What is a routine? And why is it so important. Well, a routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed, known as a fixed program. A routine is performed as part of a regular procedure rather than for a special reason. As in a day-to-day procedure, for example: going to the gym.
In order to try and avoid roadblocks and achieve our goals, we need to set up routines and be disciplined enough to follow through with them. While sometimes we accomplish them, sometimes we still can encounter unforeseen roadblocks. For me, this quarantine gave me a second to step back and reanalyze my future goals. All I can do is share with you what I am currently doing and what is helping me with my fitness goals.
Set small goals. Break each large goal into smaller goals. While a big goal is exciting to tackle, it is what often leads to failure as we take on too much. If your overall goal is to eat healthier meals, start by changing one thing a day, every day, to build confidence. When you accomplish that, congratulate yourself!
Be prepared. When deciding upon a new routine, make sure you have all the pieces before you start; this will make it easier to get started without any delay.
Lay out a plan. Start with one week at a time and start small – that way, you can build on simple accomplishments. Write it all out on a calendar, almost like an appointment.
Be consistent with time. If you want to get a daily walk in, attempt it at the same time every day. Completing your tasks first thing in the morning before losing motivation allows you to enjoy benefits all day. If you want to get to the gym, do it on your way to or from work, you will have more success. Most people won’t want to leave their warm house once they get home. Let’s just say you had a pregnant girlfriend at home. I bet she would love to see you after work and not you at the gym. Get it done in the morning; trust me. :)
Now that gyms and fitness centers are starting to open, it is very important that we do not go crazy and try to stack the whole gym on the bench press or squat rack. Excitement can sometimes lead to injury.
Start back slowly. Why should you start back at the gym slowly? If you have been out of the gym for months and are just now getting back, you might need to build up your fitness level again and let your body rest from time to time to prevent injuries. Your muscles have not stretched like they used to in months. Take it slow; your muscle memory will bounce you right back in time.
Next step once you get back to the gym is to work on strengthening your core muscles as they are probably a bit weaker from the months off. OK, now you might have done home workouts like myself and might even be saying “your core is strong” but believe me, my core can always get stronger. For me, pushing to have a strong core in my #1 priority. Here are a few exercises to start with when you get back to the gym.
The back extension is an exercise used to build lower back strength that also targets the hamstrings and glutes. It is often performed on a 45-degree bench with the feet anchored. Unweighted back extensions are often performed for high reps, such as 15-20 reps or more, but the movement can also be performed with added weight in lower rep ranges, such as 8-12 reps per set.
For beginners, press your feet into the floor or extend them straight out as you get a feel for the movement. Breathe steadily and deeply. Exhale with each twist, and inhale to return to the center. As you twist, keep your arms parallel to the floor or reach down to tap the floor beside you. Engage your abdominal and back muscles throughout the exercise.
Ab Rope Pulldown Crunch
The kneeling cable crunch is a popular core isolation exercise using a rope attachment and cable stack while kneeling on the floor. It primarily targets the rectus abdominis or “six-pack” muscles, but also strengthens the deep core muscles. It is most commonly performed early in an ab workout, usually in moderate to high reps like 8-12 reps per set or higher.
Prioritize. Decide what needs to be in your routine. Do you want to get more exercise or more alone time? Prioritizing what is important to you before starting is key!
No matter what your fitness goals are, whether it is to shred up, bulk, lose weight, or just to maintain, start with creating a routine. When the routine is working for you throw in some small goals. After a while, the small goals will lead you to bigger ones and then the sky’s the limit. Stay disciplined enough to stick with the routine and positive change will happen. Remember when you want to quit that everything takes time.