Elements of a Great Workout: Sustainability

So we went over all the important elements of a great workout, right? 

Well there is one thing that hasn’t been discussed, Sustainability.

What do I mean when I talk about sustainability?  We have talked about the what’s and the how’s and some of the benefits to working out.  Here is where we dive into the motivation of keeping up a good thing.   For instance, we know eating healthy is important and we can rattle off healthy things to eat, but what keeps us from eating those things we say are healthy?  Motivation and Habits are the Keys. 

Sure we have the knowledge on what we can do for the warm-up and cool-down, upper and lower body, core and cardio.  But what if we do those things and then get in a rut?  This is where sustainability comes in.     

First we have to ask ourselves, Why do we even want to exercise?  And we need a better answer than, my doctor told me to, or it’s the right thing to do.  If we are being honest, those answers aren’t going to keep us going. If it were, you wouldn’t be reading this.  Just because someone told us to, doesn’t mean that is going to keep us motivated and going strong.  Just because “it’s the right thing to do”, doesn’t mean squat and we will find excuse after excuse for why it’s not the right time yet.  We have to dig down to figure out our WHY. 

If you can’t answer this question, then you should move on and not waste your time.  I don’t say this because I’m heartless.  I am anything but that.  It’s because I can’t give you the answer.  My answer isn’t your answer.  This isn’t one size fits all (like that is even a real thing).  It’s why deep down you want things to be different.   It’s why you can’t stop thinking about it.  It’s why it’s always on your mind. It’s why every day or week or year you say THIS TIME it’ll be different.

But it hasn’t been different and yet you are still stuck in the same old routine.  So what makes you think if you keep going down this path things will change?

Let’s camp out here and dive deep. If you stop reading here, I’m fine with that. At least this will get you thinking as to your why because that is oh so important. This is the thing that keeps you going. This is the thing that keeps you coming back for more.  This is the thing that won’t let you quit, forever.  Sure we all go through ups and downs but do you get back up eventually?  That’s the true test to making sure your reason(s) and your why(s) are enough.

Next take a look at what you are already doing.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover if something is going to work or find the reasons it won’t work, but you’ll be able to fix it. 

  • Is it fun for you?
  • Do you need to mix it up?
  • Is it efficient for you?
  • Do you need to do more in less time?
  • Are you still be challenged on the regular? 
  • Are you dreading the workout or are you a mix of nervous and excited?
  • Is it working for your season of life? 
  • Do you need to change the time of day, the length or anything about it to keep working out?

If the answer to these questions are on the positive swing, you are doing fabulous!!!!  If your answers are on the more negative side, you may want to switch gears.  Or at least think about…  Don’t worry – I’m not telling you to change your whole life just hear me out and keep reading.  

So what if things aren’t going well and you need a change? What if you are doing great, but want to make sure things keep going that way? Let’s go over keeping the fire lit.  For this step we want to write down things we like to do or have always wanted to try. These things can be hot yoga, boot camp, CrossFit, kick boxing, rowing, rock climbing, Pilates, walking the buckeye trail 😉, biking across the US, canoeing down the river, or even just trying a workout video from home. It doesn’t have to be crazy or a big deal, it just has to be what you have had your heart set on.  Make a list of things that get you excited. This way when something gets boring, you can go to the list and check to see what else you could do that would light the fire again.  This list will be a reminder of things you have wanted to do.  I forget constantly so notes and lists help to remind myself what my brilliant-yesterday-self thought of!!  Am I the only one that forgets things constantly?  Maybe I am, but this will be good for you too!

So One – We have our why that will keep us motivated.  Two – We took a good look at what we are currently doing in terms of our fitness and asked good questions to see if it is sustainable.  Three – We made a list of activities that excite us for when we get complacent and stuck in a rut, so we can keep moving forward.  (Notice I said “when”.  No single thing will keep your fire lit forever.  We as humans crave change even if it’s something small.  That little or big change helps us keep growing and evolving.  So try to embrace it and not fight it.) 

One last thing to make working out stick. 

Can you make working out a habit?  Can you put it in your calendar a consistent number of times in the week?  Can you block out time in your day to devote to you?  I’m not saying workout 7 times a day for 2 hours each time.  That is just not realistic to me and that doesn’t excite me.  I’m talking about, can you make an appointment in your calendar with yourself and your workout clothes and set it on repeat?  Can you sign up for a class every Monday that gets you excited?  Can you have a cue or trigger that helps you build in the habit of working out?  Say you sleep in your workout clothes or you block out an “out of office lunch” so you can get your walk in.  Can you message a friend and ask them if they are free on Thursday nights to take a kick boxing class together?  Or can you find a canoe group that canoes down your nearby river once a week after work? Find something and try it out consistently.  

I’m not saying your life has to revolve around working out, but your life should revolve around things that bring you joy and help you become the person you wish to be.  Be that volunteer at your church or work in your garden or cook dinner for your family.  All I’m saying is, if it’s important to you and you have been dreaming and wishing to be healthier, than make it a priority and start with the steps outlined above. 

  1. Figure out what your motivation is. 
  2. Take a look at what you are currently doing and ask the hard questions if what you are doing is working or not.
  3. Make a list of things that excite you.
  4. Figure out how to incorporate them in your life. Start small with a new habit and keep going!!!!

That’s really what sustainability is all about.  Can you keep up with what you are doing or do you need to make a change.  How can you keep working on your goals?  How can you make this a way of life so you can live happier and healthier?

That’s all I want for you.  I want you to be happier and healthier and don’t forget, stronger!  Because life is too short to be anything else. 

Who’s with me?

Thanks for joining me on this blog series of Elements of a Great Workout!  Got any questions or comments?  Think I forgot anything?  Love to hear it!