As we’re settling into a new year, we want to give a friendly reminder that doing more is not always better. What’s most important is to do what you can sustain.
During this time of year, we often set lofty goals of working out for 1-2 hours a day, 5 days a week, while following a very rigid and specific program.
This works great… until it doesn’t.
When it comes to exercise, we have been led to believe that MORE is better, or even necessary.
If I want to get into shape, the answer MUST be that I simply NEED TO WORK OUT MORE.
If I want to lose weight, the obvious solution HAS to be to WORK OUT MORE.
Contrary to popular belief, in most cases, this is not true.
When we take on the “MORE IS BETTER” philosophy, we aren’t considering what is going to be realistic and sustainable for us in the long-term.
We go ALL IN and find ourselves in a slump just a few months (weeks?) down the road. Life caught up with us, things are getting stressful and hard, and the last thing we have mental space for is a very rigid and specific workout routine.
We feel helpless and throw our plan out the door. We have nothing to fall back on, and soon we find ourselves back to our old ways… feeling like a failure.
Here are 4 simple steps that you can use when it comes to planning your weekly workouts in a way that is sustainable and will build consistency.
But first, you’ll start with two very-important homework assignments.
Homework Assignment #1:
Before you start, you must understand your “WHY”—the reasoning behind what you’re setting out to do.
You want to work out and be more consistent than ever, but WHY?
Maybe it's to set an example to your kids on how to live a healthy lifestyle.
Maybe it's to look and feel better about yourself.
Maybe it's something more specific, like improving your health by losing weight.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to defining this. It just needs to be something that will give you a positive push and a gentle reminder of WHY you're doing what you're doing.
Establishing your WHY will help to keep you grounded and to be intentional about your decisions, especially when life (and all that comes with it) becomes more challenging.
Whatever you decide is your WHY, your workouts need to align with that purpose.
- Pro-Tip 1: Choose a WHY and a measure of success that is deeper than a number on the scale or a pants size. Even if your goals are aesthetic in nature, you can name WHY looking different is important to you. Maybe you will feel more confident or more like your true self. Really, THAT is your WHY more than an arbitrary number.
- Pro-Tip 2: Write down your “WHY.” Put it in a place where you will see it each day to remind yourself why you're doing what you're doing.
Homework Assignment #2:
To move forward, you must understand WHERE you're at.
Are you not working out at all? Maybe you're a hit-and-miss getting sessions in 1-3 times a week, or maybe even just a few times a month.
Maybe you’re somewhat consistent with 3 days a week, but really you want to push for 5 days and you just haven’t ever been able to nail it.
Take some time to be honest with yourself. Where are you at currently, and how much can you realistically take on?
Once you have established your “WHY” and assessed “WHERE” you are at with your current situation, you can move into the 4 steps to planning your weekly workouts.
As you get started, consider this…
Imagine yourself in the thick of life, 6 months from now. As you go through each step, ask yourself: Are the goals I’m setting now going to be sustainable then?
You should be confident in your ability to say yes, and in some ways, the goal should feel EXTREMELY easy.
Try not to be overly idealistic on this one. This could be 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 days. The best way to set yourself up for success is to start slow and build. Begin with a number of days that is realistic for your schedule and everything you have going on in life at this moment.
Remember: This should feel very doable, not to say there won’t be challenges along the way. When you set a goal you can reasonably meet, then if you happen to find extra time for fitness, it’s a bonus! When you set an idealistic goal that you don’t reach, it can feel like failure instead.
If you want to work out more consistently and you're currently not working out at all, a goal of working out 1 day a week could be a huge win and is a great place to start. There is no shame in this. Doing something is always better than nothing. ALWAYS.
As you become confident—and consistent—you can slowly challenge yourself with more.
Similar to how many days per week you're working out, you need to give yourself an amount of time that you can give each workout. Determine how much time you realistically have: it could be anywhere from 10-60 minutes a day. Just like with the number of days you have available, avoid the desire to reach too far into optimism on this one as well.
If you’re very limited with time, commit to a certain amount that is both realistic and sustainable.
For example, if you have 20 minutes to give each workout, then 20 minutes it is. Remember, this does not need to be long. If you only have 10 minutes, give 10 minutes.
Also, feel free to be flexible with this. Maybe during the week you are limited with time, but over the weekend you could give an extra 10-20 minutes.
Choose days that are the most convenient and realistic for you. Planning when your workouts will take place ahead of time will allow you to stay much more consistent versus waiting until you’re in the moment to figure it out.
Example: Goal is to work out 4 days per week.
- Monday - Workout
- Tuesday - Workout
- Wednesday - Rest
- Thursday - Workout
- Friday - Rest
- Saturday - Workout
- Sunday - Rest
This plan might change some from week to week, but for the most part it should stay relatively the same. If you’re in a situation where your workout plan will have to change each week, be sure to set aside planning time as part of your weekly homework.
- Pro-Tip: Coach Miranda has challenged members to choose which days they will REST instead of which days they will work out. The outcome is the same, but it reframes fitness into a daily habit by thinking about it that way.
With Street Parking we have 4 different versions of the Daily Workout and over 40 Extra Programs available—NOT to imply to do more but to give options to help you build CONSISTENCY.
We offer a wide variety of workouts: from complex to simple, short to long, no equipment necessary to full gym set-up.
We want to meet you in any season of life. If you only have a single pair of dumbbells and 20 minutes to work out, we got you. If you have a full garage setup and plenty of extra time to work on your fitness, we got you.
We also know that seasons of life will come and go. There will be days when you have extra time, and there will be days when you just have to do what you can.
It can be easy to want to do multiple workouts per day (the Daily Workout + an Extra Program) simply because you want to do EVERYTHING! (Or maybe it was something you were conditioned to think was necessary.) We encourage members who are still working to build consistency to focus on ONE workout in each session.
You have your whole life to work through all of these fun and engaging programs!
We truly believe this program can be for anyone. You just have to make the workouts work for you.
If you struggle to stay consistent, we strongly recommend giving these 4 steps a try.
Once you’ve established the number of days and the amount of time you want to work out each week, write it down where you can see it each day.
Then follow it up by doing your weekly homework of planning which days your workouts will take place and what workouts you will do. Remember to be FLEXIBLE and know that if something comes up—if you miss a session or need to switch the workouts around—it’s OK!
If things start hitting the fan and falling apart, learn to believe that “MORE THAN NOTHING” is enough.
Over time your “MORE THAN NOTHING” efforts will compile into an overall consistency and fitness results you didn’t think could exist.
All you need is to take it one workout—one season of life—at a time.
What is More Than Nothing? Dig into the Street Parking podcast library to explore how this mindset can be applied to more than just your approach to fitness.