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Tips to build workout consistency

Updated on September 4, 2015

Did one of this happen to you?

  1. You are sitting in a local cafe with a friend and suddenly, you notice a person with toned arms and hiding a six-pack under his shirt and you thought to yourself “Oh my God, I need to start working out”.
  2. Or maybe a colleague of yours, who lost a bunch of weight recently, always comes to you to brag about it and this makes you think “Oh my God, I need to start working out”.
  3. Or maybe you made a resolution last New Year that went like this: ““Oh my God, I need to start working out”.

Whatever the scenario, you have now decided to get fit. You probably did a lot of search online and found a workout routine that fit your requirement. You might have even made a big down payment on a long term gym membership. Maybe you even went to the gym a few days. Then, reality of life struck. Work, family and society mandated social life came in the way and shattered your dreams of the six pack abs and rock solid arms. You are just not able to be consistent in your exercise.

Not that it is a very big consolation, but there are millions of people who have attained similar fate as you, including me. Few years back, even I was sailing on the same boat. I love to run, but I could never exercise consistently. But, through persistence and a lot of internet research, I found a few hacks that have helped me train regularly. I am now a frequent participant in 10 Km races and half-marathons in my city, (hoping to complete a full marathon by the end of this year). So, I have decided to share these tips with the world so that it will help all regular working people get fit.

Before I continue, I must warn you; neither am I a professional fitness expert nor a licensed trainer. I am just a average Joe who has discovered some techniques to exercise regularly while having a full time job. Also, these habits will not get you six pack abs or the sculpted arms you were dreaming about, but will definitely help you build basic fitness on which you can build later. The objective here is to “build Consistency”

Consistency
Consistency

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Use below tips to develop a regular workout routine.

  • Tip # 1: Start simple: Always start with simple exercises. Running, cycling, push-ups, pull ups, squats etc. Try to work out at home or at a nearby park. Or just run to and from the grocery store where you do the your regular shopping. Your target is to just exercise everyday for 4 to 5 days continuously. Make sure you spend at least fifteen minutes every day. But, it definitely helps to have a plan. So, the next question is 'how do you plan?'. All your fit friends and fitness related websites suggest difficult or complicated workout routines. And, there is so much information, it can confuse you. I have come up with a simpler way to plan. Want to know what it is, see the next tip.
  • Tip # 2: Weekly plan, daily goal: Make a weekly plan. How many days are you going to exercise in a week, which are these days and what are you going to do on each day. I would suggest you exercise at least 3 to 4 days a week. Continiously! The target for each exercise can be set on that particular day depending on your current physical and mental state.For example, Lets say as per weekly plan, on Wednesday I plan to run and then work on my arms. If I feel completely fit, I decide I am going to run about 5 Km. But, if had had a tough day and was tired or maybe my legs were paining from running too much the previous day, I would probably just run 2 Km. Below is an example of a weekly plan with daily targets.
    The workouts are always much more fruitful when you set up goals.Believe me this plays a very important role psychologically when you are exercising. When I started running, my goal was to run ‘as much as possible’. This was useless as I would get tired after 100 metres. But one day, I just decided I was going to run 2 Km and I actually ran 2 Km. So, set a realistic goal and try to achieve it. Slowly increase this goal daily or weekly.

    Most importantly, try not to plan exercises on a Monday. I know some people who say “I love Mondays”. I call these people ‘Big fat liars’. Nobody loves Mondays- not even your boss. It is a very stressful day. So, I would suggest excluding Mondays from your weekly schedule. Besides, Tuesday is a perfect day to start. Nothing ever happens on a Tuesday.

Weekly schedule with daily targets

Day
Exercise
Target if fully fit
Target if low on energy
Sunday
Running
5 Km
2 Km
Monday
Rest
-
-
Tuesday
Running
3 Km
1 Km
Wednesday
Cycling
7.5 Km
3 Km
 
Pull ups
10
5
Thursday
Jumping jacks
100
50
 
Squats
40
20
Friday
Rest
-
-
Saturday
Cycling
10 Km
5 Km
  • Tip # 3: Breathing: I have come to realize that my biggest problem while exercising was breathing. I would run 100-200 metres and would be completely tired. Later, I would realize that I had hardly any pain in my legs. It took me some time, but I soon realized that I was tired because I was out of breath. I found the solution on YouTube. Below video has helped me make drastic improvement to my running distance. Also, don’t wait till you run out of breadth to start taking deep breadths. From the beginning of your exercise itself, keep breathing deeply. I understand this video talks only about running. But there are standard ways of breathing for every exercise which if you adopt, you will not be out of breadth. You can find these through a Google or YouTube search or by asking your trainer. For example, this video (link) about breathing during push ups.

Breathing while running

Tip # 4: Stretch: Always stretch before and after exercising. Always! Irrespective of what muscles you worked on that day, just stretch. Neck, back, arms, thighs, ham-string, calf... etc. Every muscle you can think of- stretch it. This will prevent injuries and also increases blood circulation in your body keeping you active.

Tip # 5: Try to exercise mornings: I can hear you groaning already. It can be really tough to find time in the mornings to exercise. Especially if you have family and kids. But, from my experience, finding the mental strength to work out evenings is very difficult. I work in sales and my work involves a lot of travelling and a lot of getting screamed at. I just do not have the mental strength to work out in the evenings even though I return home by 7:00 PM. But, if exercising in the morning is totally not possible, then I would suggest late evening. Like 8:30 PM or later. Basically, come home from work, get some rest, catch up on latest cat videos on YouTube and then go exercise. I repeat: consistency is everything. If you choose a stressful duration to exercise, you will never be consistent.

Tip # 6: Do not Over-do it: I cannot stress on this point enough. We, the regular 9-5 workers, have to understand that we are not professional athletes or movie stars. Some day we will have the six pack we wanted, but right now, the more important thing is getting up tomorrow morning and going to work. So, if you feel some kind of muscle pain or a minor sprain, try to rest for some time. If you are able to continue, then go ahead. But, if you feel it will only worsen, then stop and live to fight another day. Remember- consistency is everything. If you get injured and cannot workout for another month, then you will be starting from zero all over again.

Summing up: if you are starting a new routine, do the following to build consistency:

  1. Start simple
  2. Make a weekly schedule with daily targets
  3. Don't run out of breath
  4. Stretch
  5. Try to exercise in the morning
  6. Donot over-do it

Right! So, these are my tips on attaining working out regularly. Hope it was of help to you. Please feel free to share your feedback on the same in the comments section. Also, if you do try any of these, please let me know how it went.

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