We love talking health and fitness here at Jane’s Best Fitness, so we thought we’d kick off our first-ever “blog post” here discussing one of our favorite topics: keeping up a routine.
Now, many people hear the word “routine” and have a very natural negative reaction to it – these people love to live by the seat of their pants and do whatever they want when they want. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are flat-out wrong.
When it comes to health and fitness, you absolutely need to develop a routine – good habits – that you can get into every day. And when you’ve developed these good habits, and get used to following them, well, then you start to see the results. And that’s what we’re here for, after all – the results.
For me, this one is easier to stick to than my food routine, which we’ll get into a bit later on in the post. And the reason it’s easier is that there is really only one “pain point” when it comes to working out – and that’s physically going to the gym (or out on the street for a run). Once you’re at the gym, you’re 95% there – you just have to do the exercises, which isn’t hard. Yep, the challenge for most people isn’t actually doing the hard, physical, manual lifting of the weights – it’s simply getting into the physical location of the gym!
So first thing’s first, set a schedule. You need to commit yourself to go 3-4x a week, and you need to know which days those are going to be ahead of time. Don’t just tell yourself, “Yeah I’ll hit up the gym three times this week.” Instead, say – “I will be going to the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.” Once you set a schedule, you feel more obligated to commit to it; not only that, but you get used to the idea of going on those specific days.
That’s actually my schedule, the MWF routine. I bring my gym bag to work each morning on those days, so it’s sitting right there on my desk all day; and when I look over at it, it’s telling me: you’re going to the gym today! It’s really a mental hurdle for a lot of people that they just need to get over.
Once I’m physically at the gym, then it’s incredibly easy – I just perform the exercises that I want to get done on that particular day. Every other gym day, I rotate my exercises – arms and chest one day, shoulders and back the next day. Four exercises, four reps each, 12 sets apiece. Boom, done.
Yes, getting into a smart and healthy food routine is MUCH harder. And this is because whereas with fitness, where you really just need to accomplish one thing – physically getting into the gym – food is a whole other story. There are many more pain points you need to overcome. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, after-dinner, snacking, drinking, etc. – there are so many potential pitfalls then it’s no wonder so many people have issues overcoming their bad eating habits.
So I like to take it one meal at a time.
Do you know how I plan out which days I’ll be going to the gym? Well, I also plan out in a way what I’ll be having for each meal. Now, I don’t write every single meal down ahead of time – though you can if you want – but I keep a general idea in my mind of what I’ll be having.
Breakfast: this one is easy for me; six days out of seven I’ll be having eggs, scrambled, with cheese. I either make it at home myself before I leave for work, or I buy them in the cafeteria at the office.
Lunch: another easy one, at least in theory. I try to eat a salad every day, mixed in with some protein (turkey, chicken), veggies (tomatoes, cucumber, peppers), cheese, healthy fat (avocado), and some olive oil. Now, this one is easier said than done – because I often get sick of eating these salads every day – but the more of a routine you get into, the easier it becomes.
Dinner: while with breakfast and lunch I try to stick to a stricter routine, I try to mix it up a little bit more with dinner. But still, I have my staples: protein (chicken, beef, fish), salad, avocado, and vegetable. There are enough combinations in those base ingredients that you really don’t get sick of it that much.
Now, do I eat like this for EVERY meal? Of course not. I’m just like anyone else; from time to time, I “cheat” and have something I really enjoy – a bagel, cheeseburger, slice of pizza, etc.
But here’s the important point.
After that “cheat” meal, I have a routine that I can go back to. I don’t let one unhealthy meal spiral out of control to the point that I’m thrown off my entire game plan. I have a solid foundation in place that I know I can go back to, so I can get back to it.
And that, to me, is the key to success.