Falling off the wagon and how to stay consistent for the long haul

by Giacomo Marchese

For more than half of my life, i’ve been searching; working out on and off. At the age of 14, my music teacher sparked my interest in fitness and more specifically, bodybuilding. Mr Loposky’s influence was what started me on the road to a healthier, happier person. There were many reasons why I stuck with it over the years and up until I became a young adult, I didn’t miss a beat. After graduating college, I wanted to continue to live my passion and so I became a personal trainer and shortly thereafter, I entered a bodybuilding competition and placed first. I was thrilled! After hitting this particular benchmark though, I fell off the wagon, while my schedule started to become more hectic, so I put training on the back burner. Time passed and I realized that I sorely missed training consistently but wasn’t sure how to get back into it.

Over the course of the next nine years, I trained on and off, never really figuring out how to stick with it for the long haul. I’d get in the gym for a year and then unintentionally stop for the following six months. Determined, I got back at it, as health and wellness is a lifestyle, not a hobby. The cycle continued with two months on, four months off, two years on, three years off. Each time, I set a short term goal and once I accomplished it, I fell off the wagon.

Life will not stop moving. There will be relationships you need to work on outside of yourself, soul searching within, career moves that need to be prioritized but what about taking care of your health? Easier said then done, right?

I can now say with complete certainty, that this cycle has been broken. I’ve been training for the last 18 months consistently, and I know for sure that I will not falter. Don’t get discouraged. There will be bumps in the road. Perhaps you are just getting at it for the first time or maybe you’ve been training for years and years.

My point here is that fitness is a lifelong journey and there will be many ups and downs. What matters the most, is finding a way to stick with it. Consistency breeds results. Here are some tips to help you keep at it.

Try this exercise. Grab a piece of paper and write a list. Number it from 1-10 and write down reasons why you choose to train and take care of yourself and next time you falter, remember what made you stay with it in the first place.
Create a motivational board. Write down your current workout, short term goals and long term goals. Look at it every day and remind yourself of what your doing and how you’re going to keep going.
Keep a workout journal with you in the gym and write down everything you do. Check out your previous week’s logs so you can see how you continue to progress. If you start to become stagnant and are hitting a plateau, change your workout.
Keep yourself accountable. Hire a trainer so they can create a meal and workout program for you. Check in with them regularly, so that you have someone to answer to other than yourself. Alternatively, you can also keep a journal online on a fitness forum, social media, or even a blog.
Everyone is ambitious to train as much as possible, however you need to be realistic and not set yourself up for failure. Let’s say you plan on training 5 days a week. Make sure that no matter what, that you get in to the gym at least 3 times a week.
Even if you are too stressed to train and think you can’t make it to the gym, get there. Making it to the gym is half the battle. Maybe you get your whole workout in, or only a portion of it. Nine times out of ten, you will get there and have a great workout.
It’s ok to set the bar high and slightly out of reach but you also need to set goals that can be attained, otherwise you may eventually feel like you’re failing and give up.
Bodies are built in the kitchen, not at the gym. Fuel yourself properly and don’t forget to consume foods that are mostly unprocessed and plant based. Schedule a pre workout and post workout meal in every time you train. These are by and far your most important meals of the day. Take one day a week, think about what the following week is going to look like, and plan accordingly. Plan ahead and you are much more likely to set yourself up for success.
Prepare a gym bag and a cooler for yourself, so that you are always ready to go, no matter what’s going on.

I promise you that more than anything, if you continue to get yourself moving a couple of times a week or more, no matter what is going on in your life, you’ll get results. It’s easier said than done but really, that’s all there is to it!

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One Response to Falling off the wagon and how to stay consistent for the long haul

  1. Carlina January 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    I loved this post. It resonated with me especially since my program is about to end soon. I will keep on training on my own but since I am a novice and had someone plane my meals and workouts I worry I’ll get stuck somehow. This gives me some confidence I can pull it off. thanks for the great post Giacomo

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