How to Make a Workout Plan (And Stick to It!)
By Carl Jackson
Often the hardest part of doing anything is showing up. When it comes to exercise, it’s easy to think up a million and one reasons to put the gym on the back burner. A simple way to stay committed and make workouts become a habit is to schedule them in. Research suggests it can take as little as 18 days, but an average of 66 days is average to form a new habit. Writing in gym sessions ahead of time is just one way to get your butt into gear.
Exercise — Your Plan of Action
- Pull out the gadgets. Thank goodness for technology. Whether it’s creating a Google Calendar, schedule workouts on a smartphone (or favorite device) to keep in check anywhere you go.
- Use time wisely. When the goal is to make workouts consistent, even a shorter gym session is better than none. If you’re short on time, go for quality, not quantity. Try circuit training or intervals to get that heart rate pumping without running against the clock.
- Accountability. Sign up for a Zumba class, book a training session, or get a training partner. It’s harder to ditch workout plans if someone is waiting and quality time with friends will make the time go by even faster.
- Break it up. Setting aside a chunk of time to work up a sweat can be tough. One solution: Try scheduling in shorter, 15-20 minute blasts of exercise throughout the day to reap the same benefits as a single workout.
- Be realistic. It’s highly unlikely an early AM fitness routine will last longer than a few days. The most important part of figuring out when to workout is is to find a time that’s convenient for you, make sure the gym or studio you choose is open during those same hours.
- Mix it up. Even the most exciting workouts plan can start to feel stale and easier to skip after awhile. Whatever your goals or interests, try appointing different days for different workouts – like a cardio class on Mondays, strength training on Wednesdays, and some weekend yoga.
- Be flexible. The best workout plan can go awry. Work, family obligations, and other plans can all get in the way of a scheduled workout. Don’t beat yourself up for missing a workout. Instead, focus on eating well, stretching, or making whatever healthier choices are possible until you can get back on a scheduled workout.
- Enjoy the process. The more enjoyable the workout plan, the more likely we’ll keep at it. One caveat; give activities a fair shot before writing them off. The first few minutes of a workout might be unpleasant, the exercise high at the end might make up for it and keep you going back.
- Supplementation. Try using a sports supplement to increase your energy and performance in the gym. When you are just starting out, a little extra energy goes a long way. Plus it tastes good 🙂
Working out can be difficult. But creating time on the calendar for some fun, effective, tailor-made “you” time can make exercising highly reward and not a chore.