The Importance of Accountability
Everyone wants to maintain a successful workout regime, but so many people fall out of it after a few months. Why? Well, life kicks in – there’s an important paper to write or a big meeting to prep for. The kids’ activity schedules have you running around like a crazed woman or, hey, it’s just been a long day and you’d rather curl up on the couch with your dog and watch a movie instead of hitting the gym. It happens. But now those pounds have crept back and it’s time to recommit to working out – so how to make it stick this time?
The key to maintaining a successful, long-term workout schedule is accountability. Don’t go it alone – work out with a friend, in a class or boot camp or hire a personal trainer. Whatever scenario works best for you, just make sure you have someone or something that keeps you accountable if you skip a workout time – or three. If you plan regular times to go run or walk with a friend, you won’t want to leave them hanging when they show up and you’re not there. Or if you commit and pre-pay for a fitness program like a fitness boot camp or spinning class, you’ll not only want to make sure you’re not just throwing money away without using the service, plus, you’ll make new friends in the class, and they will notice if you show up or not.
Working out in a group is great because it also gives you the group mentality and the motivation to push yourself just a little more. If you’re working out in your living room to a fitness video or in the gym by yourself, it’s a lot easier to think, “I’m tired, that’s good enough – I don’t need one more set.” But if you’re in a group, you see the others out there working hard, and something mental kicks on and you somehow have energy – or at least the willpower – for that last push.
Let’s face it – working out is hard. It’s supposed to be. But that also makes it easier to want to skip it for another activity if there isn’t something keeping you going. No one is immune to this.
When I started my fitness business, I got so caught up in building my business, making sure it is successful, planning workouts for boot camps and one-on-one trainings, and focusing on my clients’ fitness goals and well-being that I completely forgot about myself! I hate to admit it, but I got a bit floppy for a while because I’d stopped working out, and when you stop working out, you stop thinking so hard about good nutrition. Exercise and good nutrition go hand in hand, so it’s a double whammy when you stop one of them. However, then I got my head back in gear. I realized that I have to be accountable not only for my own sake, but for my clients as well. My body is my billboard, and if I can’t do it, how can I expect my clients to do it? So, yes, I admit it – I got a personal trainer. Even though I train people all day, have an encyclopedia of workout ideas in my head and know exactly what it is that I have to do to maintain the healthy body that I desire, even I need that extra push of accountability.
I see my trainer just twice a week for 30 minutes first thing in the morning, which is nothing, but it completely changes my mindset. It makes me get my butt out of bed and go straight to the gym instead of my computer, where I otherwise would head to get some work done. Then, I’m in workout mode and after my session with the trainer, I hit the gym for my cardio workout and do the rest on my own. Having an appointment that I have to show up to helped me get back into the workout habit, and since I was active again, my good nutrition habits soon followed.
Accountability doesn’t have to be expensive, either. There are some real affordable workout groups out there, and you can always look for good deals on sites such as Groupon and Living Social that at least will help get you into a workout routine. But it really can also be as simple as getting together with a friend a few times a week and working out together. It’s the best peer pressure of your life!
You can also take before pictures (and later be rewarded with amazing “after” pictures), do weekly weigh-ins and measurements and other things to mark your success over time. The more results you see, the more you will be excited and motivated to stay on track. Results and the self-confidence that comes from them makes all of the sweat and pain worth it.
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Laura doesn’t just work at Athleta, she lives and breathes the mission as a PR and Partnerships Manager and instructor at our in-office Fit Studio. She says she loves everything about working at Athleta, especially that “the work that we do is so inspiring and purposeful, that after a long day, I walk out of…