Let’s be 100 percent honest – working out is not always fun. In fact, even as a fitness enthusiast, I’d go so far as to say working out is usually not fun. Forgive the overused fitness industry cliché but “that’s why it’s called ‘working out’” – its work! Except for the few masochists out there, most of us don’t wake up at 5 am to get to the gym at 6 am to do a semi-exhausted workout three-to-four days per week before an eight hour work day because we want to…we do it because we need to.
Just as we do it because we need to, not necessarily because we want to, we need to be accountable to see the best results from our hard work. What do I mean by accountable? Set up specific days and times of the day that you will be at the gym, no matter what. Its an appointment time that you cannot break. Working with a personal trainer is great, as it has a built in accountability mechanism of showing up for your appointment – but it’s the same concept whether you are working out with a trainer, with a friend or by yourself. Set the appointment time in your phone, on your agenda, on a sticky-note and you know you have to be at the gym at 6 am or 7 pm. It’s not an option or something you can just cancel on.
The same concept applies to nutrition. If you plan to wing it during the day chances are that nine times out of ten, you will end up eating the same calorie dense lunch and snacking on M&M’s from the vending machine by 3 pm. Our bodies are, unfortunately, pre-programmed to prefer sugary and fatty foods and usually grilled chicken breast and baby spinach is not the first choice of most. Just like setting up workout times, though, nutrition requires planning and accountability. Pack your lunch ahead of time. Bring some healthy, low calorie snacks. Do not give yourself the option to eat something else!
We exercise because we have to – for our health, for our physical appearance, for our mental well-being. Accountability and planning are the two best tools one can have on his or her side to ensure the best possible results from the hard work put forth in the gym. Its not always fun, and it’s not always tasty – but the results are definitely worth it. Besides, you can always set a reminder for your weekly cheat meal, too!