Finding and sticking to a workout routine can be tough. I’ve tried almost every type of exercise regimen on the planet and have a pretty solid idea of what I like and don’t like concerning how, where, and when I like to workout. I’ve found that there are a few things that have to be considered when choosing a workout routine, and if these things aren’t considered, well, you can kiss any hopes of results goodbye. Sounds harsh, maybe, but to be very honest, working out is like anything else in life, if you don’t enjoy the routine you’re doing, it’s not likely to be something you make time for. And, when your workout is not a priority, it’s tough to get the results you are after, thus making it easy to give up.
It can be a daunting cycle of starting and stopping, never really getting results, and ultimately just quitting altogether. Sound familiar?!? If so, don’t worry… you are not alone girlfriend! There’s a whole world of people out there struggling with this very issue and because I know how hard it can be, I’ve decided to put together a list of what I think are the most important things to consider when choosing a workout routine that you will LOVE and most importantly, that you can stick to!
WHY: I’m going to risk the chance of sounding like a broken record here, but you have to know WHY you want to workout in the first place. It can’t just be because it’s healthy for you, or everyone knows that people should work out, or because you want to look good. All of these things are true and valid and can very well be apart of your why, but believe me when I say that they won’t help you out when you need it most. When you are looking to your WHY to get you up at 5 am to get to the gym, or to get you off the couch to go for a run, or to help you muster the strength to do one more set, referring to “Well, this is healthy for me,” or “I want to look good right?!” ain’t gonna cut it. Your subconscious will poke all kinds of holes in those theories and talk you right out of your goals.
A better idea would be to go a little deeper with your WHY. If it’s because you want to be healthy, then explore that a little more. A good trick is to keep asking yourself why until you can’t go any more in-depth with it. Just keep peeling the onion so to speak. Why do you want to be healthy? Do you have kids, a husband, a dog, that you want to live a long and healthy life for? Why do you want to live a long and healthy life? Do you want to be able to run and play with your kids while they’re still little, do you want to be ready to go on that hiking trip that’s on your husband’s bucket list?
You have to get specific and detailed so that when your brain tries to talk you out of going or doing that workout, and believe me, it will try; you will have something tangible that you can draw on to give you the strength to do it anyway.
Are You Enjoying It: This one is tricky because if you were to ask me when I’m in the middle of my third set of back squats if I’m enjoying it, it’s likely that I would say um… nope. Not exactly. Working out is hard. It’s work. And. It’s often not that fun while your gasping for breath or your muscles are shaking telling you that you can’t give any more. But here’s the thing. When you’re done, and you’re sitting there reflecting on your workout, you should be able to say that you enjoyed it. Maybe you didn’t enjoy the pain or the actual work of it, but you appreciate how your body feels when you’re done. You enjoy the feeling of conquering a workout and the endorphins, energy, and contentment that the workout provides. Now, if you’re reading this and saying…. uh… nope. I don’t feel anything but tired, sore, and exhausted from my workouts. There’s no feeling good, it’s all just terrible, and I don’t want to do it! Well, sister, you are doing the wrong kind of exercise, and you should find a new regimen right away!
Working out, at the very least should energize you. It should kickstart some feel-good hormones that will have you wanting to come back for more. And, if it’s not… Then, you haven’t found what works for you yet. And that’s okay! As I said, I’ve tried all kinds of workouts, so I know what I like (lifting weights) and what I don’t like (running). It’s that simple. It wouldn’t be very smart of me to stop lifting and go and join a run club. I would never go. It just wouldn’t happen. Now, that doesn’t mean that running isn’t a good form of exercise, it just means that it won’t be effective for me because I don’t enjoy it.
Finding what you like can take time and lots of trial and error. It’s a process like anything else so don’t rush it. You should try whatever interests you and give it a good go before you move on to something else. Also, keep in mind that you can and will evolve into different things. I started out doing CrossFit only for several years, and now I’ve tailored my workouts to just lifting most days, 1-2 days of cardio or HIIT, and yoga on recovery days. It’s what works for me in my life right now! Will it change?? Probably, everything always does!
Less is More: I’m probably gonna catch some flack for this one, but it’s true you guys. If your WHY is centered around feeling and looking your best, then pushing yourself to the point of burn out every day in the gym is not going to do you any favors. You have to know that a solid three days of hard workouts is enough to reach most people’s body goals. If you are into lifting weights, three days is enough. If you want to start a yoga practice, three days of intense practice is enough. If you’re going to be a runner, running three days a week is enough.
This was a hard pill for me to swallow because I came from an intense workout everyday type situation before I settled into what I do now, but to be completely honest, I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing then. I was exhausted all the time, I was on such a strict routine that I was having to be in the gym for over two hours a day to get it all in, and to top it all off I was starting to get nagging injuries. My shoulders and hips were just not happy. When I finally sat down and thought about what I was trying to accomplish, and WHY I was working out so much, I realized how disconnected I was from my actual goals. Scaling it back to 45 min 3-4 times a week was a game changer for me. I had more time to focus on other essential parts of my life… Ehem (This blog!), I had more time for recovery type workouts that I love, like going for a walk, or to a restorative yoga class, and I was able to dial my nutrition in to a place that helped me lose the last few pounds I’d been trying to get off for years! It’s all about balance and making sure that the time you are putting in is intentional.
So there you have it, if you get these three things right, I know you will be able to find a workout routine that suits you and your goals! Making sure that you are always connected to why you are doing what you are doing is going to create longevity and consistency in your fitness plan. That coupled with remembering to check in with yourself to be sure you are enjoying your workouts, and making sure you are not overdoing it in any one area, are the best ways to set yourself up for long-term fitness success!
MY FAVE WORKOUTS RIGHT NOW!
I thought it would be fun to share what’s been working for me this year workout wise. As I said, I’ve done a ton of different things over the years, but this year I’ve been focused on just getting back to a place that excites me about going to the gym. I’ve really loved following Kelsey Wells on Instagram so I decided to give her program a shot and I have to say I’m loving it! If you don’t follow her, you totally should! She is such an inspiring women and her workouts are amazing!
Right now I’m on week four of her PWR1.0 program! It’s 3-4 days of weights + 2 days of cardio/Hitt ( I usually just do 1) and two days of recovery. So walking, yoga, stretching, whatever your body needs. I love that she has an app, so everything is easy to follow and implement! The app is called the Sweat App, and its available through Itunes! I will say that you will need a gym membership for this program as she implements quite a few machines, but you could always sub exercises if you don’t have access to the equipment. I do that sometimes if I’m working out in our home gym.
Another great feature of her program is the food plan. I don’t actually do her food plan because I follow The Fab Four by Kelly Leveque, but I do grab recipes from it from time to time! She has a ton of healthy and quick meals on her plan worth checking out!
OK! So I thought I’d share a workout with you! I’d love to hear from you if you do it! There’s a feature in The Sweat App where you can share your completed workouts with your friends! So if you do it, I’d love to see a screenshot of your completed workouts!
Circuit 1 (Time Limit: 4 minutes)
3 Rounds of
12 Push-ups + 20 Jumping Jacks
Circuit 2 (Time Limit: 4 Minutes)
3 Rounds of
15 Dumbbell Chest Fly’s + 15 Inchworms
Barbell or Dumbbell Chest Press ( Rest 30 seconds between sets)
Dumbbell Chest Fly’s ( Rest 30 seconds between sets)
Tricep Extension (Rest 30 seconds between sets)
Super Set 1 (Time Limit: 6 Minutes)
12 Dumbells Chest Fly’s + 12 Tricep Dips
Super Set 2 (Time Limit: 6 Minutes)
10 Pushups + 12 Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Don’t forget to do a 3-5 min stretch or cool down session when you’re done!