Reaching your fitness goals is challenging, and it can be incredibly demoralizing when you work hard but don’t see results. What many people don’t think about (or don’t want to think about) is that consistency is the key to realizing success in fitness. If you don’t consistently work at your goals every day over a long period of time (months or years, not just days or weeks), you won’t see meaningful results. This is true for anything in life, not just fitness, but that’s a whole different article.
To achieve consistency in fitness, there are several areas you’ll need to focus on. You probably already have a good idea about what you need to do to achieve and maintain fitness. You’ll need to eat right, exercise well, and sleep enough. None of those things will be effective, however, without a consistent schedule. Of course you can’t expect to be 100% perfect in your execution, but the closer you can get, the better.
Consistency In Nutrition
There are many different philosophies when it comes to eating. Some people say you should eat several small meals throughout the day, while others say the traditional three-meal structure is just fine. Some people think carbs are good, other people think you should have as few as possible. The nutrition plan you choose is important, but sticking to it is even more important. Any positive effects a new way of eating might have on your body won’t happen until you’ve been consistently doing it for several weeks or months. If you’ve started eating healthier but haven’t lost weight yet, don’t give up. Stick with it, and you’ll see the results.
Consistency In Exercise
If you are not consistently elevating your heart rate several times a week, you’re not getting enough exercise. In order to see real results in any training routine, you need to stick with it on a regular schedule for months. This applies to both weight training and cardio workouts. As you grow stronger, your body requires larger challenges. If you miss some workouts or decrease the intensity, however, your muscles will begin to atrophy, you’ll gain weight, and you’ll lose all of your hard-earned progress. It’s okay to slip up every once in a while or to take a day off, but try to stick to your schedule as much as you can.
Consistency In Sleep
This is the one that I think is hardest for most people to accept. Sleeping well is a vital part of staying healthy, and far too many of us cheat ourselves when it comes to sleep. Everyone has different sleep requirements, but everyone benefits from having a consistent sleep schedule. If you’re in the habit of waking up at 8 a.m. one day and noon the next, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Having a regular sleep schedule (even on the weekends) can help you feel more alert, and keep your energy levels up.
Ways To Build Consistency
When you’re trying to build a new habit, taking small steps is important. Make simple, manageable goals to build consistency slowly. For example, you could start by committing to two 30 minute workouts per week. Make a schedule of those workouts and never miss them. Once you feel confident, start increasing the length of your workouts or add more workouts to your week. Each time you increase the difficulty, make sure you keep up and miss as few days as possible. Eventually you’ll have a solid workout habit built that will help you achieve your fitness goals.
The same thing applies to nutrition. Sometimes the hardest thing about eating healthy is convincing ourselves to take the time to cook a healthy meal rather than just eating something easy. Consider choosing a day of the week to cook several meals for yourself and storing them in serving size containers. That way when it comes time to eat, you’ll have a pre-made healthy meal ready and waiting for you.
Remember that you can’t do it all at once. Building habits, like getting fit, takes a long time. Taking small steps and allowing yourself to slip up now and then are important. If you take it slow and build up a consistent routine methodically, you’ll see results before you know it.