Tips for Building Sustainable Exercise Habits
Now that we are half-way through 2018, how many of your resolutions, if you’ve made any, have stuck so far? If the stats don’t lie, not many, as it is expected that about 80% of them are already abandoned by February of the year in question. If your new healthy lifestyle is among them, you’re not alone, and most of us have failed to focus on the right segment of the equation to succeed in the first place.
When it comes to health, it is built on long-term habits. All those decisions you make every day, all the little rituals and preferences have formed the quality of your life, and in order to change it, you need to literally change your mind. It takes much more than just picking a set of exercises and doing them for a month – you need a holistic system in and out of the gym that will support your new fitness aspirations!
Make a plan
Whip out your calendar (digital or otherwise), mark in the first day of the rest of your life, and then start making your plan. You have a variety of apps at your disposal that serve this very purpose, by giving you premade workout programs, such as Blogilates or Fitnet, to have access to a whole range of training options.
Schedule your training days, as well as your rest days in a week, note down everything from the number of sets and reps to the minutes you’ll rest in between. If you have a hard time getting started, that old trick of putting a $100 bill on your fridge to burn it every time you miss a workout tends to do the trick!
Restructure your diet – and your environment
Even after you’ve invested plenty of effort into designing your workouts, they will do little good if you don’t have a meal plan to give you energy, stamina, and nutrition your body needs. You can consult with your physician, a nutritionist, or do it on your own with online help, but make sure you have an estimate of your daily caloric intake as well as the foods you should eat to stay healthy – everyone is different, hence the need to build structure.
To make this process easier, remove all unhealthy goodies from your home, and fill your fridge with fruit, veggies, lean protein sources, and the like. Once your sugar cravings kick in – reach for an apple instead!
Factor in your water intake
In addition to eating healthy in order to be able to exercise safely and advance, you also need to keep an eye on your water intake. You can easily achieve this if you get a 2-litre water bottle that will not only see you through your workouts, but before and after as well. Once you start training regularly, you should aim to increase your water intake, and this is a great way to boost accountability.
It also lets you have water always by your side, thus eliminating the excuse not to drink any water or reach for an extra cup of coffee instead. Without enough water during your workouts, you might feel dizzy, lightheaded, sluggish, and your overall performance will suffer.
Introduce variety with activities
Another key to achieving sustainability lies in the idea that being active is not limited to the gym, the dojo, or wherever you may go to do your workouts. By getting more active throughout the day, you build a mindset that leans more towards motion rather than being a couch potato.
To that end, take the stairs, walk or cycle to work, rollerblade, go for a walk and talk meeting, do your damn best to transform your life. In doing so, you’ll be much more eager to head to the gym, because your body will so to speak, become addicted to the feeling of being active!
Keep track of your progress
Having and following your plan is one thing, but with a slew of other responsibilities, it’s easy for your motivation to deflate, and your energy to subside. Through all those ups and downs, the only thing that will get you off the couch on those bad days are the results you’ve achieved in the days before. And in order to see them in their true light, you need numbers, images, charts, you name it.
Once more, tech can help, so using your fitness tracking apps, you can monitor your number of steps, how far you’ve come with your program, how much weight you’ve lost (or how much muscle you’ve gained) every week and month. Seeing that progress will help you push through and aim for another personal best both in terms of exercise and your eating habits!