Whether you are new to exercise or have been at it for a while, creating good training habits is key to success and seeing results. To achieve success when you are training, it needs to become a habit that is ingrained in your daily life. Training includes performing the exercises, staying on top of your diet and getting sufficient sleep. We will look at how you can make exercise a daily habit and how to create habits that will be long-lasting to help keep you motivated and dedicated.
If you are new to exercise, you will hear many people recommend exercising three to four times a week to start seeing progress; while this is correct, it can sometimes make exercise become more of a chore than a habit that you come to enjoy. Habits are not built on doing something only a handful of times a week but are built on something that is performed daily so that it becomes instilled in your life. One of the best ways to achieve this is to start by following a 30-day challenge that incorporates a mixture of exercises such as running, cycling, boxing, or rowing. Here are some tips to help you transform exercise from a chore into a daily habit:
Plan in Advance
Many people who have got in shape and maintained it will recommend planning your workouts in advance. It allows you to become more accountable to yourself and it can feel rewarding marking it off as you complete it. Pick a time of day that is best for you to complete your exercise, you may need to switch up the times depending on what you have going on, just make sure you plan it in! Some people prefer to work out in the morning so that they know it is done, and should something unexpected occur throughout the day, they have got their daily exercise in. On the other hand, others find that working out in the evening is a good time as it allows them to de-stress after a long day.
Set a Reminder
To make sure you do not forget, set a reminder about five minutes before you need to start your workout. This gives you time to wrap up what you are doing and change into your workout clothes and get going!
Do Not Expect Too Much at First
This is an important one, as you should not expect too much from yourself or in seeing results. If you throw yourself into the deep end you are likely to burn yourself out which can result in you giving up or not being consistent. Instead, start small! Your body needs time to adjust itself to the stress of working out, so starting small will begin to wake your muscles up and challenge them.
Once your body has become more accustomed to exercising and you do not find yourself panting after just a few minutes, it is a good time to increase the intensity of what you are doing. Increasing intensity may mean working out for longer, increasing sets or reps, or adding weight to your exercises. Just remember, when increasing intensity, to do so safely by not overexerting yourself; this means do not go from 30 minutes of exercise to 2 hours! Your focus should be building on what you have done and improving it, not just trying to add more to say you have done it. Slowly but surely, you will get there!
Too many people associate exercising with misery and viewing it as a chore, when in fact, exercising can boost your mood and has so many benefits that improve your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Experiment with different exercises and find what you love. Undoubtedly, there will be some forms of exercise that may be hard and less pleasurable, but those are the ones that are likely to challenge you and push you outside of your comfort zone – and this is where the magic happens! Group workouts are a great way to combine exercise and fun.
Take a ‘Rest’ Day
As you are building a daily habit, you will not want to take a day off, however, you can ease up on the exercise on one day per week to give yourself a bit of a break. If you usually go out running for half an hour every day, perhaps just go for a fifteen-minute run or a light jog around the block. Or, do a yoga session which is great for building both your strength and flexibility but is usually at a slower pace and can be more relaxing. Regardless of what you choose to do on your ‘rest’ day, just make sure that you elevate your heart rate for a period of time.
Once you have completed your 30-day challenge you should find that exercise has become something that you look forward to and want to complete each day. Another important aspect that you need to incorporate into your newfound lifestyle to help you achieve your goals is good nutrition! Good nutrition accounts for about 80% of what you actually see, not the exercise. So how can you also improve your nutrition to make it effective? The first thing you should do is determine your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This uses your weight, height, age and activity levels to determine how many calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight. There are many online calculators that can do this for you, but this will help you ensure you stay on track. Tracking your calories helps lead to better choices in the food that you eat. Here’s some tips to help you start eating healthier:
Prioritise your protein! Protein helps keep you full and aids in muscle repair.
Eat a balanced meal that includes protein, carbs, healthy fats and veggies.
Add more oily fish to your diet! Not only is fish a great source of protein, but oily fish also provide high levels of omega-3 which helps prevent heart disease.
Reduce your sugar and saturated fat levels.
Reduce your salt levels, as too much salt can raise your blood pressure which is linked with heart disease and stroke.
Creating good training habits never comes easy and takes a lot of dedication and commitment on your part, however, once you do create these and exercise becomes a part of your healthy lifestyle, you will be ever so thankful for the results that you see!