Consistency and change. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but when it comes to fitness, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Creating healthy workout habits comes from consistency, whether that’s going for a run, heading to a group exercise class or being active with your family.
After you’ve established that lifestyle, you should make changes. A body gets used to what you put it through. You don’t need to do a complete reboot of your routine, but small tweaks can make a big difference in your progress.
Finding a workout that fits isn’t easy, but keeping these three things in mind can help:
- Have Fun. Exercise is hard, but it shouldn’t be misery. Obviously, we all have days when we want to be anywhere other than the gym. Still, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, chances are you won’t show up for a second, third or fourth workout.
Working out with others adds a social and interactive dimension that many of us find inspiring and energizing. Music is another major motivating factor for a lot of people. For me, it’s the difference-maker in getting through a long run or tough set. A few of the frequents on my playlist (please don’t judge): Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” and Disclosure’s “Omen.”
- Make a Plan—and Stick to It. If you think of your regimen as a plate of food, you don’t want that plate to be full of just one thing. It should have variety … strength training, cardio, stretching and more. But keeping your workout balanced and also challenging can be exactly how it sounds—a challenge. For most of us, being active is not an “Oh, by the way” thing. If you don’t set aside time to exercise, chances are it won’t happen. Block it off in your calendar well in advance—it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
- Plan to Change It Up. Muscle memory—you may have heard of it. When you teach your body to do something—whether it’s lifting, running, yoga, Pilates, biking, hiking, surfing or whatever—it creates a sort of blueprint. It’s a bit like the storage on your phone: The more exercise you do, the more information you store—and your body doesn’t max out in storage.
Just keep mind that, as you become increasingly consistent in your workouts, your body gets accustomed to it. The more times you run a mile, the more your body adapts to that distance. Muscles start to run on autopilot, and you end up burning less because you’re not working as hard. So keep filling that memory with fresh content, and your body will thank you.