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If you were to ask most people what they think matters most for training success, a vast majority of them would list out things such as:
But, the truth is, one factor matters more than all of these, yet few people spend time to discuss it. What’s that?
The Power of Consistency
Before we dive into this, I’d like to give you some food for thought:
Which would you say is more beneficial? Having ten perfect workouts within one calendar year or training consistently all year long and having an average training program?
A while back, I read a fascinating book that does a brilliant job of showcasing the power of consistency. The book is called The Slight Edge and does a fantastic job of showing us just how vital small efforts and improvements are.
I won’t spoil the book for you, but the basic premise is that small actions add up to vast improvements.
For example, reading a mere five pages every night before bed sounds easy enough, right? But that simple habit would lead you to read an impressive 1,825 pages in a year. For reference, that’s about six average-sized books. Not bad for ten minutes of reading a day.
Exercising three times per week for 30 minutes also doesn’t seem like much of a big deal. But that simple habit will help you exercise for an impressive 78 hours in one year.
Now, from these two examples, wouldn’t you say that both of these are incredibly easy to follow, yet being consistent with them would help you become stronger, happier, healthier, and smarter?
Where Most People Go Wrong With Their Training
The truth is, most beginners set themselves up for failure because they try to do too much, too early. For example, people who haven’t been on a structured training program in a long time (or ever) suddenly dedicate themselves to a high-frequency and high-volume routine.
Sure, staying consistent in the beginning is easy enough. But, once your motivation dries up and you start feeling beat up from all of that training, you are bound to give up and go back to your old habits.
How To Make It Right
What matters most is that you set up a sustainable approach to your training. If you are just getting started, begin with three half-hour-long workouts every week. Sure, it seems easy, and it generally is. The goal isn’t to push yourself to your limits - it’s to set a sustainable pace, gain momentum, and create the habit of exercising.
Once you’ve been consistent with your workouts for three to four weeks, you can work to scale them up. Either make each workout a bit longer, add a fourth weekly workout (if your schedule allows for it) or make your workouts more challenging. You can also opt for personal training services if you feel that you need support at the start.
Then, a few weeks later, scale things up a bit more once again. But do this gradually. Sure, it’s easier said than done, and most people don’t have the patience for it. But, to be successful in the long run and reap the benefits of consistency, you need to establish the foundation first and then work on building upon it.