Why you need to write out your workouts BEFOREHAND

Contrary to popular belief, there are days when even I don’t feel like working out.

Like since it has started getting darker earlier and a bit chillier in the evening…And all I want to do at 8 p.m. is go home and eat…not workout.

But I’ve gotten myself to stay and workout. Not because I have superhuman self-control. And not because I just love working out more than the average person.

But because I’ve planned out my workouts ahead of time.

Too often people don’t go in with a PLAN. They think, “I’ll just decide what workout to do based on what is sore and what equipment is not in use and how I feel when I get there.”

But not having a plan is the best way to give yourself an excuse to not go to the gym.

For some reason this quote often bugs me, but it actually fits today. Often we let the stress of our day make us want to skip our workouts, when our workouts will not only help us reach our dreams, our goals, but will also make us probably feel more relaxed!

When we plan ahead, we provide ourselves with motivation, with expectations. And it is way easier to let yourself off the hook if you don’t have expectations.

It is way easier to go straight home after work and sit on the couch if you don’t have a plan to do a push up, pull up pyramid. Because who would just decide to do a push up, pull up pyramid spur of the moment after a long day at work!?!

And it is way easier to decide that 15 minutes on a treadmill is enough if we don’t plan out a true metabolic session to help us work toward our goals. Because after a stressful day, who wants to force themselves into a workout that may almost feel puke inducing?

Let’s face it…It is way easier to SLACK if we don’t have a plan because there is nothing pushing us, nothing guiding us to work hard.

At the end of a long/stressful/draining/tiring/boring/insert-adjective-here day there may not be much, if any, internal motivation left to push us to workout.

We may need a little bit of external motivation –  and that external motivation can come in the form of a pre-written, planned out workout. Because having a workout clearly outlined and written out in your hand is evidence of what you are SUPPOSED TO DO. And if we don’t do, there will be not only the knowledge, but also clear evidence that we didn’t do it.

It is easy to ignore the idea of a workout. It is easy to just go home and forget about it.

But it isn’t as easy to ignore something pre-planned and written out. Something that we will clearly know we didn’t do because it is staring right back at us.

And not only does that planned workout make us go to the gym, but it also generally pushes us to work hard even when our mind would tell us the warm up was enough.

I find that even when I want to quit, knowing that I laid out a certain routine keeps me going.

Even though no one but me will know….I WILL KNOW that there was something written out that I didn’t do.

If I’d made the workout up on the spot, it wouldn’t be as hard to change it because it wouldn’t feel set in stone – it would feel like I was just adjusting because I didn’t “feel” that good during the workout.

But writing it out ahead of time, even just earlier that morning, makes me realize that when I was motivated, I did feel good enough to do the workout and that now I’m just being lazy and making excuses.

That it is all really just in my head.

Like the other night. I’d set out a workout.

About 15 minutes in, I felt pretty toasted. My mind was telling me, “I’m done.”

And I thought to myself, “I sometimes do workouts like this and just push hard for 15 minutes. I can go home now…I worked really hard!”

But then the workout goals were clearly laid out in front of me. And I knew I was just giving up because I wanted to go home and not because I was truly exhausted.

So I pushed on. Having the plan kept me going past what my mind wanted to do that night, to what my body really should have, and could have, done.

And the best part is, getting yourself over that first hurdle of pushing hard even when you didn’t want to seems to really get the momentum rolling and makes it easier to repeat the action.

Pushing yourself to go to the gym one night even when you are super tired because you have a workout planned out, will make it easier to push yourself to do it again.

It’s almost like doing it once proves that it really isn’t that bad and therefore allows you to be able to repeat the action.

You often hear, “The beginning is always the hardest.”

And it is really true. But a plan, a workout written out before your motivation dwindles, can be just the motivation you need to truly get started!

So stop waiting till you get to the gym to decide your workout. Start planning!

Help yourself take that step by planning it out!

P.S. Not only does planning keep you motivated, but it also allows you to reach your goals more quickly. You can plan out workouts focused on your goals and not just how you are feeling. Plus writing down your workouts allows you to truly track your results and progress so you can determine what is and isn’t working.

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Posted on November 6, 2013, in program development and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I know for me I feel a lot more driven at the gym when I have my workouts planned ahead of time. I also waste less time and dilly-dally less.

  2. I make a schedule that I keep on my calendar. I find I am always looking at it to see my daily “assignment” it really keeps me going.

  3. Great great GREAT advice!

  4. You’re SO right!!! I lately have been lazy and hitting up the gym with no plan and let me tell ya, it makes it much easier to cut a workout short. Yikes. I’m going to try to get back into the planning game thanks to you!

    • It does make it so much easier to slack off. I came back from vaca and thought I’d give myself a week to sort of goof around and get back into it, but all that lead to was sort of crap workouts. I do much better with a plan…Even if it is planned play!

  1. Pingback: 11.8.13 – friday five

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