Since the beginning of this year, I’ve noticed that lots of people are having a hard time reengaging in regular physical activity.
The thing is that we had so many disturbances in our routines (blame the pandemic 🙄) that many of us have fallen off the bandwagon.
Even people who were regular exercisers before the lockdowns are now finding quite challenging re-establishing a routine and getting their mojo back.
So if this is happening to you (or if you simply want to make exercise part of your lifestyle), keep reading😊
3 tips to make exercise part of your life (and to actually enjoy it!)
- Create a routine around it
You know these people who go to the gym every day? Do you want to know what’s their secret? They simply made exercise part of their daily ritual. This means that exercise is on auto pilot and it requires little conscious effort from their part.
That’s what we call a habit. To form a habit, you need to perform a behaviour repeatedly over time until it becomes ingrained in your mind. Like brushing your teeth or driving a car.
To make exercise a habit, it needs to be convenient, so it’s easy to do, and satisfying, so you want to do it again.
How can you do that?
First, you need to decide what you’ll be doing, how many times per week, when and where you’ll be exercising. Then, you need to schedule it. Really. Book it in your calendar and make it non-negotiable. You can even pretend that you have a session with a trainer. You wouldn’t miss it if there was someone waiting for you, would you?
- Have a plan
Showing up is the hardest part, by the way. But once you’re there, you’ll need to know what you’ll be doing. Having a clear plan to follow makes it easier to keep going because it gives you a sense of accomplishment once you complete it.
For instance, let’s say that you just go to the gym and decide on the spot what you’ll do. So, you just wander around and use whatever machines were free at the time. Once you had enough (three to four exercises later), you go home.
Now, imagine that you have a solid plan to follow. Let’s say 20 minutes on the bike, then goblet squats, barbell shoulder press, wide grip pulldown, alternating lunges with dumbbells, push ups and seated cable row all with repetitions and sets written down.
Which one do you think will give you the feeling of having a good workout?
The feeling of accomplishment (of a job well done) is fundamental for reinforcing the behaviour that you’re trying to convert into a habit.
- Update it regularly
Why do you need to update your plan? First, because repeating the same thing over and over is boring. You’ll get tired of it and won’t want to do it again (not good for habit building). Secondly, because as you become more proficient in what you’re doing, you’ll need new challenges.
Challenges make your training exciting and engaging, meaning that you’ll feel motivated to do it😉 Besides, challenges force the body to adapt. You won’t get stronger (faster, fitter, or leaner) by doing the same exercise with the same load, for the same amount of repetitions all the time. If you want your body to change in any way, you’ll need to push it out of the comfort zone.
So when do you need to update your training?
Once you’ve mastered an exercise and have reached a plateau on your ability to increase the challenge, it’s time to move on.
This may vary depending on your exercise experience. For instance, beginners will need more time with an exercise routine because they’ll need to learn the movement pattern before they can load it. This is also true for more advanced exercisers learning new skills.
I like changing programs every 4 to 6 weeks depending on the person’s fitness level.
During the first two weeks, you’ll be learning to perform the exercises with good form and efficiency (being able to stabilize joints and have your core engaged the whole time). The following weeks are reserved for increasing the load. Once you’ve reached your limit (can’t increase load, volume or challenge), it’s time to update your routine.
Usually, more experienced exercisers reach their peak performance faster than new exercisers, meaning that the more advanced you are, the quicker you’ll need to update your training.
There you have it. If you focus on these three things, I’m sure that you’ll be back on track in no time.
And if you need help creating a plan that fits your lifestyle and needs, click here to book a chat with me. I’ll be happy to point you to the right direction.