Getting fit and active is easier said than done. Building a fitness routine and sticking to it can be challenging. It’s something I’ve struggled with over the years, especially the part about consistency. Life can get stressful and changes in our lives can make creating and sticking to habits even more difficult. However, with the right approach and strategies, you can develop a workout plan that becomes part of your weekly schedule. Here are some tips to help you build a fitness routine that lasts:
1. Start small.
Don’t try to overhaul your entire lifestyle all at once. If you’re not already fairly active, starting with 2-3 workouts per week is recommended (Mayo Clinic, 2020). You can increase this over time as you fit the new habits into your daily routine and see the amazing effects they have on your wellbeing. Also, focusing on something small like hitting 10,000 steps a day is a great place to start!
2. Be consistent.
Pick the same days and times each week for your workouts and block them out on your calendar. Consistency is key to forming a habit (Lally et al., 2010).
3. Vary your workouts.
Doing the same workout each time can get boring quickly. Mix up your cardio, strength training and other activities to keep yourself motivated (ACSM, 2019). Choose workout types that you love and that make you feel good, inside and out.
4. Set goals.
Having specific fitness goals can help drive your commitment. Set goals that are measurable and have deadlines. Revisit your goals every few months to keep yourself motivated (ACSM, 2019). I like to create a spreadsheet where I keep track of my progress points and enter data periodically (like weekly or biweekly) and set goals for the future. I revisit those goals and adjust as needed.
5. Track your progress.
Use a fitness app or notebook to log your workouts and keep track of metrics like weight, body fat percentage, and miles ran. Seeing the numbers change can spur you on (ACSM, 2019). I especially find it motivating to take periodic progress photos to see the changes in my body composition over time.
6. Reward yourself.
Treat yourself when you hit milestones or maintain your fitness routine for a set time period. Small rewards can motivate you to keep going (Mayo Clinic, 2020). Buy yourself that cute new workout top or make plans with a friend to celebrate your milestones.
7. Ask for accountability.
Enlist the help of a friend, personal trainer or workout partner. Having someone to keep you on track can make all the difference (Mayo Clinic, 2020). If you’re interested in a more personalized 1:1 coaching plan to support you with your nutrition and fitness goals, contact me to discuss this possibility!
Let me know what you thought about this post and subscribe to my page for more health and wellness-related posts!
Lally, P., van Jaarsveld, C. H., Potts, H. W., & Wardle, J. (2010). How are habits formed: Modelling habit formation in the real world. European Journal of Social Psychology, 40(6), 998–1009.
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Fitness: Build better exercise habits.
ACSM. (2019). ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription.