Since gyms have started to re-open here in Texas, I’ve been insanely consistent with my workout schedule.
I’ve had more consistency at a higher volume than ever before the world decided to shut down. You could chalk part of it up to being deprived of it for 5+ months, but I’ve also shifted 3 main things to help me make my workouts a priority, be more consistent, and see more progress (even during a pandemic).
Here’s what I changed:
I Put It On My Schedule
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I just put it on my schedule. It sounds simple, right?
The number one thing I’ve been changing the past two years is becoming a slave to my schedule (in a good way).
I decided to only put the things I wanted to do on my calendar – but if they’re on the calendar – they happen no matter what.
So I did for my workouts what I did with work.
I made a template, stuck it on my calendar and just locked it in.
1 hour, location locked, scheduled out every week the Sunday in advance.
If it makes it onto my calendar – it’s a non-negotiable.
Optimizing for optionality often just gets you options. It doesn’t always help you make progress. At some point you have to make priorities and make a call.
Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t a gym degenerate before, but when it’s not on my calendar – it’s considered negotiable. And when conflicts come up – the things that up for negotiating – get negotiated.
Not any more.
When it’s on my schedule – it happens.
This simple thing literally doubled my productivity. No more time spent on decisions. If it makes it onto my calendar – it’s already decided.
You can’t book me out on calls. You can’t schedule over it. It’s locked in stone and it’s going to happen.
“Sorry, I’m busy.”
It makes everything else easier. All I have to do is show up (which leads to the next point).
I Stopped Programming My Own Workouts
I stopped programming my own workouts.
This always annoyed me a bit – probably something to do with my own obnoxious ego – but if Michael Jordan had coaches – I guess I can too.
I started to realize this year that while I can program my own stuff – it’s not ideal for a few reasons:
1) My programming something means I’m going to default leaning towards stuff I’m comfortable with or already good at.
2) I’m good at programming. It’s not the best use of my personal time.
3) Programming my own stuff not only means I have to do the workout, but I have to think it up. This is probably my single biggest killer of compliance. I’m great at coming up with my own plan. I’m great at executing a specific plan. If I have to do both, I fall apart.
The amount of mental overhead that I have to deal with with running IMPOSSIBLE, my other companies, and advising several others means that while I can program my own workouts, I’m already deciding a lot of things that take up mental energy.
- I lean towards stuff I’m comfortable with or already good at.
- Programming my own stuff means I not only have to do it, but I also have to think it up.
This is like a reverse habit trigger. Instead of forcing me to do the habit. It’s an unnecessary obstacle in the way.
Again, this wasn’t 100% of the time, but having to program your own workout is just another weight on the “just do something else” side of the coin rather than the “suck it up and make it happen.”
I Started Showing Up For Classes
This surprised me. I don’t think of myself as a ‘class’ guy – they bring to mind scenes like this:
That said, this was helpful.
I workout at a performance gym in Austin. Think of it like a Crossfit gym minus the Crossfit®. 🙂
But the classes give me a focus. When I walk in, I don’t really socialize, I don’t chit-chat. I don’t bring my phone. talk.
When I show up – it’s time to do work and not focus on the external bullsht. A chance to turn off my brain for at least an hour / day and put my body to work.
For those worried about working out in a pandemic: It’s 15,000 sq ft and I’m about as far away from other people as you can get in a gym.
An added benefit of the classes is that the programming has a whole bunch of things I don’t like and am bad at. In fact, I think they’re programming all front squats to laugh at me. It’s good for me even if I don’t like it.
Showing up for a class means I have even more reason to 1) put it on my schedule 2) be accountable to a coach (burpees if you’re late) and 3) focus on just doing the work rather than messing around and turning a training session into twice as long and half as effective as it needs to be.
I still sneak into open gyms when I can (15,000ft of Open Space to myself is pretty dope), but classes keep me honest.
How to be more consistent
Okay – so you made it this far. This is about the time that I’ll get an email back saying “but I don’t like to workout.”
It makes you a better person and you learn things from pushing yourself that you can never learn by reading a blog post.
That said – even if your main priority isn’t a workout – you can take this and apply it to damn near everything.
- Get a plan.
- Make explicit time for it.
- Be accountable.
That’s it. That’s the strategy.
Now stop making excuses. Go find something on your impossible list and do it.