After working with hundreds of clients in my personal training career, I have seen many people stop their fitness journey just as quickly as they started.
It is not for the lack of motivation. There is an absence of a context dependent relationship with exercise. Regular exercise can be arduous when done for the wrong reasons. This is exactly why I want to support your fitness journey with these five variables.
Step 1: Ritualize
Exercise is a lifestyle, not just one workout. When you incorporate it into your daily routine you are far more likely to stay consistent. Like any new habit it will take some discipline to get started. Don’t let this discourage you from the main objective.
Ritualize your exercise routine with something positive, such as friends/family, your gym community, or something as simple as your favorite outfit. This form of habit linking will allow you to attach an experience to the exercise. This builds in an extra layer discipline.
Step 2: Gratitude
We have to stop treating our bodies with such disdain.
It is a privilege to exercise.
Consider the amount of people that don’t have the freedom of movement that many of us are capable of. With this mindset, exercise becomes a a source of medicine that promotes longevity.
Once you acknowledge this, you can value exercise as a tool to better yourself. Without it, your body will age faster. Certain luxuries and advantages of motor control will decline over time.
Step 3: Accountability
Personal accountability or lack thereof is one of the primary challenges I have working with clients. Exercise may never be as important to them as it is to me but they still need the support.
Hiring an experienced coach is a great route — wink wink ;).
It includes a layer of accountability external to yourself. If you plan sessions with your trainer there will be less of a chance you back out. Same goes for a workout partner of workout class.
In my experience it’s the financial loss aversion that will motivate the individual more than anything. Then once the consistency builds over time they’ll begin to enjoy the exercise as part of your routine. That is assuming you found something enjoyable and sustainable.
Step 4: Enjoyment
What are you more likely to stick with?
Something that gets you excited or something that makes you want to wash your face with broken glass?
My point is that the exercise you’ll do most consistently is the one that doesn’t suck. It comes down to the people, training environment, and culture that will ultimately determine this.
So do some research. Sign up for a few gym trials to see what works best for you. Tap into your network to find out what they’re having success with.
What’s getting them results?
Find your fit. A place you can call home.
Step 5: Exploration
Our fitness journey is unique. A path of enlightenment paved in uncertainty. But that’s the beauty! It’s a learning experience.
One that challenges us physically and mentally. Tests of our personal limits and capabilities.
I’ll challenge you. Considering exercise has no real destination, fall in love with the learning process. Explore your deepest insecurities and weaknesses. Expose them in the gym. Once you identify them, do the work to improve them!
Does your deadlift technique suck?
Is your balance shaky?
Great news. You have found yourself something to improve.
Now go get after it.