The missing ingredient almost always causing workout consistency failure, is lack of accountability. Without somebody or something to be accountable, who is going to call you out when you no-show to the gym, or start drinking 4 beers a night instead of just two? We all need someone to call us out when we steer off course, or something to at least raise awareness. Now I’m not saying you have to go out and drop fifty bucks an hour on a personal trainer, although that would be ideal. There are in fact many fun, inexpensive ways to incorporate accountability into your fitness and health plan if you cannot afford to hire a trainer:
- Sign up for a race: Most races come with an ideal 12 week preparation plan that you can easily find online for free. (Try Active.com.) The looming race deadline is what will be holding you metaphorically accountable, and it is physically impossible to train for 12 weeks and not become fitter and leaner! Many fun races are in April, May and June – perfect timing to begin!
- Book a tropical vacation: Not only will you score major points with your date if you invite one to come along, but just knowing you will be seen poolside or beachfront in your will motivate you to buff up to some degree, even if only subconsciously.
- Wear a personal activity tracker or fitness bracelet: You know, one of those FitBit things that track your daily fitness data on a basic, approximate level. They sync with an app on your smartphone, so at the very least raise awareness, which in a sense, creates accountability. Tracking the you’ve taken, how many calories you’ve burned, and other points of data, depending how involved you want to get with the application, provides valuable feedback. Combining these bracelets with trying to improve daily can become surprisingly addicting! They’re simple to use, provide real-time feedback yet are very personal at the same time.
- Post your goal or resolution on social media: Post a “before” picture, or state your goal publically and very loudly on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for all to see. Your followers will hold you accountable and even heckle you! Seriously though, aside from the unsolicited advice you will receive from all of the fitness “expert” spamming your newsfeed, you will also receive a lot of encouragement, and don’t be surprised if you motivate some of your friends to join you on your journey!
- Buy a home scale: While many Trainers and weight-loss “experts” advocate against weighing yourself daily, I am all for it and have done this for years. While it is true that most weight fluctuations are temporary or are “water weight,” stepping on the scale daily, along with looking at yourself naked in the mirror, raises awareness, provides the most basic sense of accountability and helps you get a head-start on tracking trends in weight changes. Also, the home scales these days are very reliable and affordable and many even come with bio-electric impedance to measure your body composition and body fat level.
- Join a sports team or group: It doesn’t matter what your sport is – there is a team, league or group out there that is at your level, who love to play too. Find them and join them! Because when you start regularly competing in a sport you love, you’ve truly discovered a secret path to long lasting fitness. As soon as you make it fun, you’re winning! — Whatever you do, make sure to hit the trail or hotel gym on your layover BEFORE meeting the rest of the crew in the lobby bar for happy hour!
Follow Max Wettstein on Instagram: @maxwettstein & Twitter: @max_wettstein