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Whenever I want to know exercise stories from the front lines, I always ask the ladies of my online coaching community, the Blast Fitness Coaching Club first. Sure, I’ve got tons of my own experience with exercise, motivation and nutritional struggles, but I like hearing from women who have careers, families, packed social schedules and still manage to fit regular exercise into their lives.
Last week I asked our members what has helped them on their journey to set up a consistent workout routine. These ladies are in the workout game for the long haul and many of them have tried numerous exercise strategies over the years. They haven’t always succeeded with what they have tried, but the lessons they have learned have helped them get more consistent in the long run.
From not sweating the small stuff to turning their garages into mini gyms, here are 10 things you’ve got to know in order to be a consistent exerciser:
I still do this. It must be a mental strategy to decrease the pain of getting out of bed in the morning! It’s like we say to ourselves: My clothes are already laid out, I’ve got to get up and put them on.
If you’re the type of person who prefers a lunch time workout, pack your gym bag and post-workout snack the night before. Setting yourself up for success helps to prevent derailment when extra commitments are added to your plate last minute.
The ladies of the Blast Fitness Coaching Club are masters at efficient exercise. Because the majority of our workouts are 20-40 minutes in duration, they know that shorter workouts are more consistent. The less time it takes to complete your sweat session the more likely you are to get it done. Almost every woman I asked said that knowing the workout will not take very long is a key to their consistency.
I tell my clients we want at least 20 minutes of exercise, and our goal is to get breathless and burning. That’s it. We do not need to exercise for an hour, but our workouts do need to be intense if we are going to focus on less time. I like to call this efficient exercise. We rev up our metabolism, get the big muscles working, create a metabolic soup of fat burning and muscle building hormones when we lift heavy and move quickly from exercise to exercise.
Yes, there should be sweat dripping down your nose (like mine, post stair sprints!) in order to be considered ‘intense’.
If your body expects movement first thing in the morning, it is much easier to form a habit. You will begin to look forward to your morning sweat and it will set the tone for the day.
On the same note, perhaps you are not a morning person and an after work sweat session helps you to wind down from a busy day. The time of day that you exercise does not matter, but the more consistent you are with your workout time, the more likely you are to get it in day in and day out.
Consistent exercisers know that life happens. The kids wander in, you get a late start, you feel a bit tighter than you thought you were so you spend more time warming up, these are all normal aspects of a regular exercise routine. Expecting that it will be perfect or that we need to have no interruptions in order to get a successful workout in is just false.
Here’s one of our members getting her workout in – it’s a family affair! Another club member shared ‘With three young boys at home I often am jumped on or tugged at while exercising and have had to be more patient that my workout might take a bit longer or I might have to dress a preschooler in a Power Rangers costume mid-workout!’
Whether you have an online group like ours or invite your neighbour over to workout with you, having extra eyes and ears waiting to hear about your workouts is key. There will be days when you do not feel like sweating and some friendly external motivation is what will keep you on track on the tough days that can turn into weeks or months without exercise.
This tip is obviously for those of you choosing to exercise at home. There can be less barriers to a home workout routine including less travel time and lower cost. But there can also be more distractions at home than at the gym. Having a space that doubles as a laundry room can be distracting, but this is reality for most people with home gyms. Get a few sets of dumbbells, an exercise ball and a mat and you’ve already got a ton of options for your workouts.
It helps to carve out ‘me-time’ each day and commit to a regular habit of sweating as a form of self-care. Just like brushing our teeth or paying our heating bill, we find time to do the things we prioritize. I would argue that there are no real distractions, there are just priorities. Make exercise an important part of how you care for yourself and the body you live in.
Showing up to the gym or your basement exercise area with no idea of what to do is not a great strategy for consistency. Having a plan in your head of which pieces of equipment you will use, how many sets and reps of each exercise you’ve got on the docket for the day and how long your workout will take are all ways to put yourself on the hook.
This is a version of the nike slogan – just do it. At a certain point in time we’ve got to realize that we’re going to do the workout or not. This is a typical mindset challenge for me, ‘well I will just send one more email’ or ‘I just have this one phone call to make’ and the workout gets pushed back further and further into the day.
I know I feel much better physically and mentally when I get my workouts in so I often have to just STOP myself from choosing something else on my to-do list and make the decision to workout. ‘Just get ‘er done’ was a comment made by many of the ladies of the lifestyle club.
I hope this helps you on your journey to a more consistent exercise schedule. Remember that being a little bit less perfect always helps us to be a little bit more consistent!
Cheering for you,
P.S. The doors to join the Blast Fitness Coaching Club are open until Friday August 31st at midnight MDT. You’ll get new workouts, recipes, calendars and videos every 30 days, along with coaching from me in our private Facebook Group.