Avoiding Fitness Relapse
It happens all too often, people start a new workout plan with the best of intentions and great goals, and then old habits creep back in and/or life happens. A fitness relapse is defined as the return to old/bad habits (i.e. the life you lead before exercise). With a better understanding of what behavior change is and the difficulty it can present, we hopefully can prevent fitness relapse from interfering with our goals. It’s important to realize, life IS going to happen and challenges WILL arise. But it comes down to developing long-term behavior patterns and making your fitness a priority, regardless of what obstacles present themselves. Here are some tips to stay committed…long-term:
Choose Activities You Enjoy!
There is a very small percentage of people who stay consistent with their exercise habits and actually dislike the activities/modalities they participate in. I honestly don’t many people that go to the gym consistently and hate it. It’s important to identify what activities you actually enjoy and then how can you incorporate them into your exercise routine? Do you enjoy cycling, hiking, tennis, karate, etc.? Then do it!
Small Changes = Big Results
Most people simply try to do too much, too fast. They want to go from zero exercise to hitting the gym seven days a week. This is NOT sustainable! There’s a reason running training plans start off slow; you must build small consistent habits before increasing workload. Ask yourself the question, what could I add to my current plan that I can do with 100% certainty? Is it starting with a walk 2x/week or doing 10 push ups when you wake up? Start by adding something easy and small to your routine, then stack those good habits over time.
1% doesn’t sound like a lot huh? But the power of 1% every day, every week, every month really starts to multiply and leads to tremendous growth. And by “better”, that’s relative to you and you only. What would it take for you to be 1% better today? Can you do it? With a positive growth mindset, you’ll continue to seek ways to become a better version of yourself every day.
Making your fitness routine a priority is one of the keys to success. As mentioned above, challenges WILL arise and life WILL get in the way (family, work, school, etc.). It’s about how you respond when disruptions occur. Do you scrap your workout or reschedule around it? I know it’s tough, but how many distractions do you typically have at 5am? Not many I assume. If you want the results, you’ve got to be willing to put in the work and the sacrifice. Schedule your workout the same way you schedule appointments, put it on your calendar and stick to it!
Sometimes You Have To Fail to Succeed
Incorporating new behavior changes is difficult! There’s nothing I love to see more than the people who just keep trying. If you fall off the wagon for a few days or weeks, get back after it. Start again! What are you waiting for? Realizing you can “fail” for a few days and get back going will alleviate the fear of all or nothing.
Stop Trying To Be Perfect
I love the 80/20 rule: try to do well 80% of the time. This means 80% of your day, your week, your month, etc. With this mindset you’ll realize there is room for flexibility. As much as we’d like to, it’s impossible to think you’re going to perform at your best 100% of the time. You’re human, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about being consistent.
Let’s just be clear, avoiding fitness relapse is difficult. I encourage you to write down your goals and your “whys”. Why are you doing this? It’s probably a much deeper reason than you think. And are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to reach your goals? Make your fitness routine fun/easy/simple and you’ll realize reaching your goals is entirely possible.