Routines imply consistency. As in, you are doing this every day (or at least almost every day). If hearing the same thing so many times in a row is already making you shudder, then you can understand why this step is so vital. If you center your workout routine around exercises that you absolutely dread, you’re never going to stick with it.
To craft a workout routine that you won’t want to drop, follow these three steps.
Step 1: Choose Activities That You Actually Enjoy
While it seems obvious to choose activities that you actually enjoy, some people will act snobby about anything that doesn’t involve flipping tires or lifting a car with your bare hands. However, it may shock you just how much consistent performance of fun physical activities can improve your fitness.
Here are a few to try out:
- Rock climbing takes immense strength, concentration, and flexibility but is so fun that you forget you’re working out.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) turns cardio on its head by instead emphasizing short spurts of vigorous exercise. This is perfect for those with a short attention span or who easily get bored. If you don’t want to face the psychological barrier of a one-hour workout, then this 15- to 30-minute alternative is perfect for you.
- Dancing activities like hip hop, ballet, salsa, or capoeira (which is also a martial art) are perfect for rhythmic folks who want to bust a move and break a sweat.
- Surfing is social, refreshing, and fulfilling. Because you’re constantly focused on catching waves, you don’t realize just how much you’re working your muscles!
Step 2: Arm Yourself with the Right Fitness Garb
One of the most important investments you need to make for long-term fitness success is workout gear. If you’re going to be shelling out hard cash for the sake of health, you might as well choose your fitness garb wisely.
That means choosing the right pieces for your body. For example, if your feet are as flat as a steam iron, you’ll want to find the best running shoes for flat feet. If you have a bun in the oven but still want to tighten your buns, search specifically for the best yoga pants for expectant mothers.
Don’t forget to grab yourself some basics, too:
- Jump rope
- Workout mat
- Foam roller
- Deodorant (yes, it needs to be said)
Step 3: Set Realistic Goals
Unless you’re The Flash, you won’t be able to run a marathon within a week of putting on running shoes for the first time—and that’s okay. Creating an effective workout routine is all about strategizing around goals that you can fulfill.
Make sure you write down goals that are:
- Specific – “My goal is to run a 5k in under 30 minutes and improve my daily stamina.”
- Measurable – “I want to lose three inches from my waist and one inch from my arms.”
- Attainable – “In one year, I will be able to run a marathon.”
- Realistic – “I will walk 10,000 steps every day” (as opposed to doing something you hate, like sprinting in the desert while carrying a bag of sand).
- Time-based – “I will work out for thirty minutes on Monday through Friday, with a rest day on Saturday, and a one-hour yoga class on Sunday. My goal is to do a headstand in six months.”
Choose Consistency Over Intensity
Committing to a workout routine is about making the choice to better yourself every single day. That means getting out of bed and hitting the gym, pounding the pavement, or dancing your butt off even if you’re in a bad mood, tired, or more interested in that new episode of Succession.
Working out until your arms fall off once a month is worth nothing if you’re slumped on the couch for the other 29 days. Consistency is key. Even if you do one pushup, one burpee, or take one walk, if you move every day, you’re taking one more step toward success.