How to Create a Comprehensive Fitness Routine That You'll Actually Stick To.

How to Create a Comprehensive Fitness Routine That You'll Actually Stick To.

Sticking to a fitness routine can feel like an uphill battle. You start strong, but motivation wanes, and before you know it, your gym membership is collecting dust and you're feeling a little crappy about giving up on your fitness goals. But what if there was an approach to creating a fitness plan that would keep you engaged for the long haul?

Let's dive into the science behind building a comprehensive fitness routine you'll actually enjoy. We'll explore SMART goal setting, the power of quantifiable progress tracking, and the psychology of habit formation, all backed by research to maximize your chances for success. We'll also unpack strategies to overcome setbacks and keep your workouts fresh and exciting. Our hope is that by the end of this article, you'll be equipped with the tools and knowledge to craft a personalized fitness plan that unlocks your full potential.

The Power of SMART Fitness Objectives.
Sticking to a fitness routine requires a clear roadmap. Enter SMART goals – a powerful framework for setting achievable and motivating objectives. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want to achieve. Instead of a vague goal like "get healthy" aim for "I want to lift weights three times a week and go for a 30 minute walk daily." Being healthy means different things to different people, so try to be specific about the details.

  • Measurable: Quantify your goal so you can track progress. Numbers make success feel more tangible, allowing you to see the progress you have made towards your goal. Without being able to look back on our progress, we can often feel like we have made none, become discouraged, and give up.

  • Attainable: Be realistic. Consider your current fitness level and set a goal that challenges you without being discouraging. We recommend setting smaller goals at first, as setting goals that you struggle to keep up with often causes us to feel discouraged or become burnt out. If your goal is to go to the gym three times a week and you end up going four times a week when you have the energy and room in your schedule, you're going to feel much better about yourself and your progress than if you had set the goal of going to the gym five times a week and then were only able to make it four days a week consistently.

  • Relevant: Ensure your goal aligns with your overall fitness aspirations. Do you want to build muscle, improve endurance, lose weight, increase strength, or boost overall health? If your goal is to build muscle and strength, focus on things like increasing weight lifted, incorporating compound exercises, or achieving specific rep counts for strength training exercises (e.g- "I want to do 10 pull ups). If you want to improve your endurance, tailor your goals around running distance, race completion times, or VO2 max improvement through dedicated cardio training. For weight loss, we might set goals around calorie intake or decreasing body fat percentage. 

  • Time-bound: Set a deadline to create urgency and a sense of accomplishment. This timeframe should be ambitious yet achievable based on your other SMART criteria. While many of us set goals for the year, it may be wise to break those goals down into smaller goals, and then put those goals into smaller time frames, like 3-4 months. Setting goals for an entire year can feel overwhelming, and the long timeframe makes it difficult to maintain focus and motivation. Additionally, it often takes longer to see progress on big goals, and seeing our progress is an important element in reinforcing our new habits/behaviours. 

SMART goals are a dynamic tool. Re-evaluate them periodically to ensure they remain relevant and achievable as your fitness evolves. Don't be afraid to adjust your goals based on progress or setbacks. The key is to maintain a growth mindset and celebrate every step forward on your fitness journey!

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