So you find a fitness program that works for you, and you're excited to start! Motivation is probably at its peak. Let's leverage that by using a system to plan and prioritize your workouts.
Consistency is the first important factor when it comes to getting results with fitness. Stay consistent and those "not-so-great" training days won't matter. Lose consistency, and the magic program won't be so magical.
Because of this, I typically start my process of putting my sessions onto a calendar. Instead of motivation, we can leverage planning and prioritization to build consistency.
Step 1: Open your calendar.
If it's not in the calendar, it's not happening.
Maybe you're using a calendar app like Fantastical, Google Calendar, or an old-fashioned planner. If you don't have them in already, input all of your "must-do" events. Include work, routine tasks, and transition time.
Now that you know what's on your calendar, you can see what actual time you do have.
Step 2: Book a specific time
Pick a specific time and date for your workout.
If you want it to happen, block it off on your calendar. You can easily forget a doctor’s appointment. The same goes for workouts. Because they’re going on a calendar, you have to check your schedule to see if training can fit. Planning makes makes your training sessions concrete, and that makes it easier for training to be a pillar in your schedule.
If your training plan calls for 3x per week, take a look at your week and block out some time so you know exactly when you’re training.
Planning Your Training Week:
Day 1: Monday at 6am (before work)
Day 2: Tuesday at 6am (before work)
Day 3: Thursday at 6pm (after work)
Step 3: Use Tactics
Some other tactics I use to make consistency easier. These tactics are powerful, easy to implement, and easy to remember, so you can use them immediately.
“Get it done first”
- Get it done as early as possible in in the day. There’s nothing magical about training first thing in the morning, but for some people it helps to finish high-priority tasks as early as possible.
“Never miss a Monday”
Start with momentum by making sure to always make it to your day 1. (Day 1 can be any day of the week you start your program, doesn't have to be a literal Monday!)
“Never miss 2 sessions in a row"
Missed a workout? No worries! Plan for the next one, ensuring you don't miss 2 training sessions in a row.
"Do more than nothing"
Can't do it all today? Cool. Now let's focus on what you can do. What's the bare minimum you can do today that moves you towards your goal?
If needed, go down each line until the workout gets short enough:
- Skip the last set
- Skip the last exercise
- Skip the entire last section (if you have a superset)
- Do just the warmup
You can repeat the top 3 with all sections until you get to a doable workout. I recommend using this to stay consistent, but if you need to skip an entire section for an entire week, I recommend switching programs to something that fits your lifestyle.
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