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How to Build and Stick to an Exercise Routine

Mar 28, 2022

I'm gonna get on my soap box here for a minute. Ready?

Unless you are a fitness professional, it is not a failure, shortcoming or problem that you don't know how to create and stick to an exercise plan.

(And if you ARE a fitness professional, often times all your brain power goes into clients' plans and it can be tricky to see yourself / program yourself clearly!)

Exercise programming and human behavior is a science and art form, and your very smart survival brain excels at telling you how to conserve mental and physical energy! So if you're walking into the gym or your basement, staring at the wall or trying to figure out how to do a squat without your knee popping ... or if you started strong, but suddenly have every reason in the world not to go near the gym or your basement : YOU are a normal, intelligent human. And I'm going to say you're a normal, intelligent human with the desire to be healthy and strong, given that you're reading this blog post. GOOD JOB, YOU!

Here are a few key things that can make it a little easier to build and stick to a routine that they don't teach you in gym class:

Build It:

  1. Have a clear desired outcome. You can't aim if you don't have a target, friends.  (Our Cornerstones course has some great goal setting tools!)
  2. Hit all major movement patterns for strength work. You want to make sure your routine is balanced and hitting the "big five" : squat, hinge, push, pull, rotate for for balanced, functional strength.
  3. Understand (and learn) the required skill set. This is SO IMPORTANT and so often overlooked : concepts (get stronger) are different from skills (do a pull up.) Go through your plan and make sure you KNOW how to do what you want to do! Hit a snag? Look it up on YouTube, go to a class or book a consult with a coach!
  4. Plan for recovery and variety days. Whether you're walking, running, lifting or doing yoga ... shoot for 3-5 days or your main activity + 2-3 days of variety and recovery. For our distance training clients, we build out a calendar, linked to workout plans, that also incorporates play and extraneous movement!
  5. Most importantly : Make sure it's something you enjoy! Pick stuff you LIKE. Not just stuff you SHOULD.

Sticking to It:

  1. Break your long term goal down into clear, measurable, short-term benchmarks. Basically : show yourself you're making progress! This should be something you can see every 1-2 weeks. (e.g. complete 5 workouts, add one pull up to my rep scheme etc.)
  2. Put it on a calendar. Schedule your workouts at a predictable, regular time you know you can stick to. Start with 15-20 min at a time of day when you have ample energy.
  3. Then share that calendar with someone! Accountability is one of the most highly associated factors with success ... so pull in a friend, coach or colleague and let them know what you're doing.
  4. Balance discipline with compassion. Shit happens, my friends. Be kind to yourself and gift yourself with kindness and rest when you need it. If shit happens to more than 2-3 workouts... give yourself some tough love and get on it.
  5. Celebrate every victory. You're an intelligent human (as established before.) You don't do things if there's no return on energy investment on a regular basis. Want to be more consistent? Give yourself a big ol' dose of dopamine  (happy hormones) every time you succeed to keep your brain coming back for more!

We wish you every success! We're here if you need a program and some videos to follow along with! Shoot us a message and let us know how it goes!

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