Are You Tired of Quitting on Your Exercise Program? Fix It: Part 2

The most important measurements that will determine success in a fitness and nutrition program are CONSISTENCY and PERSISTENCE.
  • Consistency: Are you doing it on most days without big lapses in your routine?
  • Persistence: Are you doing it for a long time…even when things are plateauing and aren’t going as planned?
If you are a starter and stopper…like many of us are…these are the two things you need to attack FIRST.
When goal setting, it is best to start with the end in mind and work our way backwards. If we know our goals ultimately end with consistency and persistence, we need to address these first.
How can you be more consistent? How can you be more persistent?
In Part 2 we are going to focus on PERSISTENCE:
Things will not always go well.
When things do not go well, people who are persistent will maintain consistency.
Those who are not persistent will fall out of their routine and fail to maintain consistency.
As we learned in part 1…consistency is king.
Scenario:
Your workouts used to crush you. You would get winded quickly and couldn’t do one pushup.
Over the last 6 weeks, you have worked your tail off. You have been consistently exercising 4 days per week and you feel like a million bucks. You have lost some weight, your energy has improved, and you can do 5 full pushups from the ground. This is the best you have felt in years and you are proud of yourself.
Then, one day, the stomach bug hits. You’re laid out in bed for three days. You miss an entire week in the gym because you just can’t muster up the energy to get there, even after the bug has passed.
You go back to the gym and it feels like your first day all over again. You cannot believe that 6 weeks of hard work is GONE, just like that. You go back the next day, and it’s not much better.
Part of the reason you were able to stay consistent is because you were seeing significant progress. The progress was what was addicting to you. Now, here you are…You took 2 steps back without a step forward in sight.
This is when one of two things happens:
  •  You get discouraged. You don’t quit, but you start to back off a little. 4 days turns into 2-3. It’s easier to reason with yourself that you “can’t get there” when your kids’ schedules are crazy or you’ve had a late night. Because your consistency drops off, progress stalls even more. You become more discouraged. After a few months, 2-3 days turns into 1-2. A few months after that, you’re completely out.
OR
  • You are persistent through the bad times. You understand that progress does not happen in a nice, linear fashion. You feel terrible today, but you remember that CONSISTENCY is more important than INTENSITY. You know if you continue to show up, you will stay in your routine. If you stay in your routine, you will eventually regroup and get going back in the right direction.
Life is 100% guaranteed to get in the way. You will not be at your best all the time. You will have rough days. You will have rough weeks. You may even have rough months.
Your progress will stall. You will plateau. You will feel like you’re getting worse. Your body will adapt to whatever it is you are doing.
This process is unavoidable.
Persistence comes the fundamental understanding that this is normal. Not only is it normal, but it is necessary. You’re body needs time to adapt to change. Plateaus and dips are part of the process of getting better.
In order to see results, you will need to maintain consistency through the good times as well as the not-so-good times.
When things aren’t going as planned, you have some options:
  • – Make a small change in sleep, exercise, or nutrition.
  • Try to fight through it.
  • – Back off your intensity while maintaining your consistency (sometimes you just need to recover!)
  • – Change your environment – Getting outside or working out with a buddy can give you a spark.
  • – Set a new, different goal – Signing up for a something like a 5k, mud run, or Powerlifting meet can bring intent to your training.
Success is not linear. Try to look at fitness as a long-term process that relies on consistency instead of a short-term burst that relies on intensity.
By approaching a program with this mindset, you will know how to deal with things when life gets in the way.
In parts 1 and 2, we have discussed consistency and persistence and how they apply to exercise.
In part 3, we will shift the focus to nutrition.

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