reprinted from Mind, Body, Green
So many people quit their workout regimens after they’ve reached a certain weight or size — or well before that. In fact, research suggests that 50 percent of people starting a workout routine will quit within the first six months. On the other side, there are people who stick to workout plans year after year and get the results they want. While these people use different approaches and training methods, they have similar methods to make fitness become more of a habit.
These features are the secret to a successful workout regimen. Incorporate them into your training and you’ll become a success story:
Consistency is by far the most important part of any workout program. It doesn’t matter whether you do body-weight exercises, lift weights or run. You have to be consistent with your workouts.
Avoid going for long periods of time without exercise. This study found that, when regular trainees went for 12 to 21 days without exercise, their VO2 max (a measure of cardiovascular endurance) dropped by 7 percent — and down by another 9 percent in 56 days.
Tips to follow: Start your routine on Mondays and don’t go more than three days without exercise.
It’s hard to be consistent if you are not accountable to anyone. It’s so easy to sleep in and miss your morning workout. But if you had a workout partner or coach, you won’t want to let them down. And they’ll also make you exercise even when you don’t want to.
A study conducted by Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University found that couples who trained separately had a 43 percent dropout rate, while those trained together only had a 6.3 percent dropout rate.
Tips to follow: Share your goals with family and friends — this can be done through social media or in person. Or you could hire a personal trainer who will help you stay focused and motivated.
3. Follow a routine.
If you don’t have a routine, chances are you will fail. You need to know the exercises for each session and how long it will last. Try to find a program that fits your lifestyle and strength level.
Tips to follow: Your routine should cover all muscle groups. Get enough rest – don’t train every day, muscles need rest to recover and grow.
4. Keep progressing.
Some trainees use the same program all year through. This leads to slow gains or plateaus in some cases. Change things up and keep the workouts challenging.
Tips to follow: Do harder exercises and variations after every three to four weeks. Progress slowly – moving up to advanced exercises quickly can cause injury.
5. Teach yourself proper form.
When I started out, I had very little knowledge about training. Inevitably, I made costly mistakes and wasted a lot of time. Knowledge will help you get the most out the workout, avoid injuries and stay motivated.
Tips to follow: Focus on proper form — learn proper execution of every exercise in your routine. Perfect compound movements — they burn more calories and increase strength.
6. Set goals
Knowing the results you want will bring success. Don’t set vague goals like “getting fit” or “losing weight.” Specific goals are more manageable, for example, a goal to lose 25 pounds in three months or to be able to do 10 pull ups in two months is better than wanting to lose belly fat.
According to this study by University of Iowa, frequent goal setting helps change behavior and promotes faster weight loss. So set both short-term and long-term goals.
Tips to follow: Set weekly goals for weight, strength and body fat-percentage — you can’t fail to notice an improvement in any of the three. Take measurements each week.