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Creating Accountability in your Training

Every time I start to type a blog, I always struggle with the first line. Like fitness it's self, the hardest part is getting started. I have a general idea each week where I want to go with the blog (mainly based from conversations I have in my classes, with clients, or things I pick up on when working outside of my sessions). 

But that first line. Getting started. It's always the hardest. 

I've always heard that it takes 21 days to create a habit. Unfortunately, according to the latest book I'm listening to - The One Thing by Gary Keller, it takes a little longer than that. Based specifically on fitness and diet, a new habit can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to acquire that habit. In comparison to 254 days, lucky for us that the University College of London concluded that the sweet spot for most people is roughly 66 days. 3 times longer than the assumed 21 days that I'm sure most of us have heard about. 

When you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. If 21 days was all it took, then gyms would be a lot busier in February and more people would be successful with their New Years Resolutions. 

How do you build on that habit? Creating accountability. Finding a workout partner that's not going to take it easy on you when you flake from a session. Finding classes that you can fit around your schedule or a Personal Trainer that can build a programme around your goals. 

One thing I did at the start of the year was a WhatsApp Fitbit challenge. The main premise of the free challenge was to make people work harder in their sessions to gain more points for the leaderboard at the end of each week. What it was really about was accountability. And those in the group can attest to that. Seeing the phone buzz with other people getting the workouts in, made you feel like you had to get your own workout done. It helped eliminate excuses. No time? What about all these other people making time to get a session in. As the saying goes, we all have the same 24 hours in the day. 

Everyone has enough time to get 3-4 workout sessions a week in. Everyone. 

As we finish up week 6 of the challenge, it's been great to see people starting to develop new habits as they push themselves. 

You're more than welcome to join is if you have a Fitbit (that detects heart rate) and you want that extra accountability. Just CLICK HERE to add yourself to the group. 

Joining challenges is one way of creating accountability. Here are 3 other ways to create that accountability to build towards a habit:

1. Signing up for a challenge that you have to train for (like a marathon, 10km or obstacle course event). 

Tell people you have signed up for a challenge. If others see you in the gym, training for it, it will tend to be the first thing they ask you about. To keep going and have that accountability is the motivation a lot of us may need. 

2. Set smaller goals in your training along with your main goals.

This can be as simple as tests such as trying to increase the number of push-ups you can do. Check out the video I did this week on the 2 most common push up mistakes (you're probably doing at least one of them!)

In fact, a recent study for men included that higher the number of push-ups you can do is related to a reduced risk in cardiovascular disease. Or your first pull up. In our Booty Camp classes, we set new challenges each month, where the ladies focus on improving their fitness or core strength by trying to beat their score in an exercise from the previous week. 

3. Get a Coach or workout partner. 

I'm guilty of not doing this enough. It's very hard to push yourself when you are by yourself. Getting a workout partner or having a Coach beside you to push yourself a little more. You may think you are at your max but then your Coach gives you a slightly heavier weight than you are used to and you find yourself somehow still able to do the required number of reps. And sometimes you can develop a friendly competition with your workout partner for getting more reps in, lifting heavier or getting through a finisher routine faster.

Consistency is key to build towards the habit. If you have been lacking discipline in your training and are trying to build the habit, concentrate mainly on the workouts. Do not try to do too much and build 3 or 4 different habits. It will only be too overwhelming and increase your chances to fail. Concentrate on the workouts or whatever your 'One Thing' is. Once it gets easier and you have built up the habit over the 2 months or so, then add to it. 

Stuck for a workout tomorrow to start the week strong? Try these 4 exercises using a landmine and a barbell for a full body workout: (4 Sets, 15 Reps for each one)

Landmine Squats 
T Bar Rows
One Arm Press

BONUS: HIIT workouts over Moderate Intensity (like jogging) for fat loss.

There's nothing wrong with jogging for fat loss. But a lot of research suggests that high-intensity interval training could be better if your primary goal is fat lossDoing sprints, one of my favourites, prowler sprints, before doing a lighter exercise like jogging for recovery and then going back to sprints can be a fantastic fat burning workout! You can also do this with explosive exercises like jumps and kettlebell swings.