You’ve got to have a routine. Plain and simple.
I know it’s pretty easy to say you’re going to stop eating junk food, or that you want to cut out all carbs from your life. But when it comes down to it, what’s your plan?
Of course Will Power is the first step. It’s what’s going to help you say “NO” to buying a chocolate croissant or blueberry scone while shuffled in line next to the pastry case at Starbucks. But if this—Will Power—is your only weapon…you’re defenseless.
Facing modern-day indulges could leave your results chucked off to the wayside if you’re not following some form of program.
But sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error before you figure out what will personally work for you. The trick is not to give up.
Commitment and Dedication is essential to success. So, keep with a plan until you wholeheartedly know it just isn’t the right one.
How do you know when you’re busting your butt with just the right plan of action?
It’s like wearing a new suit after it’s tailored. It’s neither too tight or too loose. There’s a difference between looking like a stud who’s taken his time to get his outfit fitted…or a kid who’s pulled his suit off the rack and slapped it on.
In this article we’ll be looking at a few different ways to help you stay on course to the profound changes you want to achieve, so you look more like Scenario 1 (the stud) rather than Scenario 2 (a kid).
First Step: Get Organized
Sit and jot down when you’re going to exercise.
That’s right. I know it seems like a pain, but this is elemental. You shouldn’t skip this.
What I find helpful is to note the times and dates when I want to start working the cobwebs off my muscles. Each workout doesn’t have to be started on the exact second it’s planned out. We live in a chaotic world, and things are going to naturally get in the way.
However, those real-life roadblocks can be overcome.
They’re not excuses, unless you allow them to stay in the way. Instead, this is when your character has the time it shine.
If you’re honestly ready to get in shape nothing will ever get in your way.
While we can do our best to plan ahead, there’s one trick I want to share with you.
It’s worked for me over the years.
We’re going to take our schedule of workouts and tweak it a bit.
Visualize Your Workouts
We’re going to visualize the exact process…from warm-up to cool-down.
If you’re routines normally take around 45 minutes to complete, you don’t need to imagine every rep.
But know the order of each exercises. How many reps per set? How many sets per movement?
One of the worst things you can do is start a workout without having a real clue to what you need to do.
When I used to work out in a gym, I couldn’t tell you how many people I’d see bounce from a cardio machine to resistance training, possibly do a few reps of isolation movements before moving on to a single set of a compound exercise, to then wander off for some sauna time.
They didn’t have a real plan of attack.
With the right kind of program, you can mentally map out what you’re going to work on, in what order. When you’re right in the middle of a routine you don’t want to have to think about “what comes next.”
By mapping the sequence ahead of time, you’re owning the goal. I learned this through experience.
A few years back, just after the birth of my youngest daughter, I really needed to burn off the sympathy weight I had put on during the pregnancy.
I planned, plotted and spent all my free-time working out..
With the pressures of work, family life, and being unhappy with the state my body was in, I knew there needed to be an organized approach, rather than try to fit in a random work out here and there.
What I found to work the best was just to note in down on a calendar. At the time I’d log the times and dates ahead of time in my Blackberry. Today, I use the calendar synced to my Gmail account. I know there are a ton of apps to help you along the way. But maybe something as simple as writing it in a Moleskine planner may work for you.
It doesn’t really matter if you go Hi-tech or Low-tech. The point is to understand it’s part of your priority for that day.
A key factor to realize here is you can try to predict when a session will start, but don’t get bummed out if they don’t begin as planned. If you aim to make it 5 p.m. sharp every time, don’t freak out if it’s 5:10 p.m. and you haven’t started yet. Down to the second planning will eventually be the goal. However, be realistic. Don’t feel like a failure if you aren’t getting the job done at the very moment you want to.
It’s not the end of the world if you’re a little late. What really matters is that you actually do the effort.
How to Plan The Frequency of Your Routines
Some people prefer to workout every day: Monday through Friday, with the weekends set aside for recovery.
It just means you plan on working out 3 days a week. One method I prefer is featured in Rusty Moore’s Visual Impact Muscle Building. You workout two days in a row (pushing muscles on day one, lower body on day two), and then hitting the pulling muscle after a day of rest.
It looks like this:
Monday: Chest, Shoulders, Traps
Tuesday: Legs, Calves, Abs
Thursday: Back, Biceps, Forearms
Saturday: Repeat Monday’s routine
Sunday: Repeat Tuesday’s routine
Tuesday: Repeat Thursday’s routine.
The reason for the three-day split is a popular starting point for beginners and intermediate trainers is it allows for just the right amount of effort vs recover per muscle group.
The split sections off non-competing muscle groups, so you can effectively work one set while another is recovering. Another reason this split comes in handy is when people want to add in a bit of cardio during the week, but who don’t have the time to tack it on at the end of their routines.
Ideally, you want to combine a sweat-inducing activity immediately after a resistance workout. But time is a luxury. So, it’s completely fine to work in a Tabata session on a rest day. This will help carve out some deeper fat loss points.
Effort is effort. And you’re body will thank you for it.
Send Appointment Notices to Yourself
Email reminders can be super important.
I know I’m not the only one who grabs their phone when a new email chimes in their inbox. So, use that as a cue to get ready. It might be earlier in the day, 1-2 hours before you actually need to switch to your exercise clothes. A notification could be closer to exercise time—of it could be even further.
This is all personal preference. This is just a easy method for keeping your mind on the goal for the day: Get in some exercise.
Plan Your Meals Out in Advance.
I regularly use an Intermittent Fasting approach that lets me eat for a solid 8 hours a day. The benefit of not eating the rest of day (the other 16 hours) is certain hormones in the body will start to act like they’re in exercise-mode.
So, in those 8 hours I can fit in around 3-4 meals.
But I also like to fast for a 24-hour period at least once a week. This is something I picked up after reading Eat Stop Eat by Brad Pilon.
However, not matter what diet approach you take…it all truly comes down to the eating the right kinds of foods.
When I was younger I could enjoy my favorite food of all time is Pizza more than I do today. As I get older I realize more and more how important it is to eat as clean as I can, and much more frequently.
When I was 22 years old I couldn’t imagine going without a slice of Pizza from my favorite restaurant. Now, at 32, I realize reigning in the way I eat is proving to be a necessity. And at 42, I’m sure I’m not going to mind not enjoying it once a week.
And more often, it’s for the better.
Why a Support Group is Important…
A bit of competition is always good. So if you can find someone you can workout with it could be the best thing that can happen in your path to a strong version of yourself.
It’s not always about finding someone to get in shape with. Moreover, it’s more about having people that will speak up when you start reach for a muffin someone at work baked at home. It could they can make sure you don’t head back for a second helping at dinner.
There are people in our lives that help to keep us strong. It’s important that we cherish them, and support them as well. Finding people that will keep you strong in your moment of weakness is what you need. And, if you can provide that same level of support, your group will thrive.
- A Workout Game Plan – Louish Pixel
- An Exercise Calendar – Petr Dadák
- Fitness Support Group – D. Sharon Pruitt
About the Author: Mitch Wright runs the blog of the Home Fitness Manual. He speaks with expert trainers and respected authors to prove you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape.