Nine Ways to Build a Consistent Strength Training Program
- Meet a friend
- Free classes
- Consistent routine
- Set a date
- Use trainers
- Fake yourself
- Go early
- Set small goals
- Keep track
Consistent strength training is one of the most critical elements of a successful everyday endurance athlete’s training.
Yet getting to the gym, especially now that the pandemic is easing, can be a challenge.
Research shows that many people don’t consistently continue with their fitness goals because it can be really hard to get to the gym, even if you’re paying the monthly membership.
Consistency is the key.
Getting to the gym (or your home gym/workout space) two to three days a week places a consistent strain on your muscles so they adapt to the new workload.
If you work out once a week, your muscles will say, “eh, we don’t need to change. He’s not doing this again.”
But if you work out consistently, your muscles say, “Damn, we have to change and get stronger to meet the new demands.”
Here are nine ways to get to the gym and stay on top of your fitness goals, even when it totally feels impossible to even get out the door.
1. Meet a friend
To build consistent strength training habits, many people meet friends at the gym or a class.
They keep each other accountable.
Meeting a friend is a great way to make sure you get to the gym, push yourself while you’re there, and enjoy some friend time in the process.
And if you or your spouse needs a little encouragement, there’s a ton of research that says couples who workout together get fitter together.
2. Free classes
Another good way to do consistent strength training is to take complimentary classes.
There are high-intensity cycle and cardio classes, strength-builders, and yoga classes.
Plus the classes are a great social tool.
You’ll meet new people who might be struggling to get going just like you.
Make a commitment to meet some people and tell them you’ll see them next week!
3. Create a simple routine for consistent strength training
You can create a short, easy routine at any gym using the six movements.
Doing a strength training routine is an easy way to get a solid workout in.
Not knowing what to do at the gym can always be a problem.
But using the structure of the six movements gives you a framework.
Working out three times a week forces your body to start to adapt to the new workloads.
Give yourself enough time to recover, though!
Muscles are not “grown” in the gym; they’re grown when you sleep!
4. Make a date
Go to your Google Calendar or your datebook and write down “Get to the Gym.”
And, like any other appointment, get to it!
Adding this to your calendar makes it easier to block out time to get a workout in, even if it’s only 30 minutes.
5. Trainers build consistent strength training schedules
Working with a personal trainer means you get a workout buddy, someone to teach you proper form, someone to encourage you, and someone to keep you accountable.
I have clients who meet me three times a week and others once a week for an hour.
To create a consistent strength training routine, I give clients a plan we do together in a session. Then they repeat the plan on their own.
I can also provide everyday endurance athletes a strength training plan to use at the gym.
6. Fake yourself out
An amazing amount of research suggests that if you just put on those running shoes or get dressed for the gym, you are more likely to get to the gym!
It’s as if you’re telling your body, “well, we’re already dressed, we may as well go.”
This includes driving or riding your bike!
If you plan your route to or from work to go past your gym, you’re more likely to say, “well, I’m already here” and walk inside.
Just showing up can be half the battle.
7. Go early
This one has always been a challenge for me.
My wife loves getting up early on weekends to run or walk the dog.
I would much rather ride or run after work or in the afternoon.
My wife says she wants to make sure she’s able to get the workout in, especially if things come up in her day.
She’s now established a routine, so she’s more likely to get out of bed and put on her running shoes!
8. Set reachable goals and visualize them
Many of us, especially those of us who set New Year’s Resolutions, have unrealistic expectations as we build a consistent strength training routine.
Research into goal-setting suggests that if you have a long-term goal, do two things either when you get to the gym:
- Break your long-term goal into smaller, shorter, and more achievable goals. For instance, if you want to run a half-marathon, set a goal of running one mile this week, and build from there.
- Visualize yourself achieving all the small and long-term goals. See yourself completing the mile, then more. Your mind and body then come to expect the change. Visualize your success, and it is more likely to happen.
Set a goal of increasing the weight every time you lift and build to eight repetitions.
9. Keep track of your consistent strength training gains
Writing stuff down, especially if you do it on paper with a pencil or pen, helps make it more real.
Get a small notebook or use your daily planner.
(Don’t have one? Get one! Even if it’s just to write down your list of to-dos.)
Write down those goals and micro-goals. Then write down what you’re doing.
Write down your mileage and time if you’re running or riding.
Write down the weight you lifted on all the machines.
You can also write down your current body measurements, including chest, belly, and butt. You can write down weight and body fat, but these are not always going to be accurate.
This note-taking is another habit, but with it, you’ll see your progress.
You will see how much more you can lift or run, or how your pants and shirts feel looser.
Want to know more about what you can achieve?
My purpose with Simple Endurance Coaching is to help everyday endurance athletes achieve their goals with more strength, endurance, and mobility.
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Get a free copy of my ebook, “The Simple and Mostly Complete Guide to Strength Training for Everyday Endurance Athletes.”
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Contact me or sign up for Virtual Coffee so we can discuss your goals, ask questions, and talk about making your endurance training more effective, fun, and Simple.
Paul Warloski is a:
- USA Cycling Level 3 Coach
- RRCA Running Coach
- Training Peaks Level 2 Coach
- RYT-200 Yoga Instructor
- Certified Personal Trainer