If you struggle with fitness consistency, this is for you. In this blog, I share with you tips that will help you get consistent with your workouts. I also interview an amazing woman and friend Elizabeth (Lizzy) Omatsola. Lizzy who is married with 4 grown up children ( 21,23,25 and 28yrs), shares about her fitness schedule and how she manages to stay consistent. Read her interview below.
I first joined a gym about 19 years ago. I was working for a small training company in Kingston. We were offered either a gym membership or an extra weeks holiday as a work benefit. I took the gym membership. The gym was a good 15-20min walk from the office. The first few times I went, I would walk there and back. The plan would be to use the gym for 30mins and the remaining 30mins of my lunch break would be allocated to getting undressed, dressed, walking there and back but I barely had 20mins to workout because the walk there was a good 15mins at brisk pace. To get 30mins workout time, I started planning my lunch break around the bus times (one every half hour), leaving the office just before the bus arrived. My timing had to be perfect or else I would miss the bus and be late back to the office.
In my early fitness days, one thing I quickly realised is how crucial keeping the wheel rolling was to consistency. Though I couldn’t 100% predict how my day would turn out, I had to keep the wheel rolling somehow. I set a realistic twice weekly target. I could just about endure the awkwardness of the journey twice weekly.
However, not too long after, a solution came – I started driving, joined a gym near home and exchanged the work gym benefit for an extra weeks holiday. I increased my weekly target to thrice weekly. Twice during the week and once at the weekend. If I couldn’t make it on Saturday, I’d be in the gym on a Sunday evening. My target for the sessions was an hour but, if I didn’t have the time to do an hours workout, I’d do whatever I could.
With determination, soon the days I worked out became fixed in my brain and I soon started working out in autopilot mode. Whenever I had to do something or be somewhere that would prevent me from going to the gym on my planned workout day, the first thing I thought of was, “what other day this week can I workout to get 3 days in?”. The thought was never, “well it’s gonna be a 2 day week this week!”. I always had to tick 3 workout boxes a week. That was my mindset.
Tips that hold the key to consistency.
Firstly, you have to want to do it. If the desire is not there then, there’s almost no point. So, maybe a good place to start is your “why”. Ask yourself why you workout? Why is working out important to you? Rate the importance of it over 10. If you rate it 10/10, continue reading.
Secondly, you have to think positively about it. If you want it and your thoughts are constantly negative, then that’s counterproductive. If your state of mind is such that you always dread working out, chances are, you will want to put it at the back of your mind. Instead, always think about the benefits of working out, picture it. Imagine how you will feel when you’re fit, how you will stop struggling with mobility, how you will age better, how you’ll be able to maintain a healthy weight, how your body will function more efficiently. Think of all the good that’s associated with working out.
Thirdly, you have to plan it into your week – you have to MAKE the time for it and not expect that the time to do it will magically pop up in your day. Consider what could get in the way of your plan. You know yourself, your mind, body and schedule, what usually gets in the way? Keep the possibility of something getting in the way in mind and have a plan to get past it. If you constantly travel, plan to keep the wheel rolling somehow. I’ve heard so many stories about how, “I was doing great until I went on holiday or travelled for work blah blah blah”. Going on holiday or work travel does not mean you stop moving. You know what’s going to happen when you get back because it’s become habit, have a plan for that habit to change – make a conscious and deliberate effort to plan for what usually happens not to happen. Utube has short workout videos that are useful for those who want a quick “keep the wheel rolling” workout.
Lastly, honesty, you have to be thinking about it often. The human brain will prioritise anything that’s top in your mind. If you’re constantly engaging your deliberate brain system, thinking of how you can get in some exercise, if it’s always on your mind, you will find a way to get it done. Your brain will find a way for your body to do it. There will be #noexcuses.
Elizabeth Omatsola whom I fondly and aptly call Olympian or Lizzy Olympian. Lizzy and I went to the same secondary school back in Benin City, Nigeria. We both finished in 1985. I really got to know Lizzy when she joined a Fitness group I set up in May 2016. As soon as the group started, it soon became clear that Lizzy and I are both fitness enthusiasts. Lizzy is an inspiration, her energy, her spirit, her determination. She is quite frankly, amazing!
Lizzy like a lot of Nigerian women, is very busy with her day job – she’s a Human Resources Manager at a government parastatal and her side businesses (school uniform and customised clothing procurement and events catering).
What is your fitness routine like?
My fitness routine is determined by my goals & targets at any given point in time. Currently I have a goal to run 12 half marathons in 2019 and to hit 2,019km by the end of the year. In order to meet my goals, I workout six days a week. These workout sessions typically entail running a minimum of 15km followed by cardio and strength training at the gym.
What motivates you to work out?
My motivation was borne out of a few health challenges which made me decide to adopt a healthy lifestyle rather than being dependent on medications. I must say this decision has changed my life for the better and there is no going back because the benefits are priceless.
What made you join the KHL May 2016 Fitness Challenge?
I joined the KLH May fitness challenge in 2016 because I’ve always loved group challenges; the benefits therein are numerous. Topmost on the list is the support system from group members; accountability helps me remain focused to meet set targets.
Almost 4 years later, what can you say about your fitness now?
My fitness journey has evolved. I am definitely better than where I was 4 years ago. For me it has always been about how to get better. Like I said earlier, the fitness groups & the individuals in these groups have positively helped to shape my fitness level. Although I’m not where I want to be yet, I’m definitely better than where I started- yes I’m still work in progress. I’ve progressed from 30mins cardio to 2hrs steady run, non-stop three times a week.
How do you schedule the time for workouts when you’re busy?
Where there is a will there is a way. The mind is very powerful, it commands the body and it obeys. I’ve quietly watched my personal motivator, someone I admire so much with a good job, family and who is also very much involved with church activities but still finds time to workout and this has helped me to make out time for fitness no matter how busy I am. I said to myself if this person can wake up at 4.30am and do a minimum of 6-7km run before getting ready for work then I should be able to do the same or more since my job is a bit more flexible. No matter how busy I am, I make sure I set aside time for fitness. When I travel, the first thing I pack in my luggage is my fitness clothes.
What tips can you give those who are looking for consistency?
For those looking to be consistent with a fitness lifestyle I will advice:
Draw up a schedule for workouts – imagine it’s as important as a doctors appointment.
Set achievable targets and goals which can be built on as you progress and get stronger.
See fitness as the fuel you need for your body to function – just as the body cannot do without oxygen, imagine that you can’t function well without exercise.
Enjoy your workout – make it fun so that it becomes a way of life.
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