By Cindy Abrami, NASM-Corrective Exercise Specialist, UESCA Running and Multisport Coach and holds a BS in Nutrition
The majority face it at some point, maybe at many points. Workout Wane, Fitness Fail, Exercise Exit. We start out with an abundance of motivation and set goals for our fitness improvements, full of conviction. We acutely remember that we only have one life, one body, and the decisions we make and actions we take now have lifelong and even generational consequences. We jump in with excitement, feeling new purpose and we clearly envision the “new me.” We know this is the beginning of amazing changes.
But then after some random amount of time passes, you lose sight of that passion and inspiration. Life creeps in, challenges come, priorities shift and you begin missing workouts. For many, this is the beginning of the end of that fitness conviction. Old patterns are waiting with open arms and so many go running back into them. Oh, they put up a fight for a while but they know in their gut it is futile.
I just can’t accept this to be the destiny of mankind. We were made for movement and physical work, activity, endurance. Being active not only improves our physical health, it is our vibrancy, our energy, our mental enrichment, our sense of well-being. It is too important to let slip away yet again.
Be inspired again today as you read this! There’s hope. While many slip, many others choose not to which means there’s something to learn. Here are 4 Keys to staying on track with your workout, fitness and exercise plans and convictions.
1.Pour the Rocks in before you Pour the Sand In
It’s a simple parable with an abundance of application. Let’s say you have a jar and you are going to fill the jar with a gallon of sand and 4 large stones. So you start by pouring in the sand which fills most of the jar. As you begin adding the stones you soon realize that they won’t fit. Maybe one will but the others stack up too high on top of the sand. Pour it all back out. Let’s try it again. This time you put the 4 stones in first. Then you pour the sand. And guess what, it all fits. Try it, this really works.
The point being, we all have a given number of priorities to fit into our life and schedules. Some of those are larger stones, the rest of it smaller bits of sand. Your health and health building activity is one of those large stones. It has to go into the jar first else it will be left out completely.
2. Put it On Your Schedule, Log it When You’re Done
We put all sorts of appointments on our schedule and our daily To Do lists. If we know it needs to be done, it’s on there. Put your workouts on your schedule. Always have a plan for when it will fit in each day (each week). Plan the specific time and ideally set it into a predictable pattern. On the other end, log your workout once it’s done. A training log serves many purposes, one of which is seeing your fitness plan fully laid out. A great way to use it to accomplish both of these goals is to use a simple calendar and write in what your workout will be each day into the future, and then loop back and input what you did and/or simply check if off as complete. It’s about having a plan, scheduling it as a priority and then acknowledging completion.
3. Schedule Workout Appointments with Others
Meeting others for several or all of your workouts is an exceptional way to make sure they get done. Whether you’re meeting a training partner, attending a group fitness event or class, are part of a club or casual meet-up, or you work directly with a fitness professional or coach, having the accountability and knowing someone else is expecting you is priceless.
4. Check Your Perspective – It’s about Who You Are, Not What You Do
Think about your perspective and how you view yourself in light of your fitness plan. There’s a big difference between “I run” and “I’m a runner.” Our ultimate goal is to BE active and be known as someone who is. Own it as a part of your actual being and way of living and let it define you. When a pattern or set of actions become more about WHO you ARE rather than WHAT you DO, it just IS. This is true lifestyle change and is the ultimate goal. People who maintain active lifestyles have the correct perspective and no longer deal with Workout Wane, Fitness Fail and Exercise Exit.
Take care to do everything you can to stay motivated, but remember in the end it comes down to simply making the decision. Change is not easy. Working out, being active and exercising isn’t easy. But conviction leads to a decision to start. The decision takes discipline and will give birth to habit. And in the end, habit becomes your lifestyle. Stay the course. Remember why, remember how.