Would you be surprised to know that in the beginning of my weight loss journey I didn’t exercise at all? Yep! In fact, I lost my first 20 – 25 lbs without any form of daily exercise – I didn’t even step on the treadmill one time. I guess the saying that weight loss is 80% food and 20% exercise is true – at least in my case.
Anyway, I’m not saying this to brag because truthfully I wish I made daily exercise a priority much sooner. When I finally made exercise a priority I experience benefits that I simply didn’t get from food.
First, my body became stronger and leaner. Prior to exercise I was getting “skinnier” but I was still flabby. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a work in progress but there’s a big difference when I’m focused on daily exercise and when I’m slacking.
Second, I’m able to manage my weight better when I exercise 5-6 days a week. Unfortunately, I put on weight very easily. I’m 5 ft 3in with a stockier build so extra calories are not forgiving to my waistline. Of course, I still need to watch what I eat, even with exercise, but it does give me a little more buffer.
Also, in my experience, you can only go so far with food. At some point your weight will plateau and the only way to to get back on track is with daily exercise or exercising at least 5-6 days a week.
Third, exercise gives me energy and helps me focus. When I don’t exercise regularly I tend to float around in a brain fog – some days are worse than others. I don’t know why but working up a good sweat on the treadmill combined with a little strength-training makes me feel like I can take on the world and solve all it’s problems.
Last, and most importantly, exercise keeps me sane – it truly does. Nothing reduces my stress better than daily exercise. When I have a lot on my plate, or turmoil happening in a corner of my life, I feel much better after running. I’m able to cope better with the situation and make healthier choices.
For these reasons, it’s important, and necessary, for me to keep daily exercise a priority.
Now you’d think because of all the benefits I mentioned that I wouldn’t have an issue with keeping up with an exercise routine – well, shockingly, I’m human. Believe me, I can get lazy with the best of them.
Fortunately, over the past year I’ve worked out rules for myself to keep daily exercise a priority. I must say even when I’m feeling ultra lazy these rules have been very helpful in getting me off the couch.
Never miss a monday.
I’m a HUGE believer in how you start the week (and your day) sets you up for the rest of the week. So if I start Monday with a solid workout I’m more likely to exercise the rest of the week. Not only that, I’m more likely to make healthier choices in general.
At this point in my journey it’s ingrained in my head to workout on Mondays. Therefore, it’s habit and I do it without thinking. Unless there’s an emergency beyond my control it’s not an option to miss a Monday workout.
Related post: 8 Good Habits to Do On Sunday to Jumpstart Your Week
Never go more than 2 days in a row without exercise.
It’s very easy for me to fall out of a routine – I don’t know if that’s normal or not but it’s just the way I am. Anyway, to keep exercise a priority I made a rule that I won’t go more than 2 days without exercise. This rule has been helpful in times where my schedule gets busy. If I have to be somewhere early, or miss a day for whatever reason, I have it stuck in my head that I can’t miss more than 2 days in a row. For example, if I miss a Friday workout then I know I have to exercise on Sunday if I’m not able to find time to workout on Saturday.
Basically, this rule keeps me in a routine.
Exercise at the same time.
In my experience, the best way to keep daily exercise a priority is to do it at the same time as much as possible. This trains your brain to expect exercise at a certain time on certain days of the week. Again, this helps to establish habits and routines.
I exercise in the morning. Monday – Wednesday I’m on the treadmill by 6:30am. Thursday or Friday by 5:30am, and Saturday or Sunday by 7:30am. That’s been my routine for the last 6 months. At first, it was a struggle but now I don’t even think about it. I wake up, have a cup of coffee, get into my workout gear, and then head down to my basement. My brain is trained to do this now.
Have all my exercise gear ready the night before.
I don’t need any excuses to skip exercise. If my earbuds and/or phone aren’t charged or I have to search for exercise clothes then I can guarantee I’m less likely to exercise. It’s true. Believe me, I wish I can be an exercise anytime, anywhere, with whatever is available person – but I’m not. I know this about myself so I take time before bed to make sure everything I need for exercise is ready.
Creating a weekly or monthly checkoff calendar.
I’ve mentioned before the benefits of scheduling exercise into your calendar. We all know writing it down keeps us intentional with getting it done. Another tip that’s been very helpful with keeping exercise a priority is creating a weekly or monthly calendar with the exercises you’ll complete every day. Then after you’re done cross off that day or, if you need a little extra motivation, place a sticker on that day. I know this is like a progress chart we give our kids but even adults like to receive gold stars – it’s human nature. I also like using a check-off chart because it provides a visual. You see exactly what you need to do and when it needs to be done. I find this to be more motivating than simply keeping everything in my head.
I put together a healthy habit and goal setting workbook you can download here. I created this for any habit you’re looking to adopt but it also works great for keeping track of exercises. However you can simply write it out on a sheet of paper and cross out as you finish. My advice is to keep it easy, don’t overcomplicate it.
Exercise every day.
Realistically, most weeks, I get in a sweaty hog exercise routine 4-5 times a week. However, to keep exercise a priority, and not get off track, I do my best to do some form of exercise everyday. That might be a walk around the neighborhood, some planks and crunches, or maybe some squats before I shower. Mostly, I do something everyday to keep in a routine. Exercise doesn’t need to take 1 – ½ hours every single day. If you only have 15 minutes to ½ hour then use that time to your advantage. Here are some quick workouts that you can do on days you’re running short on time.
With our busy schedules it’s easy to let exercise fall to the back burner. However, daily exercise provides so many benefits – much more than just a tight tush and small waist. These 6 rules will help you keep exercise a priority