Every year, there are new fads, new equipment, and ideas on how to make you faster and stronger. The secret sauce to success that is not often talked about is consistency. It’s not all that sexy or glamorous. You are not going to make steady gains in improvement unless you are consistent. This is very evident in the weight loss world. Every time you turn around, there is a new diet. Some of the diet suggestions may be beneficial but ultimately you must consistently make healthy choices. Have you ever noticed that in life the good things come after a lot of hard work? I’m going to get off my soapbox before I get too deep, but I wanted to share the top three things that have helped me stay consistent and stop making excuses.
Have a Plan
My Dad and I used to go to a family farm and practice shooting clay pigeons and targets. I loved it and had many fond memories. In time, my accuracy improved. It was exciting to see the improvement. Having the targets helped me hone my shooting accuracy. If you want to be successful in training for a triathlon, cycling race, or running race, you must have a target to aim for and a plan to improve your skills. Preparing for a race is much like shooting at targets.
In a past post, I talked about how to make a plan. Making a good plan takes research, hard work, and experience. It took me a few years to learn how to safely design a plan. When I cracked the code (literally and figuratively), the ATP app emerged. I personally wanted a plan and system to help my training and the clients that I worked with in the physical therapy clinic.
Create a Routine
I have experimented with training and working out during different times of the day. When working out in the afternoon or evening, I felt as if I couldn’t give 100%. Oftentimes, something would come up. I would push the training time aside. Then I decided to train in the morning. After hearing about the morning routine of many successful people that I follow, I felt that the morning would be perfect. I found that the morning was the ideal time for me, but it wasn’t easy for me to start the morning routine.
My first plan of attack to executing the morning routine included drinking a glass of water, have a small snack, and begin an easy warm up. This worked for a few months, but then I started to dread waking up and training. It was if my body didn’t have enough time to wake up and my training was not 100%. I wasn’t willing to give up on the morning routine. I loved not having any interruptions. Training in the morning eliminated the possibility of missing a training session later in the day.
After more experimenting, I figured out my secret sauce. After drinking my glass of water and having a small snack, I needed to get my brain and body in the right place. The morning routine became much easier after reminding myself of everything I’m grateful for, reading a short devotional, and doing a short ten-minute routine to warm up my body ready. Figuring out what works best for my body and mind made me much more consistent. I began to see notable gains in my strength, endurance, and speed. There are times that I’m not interested in waking up between 4:30 to 5:00 AM. During those tough times, I listen to my body and sometimes use tools like heart rate variability to determine if my body is well rested or if I’m just giving into laziness. If my body is well rested, then I convince myself that only the first few minutes of waking up are going to be rough, but it’s all good once I start moving. If my body needs rest, then I rest.
The point of telling about the ups and downs of me finding a routine is that you need to find a consistent time and routine to ensure that you will get your training finished. It is not always going to be easy, but it’s worth it. Take the time to figure out the what jumpstarts your body and mind.
I used to be a gym rat. I would work out in the gym for hours. Then life got busier. Going to the gym became more of a chore instead of enjoyment. I wanted to be present for my family and have more time to train outside. I knew that strength training in the gym was necessary, but I felt like I didn’t have the time. Before departing from the gym, I decided to shorten my workouts and become more realistic with my time. This worked initially, but soon I became inconsistent. I then decided to make my own gym at home. I know that this is not always possible for everyone, but it was a necessary step for me to live the endurance lifestyle in a way that was compatible and sustainable for my family and me.
My home gym started out very simple. I first bought a TRX suspension trainer. Then adjustable dumbbells, a squat rack, and resistance bands. Little by little, I added to my home gym. I even put my gym and cycling clothes in the gym closet. So, as soon as a walked into my home gym, I had my clothes ready to roll and the equipment all organized. No excuses!
It took time and money, but it was a worthy investment to keep me consistent and efficient with my time. If this is something that you are considering, start small and gradually build your home gym. If you are interested in what equipment that I’m currently using, click here to check out the specs.
If you want to improve your performance and, ultimately, improve you, then be consistent. Set yourself up for success. Having a plan, creating a routine, and setting up a home gym worked for me. Figure out what connects with you and stop making any excuses.