Why Inconsistency Could Be the Key to Exercise

Posted by Grace McCalmon on

shutterstock_91654574_small Written by Dave Lesser of Amateur Idiot, Professional Dad  Disclosure: I am not a licensed, or even an unlicensed, fitness professional. I don’t have a six-pack or bulging muscles. Never did, never will. My goals are to be healthy, have fun, and look good naked. Two out of three ain’t bad.
With the whole working out thing, I’m actually really inconsistent. But by design. It’s what keeps me coming back. I’ll be the first to admit, consistency has its place when it comes to exercise. As in, you want to consistently do it. Unless you have dedicated your life to fitness, however, this can be easier said than done. Hence the existence of the fitness industry itself. But just wait, folks! I have developed a two-pronged solution to this age-old problem. And it won’t cost you a dime! The first prong, to which I have already alluded, is to make sure your workout routine never becomes too routine. The second prong, and this is key:

Don’t shower on the days you don’t work out.

Not showering one day is fine. Two days is pushing. Three days…well, you’ll never miss more than two days. This motivational system (okay, it’s not much of a system) works for me because it provides an external reason to get to the gym: not being a stinky bastard, in addition to internal enjoyment and interest in what I’m doing. When I go to the gym, I like to have some idea of what I’m going to do. If not, I will gravitate to the areas and exercises I feel comfortable. I don’t want to feel comfortable! Of course, I repeat exercises and routines I’ve done in the past to see if I’m improving, but I also want to add new aspects to my workout. I’ll look up a few sandbag maneuvers before heading in, or Google a body weight routine I haven’t tried yet. I do not, however, want to plan every minute. I like to watch what other people are doing. If it’s something interesting, I’ll ask them about it, maybe join in or do the new exercises on my own. Ironically, this idea of mixing up my exercises began when I was doing almost nothing but running. I was training for a marathon and running 5-6 days per week, but each outing was different. If I had just maintained the same pace for the same distance every single day, my body would have adapted. I would have become really efficient – too efficient – at that pace and distance, and wouldn’t have received most of the benefits of training. I’m sure I wouldn’t have done nearly as well on race day. So I did it all: sprints, fartliks, long distance, stairs, hills, gninnur (that’s running backwards), skipping, dancing with forward momentum, bouncing and bounding. (I may be exaggerating. Slightly.)

I confused my muscles and everyone around me.

The day after a good workout, your body may hurt, but you feel somehow refreshed. I’m attempting to get that feeling while I work out. Case in point: I am the least flexible person alive, so I started taking a yoga class. It sucks. I hate it and everyone is better than me. But I do feel a certain calm at the end, and I know that – if I keep it up – it’ll be good for me. Another example is swimming. Someday, I’d like to run a triathlon, but I am a really weak swimmer. (Also, I don’t actually own a bike, but that’s a whole different issue. The triathlon is kind of a long-term goal.) One of the main draws of joining my gym was the pool. Going for a dip is still a special kind of torture, but I’m swallowing a lot less chlorinated water now, and doing a good job not drowning. A lot of people have a tough time staying motivated. My totally unlicensed and non-professional advice is un-routine your routine and stay consistently inconsistent. Also, don’t bathe until you’ve exercise. You’ll be at the gym soon enough.
Know anyone who could use a new workout strategy? Share this with them! What's your favorite way to stay fit? We'd love to hear in the comments below!  

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