I was training Jiu Jitsu last week and at the end of the round my partner turned to me and said, “You have gotten a lot stronger.  What have you been doing?”  I sat there and thought about it for a second.  I felt like I should have some insightful answer.  I was working the perfect balance of strength and sport.  I had optimized my diet to fuel my training.  Instead, rather out of breath I stammered, “Um…I have been training…consistently.”  I didn’t feel very eloquent in the moment, but that last word, ‘consistently’, was the key.  Twice a week, without fail, I lift heavy things. This is the not so secret secret to awesome fitness progress.

Because I stick to my program, each week I lift more than the week before.  Every week I get to be the strongest I have ever been.  It is pretty freaking awesome.  Simple, and awesome.  

Sometimes I am energetic and so excited to lift, and sometimes I feel tired, unmotivated, or discouraged going into it.   But I trust the training, so I show up no matter how I feel and I do it.

So how do you approach your goals, whatever they may be?  With consistency!  Whether you are trying to improve your switch kick, lose body fat, increase muscle mass, or hit a PR on your back squat, the way to the prize is through consistent effort.  The more Muay Thai classes you come to, the more repetitions you will get on your kicks, and with more repetitions comes more opportunity for improvement in technique.  The more consistent you are with your strength and conditioning, the stronger and more conditioned you will get.   Yes, it is that basic.  Now, I am not advocating double training sessions six days a week.  You need your rest and recovery time, and just maybe you have a job or personal life!  We generally recommend at Function 5 Fitness for you to commit to three sessions a week.  If you want to train more, and have the capacity for recovery, great!  But if you can come in three times per week with regularity you will see results.

I know life is busy.  There is a lot going on between work, family, friends, couch time (maybe I’m the only one that schedules this in), eating, etc.  How do we find time to train?  Schedule it!  If you commit to it in advance and work it in to your plan for specific days and times it is much more likely to happen than if you just say, “I am going to go to the gym this week.”  Those vague time commitments easily get pushed aside.  Other planned events, or my downfall, mindless internet browsing, can end up taking precedence.  I know this is true because my car was going to get washed “this week” for at least a month!

(Editor’s note: This is true… I’ve seen Kate’s car).

Some days you will be excited about training.  All day you will look forward to blasting on the pads or swinging that kettlebell.  There will also be days when you have planned on training and you just may not want to.  You are feeling lazy.  You don’t feel like dealing with traffic.  You can make up endless excuses.  If you are sick or only got a few hours of sleep the night before, you should stay home and rest.  But if it is only your mind coming up with excuses, just get to the door.  Pack up your bag, and walk out the door.  Get to our door and walk inside.  The rest takes care of itself. We have a program set for you, so you don’t have to come up with something to do.  You have coaches and training partners to help you find the motivation that may be lacking that day.  And you will feel better after.  You will have followed through on your plan which is rewarding.  Plus the endorphins from training help to boost mood.

Exercise sharpens focus and increases productivity as well, so why again were we thinking of staying home?

Even with the best intentions, there are those weeks when the plan seems to crumble.  You can’t seem to empty your inbox.  You have a doctor’s appointment.  Your kid/dog/significant other is sick.  You have missed your first two training sessions of the week.  You are ready to just call the week blown and start up after the weekend.  STOP!  There is no blown week.  You missed two sessions.  Fine.  Not ideal, but it happens.  You still have one more opportunity to train.  Take it!

Stop stressing about what you didn’t do and get in there and do something.  I guarantee that you will feel better when you get back on track having come in that one time as opposed to not at all.

The same approach applies you your nutrition.  Consistent effort to eat real foods in portions that are appropriate for your size, activity level, and goals will bring results.  I am not going to get into any specifics of what and how much is appropriate, because that is a very individualized discussion.  But the same key points apply.  Plan your meals.

Eating a cupcake doesn’t mean that your week is blown and you have free reign to devour pancakes for the rest of the week.  Just get back to consistent effort.

So schedule your training, show up, and train.  Eat real food regularly.  You will get stronger/faster/leaner/more badass with consistent effort.  It’s that simple.

Kate McGray, NASM CPT, FMS

F5 Kettlebells and Thai Boxing

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