It is not enough to just start a fitness program and see some short-term progress. The goal from the onset of your fitness journey should be to make a lifestyle change and find a plan that can last forever.
So how do we create this sustainability within our fitness plan?
1. Don't Follow Trends
The fitness industry seems to have more gimmicky-trends than any other industry that I can think of. It seems that every few years the "latest and greatest" training application or diet strategy arises and takes the gullible world by storm.
Sure, some very fast "results" can come from these trendy programs but what happens when the program ends? Most people reverse right back to where they were prior to starting. That is the fundamental flaw in these trendy training and diet programs. They don't teach you what to do once you've completed the program.
Instead of relying on the trends, learn how to make a real change that you can continue forever. This is not the easy way to do things but, when done well, your results will actually last.
It reminds me of a Theodore Roosevelt quote: "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty..."
I'm not certain that the "pain" portion of his quote applies here but I do think the message is applicable.
2. Spend Time Recovering
Most of us are guilty of not doing nearly as much stretching, mobility, and foam rolling as we should. Whether it is a lack of time or the fact that stretching is pretty boring, we just don't do it. Not to mention that foam rolling can be flat out painful! (Where's that Teddy Roosevelt Quote at again?)
Boring, painful, or otherwise, it is essential to spend time recovering. Training without recovering is like driving your car 100,000 miles without over getting an oil change or maintenance work done. You're just asking for something to breakdown.
If you have joint pain or any pre-existing injuries then recovery should be extra important to you as training will only make these issues worse if you don't recover properly. The fastest way to have your fitness pursuit fall flat is to neglect recovery and get injured!
3. Change it or Leave it
I had a great conversation with a guy at the gym the other day and he told me that he's done the same 16-week workout program for the last thirty years. He just completes it all the way through and then starts over again. The guy is in great shape and you can't argue with the results.
While this works for him, it certainly wouldn't work for me. I like to change my workout programs up periodically as it presents a new challenge for me. Doing the same thing all of the time would become boring.
For me, doing the same program over and over would cause me to lose interest. For him, a consistent program has helped him maintain his fitness journey for over thirty years!
In summary, if a program is working for you and you're seeing results--keep it going. If you feel like your program is getting stagnant, try switching it up a bit.
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