Training and Consistency
By Neal Mclaughlin: USAT Certified Coach
In the pursuit of any goal that is worthy of your efforts, consistently working your plan for achieving that goal is instrumental in your ultimate success. Fitness is no different. We all have busy lives with demanding careers, family obligations, and other hobbies and avocations. Even as we strive for work/life balance, taking time to move our bodies and exercise needs to be a priority.
If you are married or in a committed relationship, or even a single parent, it is a good idea to share your goals and aspirations with your family or significant other. Step two is finding a way to carve out time to invest in your well-being. Maybe your spouse or significant other is your training or walking partner, and you look forward to spending that time together. If not, it is constructive to work your schedule out together to find the time.
Time of day is another element that needs to be determined. Some of us train in the morning, before work. Others choose the lunch hour, after work, or evenings. Choose whichever of these options that will generally work the best for you. Then, choose the number of days per week that you can train. Be realistic about this. If it is 4 days a week, 5 or 6 days a week, make sure that this is realistic for you given your work/family commitments.
The final ingredient, once you have chosen the time of day and the number of days per week, is to be consistent every week. People who train 6 times one week, once the next week, and 3 times the week after that are likely to struggle to make progress. The problem is inconsistency. A better plan would be to stick to a commitment of 4 days per week – every week.
Remember, 3-4 days per week of training will only allow you to establish and maintain a basic level of fitness. It generally takes 5-6 days per week to improve your level of fitness. The qualifier with these rules of thumb though is the consistency of your routine – each and every week.
As you embark on your training year, don’t make contracts with your mind that your body isn’t prepared to keep. Start realistically and build from there. It takes 3-4 weeks to habituate a behavior, and a training habit is no different. Don’t be intimidated by those who are farther along in their journey. We all had to start somewhere, and with consistent, persistent effort, you can realize the same benefits of these healthy habits.