Most people would like to be fitter. If there was a button you could press and be immediately fitter, not many people would say, ‘no thanks I’m good’.
The reality is, getting fit is hard. It takes time that not all of us have, motivation that lots of us lack and commitment that’s not realistic when it comes to real life.
We all struggle with the work/life/fitness balance. Demanding, fast paced and busy lives lead to an imbalance we feel we can’t really control. We’re tired. Fatigued. In need of a break. One thing in the juggle of life has to be dropped. Fitness is the first to suffer.
We want to readdress the balance. Form fitness habits that actually work for us and our lifestyle. Sustainable changes and routines that survive even the busiest periods of life.
It’s not an unattainable goal. Just one that requires some thought. So, how can we form fitness habits that last?
Form a routine
Perfecting your workout routine is the key to making a habit that will stick. And we’re not talking about the exercises we do in the gym. We’re talking about what you do before, during and after.
The hour or so that you dedicate to exercise should be as stress free and enjoyable as possible. Ridding yourself of any negative associations with it will help in the forming of habitual exercise that you don’t dread every time it comes around.
Before you workout, make sure you’re properly fuelled and ready to tackle the session. Enjoy your favourite pre-workout snack. Stretch properly. Psych yourself up for a session with a well curated playlist. The Les Mis soundtrack on repeat? No judgement here.
During your workout, keep listening to your body. Take regular breaks and make sure you have plenty of water with you. It might not be your thing, but there are loads of benefits that working out with a partner can bring that being alone might not.
Post workout, make it a ritual to treat yourself with something. A protein shake. A bath. A steam or sauna if your gym has one. Something that feels like a reward. Research shows time and time again that forming habits is grounded in the reward response mechanisms. Associate exercise with positive things and you’ll find yourself returning to it with ease.
Find something you enjoy
If you truly hate cardio but keep forcing yourself straight onto the treadmill when you get to the gym, you’re never going to fall in love with exercise. It’s always going to be something you dread. And that makes it pretty difficult to form a habit. The trick lies in finding something that you enjoy doing. We seem to think exercise is limited to a finite number of activities. Running, swimming or weights. Don’t enjoy any of these? Oh well then exercise isn’t for you. But, this just isn’t the case.
The options for being active are endless. You just need to find your thing. Love something high tempo? Try HIIT. Love being competitive? Try tennis. Want something to help build strength but that’s also relaxing? Try Yoga.
Once you’ve pinpointed exactly what is worth getting out of bed for and what gives you that euphoric high once you’ve finished a session, then forming a habit over it will become much easier.
Set some goals
Goal setting and goal accomplishment is a known way to keep motivation high. The rule applies to fitness motivation too. If you have your sights set on a particular goal, then continually returning to exercise on a regular basis is going to become a lot easier. No more wandering round a gym floor mindlessly. When you have a target to hit, you become determined to hit it.
It doesn’t have to be a huge goal. It can be however small or large you want it to be. Just give yourself something to achieve and set a time to achieve it within.
Here are some examples of goals, ranging in size that you could set your sights on:
- Achieve a pull up
- Squat your body weight
- 25 lengths of the pool
- Run 10km
You can even go one step further and map out a training plan. A commitment to do a number of sessions in a week, each aiming at another level of progression towards your goal. A little confidence boost each time. We’re getting motivated just talking about it.
Lots of us fall victim to all or nothing cycles. We do it with everything in life. Work really hard then burn out. Diet too intensely then overeat. Spend too much time with someone then get bored of them. We do it with fitness too. We experience surges of motivation and try to stick to ridiculously intense fitness schedules. After a while, we start struggling to keep it up and end up not going back in the gym for 2 months.
By keeping fitness goals simple and realistic, it’s easier to make it a habit. For some people, their lives allow them to hit the gym 5 times a week. For others, 2 sessions are enough. Life should always come first. Fitness second. Find out what is really feasible for you. Consider your job, family, commitments, energy, and health. Look at the big picture to know what role fitness should play in your life.
Once you’ve done this, it will be easier to set aside the right amount of time for exercising and make it a sustainable part of your lifestyle. They say everything in moderation for a reason.
Reduce your barriers
It can be really hard to fit fitness in. It’s difficult to make it flexible. We’re in different locations. On different schedules. It can be hard to keep up a routine and make fitness a habitual thing. Hussle can help with that. With Hussle, you get unlimited access to any gym in our network with the Monthly+ Pass. And it’s not a contract. You can start and stop whenever you like. It’s like having multiple gym memberships but only one payment. So when your week looks a bit hectic, you make fitness fit around it. Use gyms near your house, near work, near that meeting in town, near your partners, friends or parents. It’s completely flexible.