You want to build a better body so you head to the gym. While you’re there you have the intensity of a charging rhino and the focus of an Olympic archer. You know what you’re doing and how to work out, but you’re still not seeing the desired results. Chances are good that what’s holding you back is really a simple fix. Most likely you don’t need to make any massive changes to your style of training or switch up your routine too drastically. What you’re probably missing is the one of the simplest keys to resistance training success: Consistency.
If your workouts are sporadic and happen about as often as a lunar eclipse, you will see very little if any results no matter how hard you hit the iron. It’s the repeated stress/recovery cycle that causes the physiological changes in the body that we desire and we have to make sure that this cycle happens frequently.
You’re probably saying to yourself, “It sounds easy enough, but I always seem to fall off of the wagon after a week or two. What can I do to make this time different?” I’ve compiled a slew of tips to help you stay the course. Apply one of these tips or as many as necessary to keep you on track.
1. Commit to three weeks come hell or high water.
Have you noticed that it’s easy to stick to a plan for a couple of weeks, but then the wheels often fall off of the bus? It takes some intestinal fortitude, but you must push to the three-week mark for your workouts to become a habit. Habits are essentially patterns of behavior that become “worn in” to our brains, and it takes roughly three weeks to create a habit. If you can you hit three weeks of consistent training you will have made it over the hump and will have started to establish the necessary habit.
2. Set a realistic time commitment goal.
Many trainers try to do way too much way too fast. They say things like, “I’m going to train for two hours a day six days a week!” In the beginning you’re excited about the progress you’re making so this seems like a good idea at first. However, burnout quickly occurs and that kills your consistency. If you’re newer to training or struggling to fit it in, pick just three days a week to hit the gym. When the number of days is smaller, but still consistent, it’s easier to fulfill the commitment.
3. Join a gym near work.
Making the time to go to the gym can be a challenge. Packing your gym bag, preparing your postworkout shake… All of these things become part of the pre-training ritual, and all of them contribute to your excuses to not go and train. To eliminate one excuse, join a gym that’s near or on your way to work. Pack your gym bag the night before and commit to stopping and training on the way to or from work. This way the lure of the couch or Facebook won’t keep you from getting your results.
4. Keep it brief.
Long workouts can be daunting. Rather than have your training sessions run for two hours, keep the sessions short. Thirty-minute workouts, consisting of supersets or just employing short rest periods between sets can be highly effective when done on a regular basis.
5. Hire a trainer.
If you’re new to training or are having trouble targeting the areas of your body you want to improve, it’s easy to get frustrated, which makes it harder to want to go to the gym. Why train if you know you’re not going to get results, right? If this is the case for you, hire a trainer that has the know how and inspirational skills to keep you on track.
6. Find a workout buddy.
Sometimes just having a buddy with a similar goal can be the answer. Find a friend or coworker who wants to make the gym part of their regular routine. Help each other out by holding one another accountable and scheduling your workouts together.
7. Try a new training plan.
If you don’t mix up your routine, boredom can set in. Peruse MuscleMag.com for new routines and splits and give them a try. Sometimes a little guided variety is all the spice needed to keep the fire burning.
8. Participate in a transformation challenge.
You can’t turn on your computer without seeing supplement companies promoting their transformation challenges. Why not take the bull by the horns and enter one? Having a goal can help you stay on track. You could even take home the grand prize. Now that’s a win-win!
9. Schedule a photo shoot or enter a physique contest.
There are a ton of legitimate professional photographers that you can hire to take some photos and document your success. Additionally, there are multiple NPC and IFBB shows all over the country where you can strut your stuff on stage and show off your hard work. By committing to a photo shoot or physique contest, you set a definitive time frame and goal date to help you stay the course.
10. Use social media to hold yourself accountable.
Notice a theme here? Accountability is an incredibly helpful tool when it comes to staying on task. Why not use your social media outlets to share your goals and the work you’re putting in? Who knows, you may even inspire others to follow your lead!
11. Put your money where your mouth is.
Set a schedule for your workouts and let an accountability partner know the schedule. Then text them from the gym every time you work out. If for any reason you miss a training session you have to pay for it. A missed workout equals you cutting a check to your accountability partner for a pre-determined amount of cash. (Make it a large enough amount of money that you don’t want to lose it and they would like to receive it!) Money is a great motivator.
12. Challenge a pal.
Challenge a buddy to get into better shape. Set a goal such as losing inches on the waist or dropping weight and set a specific time frame. Two months is usually a good amount of time. Decide what the winner gets for the win and get started.
13. Pick an incentive.
Rewarding yourself IS allowed! Perhaps you would like a new suit, a pair of shoes or a watch. It doesn’t really matter what you’re coveting as long as it’s something you’re willing to work for. When you hit your goal reward yourself for your hard work.
14. Journal your progress.
We live in our bodies every day, so often we don’t notice the positive changes. Take progress pictures and measurements weekly or bi-weekly. You’ll be pleasantly surprised after a month or two and can use that to fuel your continued commitment.
15. Mentor a gym newbie.
Pay it forward and reap the benefits. If you’re an experienced gym-goer, help out a newbie. Their enthusiasm will rub off on you and your knowledge will help them. In the end you’re both better for the experience!
Now you have a ton of ideas to help make sure that you never miss another workout! Pick the right tip or tips to keep you on task and put them into practice immediately for preparation is good, but action is king.