime.
The major factor in success with your exercise is to just do the workout! I know, easier said than done sometimes, but let’s not fool ourselves, it’s only 30-60 minutes per week. If you are reading this, I assume that you feel your health is an important part of your life; and that you are interested in finding some ways to stay motivated and consistent with your exercise regime.
Fact: Not every workout is going to feel great. Expect that.
There are plenty of times when I am mid-routine and I know that I am not performing my best. I may feel tired, weak, de-motivated, or just plain lazy, but I make myself work through it and do it anyway. If you come to expect that there will be days like this (hopefully less often than not) than you can learn to let go of the emotional baggage of ‘not having a great workout’. These are the things I tell myself when I feel that way:
It’s only 20 minutes, I can withstand almost anything for that short a time.
Your workout is a valuable investment into your health bank account, even if you didn’t ‘perform’ better than what you did in your last session, you will still reap plenty of benefits, even from a single session.
It’s only twice per week so I better make it worth my while
I generally rock climb twice per week, which means I only have the reserve for one resistance workout every 7 days. Knowing that, I don’t hold back, I need to make my workout worth my time in order to gain the well rounded benefits that I don’t get from climbing alone.
Every exercise / repetition / inch of movement / second of contraction counts!
Exercise is a negative biological event (read that again, negative event). In the short-term it is a stress on our body’s systems and stress creates growth. The greater the stress we can subject ourselves to during those sessions, the greater the benefits we’ll receive. In other words, work as hard as you physically and mentally can. *(see footnote below)
I will feel so much better when it’s over!
This will, of course, change from day to day, but if I put my best effort forth (even if it is significantly less than what I know is my maximum) I feel amazing after my workout; for a few hours later; and then get a pretty fantastic night of sleep to boot!
The point here, is consistency; routine with our workouts. I am sure you appreciate that this is challenging, what with our busy schedules, deadlines, children, social commitments, weather, etc. Something that works very well for our clients is when they book their workouts in advance. This way they have accountability to that time, to their trainer and to themselves because they know that time is important to them. Just like sleep, we should adopt the practice of carving out time in our week dedicated to making our muscles, bones, cognitive function, hormones and metabolism healthier through resistance training.
If it has been 10 days or even 10 weeks since your last workout, it doesn’t matter, start today. Ease yourself back into your routine and leave the gym (or your home gym) feeling like you could have probably done a little bit more. Your body needs to re-adapt to the stress of exercise again. Don’t assume you can do the same as what you did 10 weeks ago. You will get there, but it’s not a race, the benefits are in the practice, not necessarily the destination.
In one of my previous posts I discussed the idea of creating ‘A healthier Nova Scotia‘. I believe that this starts with us, as individuals, empowering ourselves to do what is necessary to improve our own health. And, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with consistent exercise, this is the foundation of a healthy body, mind and soul and it is the easiest action to take.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope that you found it inspiring. If you are looking for further information on how you can get started, or improve your commitment to exercise please don’t hesitate to contact us we’d be happy to listen to your story.
Watch this video for more on how to stay consistent with your workouts –> stick with it
We would also love to hear YOUR perspective, insights and your experiences on this topic. What have you done to keep yourself motivated and consistent with your exercise regime? What piece of advice would you share with someone who is struggling to start or remain consistent with their workouts? Any other tips are welcome and appreciated!
*This is contextual of course. A proper exercise prescription is required and based on an individual basis. Complete annihilation of your muscles and body is not necessarily your end game, especially for someone starting out 🙂