Hands up if you frequently plan out an intricate workout routine on a Sunday only to come unstuck by Tuesday? Yup, we hear you!
There’s no harm in being ambitious with your fitness goals, but if you can’t stick to the plan you’ve set yourself, you’ll start to get frustrated. So, to help you stay on track, we’re sharing our five easy ways to create a routine you can actually stick to.
Location, location, location
Consider the geographical logistics of your plan. If your gym is 40 minutes away, is hard to get to from work or rush hour traffic doubles your journey time, you’re not going to make it as often as you’d like. Try to be kind to yourself when it comes to the journey to and from your workouts. Choose a gym or studio near your home or workplace (whichever journey you’ll do most often), ideally no more than a 30-minute journey at the very most. If you do have a long journey, try to get changed before you get in the car or on the train and make sure you have all the pre-workout snacks and drinks you need on you so you can arrive ready to go.
There’s no substitute for great preparation when it comes to helping your workout routine run smoothly. First up, make sure you diarise each session and book into any classes ahead of time. On a Sunday night, set your kit out for each day; make sure your music device is charged; pack up your padlock/spare socks/gym pass; make sure you have a water bottle clean and ready and pack or set out any pre and post-workout snacks.
Don’t plan in 10 sessions on your first week of a new plan. Try to ease in gently and set a baseline that you can establish, get comfortable with, then build on. The key to fitness is consistency, so if you can do a small number of sessions consistently, you’ll be better off than hammering your way through a ridiculously full schedule only to burn out after three weeks. How many sessions and what they are depends on your existing fitness level. If you’re fairly fit already, try setting three to four non-negotiable sessions as your baseline. Do this workout routine for at least two weeks before you add in any extra sessions.
If you miss a session or have a week where everything seems to be against you, don’t beat yourself up about missing a few sessions – just do what you can and carry on as normal the week after. Life is full of surprises, so there will always be something that will throw your workout routine off. If you can, try to have alternative sessions in mind that you can swap in if you have to skip a planned session. If Thursday’s Reformer Pilates has to take a back seat, for example, could you do 30 minutes of mat Pilates at home on Friday morning instead? That said, some weeks there’s just no let up, so if you can’t squeeze it in, don’t stress – just take it day by day.
Don’t skip your R&R
A packed routine will start to come apart at the seams if you don’t give your body time to recover between sessions. Ideally you should have one full rest day a week, but if you really can’t go a day without a session, try making one day a walking or light yoga day. And make sure your routine outside of the gym supports your recovery – eat plenty of protein; treat your muscles to magnesium bath salts and sprays; invest in a foam roller (and use it!) and book yourself in for some regular sports massages. Take the time to rest and recover properly and you’ll have the energy and enthusiasm to ace every session.
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