As those of you who train with us know, we have great tradition of sweatmonkey numbers. For the uninitiated, training with us consistently for a period of time earns you a unique number which is presented on a cap. The reason we do this is twofold. Firstly, it grows our community. Community is our primary driver and we love training with great people who are all striving to improve their fitness and do amazing things. Secondly, to earn your number you must attend training consistently for a month (at least three times per week). This is no accident; it is widely recognised that it takes about this long (give or take a week depending on what you read) to form a habit. Additionally, after a month or so, the initial feelings of stiffness after workouts are subsiding and you are starting to see results which is motivating.
But consistency is not only about pitching up to training, it is about consistency across resistance exercise, cardio and nutrition. Which is most important? All of them! A well balanced training program suits most of us and trying to train like a professional athlete will not end well for the average exercise novice; but that is a topic for another day.
Arguably the most difficult aspect of the health and fitness scene. It is rare to be able to strictly follow a particular dietary regime, whatever it may be. Todays lifestyle is fast paced and encourages convenience which is not consistent with what or how we should be eating. We all know what we should and shouldn’t put in our mouth, and how much we should drink at dinner parties but it is really difficult to be consistent, just ask any busy mum. So how do we add consistency into our diet?
Don’t buy “bad foods” (If they are not in your pantry, you won’t eat them)
Prepare lunches the night before, not in a hurry in the morning
Take the time to find your optimal nutrition. Not everybody is the same
Don’t be the only person in your house to be trying to eat healthily
Remember Pareto’s Principle! (The 80/20 rule) If you can maintain a good diet and every now and then have a dinner party with your friends where you enjoy some good food, you will be more likely to eat well consistently over time.
This is the part most people find the easiest to be consistent with. Resistance exercise is important for everyone, and becomes more so as we get older. Three training sessions a week where you are lifting some form of weight should be the minimum, but having said that good results can be achieved with less if you have intelligent programming to follow.Consistency is required for results; it is no good training for a couple of weeks and then having a gap, you must keep going. How do we ensure consistency in our resistance program?
Train with a group of like minded people. Having a place to go with people whose company you enjoy will keep you motivated to train
Hire a trainer. Having someone do the thinking for you, designs intelligent workouts based on your situation and who keeps you honest is more likely to keep you consistent as you see results. Besides if you are paying, you are turning up!
Have a training goal or outcome. This doesn’t need to be the usual fare like weight lose or muscle size, why not make it original – Its your fitness, play with it.
Train in a way you enjoy. There is no shortage of fitness methods out there, make sure you find one you really enjoy and you will be more likely to keep going.
Don’t swear at me I hear you say, cardio schmardio. Well sorry to disappoint but this is one third of your fitness puzzle and believe it or not will not melt away your hard earned muscle gains. It is the toughest nut to crack and feels oh so bad when you are unfit. Don’t panic there are ways to gently introduce cardio into your program. A good level of cardio fitness is beneficial in so many ways and has many positive health implications beyond fitness that it should be what we are striving to achieve anyway. How much cardio do we need? Three days a week as a minimum, and how much on those days depends on your current fitness level. What steps can we take to ensure consistency in our cardio training?
Join a running/walking group, training with people is a great motivator
Don’t buy into the go hard or go home mentality. You do not need to destroy yourself every workout
Be realistic and honest with yourself about your current fitness level. Start at a point where it leaves you feeling good
Compete. We all love a bit of competition, even if it with ourselves. Enter a 10km or half marathon for example
Walk your local trails with your family regularly. Not only will this be great family time , introduce you to the local area and get you going gently but will form that all important habit which is consistency.
Consistency over the three key aspects to fitness is the hard part and is the reason so many people fail to see results. Consistency at the gym will not produce results if your nutrition is not up to par. Good nutrition might leave you looking lean but no resistance and no cardio does not a healthy body make. Take the time to assess your fitness and implement a consistent approach to these three areas, the results will amaze you.