Is Consistency Ruining Your Fitness?

Get up, drink coffee, workout… Repeat.

 

Monday, Lift weights/upper body. Tuesday, Soul Cycle. Wednesday, Crossfit. Thursday, Lift weights/lower body. Friday, Yoga. Saturday, Rest Day. Sunday, Hike.

 

So, you’ve gotten to the place where you put the priority on exercise. Excellent! You are consistent. You track which days you work out. You have workout dates with friends. You stick to a plan. Every. Single. Week. And, you’re pretty damn proud of it. As, you should be.

 

And then… You stop. Completely.

 

At first, you didn’t go for that hike because your friend was on vacation. Then, you felt a little pull in your back on that last deadlift. Oh, right after, the Holidays made you too busy, then a work travel trip, big project with overtime, flat tire, dinner date, overslept…

 

You get my drift.

 

All of a sudden, the plan seems overwhelming and the consistency doesn’t seem possible. Let me assure you, you’re not the only one who feels this.

 

When I was training for bikini competitions, I was on a strict regimen. Each day was planned out with specific workouts to target certain areas of my body. I had cardio that I needed to accomplish to compliment the weightlifting. My one rest day was planned specifically to fit in with my general life schedule. It was intense, structured, and I got it done. Also… I loved it.

 

I’m a planner. I like to check things off my list and I love when things go as planned.

 

Life, however, has a way of going unplanned.

 

After my last competition, my body broke down. It was a culmination of overtraining, life stress, and excessive travel. One day, I went to the gym and I couldn’t lift much weight. I then didn’t workout for eight plus months. When I finally healed enough to start up again, it was hard. I was so used to the consistency and structure, I found it unbearable to go in and do light workouts or restrain myself to 2 or 3 workouts per week, which is what my body needed to continue to heal. I needed a mind shift.

 

The problem

 

I’m all for having a plan. In fact, I don’t think it’s possible to achieve goals without one. However, when we stick so tightly to a given plan without allowing ourselves the flexibility to change it, we set ourselves up for failure. With failure comes a feeling of “I’m not good enough”, “this was a bad idea”, “I’m not cut out for this”, etc. This can lead to us being overwhelmed and just giving up. All that hard work you put in can vanish over night. You only get back to it when you, again, commit to a strict plan. The cycle continues.

 

The Fix

 

It took me a long time to finally get to a place where I allowed myself flexibility in my workouts. At that point in my life, work had to take a priority for a while. I had less time to focus on training and I decided to take a break from the bikini competitions. (I’m still not sure if I will compete again.) I also needed to focus more on healing my gut and nutrition. Things change and priorities change. And, it is all-ok.

 

What I started to do was- Plan out my workouts. Funny, huh? I just said the consistency was ruining my workouts! I now allow for changes and just use the plan as a framework. I might walk into the gym and have an upper body workout planned. Maybe, I just don’t feel like doing that workout. Instead of beating myself up about it and battling through the workout to get it done, bitter the whole time, I adjust. If I want to do legs or a plyo workout, I do it! If it’s a beautiful day out and I don’t want to be inside, I skip the gym and go for a long run. If I’m overtired, I take a day off.

 

 

I’m not in the all-or-nothing mindset. Which means, I don’t exercise for 4 months straight, burn out and not do anything for 6 months. I don’t berate myself for not following the plan. On average, I’m working out more days per month. Best of all, I enjoy my workouts 100% more because it is what I want to do every time I exercise.

 

There are still days where I just don’t want to workout. Everyone feels that at some point. That is why it’s called WORKout. Also, keep in mind, not every workout is going to be AMAZING. It’s not possible. Some days you are going to feel stronger/weaker or more/less focused or you’ll forget your sneakers at home, etc. Now, with the flexibility, I can navigate those days either by taking them off or adjusting to another workout that will be more enjoyable for that specific day. One bad day doesn’t lead to a week off, month off, year off.

 

I encourage you to give this a go if you are feeling unmotivated and/or skipping your workouts regularly. I even encourage you more if you have a solid plan that you follow each day. Try it out and let me know what you think! Do you enjoy your exercise more? Does your overall fitness benefit from this?

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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A bientôt,

Annick