10 Steps To Workout Adherence

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Taylor Carpenter is a personal trainer in Charlotte NC operating out of a private personal training studio in the Ballantyne area. These are 10 steps to workout adherence.

Below are 10 helpful steps towards staying on track towards your goals. I like the word adherence. People who fail usually don’t adhere to whatever plan they have in place and this is not exclusive to fitness.

In no particular order…

1. Schedule It

The #1 excuse I hear as a trainer is “I don’t have time“. The blunt response in my head is “that’s why you haven’t achieved results”, may be harsh but it’s likely the truth in most cases.

If you don’t get things done because of timing, then schedule time, carve out time. Time can be made, if your get has a parent teachers conference you can carve out time. If your car breaks down, dentist appt, have a cold, old friend invites you dinner, boss asks you to dinner, etc. Everyone can carve out time if they need to. If you use the excuse that you don’t have time, then you’re ultimately saying X isn’t a priority and you more than likely will not yield the results you could if you made it a priority.

Fitness doesn’t need to be everyones #1 priority. But when it isn’t high on the priority list you must accept diminishing returns.

2. Prioritize Sleep

Over the years, this one still is a common problem with clients and it will directly affect energy and motivation. Who wants to do anything when they’re dog tired?

Don’t ever miss your bed time. Everything from “Schedule It” applies here as well. If you don’t make it a priority there will be diminishing returns. If you feel you don’t have the time, scheduling things in life and making everything more efficient will provide more time.

Your movtivation, strength, muscle mass, and recovery will all suffer with a lack of sleep.

3. Small Wins Can Be More Rewarding Than Big Ones

If you’re currently bench pressing 150lbs and you want to bench 315lbs, this will take a while. If your current weight is 225 and you want the scale to tell you 185, it will not happen overnight. These are examples of long term big goals.

If you want to bench 150lbs this week, 152.5lbs next week, 155lbs the week after, etc. These are short term goals that are still clear signs of progress and accomplishment. These small victories are what can motivate you to keep going.

Depending on your starting weight. Weight gain/loss should be in the 0.5-2lb/wk ballpark. This is another short term goal. You will not lose 50lbs in a week, but an average of 0.5lbs/wk lost for a 150lb person is a success.

Small wins are always within reach, big ones may be out of sight. The tiny victories will ultimately lead towards the colossal ones though!

4. Workout To Increase Lifts (Strength), Not To Decrease The Scale

Nearly every session, with every client I have them beat a personal record that they’ve never done before. This may be a 15 rep max, a 1 rep max, speeding up their 500m time on the concept 2 rower, holding a plank, etc. It’s varied but I always have someone accomplish something they’ve never done before. This is a motivator in and of itself.

If you’re continuing to get stronger & faster this constant feedback could go a long way in dietary adherence. The scale will fluctuate daily, you need a long term mindset with that number. Zero cheats still results in fluctuation in the short term, if that is taken to emotionally then that person is likely to fall of the wagon temporarily. Strength, speed, and endurance can all be measured and display constant progress.

5. Follow a Program of Sorts

You always want to progress, this is a clear sign that what you’re doing is working. If you’re hitting a plateau you will need to alter your workout programming and/or caloric intake.

Some people will need to be more particular with their programming, especially more experienced lifters. If you’re working out and losing strength something somewhere is wrong.

6. Follow a Diet that Provides More Calories for Workout Days

This I would consider slightly more advanced. Once food logging and scaling your food is mastered, this would be a next step. Obviously, when we workout more we burn more calories…so we need to eat more. Even while dieting to lose fat it’s ideal to eat as much as possible for recovery, strength maintenance, and overall health.

If you’re in too significant of a caloric deficit you’ll lose the hard earned muscle & possibly strength you’ve been working for while weight lifting.

7. Don’t “Do It Later”

“Do It Later” is a horrible excuse that tends to lead to not getting anything done. Procrastination is not a desirable trait we work towards in any aspect of life, it’s a negative. Do what needs to be done and get it behind you.

If you go home and lounge around before working out, it’ll be hard to rev the engines again to get going. If you want to start your diet next week, you’ve given yourself an open invitation to be out of control for the remainder of the current week which will push your starting point back further. If you want to accomplish something, do it now.

8. Don’t Make Up For That Cheat Meal

If you happen to fall of the diet wagon, it happens to some. Just hop right back on and continue where you were at. Cheating and then binge dieting and cheating is “yo yo dieting”, not good. Adherence is the key to success, sticking through with the same process consistently. Starving yourself will lead to great hunger and more than likely a 2nd inevitable tasty food binge.

9. Don’t Make Up For Skipping The Last Workout

Same principles as #8. If you skipped working out yesterday, no need to beat yourself up for. What’s done is done. Why did you skip it? Will it happen again for the same reason? There is nothing you can do about your past, you can only improve upon your future.

10. Workout with Friends. Or Don’t

Extroverts would probably like group training and boot camps, introverts definetly would not. If teamwork and group competition is motivating to you, then crossfit would probably be a good match. If competition within yourself and improving yourself is the top priority looking for a 1 on 1 trainer is probably ideal. Trainers and gym settings should match what makes you most comfortable and likely to step foot in the gym. The best workout program is always the one that you’ll consistently stick to.


About the Author:

Taylor Carpenter is a nationally Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Taylor was featured as a fitness expert in the first publication of NASM's "The Fitness Edge".
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