As a fitness professional, I see a common theme among people who are successful in achieving their goals. Here are three keys to success as you work to establish or maintain your personal fitness foundation.
When planning your fitness endeavors, maybe “What workout program should I do?” isn’t the best question to ask yourself. A better question is, “What workout program will I actually do?” No matter how great a plan looks on paper – if it isn’t appropriate for your experience level, doesn’t fit your personal preferences or requires an unrealistic amount of time to complete – it’s not a good workout program for you. The best plan is the one you’ll follow. It’s better for your workout plan to be realistic and sustainable rather than idealistic and impractical. “A good plan followed pretty well is better than a perfect plan followed intermittently.” – Dr. John Berardi
As we’ve already mentioned, your plan should be something you can feasibly perform. But for adherence to serve you well, you must perform those workouts on a regular basis. Doing one workout per week will deliver minimal health benefits at best. But it’s no stretch to imagine that greater exercise frequency will deliver greater benefits.
Having a workout program you can do will only be beneficial if you’re able to perform it with some semblance of regularity. If you have no problem completing your workouts when you actually do them, but only complete 1-2 workouts out of the 4 you plan for each week, you may need to restructure your plan for greater consistency. Again, what looks good on paper and what is practical is often very different.
But, what happens when you’re forced to go “off” the plan? Or what do you do when you aren’t able to follow the plan as written? If you miss a workout day, do you skip the rest of your workouts for the week because you weren’t perfect? It may sound silly, but individuals who struggle with consistency can be especially vulnerable to such black and white thinking. A mindset which accepts nothing but 100% total domination of one’s goal is a recipe for failure. Life happens. And when it does, our response can determine our forward progress.
Throwing in the towel for the whole week just because you had to miss a workout day (or a few) is like slashing your other three tires just because you got a flat. Picking up where you left off would obviously be the better choice! If you approach your training and nutrition with more flexibility, you’ll greatly increase your chances for success.
Performing a great workout occasionally is nice, but substantial health benefits come to those who exercise more frequently. As you now know, regular exercise will most likely happen if the program is practical for your schedule, appropriate for your experience level and is enjoyable for you. Come up with a flexible plan you can adhere to consistently and you’ll find yourself on track with a plan that works.