Wanting to get in shape? You’re not alone. ReportLinker, a French technology company, conducted a survey which showed that while ¾ of Americans consider it “very important” to look good and be in shape, less than 1/3 of those people exercise regularly.
Obviously, as a culture, our work ethic/habits are not meeting our ambitions/goals/ideas. Truth be told, many of us (including me) have struggled to consistently exercise. In the last few months, I have been able to “crack the code” for my personal consistency in the gym, and believe that some of these principles can help you, too!
- Establish WHY you want to go to the gym
Classically, I’ll start with Simon Sinek’s famous quote (and book) “Start with WHY.” This goes much, much deeper than “I want to lose weight” or “I want to look good.” You need to dig way deep down, be honest with yourself, and find your “WHY.”
For me, it was a combination of wanting to improve my overall health/appearance so that I could be intellectually honest with myself and occupation. As many of you know, I co-own a sales and distribution company within the health and wellness space. As the CEO, I usually find myself being the “face” of the company in the US, often making in-person meetings with buyers, nutritionists, consumers, etc.
When I started, I DID NOT look the part. Coming in at a towering 5’8, there was definitely no reason for me to be 210 lbs. This body did not reflect the person I was inside, nor the person I wanted to be seen as among my peers and colleagues. However, it was 100% my fault, because the unhealthy habits I formed in college caused me to be overweight.
So, for me, THAT was the spark which ignited my health journey. That idea alone gave me the motivation, but I needed much more than that to sustain any long-term results.
- Start “smaller” than you think you should
If you think you can go to the gym 4 days a week, start with 3. If you think you can go 3, start with 2… and so on.
Often times when we first set out to accomplish a goal, we are super pumped at the beginning because it is fresh on our minds, and the motivation is still there. However, as I will reference many times, James Clear once said, “We do not rise to the level of our motivation, we fall to the level of our systems.”
Life gets in the way- it’s just a fact. Why do you think so many people buy gym memberships in January and don’t sniff the gym again after mid-March? It’s because their motivation runs out before they’ve implemented sufficient systems.
Starting “small” allows it to be much easier to develop the habit/routine of daily exercise. What starts out as somewhat difficult becomes easy surprisingly quickly. Once 2 days a week in the gym becomes a breeze, move to 3, then to 4, etc. While this method may not get you “abs in 60 days” as those infomercials tell you, it will allow you to establish exercise habits that, when done correctly, can last a lifetime.
- Sprinkle your daily diet with a “reward system”
Everyone likes rewards! This one is pretty simple, yet I have found it very effective. To make this as easy as possible to understand, I’ll give a personal example of how I’ve used this tactic to motivate me in the gym and to stay consistent.
During the week (Monday – Friday), I do what is called intermittent fasting. That’s a topic for another blog, but this essentially means that I fast from 11 PM until 5 PM every 24-hour cycle, and have an eating window from 5 PM to 11 PM.
I always break my fast on weekdays around 5/5:30 with a meal consisting of chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli mixed together in a bowl with some type of sauce concoction. While this isn’t the most exciting meal ever, it delivers key nutrients which I miss during my fasting hours. This practice would be absolutely miserable if I did it every day, but I’ve found that limiting that restriction to the weekdays, while giving myself the weekends to basically eat whatever I want, has worked fantastically.
Summary: Find a “reward” that helps you stay consistent without ruining all of your hard work.
- Set a normal routine and stick to it
Setting a normal routine will be your absolute best friend when trying to establish regular exercise.
Do you have a “morning routine”? Everyone’s may be a little different, but most people I know drink coffee in the morning. Rest assured- snow, sleet, or sunshine- their morning will start with a cup of coffee. Why? Because it’s routine.
You get used to the way that the coffee tastes, as its warm goodness soothes your throat. You love the rush that the caffeine gives you, so much so that it can lead to caffeine addiction. Imagine this: You can feel the SAME WAY about going to the gym!
It seems crazy, but many fitness enthusiasts will tell you that the way exercising makes them feel is just as addicting as that morning cup-a-joe or that lunch break cigarette. In order to get to that point, however, you need to develop a routine and stick to it!
- Forced accountability (you don’t HAVE to have a gym partner)
Today is the day that you get rid of the excuse that you can’t go to the gym without a gym partner. That is complete, utter, absolute, good-for-nothing HOT GARBAGE!!!
* Calms down *
Seriously, I say this as earnestly as possible because I used to 100% believe it. I believed that I couldn’t go to the gym without a gym partner, and I’d use any excuse in the book to convince myself of it. Yes, I’m talking to YOU! You cannot use the excuse that you “don’t have a spotter” to not go to the gym. If you actually think about it, how absolutely insane does that sound?
“I don’t have a spotter to help me lift more weight than I can on my own, so I will do the safe thing and sit here on my couch instead of going at all.” LOL- STOP IT! You’re using the same excuse I was by going down that road, and you’ll probably get the same results I did, too! (and if you need a spotter, just ask someone kindly in the gym :D)
At the end of the day, YOU are the only person who can develop consistency in your exercise routine and lead the healthy life to which you aspire. While I can’t do it for you, I truly believe that if you adopt these habits, you will see better results! You owe it to yourself, friends, and family to be the best version of you!