The secrets to success you aren’t considering? Consistency and enjoyment.
Consistency has long been touted as the key to success in fitness - or any endeavour. If you want to succeed, you have to show up and put in the work, day after day, for months and often years. Success is rarely ever a one-and-done experience, certainly not with fitness.
When discussing ways for people to improve their consistency, one of the commonly mentioned factors is discipline. We all know motivation only gets us so far and is often unreliable and inconsistent. Cultivating the discipline to ensure we stick to our regimen regardless of whether we want to or not is undoubtedly an important skill, but it’s not the only factor to consider. In the conversation around consistency, there is an often-overlooked element: enjoyment.
Of course, not everything in life gets to be selected based on enjoyment, but fitness is certainly one of the areas in our life where, more often than not, enjoyment can be a decision-making factor.
While everyone needs to be active, the level of difficulty, how we stay active, and the intensity and duration are all individual. An amateur athlete needs to dedicate more focused time and energy than someone whose goal is to be healthy and fit enough to play with their grandkids in the backyard, for instance.
While the “average-joe” may have more variety to choose from, the athlete still likely garners huge enjoyment from their sport and that enjoyment plays into their commitment to excellence. At the end of the day, the more you enjoy doing something, the more willing and excited you will be to show up.
Are there certain regimens that will get you to a particular goal more effectively and efficiently? Absolutely. Effectiveness and efficiency are important elements to consider, but even the most effective training regimen is useless if you despise it so much you won’t commit to its execution. While you may not enjoy every necessary drill and exercise, a good coach knows to include those you do enjoy in your routine in order to keep you engaged.
Arguably your goal is reflective of either something you enjoy (sport or activity performance) or based on a desire for improved (and then sustained) overall health and wellness. If the former, you’re more than likely already factoring in enjoyment. If your goal is the latter, then it allows for a lot more flexibility in the type of training you can do, which means, you can certainly allow for enjoyment to be a factor in considering your training methodologies.
Should you find ways to include strength training, cardio training and mobility? Without a doubt. Are there numerous ways to do this? Indeed there are. For strength training, you could, for example, do bodybuilding, Crossfit, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or an at-home program using dumbbells. For cardiovascular training, you could run around your neighborhood, take up dance classes, cycle, or swim. For mobility, you could take up pilates or yoga, or download a mobility program to do in the comfort of your living room. It’s important to integrate strength, cardio and mobility training into your routine, but you do have some flexibility in how. Life’s too short, and the options are too plentiful, to force yourself to exercise in a way you dislike.
When enjoyment becomes a factor in considering which exercise regimen is best for you and your goals, you are likely to improve your consistency in effort. When you improve your consistency, you improve your likelihood of success.
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