Ever since I completed my first Spartan OCR race I’ve been getting into the swing of things with my workout routine. The one thing I struggle with the most is consistency, but lately I’ve been regularly hitting the gym and I’m pretty proud of myself! If you follow me on Instagram, you can follow my regular check-ins on Insta stories.
It’s taken me a while to get to this point. I’m not one of those people who find it easy to get up and go to the gym. I constantly struggle with motivation and sometimes have to drag myself to work out, but I always feel great after I do. Since I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment, I wanted to share my tips so that you can also establish a workout routine that you can stick to.
Once we decide we want to work on our fitness, we’ll often try to do too much too soon. You don’t need to be in the gym 7 days a week for 2 hours each time to get fit. In fact, you most definitely should not be doing that. Without giving your body time to recover, or yourself time to have a social life, you’ll burn out or cause an injury and your workout routine will end before it’s even started. Whether you’re new to working out, or you’re returning after a long break or injury, it’s really important to start slow.
Know your starting point
You also need to assess your fitness levels. Don’t start sprinting or running long distance or lifting super heavy weights if you’re new to working out. Know your starting point. If you can’t run 5km yet, do a mixture of walking and jogging for 30 mins, increasing the time you jog for as you get fitter. If you’re not used to lifting weights, start light. Ask for someone to help show you the correct form. Once you nail form & your strength builds you can gradually increase the weight. There’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you can lift heavier than you could 1 or 2 weeks ago.
Experiment with different workouts
If you’re struggling to stick to a workout routine, it could be because you’re just not enjoying the workouts you’re doing. Working out doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym. I’ve definitely experimented with different styles of workouts and now I’ve found what I enjoy most. For me, that’s a mixture of lifting weights, spinning and HIIT. I also enjoy a bit of yoga, boxing and dance classes. That’s what I enjoy but for you, it could be something completely different.
The best way to find out what you enjoy is to try lots of different styles. Sign up for different classes at your gym. Try a boot camp class at your local park. If you don’t enjoy running, try spinning or swimming. If you don’t enjoy working out alone, join a sports team. Go to yoga, take a dance class, join a run club, tryout gymnastics, follow an online workout at home.
Workout at a time and place that suits your lifestyle
If you repeatedly hit the snooze button and have to drag yourself out of bed in the mornings then setting a 5 am alarm may not be the best idea. If you struggle to wake up in the mornings then trust me, it won’t be easy to motivate yourself to get up and workout. You’ll be back to hitting that snooze button and skipping workouts. Likewise, if you find yourself wanting to doze at your desk in the afternoons, then working out earlier in the day may be best for you.
The same goes for location. If you have limited spare time then signing up to a gym that’s an hour’s drive away won’t help you stick to your workout routine when it takes 2 hours travelling and an hour to work out. If you struggle to motivate yourself then having a personal trainer might be better than working out on your own, but just consider your budget.
Have enough workout clothes
Now I’m not talking about looking like an Instagram fitness model in an array of matching sports bras and leggings. I just mean if you’re planning on working out 3 days a week but you only have 1 sports bra and 2 work out tops then that would result in your workout routine relying on how quickly you can wash and dry your clothes. We’ve got enough blockers to establishing a workout routine without adding laundry into the mix too.
Allow your body to recover
DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is almost inevitable, so schedule your workouts in a way that will allow you to recover. For example, don’t do leg day on a Monday, spin on a Tuesday, hit the stair machine on Wednesday, leg day again on Thursday followed by a run on Friday – your poor, poor legs! This is easiest when you’re lifting weights as you can tackle different muscle groups on different days so that you’re not repeatedly hitting the same muscles. However, you can think like this no matter what style of workout you do and always keep in mind the muscle groups you’re targeting.
Be strict with yourself
You can plan the best workout routine but ultimately, it is up to you to stick to it. There’s a saying that you should commit to working out like you would an important meeting, but I don’t agree with that. Things crop up all the time so you need to be flexible with your routine. There will be days where you’re just so tired and have no energy to workout. There will be times you’d rather sleep in or head out with friends than go for a run. This is OK, as long as you are strict with yourself. If you’ve said you’ll workout 3 days a week but you’ve got to Friday and have only worked out once, then commit to working out Saturday and Sunday to hit your goal. I like to track the days I work out in my Bullet Journal so that I can easily see when I’m starting to slip from my routine.
So there you have my tips for creating a workout routine you can stick to. The goal is to find something that you enjoy, that you can make time for and that you can build on when your fitness increases. You don’t have to have set days that you workout, such as every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, unless that sort of plan really works for you. What I did instead is say to myself that I can’t go more than 2 days in a row without working out, so on the 3rd day, I know that I have to hit the gym. I hope these tips help you become more consistent with your workout routine. Good luck!