Inside or outside the gym, consistency is key to success. You may not be an athlete or have the ideal body type, but if you work hard and smart, you can excel at marathon-running, bodybuilding or Pilates — or all three!
The same is true in your day-to-day life. Want to get promoted at work? Want to have an enriching romantic relationship and friendships? The strategies are the same ones you use in your workouts. Really, it's true!
1. Break up your day with HIIT
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a time-saving method to get a lot of cardio in in a short amount of time. You work really hard for a short period, then give yourself a brief respite at a slower pace. The idea is that you can work out at an overall higher intensity when you break up those focused, vigorous bouts with some break time.
You can use the same principles of HIIT to make your workday more efficient too. Choose a task and set a timer for 25 minutes. Stay ultra-focused on that until the timer dings, and then take a five-minute break. Repeat this four times, then take a longer 20 to 30-minute break.
The idea is that you can stay very focused on the task at hand when you are getting short breaks in between. You should find that it increases your productivity overall. Play around with the timing to find out what works best for you.
Read more about this technique on The Muse.
2. Be Consistent
You can't lose weight, get rock hard abs or build mega-strength if you only work out every once in a while. Success comes from being consistent with your training regimen and diet.
The same is true for accomplishing anything outside of your workout. If you want to learn a new language or excel in your career, you've got to give it your all every damn day. You also have to be patient. Just as you can't train for a marathon overnight, you also probably can't speak fluent Spanish overnight either. Consistency over time = success.
Leo Babauta is a consistency expert. Check out his blog for lots of information and motivation.
3. Understand that growth can cause discomfort
If you're not feeling some muscle soreness or fatigue after some of your workouts, you're probably not working hard enough to see results. You know, no pain no gain. To reach your fitness goals, you have to challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone, because that's when performance improves.
The same is true for reaching your potential in other areas of life. You are inevitably going to experience discomfort, whether you hit a roadblock with a business idea you were sure would pan out, or your relationships goes through a bumpy period. But these are periods to learn and grow. Don't push them away or take them for granted.
4. Make time for recovery
Working out too hard for too long without adequate rest and recovery can lead to overtraining syndrome, including chronic muscle aches, irritability, flagging motivation and fatigue. In life, it's called burnout. The demands of work, family and friends often don't allow much time for rest.
It's during the recovery period that your muscles become bigger and stronger and your heart and lungs increase their work capacity. And it's in your downtime after work and on the weekends that you get to mentally recharge so you can tackle your other goals in life. Make sure you're taking full advantage of this time.
Take a "mental health day" if you need it, book a massage during lunch, shut down your email after work and on weekends. Practice yoga, meditate, go for a hike. Invest that time in yourself and you'll be ready to tackle all of life's demands.
5. Be more flexible
When you move better, you perform better. You can switch directions on the tennis court without straining your hamstrings or make that 3-pointer on the basketball court without wrecking your knee. You can finally get into that yoga pose you've admired on Instagram. Life is no different.
When you're unyielding and rigid, change is painful. When things don't go as you want and people don't act how you would like them to, it causes great frustration and stress. But if you can relax a little and be more flexible with your expectations, you'll find much more peace. It's not the same as being weak or passive; it means choosing to be more fluid and open to new ways of looking at and doing things.
6. Strive for quality, not quantity
Just because you spend hours in the gym each day doesn't mean you are going to get great results. It depends on perfecting your technique and giving your all on each set and rep. You can get just as good a workout in a lot less time if you're making sure every move counts.
Just the same, you can sit in front of your computer all day checking Facebook every five minutes and get nothing done, or you can sit down for an hour with laser focus and produce quality work. Close down the distractions and make each moment count.
7. Change up your routine
Repeating the same exercises week after week is not only boring, but it also doesn't lead to strength or speed gains. To make real change, you need to continually challenge your body to adapt to increasing levels of stimuli.
In other words, don't get stuck in a rut. Find ways to continually challenge yourself in every aspect of your life. Don't stay in your job or relationship you hate just because it's safe or comfortable. If it's not encouraging and allowing you to grow, it's probably time to look for something new.
This article was written by health and fitness expert and PIXIBU founder Jody Braverman, PN1, NASM-CPT, NASM-FNS, RYT 200.
Like this article? Share it on social and help your friends and family live a healthier lifestyle. Also, we send out content just like this in our monthly newsletter, so drop your email in the box at the bottom of the page!