Consistency is Key
By Steve Zarriello
As we roll into the New Year, many people will be taking on the challenge of starting a new fitness journey. Everyone that’s looking to make changes has already been evaluating what they’re going to do to based on what they’ve heard from friends, family, and colleagues. “This is the best kind of workout, I’m in the best shape of my life doing them”. “I lost X amount of pounds working out at this place!”. “This diet is the best, I’ve never had results like this before!”. “Everyone I know has lost weight doing such and such a diet”. You’ve likely already decided how you’re going to achieve your goals based on statements like this and your own research, but there are two factors that aren’t mentioned in any of these statements… Consistency and discipline.
Those previous statements should read more like this… “This is the best kind of workout, I’ve been doing it 4-5 times per week and I’m in the best shape of my life!”. “I lost X amount of pounds working out at this place Monday-Friday!”. “This diet is the best, I’ve never had results like this before and I’m able to stick with it!”. “Everyone I know likes the foods in this diet and has lost weight doing it”. The key words in all of these statements have to do with consistency and frequency. You can be on the greatest, most intense workout plan, but if you’re only executing it once per week then your results won’t show. If you eat perfectly clean and healthy and restrict your calories Monday and Tuesday, but eat whatever you want Wednesday through Sunday then you’ll never see the results.
You can be successful and healthy with just about any training regimen or diet as long as you’re consistent with it. You don’t have to look too far to find documentaries describing the health benefits of many of the currently popular diets. I recently saw two that touted the health benefits and highlighted success stories of people who had been on those diets. Ironically, they were touting exact opposite strategies! One was suggesting that the “Keto” diet was how our body is designed to eat, and the other was suggesting that our body is most efficient on a plant-based diet. I’m not saying that either one is necessarily right, but if it’s a diet that you can stick with and not cheat on, then maybe that one IS RIGHT FOR YOU.
People have been successful in building the physique they want with running, functional fitness, spin classes, strongman training, crossfit, bodybuilding, yoga, and even rock-climbing training regimens. None of them however, have found that success by doing that particular activity 1-2 times per week. If you truly want to make changes this New Year, it’s going to come down to having the discipline to stay consistent with your workouts, and with your diet (especially your diet). That’s why it’s important that you find a training regimen and a diet that you actually enjoy.
If you can find things that you enjoy, and you can stick to your plan at least 80% of the time, then you’re on your way to success! Plan on eating healthy every meal, and if you slip up once every couple of days it’s no big deal. Plan on working out five days per week and if you only get four in then you’re still in that target range. If you find a diet with foods that you like, and you find a kind of workout that you like, then this will be easy for you. Don’t just try a diet or workout because it worked for your friends, try one that you know will work for you. When it doesn’t feel like a chore, then you’ll know that you’ve found the right plan.
Steve Zarriello B.S., CSCS, TPI Certified, is the Owner of Olympia Fitness and Performance in Cranston, R.I. He has been a strength and conditioning coach for 10 years and has trained athletes of all sports and levels, but his passion is training golfers to keep them injury free and help them improve their game.