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A Busy Person’s Guide to Exercise Consistency

Are you too busy to exercise?

I think we’ve all experienced it — having every intention to do our workout, or go for a run, or get to the yoga class, but we’re just so busy. Things come up, chores need doing, the family needs feeding, we’re spending long hours at work. And our exercise starts to slide — we find ourselves in the gym less and less often, and feel our goals are slipping through our fingers.

Fortunately, there’s a way to mitigate this, and all it takes is a simple change in mindset.

The All-Or-Nothing Mindset

“Too often, we fall into an all-or-nothing cycle with our habits. The problem is not slipping up; the problem is thinking that if you can’t do something perfectly, then you shouldn’t do it at all.” — James Clear

This mindset is detrimental to our progress, and to our health in general.

Thinking that if you can’t do a 2-hour gym session, or a 90-minute hot yoga session, or a week of CrossFit classes means you shouldn’t work out at all, you’re going to run into some problems.

Exercise is about consistency — your efforts compound over time.

If you want to see progress, if you want to become fitter and healthier, you need to exercise consistently.

But holding on to this all-or-nothing mindset is going to interfere with consistency. You can’t be consistent if you skip your workout every time you can’t do your normal session.

“Consistency is king when it comes to progress with training. How we approach consistency when life gets in the way is important.

It’s easy to get into an “all or nothing” mind state when we are too rigid with what our training “should” look like — and then write training off as a result.” — Evolve Training Collective

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You need to be flexible and adaptable.

When things come up, or you’re sick or injured, or you’re traveling, you need to be flexible and have the ability to adapt to the situation. This is how you will maintain consistency. This is how you can break out of the all-or-nothing mindset.

Your workout doesn’t need to be perfect every time for it to be worthwhile.

If you only have 20 minutes today instead of an hour, 20 minutes is a whole lot better than 0 minutes.

If you’re traveling and don’t have access to a gym, doing bodyweight movements or going out for a walk or run is a whole lot better than doing nothing.

Let go of the rigidity. Training is malleable. It doesn’t have to look a certain way to be beneficial.

Consistency builds identity.

“You need to create good habits. You need to stick to your rules. You can’t make excuses to yourself, saying, “Oh, this doesn’t matter.” Because it adds up. Because it determines what you’ll accomplish and what you won’t. Most important, it determines who you are.” — Ryan Holiday

When we let our training slide, we break a promise to ourselves.

We start to lose the identity of someone who is fit, who works hard, who trains consistently.

And losing this identity is going to drastically hinder our progress.

“The more we break our commitment to ourselves with training, the less we trust our word to ourselves, and the less confident or able we feel in achieving our goal. We then lose motivation.

It’s the showing up for ourselves that really matters — keeping and honouring the commitment we make.

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We need to allow our training to be flexible and adaptable — and to meet us where we are. It doesn’t need to look a certain way every session to be beneficial.” — Evolve Training Collective

  • Whenever you’re injured, sick, low on energy or time, or are away from your normal routine, remember that doing something is always better than doing nothing.
  • Your workouts don’t have to look a certain way to be beneficial. We need to cultivate flexibility and adaptability in our training to ensure that even when life gets in the way, we’re still making progress and striving towards our goals.
  • Build consistency, and see how your results compound over time. Build an identity as someone who gets their training done, even when life throws them a curveball.

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