How to Schedule Your Workouts
Fitting in just one workout can seem daunting… working out in general can fill you with dread and anxiety.
Thoughts go like this: “Oh God, I am not in good shape.” “This is gonna suck.” “I am gonna get all sweaty and shit and then I am gonna have to shower again.” “I gotta run from work directly to the gym, that is boring and I’ll get home so late.” Can’t I just have a beer?”
Starting any new habit is hard, but scheduling in workouts is loaded! The way that I kept off all those pounds I lost? It was working out. The pay off is exponential over time. But to do it over time it has to be habit and habit doesn’t mean perfection.
In this post I am going to give you 10 tips to make fitness habit- if I can do it you can too!
10 Tips to Stick to Your Workout Schedule
1- Be Realistic / Start Small
How active are you right now? On average how many times do you work out in a month? If now you’re at 1-2 days a month kinda person then having a goal to work out 3-4 days a week is unrealistic and unhealthy. If you work out just once per week you are already working out twice the amount that you usually do and progress is better than perfection any day of the week.
So now choose a simple number. A number you know you can maintain per week to start. If you make time for extra activity you get bonus points to add into the “I’m proud of me” Piggybank. (PS- this NEEDS to be a thing!)
Small goals are just enough of a challenge that you are changing your behavior, but not too hard that you don’t want to or can’t keep up with them. Read about the Goldilocks rule here. It explains how small challenges lead to increased motivation and results. It’s all scientific and shit.
2- Phone a Friend
Accountability is your friend and your friend is accountability! If you have plans to go for a hike with a friend and back out because you’re just too damn lazy, well that is just fucking embarrassing. So make a fitness date with a friend or schedule phone calls to keep each other in check. Keep a friend as accountability and use social media to your advantage.
Ever wonder why I post sweaty selfies? Why do I announce fitness goals on Facebook? Accountability. My word is my bond and I will keep it! When I decided I was going to run the Tough Mudder, I announced it on Facebook. Why? I knew I would chicken out if I didn’t announce it to everyone. Social media can be an even more powerful accountability check. More on that when we get to our action steps.
3- KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)
We hear this all the time, yet somehow it is human nature to complicate things. We want to challenge ourselves or we’re comparing our beginning to years of someone else’s hard work.
Don’t get too crazy and pick some odd workout classes you have never tried for your first couple weeks or even first months. Wait to try something new until you are very curious and your current workout is no longer challenging.
I knew I was ready to venture into jogging/running when I was walking 3 miles and it was too easy, my heart rate wasn’t up much and it was getting boring. But I didn’t then decide to run a mile straight. Instead I transitioned my jogging until my heart rate got pretty high and walked and then jogged again when I could.
Here are some examples of fitness for beginners:
Walking (brisk) for 1-2 miles
Biking for 1-2 miles
Dancing or Zumba Gold (Zumba gold is a lower impact Zumba)
Yoga for stretching
4- Remember WHY You’re Working Out
This is by far one of the most important weapons in your arsenal, your mind set. Why are you working out? What reasons do you have? Are they positive ones?
The wrong mindset and reason to work out:
I need to attract some dudes so I can get married and have all the babies!
I look horrible!
I’m gross and how did I let it get this bad?!
The right mindset and reasons:
I deserve to be healthy.
I care about my body and my health.
I love myself and want the best for myself.
I want to feel healthy and fit.
Take a moment and reframe your thinking. If you have a negative reason such as “I need to lose weight” reframe it to, “I deserve to be fit.” That small change of how you think of things will make a HUGE difference.
Think about it this way: If you are in a class and every time you participate with the wrong answer the teacher has granted everyone permission to laugh at you. (This really happened to me in 7th grade) Would you even try and answer a question to participate in class?
Well if you were told no matter your answer everyone would clap for you, would you participate? YES!
Positive reinforcement works wonders, negative reinforcement just creates anxiety and fear.
5- Create a Plan
Here is where we get real. We write shit down or commit it to the calendar! You are gonna plan your fitness routine that will only change it if need be. This can be the hard part. I have a hard time committing to anything and I go through phases. I used to be obsessed with Zumba, now I am feeling Bootcamp. But it was my choice to switch it up. Also remember plans can change if you don’t like them. That should help you commit since there really is only the commitment of 1 week.
Decide what sort of exercise you want to commit to. (If you are having a hard time picking refer to the fitness test here.)
Pick the duration (remember start small).
Commit to the time and day(s) you will workout each week.
Add them to your calendar and add a reminder alarm for the night before. (This allows you to remember to pack clothes if needed)
Sweat it out!
Don’t get anxious with me telling you this stuff. Planning and someone telling me do this, do that makes me seriously anxious. There are some decisions you need to make, but take them one at a time and always refer to the KISS rule to shut down that anxiety!
6- Make it a Non-Negotiable
Pen to paper, cursor to digital calendar you will enter into you schedule. If someone wants to meet for drinks at the time you workout, you pick a different time or day. This is a commitment you made to yourself, a promise for you health. Each commitment you break, each word you don’t follow through on takes a little more of the power within you fade. Keep your word and your promise to yourself and keep your power. Make yourself stronger.
In times of weakness I realize I am not taking care of my body and myself because I don’t believe I am worth it. I usually get to that state because of a lack of keeping my promises I made to myself. I fall down all the time, but I get back up.
If it were easy everyone would do it, you are not everyone. You are special and you deserve more!
7- Focus on Persistence NOT Perfection
This has been a great mantra for me for years. Many of us have a disease called “Perfectionism”. I call it a disease since it usually impedes progress in your life. Focus on being persistent instead. Did you have a week you never made it to the gym despite your best efforts?? I do and pretty often. But the important thing is I never stop trying. There is never a week I don’t make effort to workout.
Persistence is tied to motivation. So find your positive motivation. My motivation lately is challenging myself to achieve a fitness goal that seems just out of reach. It’s addictive for me. That has a lot to do with that Goldilocks complex- finding a challenge that is just a far enough out of reach and getting it.
How about this Thomas Edison quote “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Persistence got him there, NOT perfection. Or like Dory says “Just keep swimming.”
8- Get Creative
When do you have the most time to work out? We all say we have no time. In reality we’re saying it’s not a priority. No excuses means that if you cannot fit it in during the day that you will wake up an hour early to make more time.
Lately I have changed my bed time so that I will wake refreshed by 7am. I created more time for creative work in the morning so I can work out after work without feeling cheated.
You have children? You can also wake up one hour earlier than them to get in your workout and some personal time. Yes it is a bite in the ass, but if you are committed enough you will find a way.
9- Have a Plan B Ready
Sometimes things don’t go according to plan: now THAT is an understatement. Amiright? So we gotta plan for the unexpected. Your Plan B is a time and date you can work out if your usual workout days are disturbed. For example: I have a Wednesday bootcamp class I am committed to and excited for, but if a social event that is just too good to pass up lands on that day, I usually formulate a Plan B right then and there! So I am ready.
If it’s your birthday week and you got lots of eating to do, consider scheduling in morning workouts so it doesn’t interfere with your party plans.
There is always a way if you want it enough.
10- Keep it Fun
Ain’t nobody like to do more boring shit. It’s bad enough we need to clean our living space, wash dishes and do laundry. If you got kids you got even more boring shit to do.
What will keep you motivated besides WHY you’re working out and your buddy system? That would be the workout itself. It’s a no brainer- if you enjoy it you will keep doing it more and more. There are so many ways you can move your body, there is one that everyone will enjoy.
Join a gym, sign up for martial arts training, take kickboxing, bootcamp, zumba, dance, yoga, sports, ballroom dancing, rock climbing, volleyball, hiking, walking, running, weightlifting. JUST A COUPLE IDEAS… lol.
Refer to this post for more info and to take a quiz to find your perfect workout: Get off your A$$- The Benefits of Fitness
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