Be a man with a plan

In my last blog I wrote about the importance of consistency when it comes to exercise (“Consistently Consistent” ). Usually your physique is a direct reflection of your efforts with food and exercise; if your diet and gym time is patchy, so too will your results be.

Most of us have been there at one time or another. One week we’re at the gym most days, avoiding alcohol and takeaways; a few weeks later we’ve been out drinking 3 times in a week, finished off each night with a kebab and chips and started the next day with a fry up and craved junk food all day. So how do you become more consistent?

Here’s a few ideas:

Plan in a meeting with the gym

Most of us are pretty reliable in our everyday working life. If we say we’ll be somewhere or do something, we usually follow through with it. The gym is no different. Before each week starts, try to make a plan of the exact time and days that you’ll be visiting the gym. Write down the exercises you plan on doing and weights you’re aiming to improve on. Schedule these in your diary and stick to them as if your work depended on it. Similarly, booking yourself into a group exercise class or a Personal Training appointment is another way of scheduling an appointment that you’re unable to move or adjust.

Don’t underestimate how flexible other people are

Usually, when social or work engagements are suggested and there is a clash with your schedule, the first thing to be moved or worse still, removed, is the gym. Once you’ve planned your week try to stick to it and ask others to work around you. The chances are they won’t ask “Why?” and they’re much more likely to be more flexible than you might initially think. If your diary is public then schedule in your gym time using a code that you understand yourself such as “Meeting Jim” – or perhaps something a little more discreet than that.

Don’t give yourself a chance to re-arrange

If you’re scheduling in an hour at the gym at 5.30 and you need to be home by 7pm the chances are work will over-run, “something will come up” or time will just be too tight. If this sounds like a familiar story then schedule your exercise time when there isn’t a chance that others can interfere with your plans. For instance, try going early morning before work and at the weekend; that way it doesn’t matter if you need to work late some days during the week – it won’t eat into your gym time.

Train with a friend

If you have a gym buddy then you’ll both have someone there to encourage you to exercise on those days when you’re thinking of skipping a session. Plan out your weeks together and make sure you encourage them on days when they’re feeling a little lazy and they return the favour to you. This can be a great way of motivating you in and out of the gym as well as cutting down on the number of sessions that you miss because you weren’t in the mood. Try to remember though, you’re there to work – pick wisely and avoid a chatter box who has no interest in exercising and is just there to socialise.

Join a team

You’re much less likely to let down team mates than you are to let yourself down. Joining a social sports team can be a great way to schedule regular exercise and put a little pressure on yourself to attend on a regular basis. It doesn’t need to be elite level sports it can be as simple as making a 5-a-side football team with friends or hiring a basketball court each week with a group. The more others are relying on you to turn up, the less likely you are to skip a session.

In short, it’s all about building a routine. The more you’re able to build a rigid routine that not only fits into your existing life but also can’t be adjusted by external events outside of your control, the more likely you are to stick with your training and so, the more likely you are to achieve the results you desire.


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