With summer here we’re faced with even more challenges when it comes to keeping a solid personal fitness training routine. The kids are out of school, vacations are around the corner and it’s just plain hot outside. We want to reach for that ice cold latte or a super sized ice-cream cone. The temptation to stray from our daily exercise schedule and healthly diet only becomes stronger.
Many of us approach a re-start to our personal fitness routine with sheer willpower, without realizing that bad habits simply can not be broken by willpower alone. Developing a fitness strategy is the only way to break through your plateau and fight the flab to get summer ready. In a recent article titled, Fitness success: Break your winter habits for a summer body, the author Joseph Brandenburg outlines 5 tips for changing, not just breaking your bad snacking habits.
1. First, understand your bad habits. Habits are a three-part pattern a trigger, a routine and a reward. For example, one of the most common bad habits we see people have is poor snacking eating some sort of nasty, fattening, energy-sapping (after 30 minutes) food almost every day at a certain time.
If you ask them “why” they do that, they will usually launch into some rant about how weak-willed they are and generally beat themselves up. (None of this is useful.) But, if you ask them “how” they do that, you get some really useful information.
Here’s the how: They are so busy at work, and they are so intensely focused on what they are doing that they never notice they are slowly getting hungrier. They only notice their hunger when it gets so bad they have to stop working. At this point, they run the habit pattern: Go to a vending machine and choose the candy bar, chips or the granola bar (which is a candy bar inside), and at the end of this pattern is physical relief from hunger physical satisfaction.
I know, the trigger sounds insulting you’re just hungry. But people are so wrapped up in their work and their heads that they really don’t know what’s happening in their bodies. Because this bad habit leads to weight gain, and our culture tends to malign obese and overweight individuals’ character, people tend to take their poor snacking habit as evidence of the poverty of their character and get very emotional about it. (I’ve done it too.)
This is only the first step! Read the full article and apply the same principles to your workout routine. Understanding your habits, creating new rewards, repetition, support and preparation are all part of what it takes to change your habits and set a new course for fitness and healthy diet success.
Strategy and a solid plan will win over willpower every time.