The importance of staying consistent during working out
Today I’m going to explain to you how to stay consistent with your training even if you’re busy, burnt out or sick.
This is the most important skill to learn when it comes to training. If you cannot build consistency, you will never get results with your training. When you get this, you will get life changing results keep training.
Unfortunately, most people never understand how to implement this system and always stop training when life happens.
Your lack of consistency is the reason you never get fitness results. Keeping training consistency is the key to achieving real and lasting results over time.
How to be consistent with working out
Here are the 4 major reasons I see people struggle with staying consistent keeping training and never make actionable progress.
- You always stop when life gets busy
- You set your expectations too high
- You don’t know how to adjust training intensity
- You’re way too hard on yourself
If you resonate with what I’ve said so far, these tips are going to teach you how to build a lifelong training habit regardless of what’s going on in your life.
Here’s how to keep training consistent, step by step:
Step 1: Avoid the “pause button” mentality to keep training
If you stop every time something comes up, you’ll never make progress.
I can guarantee you that every single year for the last 10 years the following things have happened:
- You got sick/burnt out/ felt exhausted
- You got very stressed
- You had some sort of family challenges – parents / kids / partner / were sick / had issues
- Work was busy
- Winter was cold and dark
Instead of feeling sidelined when they inevitably occur this year, instead use the “If, then” method:
- “If work gets crazy, then I’ll prioritize more walking instead of gym workouts”.
- “If the kids get sick, then I’ll do a home workout instead”.
This allows you to plan how you’ll respond to these issues when they happen. Instead of waiting for things to calm down before you restart your training again. Avoiding the “pause button” mentality is a mindset shift that can significantly improve your training routine by promoting consistency and progress.
Step 2: Manage expectations with the traffic light system
Using a simple green, yellow, and red light system is a good way to check in with yourself. Here’s an example of each.
- Green – life is good, stress is low, no injuries, work and family stuff is smooth.
- Yellow – things are going okay, sleep not always good, work is busier than you’d like, and unexpected issues with family/work/health crop up.
- Red – life is hard. You’re dealing with serious stuff – health issues, relationship breakdown, divorce, death in the family, kids/partner going through serious issues.
If you are in a red light phase, stop expecting to perform like it’s green but still go on keep training consistently.
On average you can expect about 12 weeks of green light a year.
Hopefully no red lights and most of the year will be yellow.
Step 3: Scale your habits depending on your traffic light
This is how you can stay consistent even when things get crazy. If you can do 3 x 30 min sessions a week but when work gets busy you end up skipping sessions, you need to adjust the scale. You might reduce your workouts to 2 x 20 mins and more walks throughout the week.
Now you maintain the habit of exercise which is important. It’s much easier to ramp up a preexisting habit, than restarting a habit from scratch.
To keep training when life gets challenging isn’t always a walk in the park, but it’s the consistency that will ultimately pave the way for long-term results and an improved daily routine.
Step 4: Keep Training useing the 3 steps to self-compassion
When you find yourself being hard on yourself this can turn into a downward spiral. Setting high expectations, failing to reach them, then spending your days self-loathing.
When you restart a few months later, you set the bar even higher to make up for all the time you wasted. You fail even more spectacularly this time and repeat this frustrating cycle indefinitely. Each time, increasing the contempt you have toward yourself.
Instead, use the 3 step self-compassion framework:
- Self-kindness vs self-criticism – talk to yourself like you would a friend;
- Common humanity vs isolation – understand that your struggles are not something only you alone struggle with. There are millions of people in similar struggles right now;
- Mindfulness vs over-identification – over identification might look like you saying “I always quit, I never follow through”;
Using mindfulness you can tap into curiosity. “I never follow through because I set the bar way too high. How about I try this again but make my habits way easier, so when life gets crazy, I can still do 15 minutes 2 days a week?”
Life is busy and messy but that doesn’t mean your workouts have to stop completely. Never stop to keep training. I asked how members of gmb.io AP forum how they stay on track and keep training when life gets crazy and I really liked these answers from Luigi and Brian.
To keep training and enhance your flexibility, you can also find a useful resource here.