Consistency is Key!

Not too long ago as I sat down to dinner with my family, my 12 year old daughter helped herself to an unusually large (for her) portion of salad. On her own. Without my having to physically put it on her plate. Given that it has always been a small battle to get her to eat vegetables, my husband and I raised our eyebrows and just stared at her. She looked at us and said, “What???” “Uh, you took a lot of salad…” I carefully said. She looked at us, flipped her hair over her shoulder as only 12 year old girls can, and said, “I’ve decided Im going green.” The whole table stared at her as she systematically polished off every lettuce leaf. “Fantastic!” I thought, congratulating myself that someone finally absorbed my healthy eating message. At dinner the next night, the same daughter took not one, but TWO different vegetables and ATE them. And so it continued for a week. I reveled in not having to negotiate vegetable eating with her like a used car salesman. I praised our persistence and celebrated that after all these years of continually offering the healthy food, she finally came around and now appreciated it. Then one night, with a virtual rainbow of vegetables spread before us as we sat down to dinner, I noticed that her plate was unusually colorless. “Um…aren’t you forgetting something?” I cautiously asked. “What??” she looked at me quizzically. Her little siblings immediately chimed in, “Where are your veggies??? You said you were ‘going green’!” “Oh THAT,” she laughed and casually shrugged her shoulders, “I’m so over that.” And so it ended.


How many of us are like her? Maybe not in terms of our diet (or maybe), but how about in terms of our workouts? How many times have we gone full throttle with exercise for a week, and then have had appointments, or had to travel, or have had company, or have gotten sick, and we’ve gotten out of the routine? Or sometimes have we delved in to a kind of exercise for a few weeks (maybe we had a promotional deal?) and then we got bored (or the deal ended?)? How many times have we worked out several times then have decided to “take a break” to move on to the next hobby or the next activity. Much like my daughter’s foray into vegetable eating, our workouts sometimes lack CONSISTENCY.

While it is true that some activity is better than no activity, the spurts of hard-core exercise followed by periods of being utterly sedentary are not doing our bodies any favors To get the full benefits of our work outs, we must be consistent. No, this doesn’t mean you have to do the same work out at the same time on the same day every week. What it does mean is that our bodies work better the more they’re used. Think of driving your car on the Chicagoland highways. When you are in stop and go traffic, your car is clearly not operating at maximum efficiency. You are wasting gas and increasing the wear and tear on your car with the continual braking and accelerating. Now imagine you’re on that same highway with no traffic, no snow or rain, and no construction (fantasy, I know…just go with it…). You’re cruising along. Your car is burning fuel more efficiently and performing closer to its optimum. Your body is the same. When you work out in fits, starting and stopping, one day here, one day the next week, two weeks off, two days the following, etc., you are not getting the full efficiency of which your body is capable. Sure, you’re burning some calories, but over the long haul, not enough to make a difference in either your weight or your fitness level. But commit to a consistent routine for several weeks on end, and that’s when you start to see results. Changes do not happen overnight. They require a certain amount of time to become visible. The key is to be persistent and faithful. Any big life step, whether it is getting a newborn to sleep on his own, potty training a toddler, memorizing math facts, or learning how to drive, is a PROCESS. Very little comes to us in one fell swoop. We chip away at life little by little, realizing the journey is as important as the destination.

Although we may embark on these journeys with good intentions, we sometimes get waylaid. Life happens, and it’s easy to fall off our bandwagon, so to speak. The good news is that it is not hard to get right back on. What does that mean exactly? Being regimented and resigned to doing “X” workout every Monday and “Y” workout every Wednesday…forever? Absolutely not. Our bodies are better off when they are offered variety, as we employ more muscles and teach ourselves to move in all different ways. The key is committing to a workout schedule and knowing that those days/times are yours, when you prioritize your health. No one has ever achieved their fitness goals, whether it is increased strength, weight loss, or increased flexibility, by being inconsistent. Consistency is the root of it all. It’s really a gift that you give to yourself. You commit to your health so that you will be able to go on and tackle all of the other challenges in your life. The positive ripple effect from your work out dedication greatly outweighs the time investment.

We all have heard of or even know (or have been?) “weekend warriors”. Don’t be one! Don’t ignore your workouts all week only to go hard-core every Saturday. That’s how injuries often occur. You cannot expect your untrained body to go all-out one or two days a week and feel or perform well. This summer, starting NOW (it’s almost half over, isn’t it?), make consistency your own personal goal. Get your calendar out and set a realistic schedule for yourself. You don’t have to do the same things every week, or even work out the same days. Obviously you can and should change it up. But don’t just “pencil it in”—use a Sharpie! COMMIT. Your body WILL get the message and respond!


And don’t forget, LYFT now offers child care by reservation online or by appointment (give us a call). Kiddos home for the summer won’t keep you from achieving workout consistency!

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