I want to talk about consistency and why it’s important.
I consider my own routine to be very consistent. My typical week will involve twice weekly 1-1 boxing sessions, a run twice a week and tennis at least twice a week. In between, I will do a Tabata workout at home and I use a foam roller every night in front of the television. I rarely defer from this routine, and my nutrition is also fairly typical. For breakfast I’ll have a green smoothie (kale, spinach, banana, apple, chia seeds and coconut water blended). Lunch is generally a quiche and salad and dinner is predominantly vegetables (green and roasted) with a piece of fish or chicken.
Having a consistent routine helps me to conserve energy, for two reasons. It gets rid of the internal monologue that takes place – i.e.
“I ought to go to the gym tonight but I could go tomorrow”
“I know I ought to cook tonight but it’s easier to get a take-out”
“When shall I fit in a run this week, I’m busy all week”
This is draining, and a waste of energy; by having a consistent routine, you can remove the need for this tiresome chatter. Having a routine gives me more energy, because I’m maintaining my fitness levels. Developing a good level of physical fitness takes time, and it’s much easier to maintain than gain. So once you’ve built up some fitness, put in the effort to retain it.
I’m also strict about not booking anything instead of the boxing sessions. If I have to be away that day, I’ll move the session to another day that week. If I’m away for the week, I’ll catch up when I’m back. Also, I pay for sessions on a monthly standing order, so it’s ‘use it or lose it’, and therefore I’m incentivised to book them in. The other thing I’ll do is adapt. If I’m away, I’ll do the same intensity of workout wherever I am.
Environment drives performance is one of my mantras, and this also helps enormously with consistency. Keeping your environment – home and work – clean, tidy and efficiently set up will help you to maintain good habits. Plan ahead, be prepared and know where things are.
From a nutritional standpoint, you’ll find consistency when your body finds its natural set point. Set point refers to your body’s natural weight; it’s easy to maintain, and the hormones ghrelin (hunger) and leptin (satiety) are balanced and working well. You’ll eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full and you’ll maintain a steady body composition. Your body will naturally find it’s set point if you have a consistent and balanced fitness and nutrition program, and avoid disruptors such as sugar, alcohol, nicotine, excess caffeine, poor sleep, chronic stress and some prescription drugs.
The key to maintaining consistency is to normalise whatever it is you’re doing. Rather than following a special diet, or signing up to a short term program, think of health, fitness and nutrition as something you do because you’re alive.
This article first appeared in the March 2017 issue of SE22 magazine.