Recently I managed to fit exercise as part of my daily routine, working out feels like a normal part of my life. On average I work out between 5-6 times a week.
However I remember that this took time to build my routine, and these are all the learnings I gathered over the last couple of years:
- Know your why: what do you want to achieve? This might sound superfluous, but writing your goals and being specific will help you stay consistent, even when times are tough. Examples: Complete a half-marathon in 2 hours by May 2021. Weight xxkg dumbbell when doing chest presses, do full pushups, etc.
- Know yourself and plan accordingly: Also what exercise do you like the most? (dancing, weight training, running) , what time of the day is it best for you to workout? Take note of when you will do which workout which day of the week, which will remove the decision time on the day. (personally, I’m huge fan of working out during lunch time as I feel more awake and I still get the energy boost from exercising for the rest of the day).
- Have an tracking system: I like to use the ‘Don’t break the chain‘ method: essentially you cross every day where you workout, and this gives you visual cues
- Plan rest days – this one is important, rest is crucial to build muscle and prevent injuries. Make sure you use your rest day to get low intensity workout, whether it is a long brisk walk or a gentle swimming session.
- Get an accountability buddy – this is a huge one for me. Just keeping in check of whether you workout or not today really pushes me where I feel lazy.
- Have a ‘back-up workout’, for these days where you don’t feel 100%. You might not be able to complete this HIIT training when you are travelling, or on your period but at least you make sure to include some movement in your day. This can be as simple as a couple of stretches (like this one), a dancing session, a bicycle ride, or swimming in the ocean whilst on holiday.
- Pack your workout gear ahead. Even if you exercise at home, make sure you give yourself visual cues. Seeing your workout gear folded on your chair will remind you of your workout ahead.
- Get back on track – slip up will happens, being ill, being hungover. This happens. Back to the tracking system mentioned in point 4., make sure you don’t skip two days in a row to avoid extended period of times with no exercise.
It takes a lot of consistency, and lot of ‘not giving up’ to build a new routine. The key learning is to remove all the obstacles ahead of your workouts, so workout becomes as much of a habit as brushing your teeth. Take notes of days where you do not workout, so you can look back and see which behaviour patterns prevent you from getting it done (is it stress? fatigue? lack of time?). This way you can adjust your routine and make sure it is tailored to your lifestyle and goals.
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