You have finally taken the next step in your fitness journey. The new equipment you have had your eye on has arrived and has been set up. A fitter, healthier you should be a piece of cake from here. But is it?
Unfortunately, 80 - 90% of people who start a new fitness routine do not make it for the long term. Most people abandon their fitness routine after just 3 months. I am not trying to discourage anyone who is reading this. Quite the opposite, I want to encourage anyone reading this to reach their fitness goals. My goal is to provide information to help keep you on track. I want to help you through those first 3 months and beyond.
Why is 3 months the magic time when people quit? Numerous factors come into play at this point.
You can have the most expensive equipment on the planet and still end up quitting if you don't have appropriate goals. Before you begin a new fitness routine, take a moment to step back and think about why you are doing it. What is your goal? If your answer is a vague one, you may be setting yourself up for failure. For instance, if your answer is just that you want to lose weight, you are not setting a goal.
Any goal that you set should be realistic. A goal needs to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART). Wanting to lose weight may not be a goal, but wanting to lose 10 lbs within the next 3 months is.
Another aspect of goals that can lead to a higher failure rate is setting unrealistic ones. If you want to lose weight and set a goal to lose 30 lbs in 3 months, it may be possible. However, it is not very realistic in most cases. This often leads to quitting out of frustration. Make sure your goals are realistic to achieve in the time you have in mind.
Once you figure out what your goal will be, write it down. You are much more likely to succeed at a goal that you write down. If it is written down, you can also keep it in a location where you will see it. This can help inspire you to push through even on days where you just may not be feeling it.
This is a big one. You need to hold yourself accountable for your fitness journey. Nobody else will do it for you. Let your family and friends know about your journey. If they know about it, they will be more likely to ask how it is going. This adds extra accountability.
Asking a friend or family member to join you on your journey can also help. It builds accountability both for yourself and your friend. When you train with a friend you are much more likely to achieve your goals. Any way that you can build up accountability will ultimately help you to achieve your goals.
Setbacks in your training can put a damper on things. They are perfectly normal as part of your progression though. You may lose some weight and then have a weekend where there is less control over your environment, causing you to backslide a little. Too many people will beat themselves up over this setback. After enough of them, it causes those people to quit training completely.
I am here to tell you that the road to your goal will not be straight. It will not be perfect. Setbacks will occur without the world ending. If you continue to push past those setbacks, you will reach your goals and be better for it. Only by accepting them can you move on.
My path to fitness has had its share of setbacks. I have had weeks where my strength has just not been where it should be. I have had to lower the amount of weight I lift at times. By pushing through all of that, I am in the best shape of my life.
Consistency in your training schedule can be just as important a factor as everything already discussed. If you set aside a dedicated time each day to train, you are more likely to stick to that time.
This becomes even more powerful over time. Most habits take around 30 days to start or stop. If you stick to a consistent training schedule for 30 days it almost becomes a habit. Your body becomes used to training at that time and expects it. Your workouts become more efficient. You start to notice a difference when you miss a workout instead of when you do one.
Many different opinions exist on when the optimal time to schedule your workouts is. Fasted workouts in the morning can help burn more fat and give you energy for the day. Evening workouts can often be more energetic as your body has more fuel to burn. I will not go any further or recommend a specific time for training as there are whole studies related to that.
The important part is that you pick a time to train consistently every day. By doing this, you decrease the risk of skipping a workout. When you train at the same time every day, you can schedule it. If, on the other hand, you don't maintain a consistent schedule, it becomes easy to skip workouts. Once you start skipping workouts, you start to be at risk of stopping completely.
One easy way to help stay on track is to use an app on your phone to schedule and track your training. For weight training, I have found that the app Stacked has worked well. I am not sure if this app is available for Android as well as iPhone as I do not primarily use Android devices. This app allows you to set up training schedules for the whole week. You can then enter each day's schedule and record it as you are training. I have no affiliation with the creator of this app. I just wanted to share one idea to help stick to a workout schedule that I have found useful. There are likely similar apps available for Android.
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Spring is starting to peek in (at least where I live) and it’s so exciting.
It also means things are opening back up, including gyms! If you’re excited to get back into it, it’s vital to know about any mobility or flexibility issues you may have before you do. Jumping back into exercise without knowing if you’ve got full range of motion can lead to injuries.
That said, let’s talk about mobility and flexibility!