If you do something long enough, it will eventually stick with you. This goes for not-so-beneficial choices like watching TV all day, every day, or it can lead to instilling healthy habits like regular exercise. When it comes to proper fitness training, being consistent and instilling routine can be life-altering. Long-term training has the potential for lasting lifestyle changes.
Sure, clients look for the short-term benefits of looking and feeling better. The advantages of consistency in exercise stretch way beyond the short-term. Lifestyle changes for the long-haul incorporate exercise, daily routines, body awareness, and healthy choices.
Committed clients who participate in regular training sessions will likely see results within months. Of course, many factors come into play with how long it takes to see results. This includes the beginning fitness level, the commitment between sessions, etc.
Long-term training (greater than several months) coupled with commitment establishes lasting lifestyle changes for clients a year, five, or even ten years later.
Establishing a routine over a month or years sets the tone for what’s ahead. Once a routine is in place, it becomes a habit, like brushing your teeth. If a client has fitness training two/three times a week and adds an additional two/three days on their own, that’s a sustainable regimen that makes a positive impact.
Habits are tough to break. The habits that are perceived as good don’t need breaking. Like the exercise one!
Clients who get used to working out are likely to miss it when they fall out of their exercise schedule. Their energy level could dip, sleep might not be as good, stress is harder to manage, muscles ache from lack of movement, and so on. They need their exercise. Their bodies and their psyche get used to it. That’s a really good thing!
Training creates a foundation to keep exercise on the agenda. Clients might branch out to accept workout challenges at their gym or online: crunches, planks, walks/runs, wall-sits, etc. They could challenge themselves to participate in races or try new group exercise classes. Confidence builds with regular exercise making it easier to step out on a limb. Each new challenge builds momentum to keep going.
In addition to exercise, an active lifestyle continues with daily routines. Over the extended calendar, clients learn new and creative ways to be physically active. This could include:
• Continuing (or starting) to use fitness trackers to ensure they stay active
• Parking in the back of a parking lot when possible
• Taking the longer route in daily activities
• Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
• Purchasing and using home exercise equipment
• Keeping a diary or log to recognize fitness successes
• Scheduling time to be active
“Routines provide positive ways to manage our time better by adding structure to our lives. Routines require planning and commitment, leading to getting things accomplished,” said Mary A. Dom, MA, Licensed Professional Counselor.
“Sit down in the evening and make a list of things you need to do the next day, in the next week, in the next month. After this, you can schedule tasks using a calendar app on your phone. Don’t forget to check off your tasks as you do them.”
She offers this tip: “If you have difficulty starting a task, promise yourself to do it just for 10 minutes. Once you ‘trick’ yourself into starting you can usually continue for more than 10 minutes. Use this tip especially if you have difficulty starting exercise.”
Body awareness is key to detecting when something is not quite right. Being aware of what’s happening inside our bodies also lets us know when things are right. Clients carry this strategy with them beyond their training regimen.
By listening to their bodies, clients figure out what to work, what needs stretching and when it’s time for a rest day. Our bodies tell us when we need additional hydration, some extra rest or when we need a powerful workout.
Healthy choices are so important. Here are a few simple ones that help clients maintain a healthy lifestyle:
• Choosing water over soda
• Staying hydrated (perhaps using a measurable water bottle)
• Getting enough well-rested sleep (using a sound machine, eye mask, sticking to a specific bedtime, whatever it takes)
• Eliminating processed food from diets (shopping the outside perimeter of the grocery store where fresh items are stored)
• Making exercise a priority!!!
• Quitting and/or never starting smoking or using tobacco products
• Following health and fit pros on social media to stay current on info
We go into personal training with the goal of improving our clients’ overall health and fitness levels. Through dedication, using our knowledge base, and encouraging our clients, we guide them into forming a lasting routine that results in better health and fitness. Ultimately, what we do in consistent training sessions takes hold physically and mentally. It carries them through long after the training ends and behaviors become entrenched to create positive outcomes.