I just returned from a thirteen-day volunteer trip to Hungary. It was rewarding and memorable to say the least, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my daily routine. Not necessarily the one that involves real life responsibilities and everyday stressors. That routine can’t compete with the energy and novelty of life on vacation. The routine I missed was my daily workout schedule, the one that boosts my confidence, gets my day started, and mentally prepares me for whatever it is that might come by way. The one where I teach fitness classes and swing my kettlebells. That routine makes me feel purposeful and accomplished. The other can sometimes drive me crazy.
My experience got me to thinking about the concept of routine. What is it about routine that we come to dread when vacation is long overdue, but crave after we’ve been away for too long? Is it the predictability of knowing what lies ahead and how we will spend our time? Does the discipline of daily routine help us lead our life with intention? Or is that there is comfort in knowing where we will be and what is expected of us? Maybe it’s all of above. But I do know that when it comes to exercise, whether you crave routine or you love the freedom of escaping it, schedules lead to success. They help us establish where we need to be, what we need to do, how we will accomplish our goals.
Here are a few tips for scheduling a successful workout routine.
Start with the following questions:
1. How many days a week do I want to work out, and what days will work best in my schedule?
2. How long will I set-aside for each workout?
3. What type of exercise will I do? Plan a specific workout for each day of the week that you exercise.
Vary your routine, and make sure you’re including a good mix of strength, cardio, and flexibility.
Now that you know how many days, how much time, and what you’ll do, it’s time to put it on the calendar. The idea is to schedule your workouts like you do your appointments, your job, and your kid’s activities.
Once it’s on the calendar you are more likely to be consistent, and soon exercise will become a lifestyle rather than a burden or a chore. That’s when the real transformation takes place; where you don't just see results, you feel results.
My trip to Hungary gave me perspective in more ways than one, but what I love is that reinforced that there’s positive side to predictability. Routines are the backbone of our existence, and when it comes to exercise they are the driving force behind our success.