TURN YOUR WORKOUTS INTO A WAY OF LIFE
Starting something is easy. Sustaining it is where the real challenge lies.
If you find yourself going through workout routines like you go through new phone screens, then creating a more sustainable fitness program could be something worth trying. After all, it’s consistency and building long-term habits that really help you level up your lifting, rather than going all in for a few weeks until you burn out. To help you make those sweat sessions a second nature, we’ve compiled our best tips for making lifting heavy as habitual as having breakfast. Here’s how it’s done.
01. FIND YOUR FIT
Enjoyment is one of the most underrated yet essential parts of any fitness routine. Whether it’s powerlifting or pounding the pavement, it’s vital to find a form of exercise that you look forward to, and get fulfillment from.
An often overlooked study in 2009 found that the average time it took to form a consistent habit was 66 days. You won’t make it that far unless you enjoy what you’re doing. Find a movement that you love, don’t just copy what you see other people doing! Your mind will then file away your movement as a positive experience, and want to revisit it time and time again. By focusing on workouts or even specific exercises you enjoy, you’ll help yourself to no longer see training as something you have to grind through, but rather something you can thrive through.
02. DITCH THE ‘ALL OR NOTHING’ MINDSET
One of the main reasons why we tend to bin our workout routines just as quickly as we begin them, is because of our ‘all or nothing’ mindset. When we begin a routine, we invest ourselves so heavily that it becomes all-consuming, believing that we either have to give our routine everything, or nothing at all. This black and white thinking creates impossibly high standards that don’t allow for any balance or flexibility when life gets in the way (something which is inevitable for all lifters). Remember - behaviours are developed through consistency, not intensity, so be mindful of creating a routine that you know you'll be able to complete every week without fail.
03. SET A REALISTIC GOAL
If you want to be lifting for the long-term, it’s essential to set realistic, reasonable goals. If your expectations are unrealistic, you’ll end up feeling demoralised or burnt out when you don’t reach them, leading you to throw in the towel before you’ve even truly started. Here’s a few evidence-based approaches which you can use to temper your training ambitions.
Based on an analysis of over 200 studies, the average rate of increase in cross sectional muscle mass tends to be around 0.1% - 0.2% per day, a number that will only decrease the more experienced a lifter you become. However if your aim is hypertrophy, we can use this number to set realistic expectations for growth.
For example, if you have a lean muscle mass of 40KG and want to add 4KG of muscle (a 10% increase), you can expect this to take roughly 100 days (10 / 0.1). Bear in mind this will only take longer the more training experience you have, and is also dependent on the quality of your nutrition, recovery and workout quality. Also be mindful that if you’re a beginner lifter, it’ll be at least 2-3 weeks before you see any gains in size, and you should expect to train consistently for at least a month before you start seeing any visual changes.
When it comes to increases in strength, the data from a survey of 1800 respondents perfectly shows the rule of diminishing gains, which simply refers to the fact that the longer you’ve been training for, the longer it’ll take you to make additional progress. For the barbell back squat, women with 0-3 months of training experience were able to add an average of 3.6kg to their max every month. However women who’d been lifting for 1-2 years were only able to add 0.3 kg, while women who’d been lifting for 2-10 years showed no gains whatsoever.
Setting good goals and having reasonable expectations about your pace of change is vital. Be mindful of these typical rates of progress and use realistic goals to set up your workout routine for long-term consistency.
04. KNOW YOUR WHY
Whether it’s for self-confidence or competition, understanding your purpose behind training can help make your routine habitual. Your motive can become your motivation, so that you no longer see workouts as a chore, but rather as an opportunity. When your willpower to workout is low, you’ll have something to come back to that’ll push you to turn up and find your next level. Take the time to think about your why - it could end up being more powerful than any pre-workout or pump up playlist.
05. PREP YOUR MEALS
Meal prep isn’t just something bodybuilders do. By planning nutritious meals in advance, you’re more likely to stick to a healthy diet which will set you up for performance in the gym.
A well known 2017 study found that meal prep was associated with higher quality of diet, while lowering the likelihood of being overweight. When your food is on track, it’s more likely your fitness will follow - unhealthier foods tend to make you feel more lethargic and crave the comfort of the sofa rather than the squat rack.
From finding your fit to fulfilling your goals, our Ryderwear apparel has you covered through every rep of your fitness routine. Shop our range of men’s & women’s activewear, created for lifters of all levels.
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