You’ve made it!
The goals you’ve worked so hard to achieve are finally right there within reach, pop the champagne. Perhaps you’ve already achieved your goals, perhaps you’re just sticking with the routine out of habit, which is also cause for celebration. Regardless, you’ve reached a point where those long hours have paid off. Consistent aches and pains have finally become hard earned and well deserved gains. Great work.
The question now is what comes next?
Whether you intend to lose weight, tone up or build muscular strength, you’ll eventually be in a position where those original results are now reality. Once that mountain is climbed and overcome, you may find yourself in another difficult position. No longer the newbie, it’s time to consider how you’ll stick to your fitness journey. It’s time to consider what lies beyond that mountain.
First of all, it’s important to address that you are in a different place from a new beginner, as such trying to continue with the same goal(s) will now limit you in a different way.
While starting goals are immensely important for the beginning of a fitness journey, they’re not designed to be sustained and unchanged throughout. Consider your working life. While base goals are important when you first start, your growth will depend on your ability to meet bigger challenges. As you overcome obstacles, you’ll become more capable, and the same is true for your fitness.
It is time then to set new targets, find new motivations, and ultimately, meet the demands of the new you.
As a suggestion, it may be helpful to break down your original goal and make specific notes on what you could develop. Were you looking to lose weight? At the time, you may not have really thought about why that might’ve been, but when you question what provoked the initial motivation you’ll find more specific reasons. Was it to look a certain way? To feel more energised? To reduce physical pain? These may help mark ways to move forward with your new motivations and encourage you to not just stick to, but actively evolve your workout.
Accountability is key
Second, but no less important, you must attempt to maintain the discipline, commitment and consistency of your routine.
A big risk at this point in your journey will simply be falling out of routine and once a habit is lost it is so much harder to start back up again. Think about how difficult it may have been going to the gym for the first time, the fear and potential embarrassment.
Those feelings are only amplified after a break and can be paired with much more negative feelings of shame and guilt. The best thing to do is avoid the break entirely (or as best as you can). While work and kids and life gets in the way, your fitness and your health must still remain a priority.
Some helpful tactics for holding yourself accountable and keeping on track are:
- Positive reinforcement. - Remember the little achievements count! So make sure to reward and encourage yourself, be your own little cheerleader, or if you’re struggling…
- Bring a Buddy! - With a friend there it’s not just you you’ve got to worry about. You’ll both cheer each other on and if you’ve set a time to be there, you don’t want to let down the team by missing out (p.s. If you need a bit more encouragement, referring a friend now gets you both a gift on us, pretty neat).
Setting a schedule and sticking to it is not the easiest task in the world. Surprises pop up and get in the way far too easily but, a general plan of action provides a kind of ‘to do’ list which means things don't get lost in the mix. How many times have you got to the end of the day and remembered… Oh! I meant to do that thing today. I guess it can wait until tomorrow. But then by tomorrow you’ve got 10 other things to do and - oops, there’s another day gone - and another… and…
If you’re able to keep up the same routine as you did at the start of your fitness journey, great! But the likelihood is things may have to change slightly. That’s not a problem, it just means it’s time to set up a new routine. Maybe you could join a new class, or fit in 30 minutes during your break, or start the day with a session. Whatever works but remember to be specific. What would your individually led workout look like? What sets will you be doing? The idea is that planning ahead gives us tasks to tick off (a mini reward in itself) so you wont end up constantly feeling like you’re having to catch up.
Additionally, make sure to factor in rest and recovery too. Overworking yourself won't help you in the long run. If you need any specific advice in terms of continuing fitness in your day to day life, it could be worth considering a Personal Trainer. Someone who can provide you progressive advice within a session and also help construct a maintainable routine.
Find The Fun
Since you’re no longer a fresh starter, you may have partly lost the initial excitement of joining a gym and learning what everything is. In other words, your energy, like that of the very first gym set, is no longer fresh out of the bag. It’s time to revitalise that excitement then, mix up the old and get looking toward the new.
The general recommendation is to change up your exercise routine every three to four weeks. The easiest way to do this is by trying something new like an unfamiliar machine, exercise or class like Sh'Bam, BodyJam, or The Trip.
The best thing about classes is that they have both a physical and social benefit, they’re great for broadening your workout as well as meeting other fitness fanatics. Not only will you have the class to spice up your usual session, you’ll avoid the isolation of a solo fitness journey. It’s not just you anymore, you’ll meet a whole group able to discuss alternative routines and exercises with you. So steal each other's moves, have some friendly competition, and push and support each other.