Consistency Is Key For Building Fitness

Finding 'The Spark' Helps Build Consistency

Indeed, being consistent and putting in the work day after day builds fitness. To understand how consistency plays out, let’s look at how “exercise streakers” manage to keep their exercise streaks going. One streaker is RICK RAYMAN, 75, a Toronto professor of dentistry, who has run every single day since December 10, 1978. His minimum run length is 30 minutes and has never run on a treadmill. (Like consecutive game streaks in team sports, it’s interesting that the sport of running has run streaks. Four other people have run every day for 50 years.)

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“Everyone always wants motivation, but what they need is routine. There is no secret or hack or magic. You just keep going, like a Terminator, no matter what.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger
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An important consistency tip: Every day for Rayman begins the same way. Before making coffee, he puts on his running clothes the moment he steps out of bed. There’s nothing he needs to decide. And on days when running is challenging, like the death of a family member or a knee injury, these are days he is most thankful for his nearly 45-year daily routine. “No matter how bad mentally or physically I feel, I know I’ll feel better after I’ve gone for my run,” says Rayman.

Surprisingly, Rayman says that running becomes easier, not harder, the longer his streak progresses. And he credits these actions with progressing:
1) sharing his journey with others;
2) practicing gratitude and positivity for being able to run;
3) enjoying the process of stringing together run after run;
4) prioritizing, but not obsessing over, his streak; and 
5) recruiting support from his community for maintaining the streak (and being consistent).

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"Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." - Oprah Winfrey
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Additionally, while I’m not an “exercise streaker”, I’ve found these strategies helpful in staying consistent with my exercise program:

Have a Plan B - Like Rick Rayman, you may get your exercise clothes on first thing in the morning but, look outside to see you’re in the midst of a winter storm or summer air filled with forest fire smoke. Having a Plan B cross-training or strength training activity that can replace your outdoor activity is helpful in this situation, check out: The Many Uses of Cross Training for Runners and Are Standing Bike Intervals In Your Future?

Follow Training Principles - Many of the basic principles for getting fit put guardrails up to avoid doing “too much, too soon”. Principles like - warming up & cooling down during a workout, following a hard workout with an easy one (or more than one), increasing training intensity and volume bit by bit - help you to avoid doing too much, too soon; so you can be consistent in training.

Be Aware of Motivational Phases - For example, different challenges motivate the beginner versus seasoned veteran. Knowing what motivational phase you’re in will help make you more consistent, check out: Motivation & Goals for the Running Journey.

Write It Down - Writing out your exercise program before executing it will help make you more consistent. Check out this example with former University of Oregon track coach, Bill Bowerman in: Starting a Running Habit.

Use Exercise Mantras - An exercise mantra is a “verbal bumper sticker” that helps keep training on track, some examples: Injury Free Leads To Consistency / Stress + Rest = Growth / Fitness Is For Fun / Listen To Your Body / and When In Doubt, Do Less. Another mantra is - Be All In - which was used by world champion decathlete, Damien Warner, in: A Mantra for Runners: Be All In.

The Mantra - Clear Your Mind Of Can’t - in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina 

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“The only bad workout is the one that didn't happen." - Unknown
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Thanks for reading! And if you enjoyed this post, check out the sidebar on the homepage. I'm adding training resources for readers like -  The EOOC 5k Training Plan - located in the sidebar.  This 10-week plan is designed to meet national physical fitness guidelines for moderate - vigorous exercise (150 minutes per week) while, at the same time, gradually increasing the amount of vigorous exercise being performed.


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Experiment of One Coaching covers topics ranging from running, strength training, health & wellness, sports nutrition to travel. I usually post once or twice a month.
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"It's not about perfect. It's about effort. And when you bring that effort every single day, that's where transformation happens. That's how change occurs." - Jillian Michaels