Get your workout out of the way early
A lot of people supposedly cannot find time to get their booty down to the local gym. Now, there are some legitimate excuses, sure, but mostly, it comes down to working on… priorities. If we prioritize exercise, then it’s less about finding time for the gym, rather learning how to work around your gym schedule. The best way to do so is to get your workout done earlier in the day. Your energy level is higher and it creates a morning habit that needs to be done before anything else. Now, performance-wise, research suggests there might be a very small benefit to work-out around mid to late afternoon. But the gym is also packed at this time, especially around the New Year, which makes finishing your workout tougher. In the morning, that’s pretty much a non-issue. Gyms are mostly empty and clean. So, build that habit, get your workout done early and save yourself the headache of a busy gym.
Find a friend Humans are social creatures, for the most part.
We find more success in goals when we work alongside a good partner. In fitness, we have seen research showing that working either with a coach or close friends and family can improve performance and weight loss results, as well as help you stay consistent. This is most likely due to keeping each other accountable, not just relying on yourself to stay on track, but to support one another from the desire of quitting. So, get your goals started with a friend, a sibling, a significant other, whoever you deem fitting. It will be worth it.
Exercise is extremely crucial to overall health, fitness, and… aesthetics. However, especially for beginners, nutrition should be dealt with first. It dictates everything that has to do with fitness. Weight loss requires a calorie deficit, where the number of calories you consume is fewer than calories expended over a period of time. Building muscle requires sufficient protein. And all exercises require sufficient energy provided by the carbs and fats in our food. Certainly, how you meet your food requirement is another huge matter, but no doubt if you had to choose between better nutrition or exercise, nutrition should be handled first.
Apply the 80/20 rule.
The 80/20 rule states that “roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of its causes.” That implies that, for fitness, the far majority of your results, or the 80%, will be achieved with the very basics of training and nutrition, or the 20%. And research has indirectly supported this. Based on all the different types of training and nutrition research, the most significant effects always fall back onto a handful of basics. This is important to remember because far too often people get bogged down on the specifics, losing sight of what’s truly important. It’s also the reason for so much of the… bro science you’ve heard of. When it comes to basics, we’re talking about choosing healthier foods, getting sufficient protein and calories, have a consistent yet progressive workout plan and work on more compound movements hitting more muscles. In short, eat well and work out consistently. Things like meal frequencies, fasting intervals, time under tension, and split frequencies, although might be important, fall second in priority. When you do get the basics down, then it’s fine to apply more of these sophisticated approaches.
Adherence above all else.
How many times have we made a fitness goal only to fall short because, for some reason or another, we couldn’t stick to the plan. For all of us, it is a problem of discipline and motivation. Understandably, it’s tough to stay motivated if we don’t see the results right away. The mirror sure won’t show any difference between today and tomorrow. However, we have to exercise patience. Getting in shape takes time. As we do that, we need to create a plan that we can adhere to. And often, that’s choosing things based on your preferences. Sounds simple enough right? And luckily, the research does support this simple yet effective approach. Those that choose a diet that they prefer adhered to the diet longer and saw the best results. So, don’t pick a diet just because it worked for your friend. It’s no guarantee it will work for you. Find one where you wouldn’t mind eating the recommended foods. Stick to it for a few weeks, see how it feels, and change things up if it doesn’t work. For exercise, adherence might be more of a time issue. Now, initially I said to work out early in the day but that certainly won’t work for everyone. So, choose the time you KNOW you can stick to.
Choose a program that fits the amount of days and hours of the day that suits your schedule. And no, not all workouts have to be hours long. There is some indication that it can be as short as 15 minutes, granted you’re only training for strength. More info on that in my article about it. For the most part, if you can allocate roughly an hour per day to exercise, then that’s more than enough if you stick to the basics as we’ve discussed in the 80/20 rule. In any case, don’t overshoot your options. Do what works for you, exude some patience along with a hint of discipline.