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Edition 63: Consistency Is Not As Hard As You Think
If consistency were easy, we’d all have it, right?
Achieving the results we desire with health, fitness, and exercise is rare - and the majority of people do not walk around confident in the knowledge that they are on the right path with their exercise, working away at their goals on an unwavering path. The reality is that consistency is so rare in this domain for several reasons, but ‘impossible’ is not one of them.
You brush your teeth every day right? Twice per day I hope? That’s 5 minutes of your day, every single day of your life (well, since you grew teeth). That, when you think about it, is quite an insane degree of consistency, maybe excluding that time you went on a mad one at a 3-day festival and forgot to brush a couple of times. So why, for such a mundane and boring task like this, where we see barely any reward other than our teeth *not* falling out by the age of 40, are we able to maintain such militant and quite frankly, mind blowing consistency?
I can only speak for myself here, but if I had to guess, I would say because 1) it doesn’t take long, 2) it is a pretty painless and manageable task (if we had to do it for 10 mins a day, maybe I would struggle), 3) I have done it so many thousands of times now, that I just don’t think about it. I know the process. I know what I have to do. I walk in the bathroom, I do it, I walk out.
We make it brief.
We make it manageable and not torturous.
We know exactly what the plan is. We do the thing. We walk out. Every day. Without thinking.
Now, are you telling me you CANNOT do the exact same thing with exercise? Something where the tangible benefits and rewards are so much more clear, obvious and alluring?
I am convinced people are only really struggling to reach their goals and maintain exercise consistency because they can’t get on board with these 3 things. They do too much, too heavy, or too long. They don’t have a plan, or they change the plan frequently. Then lament the details, stress over the upcoming session, and make their life about thinking, talking and meddling with their exercise rather than just switching the brain off and actually doing the damn thing.
One of the primary culprits is the lack of goal clarity and the constant shifting of goalposts - cheers instagram. People often change their minds about what they want to achieve and how they plan to achieve it. This continuous change of heart means you absolutely will not maintain consistency and that in turn will lead to frustration and a lack of results. It's so important to set realistic goals and stick to them, especially when you don’t see immediate gratification, rather than continuously changing them.
Another common pitfall is overreaching. People often push themselves too hard, too soon, leading to injuries that can derail their progress. On the other hand, underreaching, or not lifting or running enough, can result in a quick plateau and underwhelming results. It's important to find a balance and gradually increase intensity and difficulty to avoid injuries and maximise your progress.
It can never be stressed enough how essential it is to show up for every workout and not miss any sessions, as each one builds upon the previous one. And I know I have used this newsletter to tell you to listen to your body and skip a session if you are rough and sick (as you should), but there are levels to this and your bar should be very high. Missing sessions will disrupt your momentum and lead to a lack of progress. Although an individual workout can be adjusted occasionally due to unforeseen circumstances, I say again - it should take a lot for you to miss a session, otherwise it will happen all the time. Consistency takes commitment, yes - but it's so so necessary for achieving long-term results.
Having a plan and sticking to it is also going to define your success. Many people fall into the trap of switching up their exercise routine frequently or following the latest exercise fad. However, a well-designed plan is essential for achieving consistent results. I personally have most of my training planned for the year - I know what I’ll be doing at certain times of the year (football season creates changes to the schedule) and I know when I’ll be going hard and when I’ll be chilling - if you want help creating one of these, get in touch and I can create an annual plan for you which takes your whole life into account. It's important to think long and hard about the plan and stick to it, rather than changing it frequently due to the latest exercise guru's advice.
Finally, it's essential to have realistic expectations when it comes to health, fitness, and exercise. Most people expect immediate results and get discouraged when they don't see them. However, achieving consistent results takes time and effort. It's essential to have patience and trust the process. By setting realistic goals, having a well-designed plan, and committing to consistency, you can achieve the long-term results you desire.
“Fail to plan, and you’re planning to fail”
Movement of the Week: Reverse Crunch
3 x 10 reps