Archive for the tag - consistency

Study: Don’t Take a Winter Break from Exercise.

Winter isn't a time for fitness hibernation.

It’s winter. The days are shorter, darker and colder. When it comes to exercising and working out, hibernation may seem like a tempting alternative.

But not so fast: Research shows that adults who work out consistently have significantly lower levels of depression. Moreover, pounds gained from gym hiatuses are very difficult to shed – even after you start exercising again.

When it comes to exercise, consistency is extremely important to achieve your fitness goals. It’s not about exercising for two months and then taking one month off; exercise is a lifetime commitment. But regular and consistent exercise is also important to experience the many other benefits of exercise – like improved sleep, increased energy, weight control and better moods.

To determine the impact of exercise regularity on depression, a 2010 study followed nearly 200 individuals for 2 years. Participants were put into two distinct groups of regular and irregular exercisers. Based on the findings, researchers found a significantly lower level of depression in regular exercisers – and thus concluded that consistent exercise is fundamental for improving mental health.

In another study, researchers studied weight gained during breaks from regular exercise. It’s no surprise that reducing physical activity can result in weight gain – but can that weight be lost by resuming exercise? According to the study, not easily. Weight gained because of reductions in weekly exercise in men and women “may not be reversed by resuming prior activity.” In other words, the weight gained during exercise breaks tends to be stubborn – and it isn’t lost by resuming your same workout a few months later.

The days are short and cold, and our schedules are busier than ever – but, to truly enjoy the many benefits of exercise, consistency is key. Keep honoring your body with the movement it craves. A day isn’t a day unless you’ve broken a sweat.

How to Make Exercise a Habit.

Consistency is key when it comes to exercise; it’s absolutely essential to habitualize your workouts, and thus avoid the see-saw roller coaster that so many exercisers experience.

Can you relate to the experience of working out for a week, and then skipping a day that turns into a week that becomes a month? Before you know it, your entire program is derailed and your fitness goals go out the door. If any of that resonates with you, here are a few helpful tips to make exercise habit:

  1. If you exercise in the morning, lay out your gym outfit before bed. Mentally, it sets you up for exercise in the morning – and it’s less fumbling that you’ll have to do when the alarm goes off in the AM.
  2. Find an exercise program that you enjoy. Relatively speaking anyway. I don’t enjoy sprinting on the treadmill, but I do enjoy it more than cycling. Maybe swimming is your cup of tea. Or maybe it’s rowing, or kayaking. Maybe you’d rather take a gymnastics class than lift weights. Or do yoga. If it’s something that you like, you’re more likely to stick to it.
  3. Create a schedule. Set dates and times for your workout. Plot it out on a calendar, and hold yourself to it. Otherwise you may put it off until you “don’t have the energy” to exercise. For example, I get up at 5:30 AM during the week to exercise.
  4. Get a workout buddy. If you know you are meeting someone at the gym, it’s harder to skip out. It’s letting yourself down AND standing up a friend. Simple idea, but it works.
  5. Commit appropriately. Most importantly, don’t take a bigger workout bite than you can chew. I see so many well-intentioned fitness enthusiasts burn themselves out because they go from no gym time to 10 hours a week. Be realistic, and build up slowly over time. There’s nothing wrong (and a lot right) with starting small – whatever that means for you.
  6. Don’t skip scheduled workout days. One day easily becomes two, and so forth and so on. Don’t slide down that slippery slope. If you are scheduled to workout on a given day, stick to it. Of course, build rest days into your schedule, too. That’s very different than skipping.
  7. Find a time that works for you. As I mentioned, I exercise in the morning. Many people exercise after work. Figure out what works with your other commitments and aligns with your body’s energy.
  8. Take the first step. When you wake up, put your feet on the floor. The hardest step is the first one. Take it!

And fear not, once exercise becomes a habit, it’s automatic. Though I’ve used many of these tips myself, exercise isn’t a choice for me. When I wake up, I don’t ask myself, “Should I workout today?” I just get up and do it. It’s non-negotiable. And that’s that.

Is habitualizing exercise a challenge for you? Tell me about it in the comments below. What tips do you have?

Not Seeing Results from Your Workout? Here’s Why!

We all know people that complain about a lack of results. Just the other day, I was talking to a woman at my gym who couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t losing weight. Day after day, she’d hit the gym and do the same routine – but alas the pounds were not shedding. Duh! If she’s not getting results, why keep doing more of the same? Doing the same thing and expecting different results is insanity. But I know that she’s not alone and so I compiled a list of the top reasons the exercisers don’t see results:

  1. They’ve plateaued. The woman at the gym was playing it safe – she had found a workout that she could manage and performed it religiously. But she wasn’t challenging herself or pushing her body to its limits. It’s time for her to supercharge her workout and turn up the heat. After all, you’ll only get out of your workout what you put it. Break through your plateau!
  2. They’re inconsistent. Consistency is one of the most important factors in achieving any fitness goals. Taking a day off here and there is fine – but days can easily become weeks, and weeks undue progress. At the minimum, get a good workout 2-3 time a week.
  3. They don’t have a clue. Lack of results can often be attributed to cluelessness. It’s one thing to have a fitness goal. It’s another thing to know what you’ll need to do to achieve that goal. Maybe you want stronger arms – but do you know what it takes to build them? Doing good, solid research or hiring a person trainer can help – or you can sign up to get Davey Wavey Fitness blog updates by e-mail. ๐Ÿ˜›
  4. They can’t focus. I always chuckle at the number of people that only seem to be exercising their mouths at the gym. Sure, it’s great to socialize, but let’s remember the task at hand! Just going to the gym isn’t going to help you get results – you have to actually to do something while you’re there.
  5. They eat shit. If someone is following a tried and true fitness program consistently and they still are not seeing results, then it’s time to look at the other end of the equation: nutrition. Proper nutrition doesn’t mean eating raw eggplant and alfalfa sprouts – but it does mean doing your best to avoid the shitty stuff most of the time.

Are you not seeing the results you want? What’s your story? And which of these reasons might apply to you?