The key to success with exercise is having a sustainable exercise routine. A routine that fits into your lifestyle and one that is enjoyable, making you actually want to stick to it this time. Here are 10 steps to creating the perfect routine:
1. Choose an exercise you enjoy
The main reason many struggle to stick to an exercise routine is because they don’t actually enjoy going to the gym, running or whatever bootcamp they have signed themselves up to. Making exercise enjoyable is a key component of a successful exercise routine. You will still get all of the benefits from physical exercise if you join a group rather than going to the gym by yourself. Plus, it’s a great way to socialise and meet new people.
2. Set SMART goals
Rather than aiming for hitting the gym 6 times a week and losing 20kg in a month, set yourself small, achievable goals to keep yourself motivated. This way you won’t get discouraged the way you would with unrealistic or very ambitious goals.
3. Set a specific time
Look at your schedule and identify when you actually have the time to exercise. Whether that is in the morning, during your lunch break or in the evening after work, find a time that fits in with the rest of your commitments and make it an event in your calendar so you’re not as tempted to skip a day.
4. Have themes for different days
Rather than just saying “I’ll exercise three times a week” think more specifically about what type of exercise you want to do during these 3 sessions. You could name them for example “Swim Saturdays” “Tennis Tuesdays” “Football Fridays” to make it a bit more fun.
5. Think about what equipment you have available
It’s easy to miss an exercise session because you have planned your exercise routine around equipment that is only available to you in the gym. But think outside the box. If you don’t have the motivation to go to the gym today, think about which exercises you could still do at home? There are plenty of bodyweight exercises and online fitness classes that don’t require any equipment and often only take up 20 minutes. Why not explore our online classes and get involved.
6. Have a plan B
If you miss your planned exercise for the day, think of ways you could still incorporate some movement into your day, like taking the stairs or going for a walk during your lunch break. Have a look at our office-based exercises which you can do between meetings and require no changing into gym gear or fancy equipment.
7. Switch things up
Although planning is important for sticking to your exercise routine, don’t be too rigid. If after a few weeks you start getting bored of the exercises you have planned out, try to find something new to keep yourself engaged and motivated. This could be trying a completely new sport or simply finding new activities within the sport/exercise you already do.
8. Get an accountability partner
Find someone who knows your exercise routine and can keep you on track on days where you don’t really feel like exercising. Ideally, they might even do the exercise with you, but if that is not possible, simply having someone to chat to and keep you accountable can really help. By having someone asides from yourself that you have to explain why you don’t want to exercise today can be helpful and allow you to push through periods of low motivation.
9. Take time to recover
One main mistake many make when they start a new exercise routine is that they feel like they need to be exercising every day. Recovery is a key part of exercise as it allows your body to repair tissue and build muscle. Plan for recovery days where you don’t do any exercise (not even yoga) to avoid injury or compromising your immune system by overexercising.
10. Time your meals around your exercise
To be able to perform well during your exercise session and avoid feeling fatigued or light-headed make sure that you eat both before and after your workout. This can be snacks but think and plan exactly what you will be eating so you don’t accidentally go 6 hours without food during work and then hit the gym straight away. Pack things into your bag which are convenient or even pre-prep your meals to give your body the fuel it needs both to get you through your exercise session but also to recover afterwards.