Lazy Ways To Work Out More Consistently
At this point, we can all agree that chasing after the ideal summer body is not a great standard.
Yet, there’s something interesting about the summer body, because it suggests that it is inevitable that our winter bodies are always less… beach-ready.
It’s not totally surprising, given that from October through January our bodies deal with Halloween candy, Thanksgiving turkey, long airport layovers, and then a New Year’s Eve filled with sparkling wine, all in short succession.
With that come New Year’s Resolutions designed to undo all the damage, and then a push for the summer body… and the cycle begins again.
I don’t know about you, but doesn’t that cycle feel… exhausting? It’s to the point where it would feel less exhausting just to maintain a solid level of fitness.
Still, it’s not that easy to work out consistently.
In addition to our evolutionary embrace of laziness, there are also plenty of other factors that conspire against us - our jobs, our family schedules, our pesky need for sleep.
Today, we’re here to help figure out how to do more than just get our workouts back on track - because getting things back on track takes a lot of effort. We want to find the easiest, laziest ways to workout more consistently.
Work Out Smarter, Not Harder
Working out more consistently has its share of benefits.
From controlling your weight and combating health conditions (like stroke, diabetes, and anxiety, to name a few) to promoting better sleep and giving you more energy, the benefits of working out consistently tend to compound.
On the flip side, not working out consistently can lead to its own share of troubles. Undertraining can lead to a higher risk of injury, increased pain and soreness, and worse overall performance.
So what does that consistency look like? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends:
Aerobic Activity - Get at least 150 minutes (and up to 300 minutes) of moderate aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, spread out over the week.
- Strength Training - At least twice a week, do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups.
Be Wary Of Pointless Consistency
Sticking to it isn’t all that it takes, though. We’ve talked about the General Adaptation Syndrome before in connection with push-ups, and the idea is this: when introduced to new stresses (like a specific kind of workout), your body first enters the alarm reaction phase.
If the stress returns (you keep doing that workout), you enter a resistance phase, you adapt, and you become more resilient.
Adapt too much - or if the stressors don’t change - and you’ll flatline. Whether your goal is bigger arms or a smaller waist, what got you to this point won’t get you to the next.
Consistency, then, is more than just showing up and going through the motions. Working out more consistently also has to be about building in progressive changes.
5 Lazy Ways To Work Out More Consistently
To find ways to work out more consistently, we want tricks that reduce the amount of effort working out takes.
To be effectively lazy, the tricks should either reduce the energy spent planning the workout - or the workout itself.
- If Then - One of the barriers to working out more consistently? Life. Things come up. Plans change. We oversleep. And one of the consequences is often a workout. If we oversleep, we miss our workout, and then the day is so packed we can’t do anything about it. Fortunately, Nerd Fitness has a solution: have backups. I like to call them If Thens. Before starting your workout routine, come up with one of these for a handful of potential disruptions. Here are some examples:
- If I can’t run because it’s raining, then I’ll pull out my yoga mat.
- If I oversleep, then I’ll do a 7-minute workout.
If I’m too sore to lift, then I’ll do a brisk walk.
Commit Less - Or perhaps we could phrase it as: commit to smaller goals. Big goals take big energy. Running a marathon means you’re looking at long runs that could be over three hours. Going from not lifting to benching your bodyweight could take months. Commit to the smaller goals that will eventually get you to those impressive results by making smaller commitments. Especially on busier days when you’ve got other things on your mind, a 15-minute run will be easier to hit than a 50-minute run. Remember, workout consistency is more about consistent effort than hitting every workout at 100%.
Get Comfy - Working out is not our preferred state. A body at rest wants to stay at rest, says Newton, and preferably with a cup of coffee. So the lazy approach to working out is to find ways to make working out more comfortable. Khyati Jain shares some of her tips for workout consistency, including keeping your workout clothes ready, keeping your shoes by the door, and having a fun playlist.
We’d also add investing in clothes you like working out in. When you reduce the barriers through comfort, sliding right into your workout is easier.
Make An Appointment - This bit of laziness requires a bit of upfront energy, but it pays off in the moment. For many of us, our workout routine can be something we keep in our heads. For runners, you know you should run 5 miles on Wednesday, do some hills on Friday, then go for two hours on Sunday. Weightlifters know their circuits, and plan on stopping by the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Still, if the path to hell is paved with good intentions, the path to not working out is paved with unwritten plans. One skipped workout (I’ll run a little farther tomorrow!) becomes two, then a week.
Instead, put it in your calendar, and you’ll wake up that day with a notification about the workout you have planned. As a bonus, it also makes it harder to double-schedule activities over your pre-planned workouts.
- Cross It Off, Fill It Up - Sometimes laziness is about not going against the grain. Try following something like Jerry Seinfeld’s productivity strategy, which would have you crossing off a day on a calendar for each successful workout. Or you could write your workout on a Post-It and put it in a jar. This has the powerful effect of having your efforts visualized, helping you keep going because, honestly, it’s just more effort to start these streaks all over again.
So, whatever your strength training goals are, whether it’s to hit 20 workouts in 1 month or to increase your bench press, working out more consistently is the best way to get there. And if you can still be lazy about it, all the better!
Please let us know below if you’ve got any of your own lazy workout tricks. We need all the help we can get.