When working towards a specific health/fitness goal, having a good daily/weekly routine in place is will help to give you the best chance of success.
If you can design a routine around your lifestyle that enables you to be consistent and adhere to your nutrition and training programmes you will find it much easier to achieve your end result and sustain this in the long-term if you wish.
This becomes especially important if your goal is time-limited as every time you fall out of your routine takes you one step further from achieving your goal by the deadline. The shorter the time frame, the more important it becomes to have an effective, sustainable routine that you can follow.
Here are some important aspects to consider when thinking about changing your current routine/ implementing a new one (Number 6 is probably the game changer)
1. Have a clearly defined end goal
If you know what you want to achieve specifically, planning for this eventuality is easier. You can work backwards from this goal and work out what you need to do in order to achieve it, and then put the relevant planning in place so that you can creat a process that you both enjoy and can adhere to.
Be aware that for weight loss and muscle gain, the time frame is often longer than you think, especially accounting for any lapses in adherence (which are likely to happen at some point). Social media has done a good job of making everyone think that 12 weeks is the normal transformation time. It isn’t. Often it takes a lot longer than this as the process is hugely individual.
2. If time frame is relevant, ensure that the routine accounts for this
If you do have a specific time frame, i.e. you want to lose weight for your holiday in 3 months, you will have to have an effective routine in place, and it will need to be one that you can adhere to well. The first step is to ensure that your goal is actually achievable – so try to plan these things well in advance so you leave enough time. Many people expect to be able to drop weight really fast, which is often the route to disordered eating and a poor relationship with food (which we want to avoid) so try to give yourself more time than you need – its less stressful and means that you are more likely or enjoy the process.
3. Identify what aspects of your current routine have to be worked around (Work for example).
We all have to work, and often the times are set when we are working, so the routine you devise needs to be based around this. Figure out when the best time for you to train is, and how long/ often you can train – this will affect the style and intensity of the training that you do.
It’s also a hugely important factor from a nutrition point of view. Can you prep meals? Do you find you always go out at lunch and buy food/ go on business lunches etc.
If so, your nutritional approach is likely to have to adapt to account for this so that you can still achieve a result.
The key take home here is that you can only build a good routine if you identify any non-negotiable factors that need to be worked around.
4. Nutrition aspect vs. Training aspect – depending on your goal, one may be more important than the other.
Depending on your aim, the Training vs. Nutrition balance will differ. IF weight loss is your primary goal, then you need to focus on getting your nutrition in check. This is really the only important factor when it comes to weight loss. Any training that you do will help (from a calorie burn perspective), and is also beneficial for general health and several other positives (muscle gain etc), but the main focus has to be on what you eat and drink.
If Muscle gain is your priority, then Training will come much more to the forefront as this is the primary driver of muscle gain. In order for hypertrophy to take place we need to progressively overload the muscles, which is something that can only be done through training.
Nutrition obviously still plays a part, as optimising your protein intake and having an understanding of calories will enable you to the most from your efforts.
So when designing your routine, you can bear this in mind.
Consider what is likely to lead you to fall out of routine/ give up – If anything (thinking about holidays, meals, seeing friends etc)
Having a routine is great, until you can’t stick to it – then it becomes useless.
Once you have decided what your days look like through a week (they don’t all have to be the same), you can test it for a week or two and see where, if at all you find you can’t follow the plan.
If you find that you can’t stick to a particular day or aspect of the plan, its time to adapt and re-think around this issue. This is something that is often an issue for people, but one that often leads them to giving up, rather than evaluating and re-planning accordingly.
If you want more advice on habit creation, I’ll write a follow up blog about this and link it in over the coming weeks.
5. Don’t forget about sleep
One of the most important aspects that contributes to the success of any routine is sleep. It is often neglected due to other life commitments, but if your sleep quality improves, you can pretty much guarantee that everything else gets better too: Recovery improves, performance improves across the board, willpower will be better – there are no negatives to getting better sleep.
So, if you take nothing else away from this article, focus on improving your sleep quality and quantity – it is a guaranteed win.
If you have any questions or would like more information about Training or Nutritional programming to help you reach your goals, drop me an e-mail:
JL Fitness Solutions