Every Workout Needs a Philosophy
Whether you’re a professional athlete or just want to lose a few pounds and join a gym, having a clear philosophy around how to exercise and achieve your goals will be a major benefit. I’ve found that the philosophy of painless consistent progression can guide anyone to a healthier, stronger, and happier body.
This philosophy can be applied to any type of workout regimen or sport because it guides how you perform and improve rather than what you do. The idea is simple but effective if followed correctly and in the right order.
Painless Workouts First and Foremost
If you’ve ever spent any time in the bodybuilding community, you’ll have undoubtedly heard the motto, “No pain, no gain.” The idea being that in order to make progress in your workouts you need to push your body to its limit.
While there is certainly truth to this—if you never push yourself beyond a certain point then your muscles will never have the need to get stronger—there are still a lot of problems with this mentality.
I believe that focusing on painless exercise first will ultimately benefit your body over the long run. Instead of putting so much pressure on yourself to work out harder, put pressure on yourself to observe your body and stop when you feel the slightest bit of pain. It is far better to underwork your body over the long run then to overwork it and risk an injury.
Keep Your Workouts Consistent
After prioritizing painlessness in your workouts, the next step is to focus on consistency.
Consistency is the foundation of any habit. It is what gives you the results that you ultimately want. The only reason to not be consistent should be because you have an injury of some kind—however, even then you can do modified versions of your workouts.
Why is consistency so important? Because it is what keeps you going on days when you forget why you exercise in the first place. When those thoughts start to pop up like, ”What’s the point? Shouldn’t I be spending my time doing something I enjoy more? Who cares if I’m not in great shape, most people aren’t.” This is when prioritizing consistency will save you.
If you allow these thoughts to take over, they will eventually kill your fitness. While they may be convincing, they are ultimately just a sneaky form of laziness.
But the solution is simple and it comes when you prioritize consistency over rigor. On those days when you can’t stand the idea of exercising, you just need to do it. Do something—even if it’s just the bare minimum—because in the long run you will benefit from it and the habit of exercising will become a part of your identity.
Finally, Focus on Progressing
With the practice of painlessness and consistency drilled into your mindset, it’s now possible to look at making progress.
Making progress is what motivates us to stick with something over the long term—it’s what gets us (and keeps us) excited.
What are your goals in regards to your fitness? What would you see your body do? Would you run a marathon? Hike some enormous mountain? Or simply see yourself become incredibly strong? Finding these goals are what will ultimately give our exercise journey meaning and purpose.
Making progress towards these goals can be as straightforward as adding more weight to a barbell or running further distances and a faster mile time. But it can also be much more complex and person-specific.
Ultimately, anything that can be measured and improved can be counted as progression. Even goals as subtle as improving our energy levels when we wake up or falling asleep faster at night.
The important thing to remember is to find a way to track and monitor these progressions and give ourselves clear goals to aim for. When we complete these long term goals painlessly and consistently, we will give ourselves the motivation to keep at it in the future.
Overall, painless consistent progression is a simple way to remember how to exercise. Follow this philosophy and you will guarantee that exercise stays in your life in a beneficial and sustainable way over the long run. It might not be as attractive as the more intense philosophies that the fitness industry promotes, but when we’re 80 we will be thankful.