It’s nothing new. You’ve been told time and time again that by being consistent in fitness, you can make substantial improvements in your overall health. But what does it take to be consistent? It sounds so simple.
If consistency was so simple then why are so many people still struggling to do it. Or are they?
According to the ParticipACTION Pulse Report, 83% of Canadian adults know that being physically inactive is a serious health issue but yet only 16% of them are moving enough to meet minimal guidelines for health and fitness, which is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week.
However, according to the results from the 2018 and 2019 Canadian Health Measures Survey, they show 50% of Canadian adults meet the “most recent recommended target” of accumulating at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week.
The most recent recommended guidelines are different in that they no longer state one must exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes for it to count towards 150 minutes. These minutes can be accumulated in any duration. In other words, all fitness minutes matter.
You can take pleasure in knowing that, in general fitness, the duration of physical activity is not as important as previously thought. It’s the overall weekly accumulation along with the intensity of those minutes. Five consecutive minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise matters just as much as 30 consecutive minutes of the same type.
Get the recent 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for various age groups here.
HOW CONSISTENCY BUILDS FITNESS
Keep in mind, this weekly total needs to be maintained. Zero minutes one week and 300 minutes another week will not produce the same results as 150 consistent minutes each week.
I call this yo-yo fitnessing, you know, like yo-yo dieting.
When we exercise, it causes positive stress on the body. During rest, the body can adapt to that stress. Then, when we exercise again we apply more stress. The body adapts. Repeat.
While there’s a lot more to it than that this is basically how we can build fitness.
However, if you skip a day of exercise, you will lose fitness but only a small amount. If you keep skipping obviously the losses become greater. This is known as the Principle of Reversibility.
Then, depending on your fitness level, experience and other factors as well as the duration of inactivity, you may find yourself back to baseline levels with greater fitness losses than you’d like to admit.
This is why people who are not consistent in their fitness say they feel like they are starting all over again. You know the saying, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”
Losing fitness and feeling like you are starting over again can be demotivating. One of the big reasons why I want to discuss how to be consistent in fitness is to help you from feeling like this again.
WHAT’S STILL HOLDING SOME PEOPLE BACK?
While the recent change in fitness guidelines is good news, we still have many people not moving enough. As a fitness lifestyle coach for 21 years, I have worked with thousands of people. I listen. I have heard and still hear things such as:
- I don’t like to sweat.
- I don’t want to feel sore.
- I don’t have the time.
- I don’t find exercise fun.
- I don’t like to work out alone.
- I don’t like to work out in big groups.
- I feel pressured to perform at a certain intensity.
- I feel defeated when I can’t keep up with others.
- I feel that it won’t make a difference if I don’t go all in.
- I feel weak because I can’t do certain exercises.
- I feel embarrassed about my body.
- I feel intimidated.
- I feel lost.
Did I leave anything out? If I did, post it in the comments section below because THIS STUFF MATTERS!
Sadly, if you admit to any of the above you are often accused of being lazy and don’t care about your health. From my coaching experience, I know that is not the case. Most people view their health as very important and they want to take care of it.
However, negative experiences and messages can greatly contribute to inaction. We should be seeking to understand each other more instead of making assumptions and applying labels.
>>>> THE BEST EXERCISE FOR WEIGHT LOSS <<<<
HOW TO BE CONSISTENT IN FITNESS
We have now arrived at the main point of this article but before I explain how to be consistent in fitness, let’s do a bit of prep work.
First, take the list above and cross off what doesn’t relate to you, circle what does, and add anything that I may not have mentioned.
Secondly, look in the mirror and tell yourself out loud that these feelings you have are real and acknowledgement them. Then tell yourself that you are not weak or lazy and that you can overcome or find a way around those obstacles.
The way you speak about yourself is important. Positive language becomes powerful when it is applied.
1. ESTABLISH A CONNECTION
To be consistent, you need something that connects you to behave that way. Something that lights your fire and does not require you to be motivated to do it because you actually want to do it so bad that you just go.
Establishing a deep connection is what will help keep you consistent. It becomes a part of who you are. It brings meaning to your life.
For example, I am consistent with exercising outside because I’m connected with nature and the feeling I get from being among the trees.
Others get connected to a specific gym for the family feel and camaraderie. I also feel that way about cycling with my club. Many runners, walkers, hikers and so forth feel that way about their clubs too.
Your connection doesn’t have to be with a group. Some people want solitude, others want just to work out with one or a few friends.
Once you establish this, you will find you can’t live without it. Having to work at being consistent won’t be a task anymore as it will happen naturally.
I know this to be true as this is my life. I don’t need to be motivated and I no longer have to work at being consistent.
If you already have this, please tell us about your connection in the comments below because stories like this are incredibly inspiring to others still seeking their connection.
2. LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
Allow yourself to move freely and go with your own flow. With fewer expectations, you will be able to find your fun in fitness.
Did you know that one of the biggest reasons why most people remain consistent in fitness is because they find it fun? That’s because they established a connection.
High expectations create unnecessary stress. On days you are struggling, it will also leave you feeling like a failure.
Lowering your expectations gives you more room for flexibility. If you are having a rough day, you can just go for a walk around the block. Give yourself 5 minutes. I bet you will go longer as it will only take a few breaths and you’ll feel the stress melt away.
Getting out the door is often the most challenging part but if you take time to establish that connection first and combine that with fewer expectations, going gets easier.
Do you struggle with this or have you conquered it? Share below.
3. MAKE IT JIVE WITH YOUR LIFE
Everyone is living a different life, even in the same household. Seek out something that jives with your very own schedule.
What I love about the new guidelines is that it truly relieves a lot of pressure off of people with full plates. Any type of moderate to intensity movement counts towards 150 minutes and all durations matter. 5, 10, 30, 60 minutes…make what time you have work.
You don’t have to do burpees or run 5km to make a difference. Choose activities that you love to do and make them fit into your life.
One time, I broke my foot and it was in a cast for quite a while. Obviously, cycling was off the list so I worked on my core and upper body strength. It all counts.
Also, if you have been sedentary for a while and feeling really out of shape, then forget about the 150 minutes each week and start with 5 minutes a day. Be consistent and patient and believe that those minutes. Work at building the habit and then add more minutes as you feel ready.
Need ideas? Ask below.
Already doing it? Tell us about it.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
I know you hear that consistency is key to increased fitness and better health all the time but that’s because it’s true. It’s a fundamental component of how we build strength, endurance and mobility. Other important benefits are increased immunity, circulation, energy to complete everyday tasks with greater ease, and the list goes on.
The best part is this – it doesn’t have to be a crazy complicated thing. It can be simple if you allow it to be.
If you establish a connection, lower expectations, and make fitness fit into your daily life, you will develop a healthier lifestyle and no longer be included in that statistical percentage of non-moving adults.
Not only that, you will eventually find yourself crossing off more of those obstacles from your list. You will begin to form a positive relationship with fitness, not just physically, but emotionally.
Remember, all movement matters, the whole day matters, and you don’t have to do as much as you think you have to in order to develop a healthy fit body.
You just have to be consistent.