How Significant Is Fitness Consistency?

It’s time for a non-official survey. Who among us manages to squeeze in two strength training sessions, one or two sprint/interval sessions, three to five hours of walking or light aerobics, and plenty of playtime per week? There are probably still a lot of hands up in this crowd, but I’ll bet that as the list became longer, I lost a lot of them. We’d all routinely accomplish these objectives if we had the perfect timetable and an ideal planet. This general protocol produces the greatest outcomes. Having said that, if you’re talking about the long run—month after month, year after year—this degree of regularity is most likely the exception rather than the rule. Even Nevertheless, a lot of us are in excellent health, even though we didn’t always follow the above comprehensive routine. Well, Perhaps consistency is a more complex idea than we usually give it credit for.

The truth is that there are plenty of good reasons to occasionally forgo exercise. You’re ill. Your children are ill (the kind where there’s not much of an escape). Something at work goes wrong that keeps you (long) after hours. You are suffering for a weekend warrior stint that pushed you well beyond your comfort zone, or you overdid it on your most recent workout. You’ve been devoted to P90X or another intense workout regimen for several weeks, and now you’re completely exhausted from it. You signed up for a gym and started attending courses regularly, but these days you don’t feel the same. Perhaps you have a tendency to try new things out on occasion, playing around with gadgets and fashions. Like most people, you have times when you’re consistent—even intensely dedicated—and then you settle into times when you take short breaks or even rest.

Even while this may seem chaotic to some, I daresay that our predecessors had similarly unpredictable lifestyles. After all, there were migration seasons for both humans and animals in many areas. Along with those movements came periods of intense effort on building new shelters or making winter preparations, as well as spikes in hunting. It’s possible that a hundred distinct variables influenced Grok’s behaviour in one direction or another. But eventually, everything even out.

Regardless of the many reasons we miss our exercises these days, one thing is certain. For the body to get the full benefits of physical effort, it needs enough time to recover. After all, the body must repair damaged muscles as a result of intense exercise. As it happens, fitness increases during recovery rather than during exercise. In general, the longer it takes to recover, the harder you worked out.

Working out erratically won’t get you the results you deserve and is, quite simply, a waste of time and energy. This includes hours each day spent on chronic cardio and failing to take smart breaks in between lifting or other strength training sessions.

Life occurs, and sometimes all the body feels like is exhaustion. Pushing it won’t work, particularly if your physical or mental energy is low.

A less fruitful workout is nearly a given if, for example, you’ve recently had trouble sleeping. Although you may be able to better control your energy and sleep patterns with modest to moderate activity, heavy exercise is probably not going to benefit you in any way. Not only are you more likely to get hurt, but the stress of not getting enough sleep could get worse due to the additional load on an already unbalanced system.

Your body’s reaction to exercise might also be altered by extreme emotional stress. In one study, subjects experiencing major life stressors or perceived emotional stress demonstrated decreased recovery after a rigors resistance exercise regimen. Compared to those without measurements of substantial perceived or life stress events, their actual recovery of both muscular function and their recovery from fatigue and soreness suffered for 96 hours (almost 4 days) after their intense activity. Anyone whose gym experience changed due to a personal crisis or even significant work- or family-related stress is probably not surprised by this.

Of course, the more fit you are, the longer it will take you to actually lose your basic physical condition, but for those operating at a high maintenance performance level, those performance metrics will decline very rapidly. However, for most individuals, it only takes two to four weeks for losses to start to add up, and muscle mass reductions usually follow suit after VO2 max, a crucial indicator of cardiovascular fitness, declines first. In a brief research, young men who were “healthy” but did not exercise decreased their daily step count from approximately 10,500 to approximately 1300. Their lean leg mass and insulin sensitivity decreased by 7% after two weeks, along with their VO2 max.

However, prolonged pauses are not what we mean when we discuss consistency. We’re talking about occasional days, with more workouts completed than not. Occasionally, we choose to reduce our efforts rather than give up as we work through a slump in motivation or hunt for a fresh passion that will inspire us to work harder. We’re still firmly on the route to fitness, though.

Upon closer examination, the word itself may reveal the most insightful detail regarding consistency. Not only does consistency imply a regular frequency in and of itself, but also a general steadiness and unwavering attention.

Although it’s a component and a technique of discipline, consistency isn’t its mainstay. There are those who can follow a schedule like it’s no big deal. If told they had to “do” their fitness in any way that was uniform, whether it be through a set timetable or kind of activity, others would be openly protesting. However, in a given amount of time, they wind up working out a lot—possibly even more than someone who approaches it with a formula. It’s not always best to do things one way or another.

In keeping with that, let’s take a step back and examine the definition of “consistent with” in today’s wordsmithing exercise. Phrases like “compatible with,” “congruent with,” and “in tune with” are synonymous with it. This is when things really become interesting.

Here, commitment truly is at the centre. If we’re serious, we’ll put in the effort required to preserve, if not improve, our fitness, regardless of how haphazardly (and perhaps unevenly) that really occurs. A constant focus lies at the core of commitment. Exercise irregularities don’t always undermine that idea or the degree to which it affects our fitness.

What if we allowed for both actual life and recalibration? What would happen if we settled into the experience of self-trust instead of chasing and then giving up perfection? This is a value that is applied to things like daily or weekly minimums, self-care, maintaining integrity in our health, etc.

Then, how many of us would be raising our hands and feeling more confident about our commitment to fitness? Perhaps the results reveal more to us than our schedules could ever hope to.

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