We all slip up and miss a work out or two. Or maybe you’ve injured yourself. I’m sure the above question has crossed every person who pursues an active lifestyle at some point.
What the article says is true: to really see a decline, you’ll need to skip for 4-6 weeks. However, at a cellular level, you begin to lose ground in about 48-72 hours after a workout.
So how to you keep from losing the ground you’ve gained? Don’t quit!
Here are some tips:
— Make it a routine. Just like brushing my teeth once in the morning and once in the evening, I know I go to yoga on Mondays. Every week that happens (unless I’m sick or out of town.) Routines take 4-6 weeks of work to build, so you may need other motivation in those 4-6 weeks.
— Write down some concrete SMART goals. See the infographic above on what SMART goals are. Not “I want to lose weight.” Be specific. How much weight? Or better yet, use a different measurement, because weight can be so fickle. How about losing fat mass %? You need special equipment to measure that though… or what about losing X amount of inches around your problem area? Just need a tape measure for that. Or maybe something more meaningful, like fit into size 10 jeans. Whatever you decide on pick 2-3 short term goals (that you can easily meet in just 3-4 weeks) and then 2-3 long term goals (that you can meet in 8-12 weeks). My recent short term goal was “I will be able to run for 20 minutes without stopping by the end of April.” Which I met last week! My long term goal: “I will be able to run the Party Run 10K with friends without stopping on June 12th”
— Next write down your rewards. “When I meet X goal, I get X reward.” I find a good weight loss one is buying a new wardrobe. Example: “When I’ve lost 20 lbs., I will buy 3 new pairs of pants.” Or maybe, you’re a foodie like we are in this house. So a lot of my goals revolve around eating quality food. “When I run for 20 minutes I will get to have a nice dinner out of my choice.” Whatever inspires you to move and meet those goals!
— Put those written goals and rewards in several prominent place where you will see them everyday. I put mine on my bathroom mirror, so I can see them when I’m brushing my teeth and putting on my makeup each morning. Or maybe if you have a locker or desk or other personal space a work, put it there. Also post them in your temptation stations– like on the fridge by the handle or where ever you are when you typically make the decision to go the gym or not to go to the gym, like the visor of your car or on that mirror. You can’t have enough copies staring you in the face everyday to keep those goals at the forefront of your mind.
— Get a buddy. There’s no better way to keep yourself accountable than to have someone else expecting you to be at your routine spot for working out with you. “Hey! It’s 6:30. Where are you?” Those phone calls always make me cringe a little. And it works both ways too.
— If, like me, a human buddy isn’t your future, then get a print buddy. Either make a workout diary (there are plenty of commercial ones or printable layouts to choose from if you Google/search Amazon) or just put stickers or check marks on a calendar. (I don’t run with a buddy because I’m too slow for most “runners” to enjoy running with. haha)
— Don’t get injured. Listen to your body. (I have a written list of acceptable and unacceptable excuses on my goal/reward list too. Example: acceptable: vomiting sick. unacceptable: I’m too tired. With rebuttal: If you go the gym you will be more energized!) Do this by taking your progression at your own pace. Make sure you can feel the difference between “hurt ouch” and “sore ouch.” Your brain is attached to your body, so you know it best. You also know when you’re faking best.
— Lastly, make it fun! Pick activities that are appealing to you. If your middle school tennis coach made you run laps around the school as punishment (*waves*) maybe running does not = fun in your mind. Maybe pick cycling instead.