If you want results from your workout program, you must consistently perform your workouts.
You know this already, of course. But what if you struggle with consistency? How can you be more consistent with workouts so you achieve the results you desire and deserve?
There are many reasons people struggle with consistency. I’ll address the most common ones below (along with some you may not even realize could be the culprit for your lack of consistency) and provide concrete ways to combat them.
8 Ways to be More Consistent with Workouts
Let’s dive in, starting with one of the most powerful ways to boost workout consistency …
1) Set motivating and empowering performance-based goals
What is a performance-based goal you would love to achieve so you could say, “Hell yes, I did that!”? The possibilities are endless and can be tailored to your unique preferences: squat your bodyweight, perform a flawless push-up, run a 5k in less than 25 minutes, deadlift your bodyweight for 20 reps, or whatever the heck you want.
Having a concrete goal to work toward can oftentimes be the catalyst that pushes you to keep showing up to the gym week after week.
Have you ever made achieving a performance-based goal the sole reason you went to the gym week after week? If not, you must give it a try. This can be one of the greatest sources of motivation that will encourage you to keep showing up and putting in the work.
2) Follow a doable training regimen
This one is huge. It never ceases to amaze me how many people force themselves to follow what they deem to be a “superior program” that calls for 4-5 weekly workouts when they can realistically do 3 per week.
If you don’t have the time to go to the gym 4+ times per week, don’t follow a program that has 4 or more weekly workouts. Instead, choose a program that fits into your schedule rather than trying to force one to fit. (Don’t underestimate how much you can achieve with 3 weekly workouts, by the way.)
You’ll achieve greater results following a 3-day-per-week program consistently than you will haphazardly performing a 4-day-per-week program that leaves you frustrated and annoyed when you end up missing workouts frequently.
3) Know your needs
Would having a training partner make you more accountable? Would following a done-for-you program that doesn’t involve any guesswork help you be more consistent? Do you need time-crunch workouts? Do you need at-home workouts you can do with minimum equipment? Set yourself up for success by accurately assessing your needs, and then address them.
4) Be flexible
Do you have the habit of skipping a workout when you’re short on time because instead of doing an abbreviated workout you choose not to do anything at all? “If I can’t do the workout as written, there’s no point in doing anything at all,” is the faulty logic so often in play here.
Have plans of action when time is limited, you must work out at a different time of day, someone is hogging the equipment you need, etc. Stuff will happen, so plan for it. Be flexible. Adapt.
5) Follow a program that makes you feel good
If your workout program regularly leaves you so sore that it negatively affects your daily life, or you’re constantly dealing with lingering aches and pains, then either modify your program or switch to a new one. After all, you won’t want to keep doing your workouts if you dread how they make you feel the following days.
- Switch to a higher rep range. If you’ve been lifting heavier weights in the 3-8 rep range, see how you feel by sticking with 8+ reps per set.
- Try different exercise variations. If conventional deadlifts don’t feel great, try sumo deadlifts or Romanian deadlifts.
- Use different equipment. If you predominately perform barbell exercises see how you feel using more dumbbell, bodyweight, and cable machine exercises.
- Reduce training frequency. If you currently work out 4 times per week, see if you feel better training 3 times per week.
- Reduce training volume. Instead of doing 4 sets for an exercise, reduce the number of sets to 2-3.
Feeling good is important. If your current workout program leaves you feeling too sore or beat up, make a change.
6) Don’t do something you hate
If you loathe barbell back squats … don’t do barbell back squats, or any other exercise you despise. There are plenty of ways to train movement patterns so don’t feel obligated to do a specific one. For example with squats, do squat variations with dumbbells, machines, a safety bar, etc. Same thing with cardio, bodyweight exercises, and other fitness modalities. If you’re not a competitive athlete then there are no “must-do” exercises or unbreakable rules you must follow.
Only interested in getting stronger with predominantly barbell lifts? Then do that!
Would you feel more confident and comfortable doing dumbbell, bodyweight, and cable machine workouts? Do that!
Hate long-duration cardio sessions? Try some high-intensity interval training.
Would you do better with at-home workouts you can do with just dumbbells and a weight bench? Do it!
If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, your chances of doing it consistently are greatly reduced.
7) Enjoy the process instead of chasing results
Does this sound like you? You go all in with a new program, bust your ass, and then get frustrated and quit when it feels like the results didn’t come fast enough.
If yes, then this is the tip you need to master: Enjoy the process.
Don’t try to gaze into the future. Find something in each workout to look forward to, or enjoy, or a goal to achieve. And, yes, that goal can be to simply show up and do a half-assed workout if that’s all you can muster.
You can’t go wrong with the goal to improve your performance each time you repeat a workout, or to hone technique. Make each workout its own reward.
The only way to achieve the results you want is to consistently execute the actions that will produce them. Ask yourself, How can I enjoy the process instead of thinking too much about the future results?
8) Change your perspective
If you are one of countless women who has been convinced that the only health and fitness goal worth attaining is losing body fat and chasing a smaller number on the scale, then simply changing your perspective — your “whys” for working out — could be the game changer you need.
Maybe you need to declare “Screw fat loss!” all together and choose instead to discover what your body can do.
Instead of focusing on burning calories and the number on the scale going down, strive to make the number on the barbell go up.
Or maybe you want to invest in self-care. Maybe you just want to feel good in your own skin. Maybe you want to be able to play with your kids or grandkids without getting winded. Maybe you want to perform better in a sport or hobby. Find reasons that are important to you to work out instead of pursuing a goal out of perceived obligation.
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