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How To Make Exercise A Permanent Habit While Living A Life You Love

How To Make Exercise A Permanent Habit While Living A Life You Love

The hardest part of making exercise a habit is to actually start exercising. Relying on willpower and motivation is a tactic that is doomed to fail. Habits are actions we carry out regardless of whether we feel motivated or not. Too many times, people look to motivation boards and exercise quotes in order to get themselves into exercising. Here are 6 habits to help you stop depending on people and get you to start exercising while living a life you’ll love.

Habit #1: Make your goals super easy

As you initially start out on this exercise journey, make it a priority to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. These goals are smart, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Make sure these goals are insanely easy, it’s important to get off to a great start. Treat these initial goals as building blocks. Make these goals as specific as possible, the more definitive the goal, the more likely you are to succeed. So if you want to run in a marathon, but haven’t ran in 3 months, make it a goal to first consistently run a mile a couple times a week.

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Habit #2: Start small and build from there

Exercise and lifestyle changes are easier to implement when you take it one step at a time. There’s no shame in starting small, as long as you are moving closer to your goals. People fall into the trap far too often of being overly ambitious with their habits. It’s better to be a master of a couple habits than a jack of all trades who hasn’t fully mastered anything. If you are totally new to exercising, make it a fail proof activity by committing to only 15 minutes three times a week. Fifteen minutes doesn’t seem too daunting and the level of commitment is low, leading to a higher likelihood of success since you have an easy task to start with. Completing this goal of 15 minutes will lead to increased confidence and before you know it, it’s been 30 minutes.

Habit #3: Log and track your habits

You aren’t serious about reaching your goals until you start tracking progress. Logging your workouts is essential because you need to know if you are heading in the right direction or if you need to make some adjustments. How can you know if you’re eating enough or not enough unless you keep a food journal? Tracking your food helps you manage and adjust your portions as needed along with the added benefit of becoming more mindful of what you put in your body. Lastly, take some pictures and measurements monthly for added accountability to stay on track. By taking measurements and tracking your workouts and nutrition, you’re creating a strong system of accountability which further increases your chances for victory.

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Habit #4: Find a diet that is easy, sustainable and pleasing to the palate

There’s no need to have a restrictive diet in which all your food is bland and boring. Chicken breasts that taste like rubber while eating a cup of steamed broccoli sounds like torture. For guaranteed nutrition success, choose a way of eating that blends with your lifestyle flawlessly. Fat loss should be easy and not some life-altering event. Include your favorite foods into your diet, no one deserves to go without ice cream.

Habit #5: Pick an exercise plan that fits with your lifestyle

How many days should you workout? How should you be working out? The answers to both of these depend on your individual lifestyle. There’s no need to spend six to seven days at the gym. Fantastic results can happen in as little as three days committing to as little as 30 minutes. If you choose to only lift 3 days a week, full-body workouts are tailor-made for that kind of situation. Remember, exercise fits in with your life, not the other way around.

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Habit #6: Find fun ways to stay active

Who says you have to go to a gym in order to exercise? Whether it’s going for a run, going hiking, biking up the countryside, or skipping the elevator and walking up a flight of stairs, there are plenty of ways to stay active and burn calories.   Comment below: What’s the number one way you maintain your exercise habit?

Featured photo credit: david_a_l via flickr.com

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Julian Hayes II

Author, Health & Fitness Coach for Entrepreneurs, & Speaker

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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