There are some days when you can’t wait to lift metal at the gym. And there are other days when you can barely drag yourself out of the house for a slow-paced jog.
Your motivation to exercise naturally ebbs and flows but your body’s health needs never change. That is why it is important to learn how to maintain your exercise motivation and progress throughout the year, with a winning combination of consistency and adaptability.
“Creating a sustainable fitness regime is the key to achieving your goals but also for maintaining any new progress you’ve made,” says PT Ben Camara, ‘health concierge’ and the founder of Remote Coach.
Here is his six-step guide to building a progressive workout regime that will last all year long.
1. Plan ten days in advance
Getting organised will ensure you regularly hit the gym, even when your motivation is low, and help you to prep for potential pitfalls (boozy BBQs etc.).
“Plan your workouts in your diary at least ten days before,” advises Camara. “That will ensure you’re always thinking about the weekend, too, which is where blips can occur. And it will mean you’re factoring in all aspects of your health, such as your nutrition, your recovery and your training. It will help you to see your regime through a much wider lens.”
2. Attack the morning
To build up momentum for the day ahead, get active first thing in the morning.
“I encourage all my clients to look at their morning routine,” says Camara. “That ranges from going for a 20-minute walk, to doing some basic hip and spine mobility drills.”
By getting your body moving early on, you’re teeing yourself up for a much more active day.
3. Find your window
There is no optimal time of the day for your main workouts, only the best time for you. That may be when you have the most energy or just when your work hours allow.
“The best workout time for you is the time you can consistently commit to,” insists Camara. “Try starting your training in the mornings, afternoons and evenings and see what works best.”
4. Rate your workouts
You need to work hard to stay motivated or you’ll just float through sessions and get bored.
“Ambling into the gym for a tough leg day isn’t going to cut it,” warns Camara. “You need to track how your workout felt. A standard RPE (rate of perceived exertion) scale is an easy way to do that. I track each workout from 0-5 so I can look back over the last ten days to see how I performed.”
For example, if all your workouts are averaging 3 out of 5, ask yourself: why am I not working as hard? Am I tired? Should I change the time of day when I train? Is my workout not challenging enough?
“These are all things you can change and control,” says Camara.
5. Plan for plan B
However motivated you feel, obstacles will be thrown in your path. So keep a back-up workout you can pull out at any time.
“If travel or time restrictions are causing you problems, you need a Plan B in your back pocket,” says Camara. “It could be a 15-minute bodyweight workout, or just five exercise combined for a simple but effective HIIT circuit.”
6. Move the needle
The best way to sustain your long-term motivation is to keep making progress.
“Your mindset when building new habits is crucial,” says Camara. So always record your goals and PBs over time: the sight of your upward trajectory will keep you coming back for more.
“But not everything needs to be about numbers,” adds Camara. “Building a good sleep regime and eating habits is also a big win. The main thing is that you’re always moving that needle.”
Best Routine-Building Exercise Apps
By tracking your nutrition, you will soon spot if you’re not eating enough carbs to fuel your workouts, or see how certain foods influence your daily moods.
“This app will educate you on your calorie consumption and eating habits,” says Camara.
Using the Fitbit app to monitor your daily activity and recovery protocols can help to boost your mood and performance.
“Your non-exercise activity, such as your steps and your recovery through sleep, will have a massive impact on your progress,” says Camara.
If you’re lacking self-motivation, or travel a lot for work, you can team up with a trainer through the Remote Coach app and enjoy live HD workouts.
“You can have a trainer set up a regime for you or have them train you through a digital virtual session,” says Camara.
If your workouts are getting stale, mix it up with the help Nike Training Club.
“If you’ve misplaced your plan B workout or you want something a little fresh, there are loads of new workouts that will put you through your paces,” says Camara.