While motivation is an important start to any fitness journey, what is truly crucial when it comes to maintaining your routine is a healthy dose of discipline – sticking to your fitness schedule despite distractions, fatigue or a simple lack of willpower. In fact, recent studies have actually shown that humans only have so much willpower available to us in a given day before we find it even harder to accomplish a set of tasks – so it’s smart practice to set it up so that accomplishing your workout is as easy as possible. The following are the most important steps any individual can take to ensure that they can prioritize their workout and see the results they desire.

Eat a healthy diet – and choose the one that’s right for you.

We won’t go down the wormhole of what “healthy diet” could mean (in this blog post, at least), so let’s leave it at this: whatever diet that you’ve determined makes you feel your best and corresponds with your nutritional needs – whether Paleo, vegan, Keto, low-carb, high-protein, etc. – finding and sticking to a plan that you feel great on will provide the mental and physical boosts necessary to give you the energy you need to hit all your daily fitness goals. If some of the words in this paragraph are a mystery to you (“what’s Paleo?”), or if you think your nutritional plan is due for a revamping, take advantage of the FREE access to Registered Dietitians (RDs) provided to every member at all Future Fitness Centers.

Get enough sleep.

At the most basic level, getting enough sleep is important because it gives you the energy you need to complete a thorough workout, or even just get to the gym in the first place. On top of that, however, recent research has shown that the right amount of sleep is imperative to muscle regeneration – meaning that if you’re hitting the gym but not the sack, your workouts could be far less effective than they would be if you got a full night’s rest.

Don’t be afraid to switch up your schedule!

We’ve heard plenty of stories from our members about how, for years, they would staunchly refuse to work out during certain times of the day under the assumption that they would hate it. Night owls couldn’t imagine waking up before 8 a.m., and early risers would avoid nighttime workouts thinking they’d be far too fatigued. Yet many ended up surprised when, out of necessity, they had to change their workout plans to accommodate a new schedule – and loved it! If you find you’re far too tired after a day of work to complete a routine to your satisfaction, try just one week of morning workouts, or vice versa; also consider breaking up workouts into multiple per day, if your blocks of time are limited. These solutions may seem unlikely, when you’re set in your ways, but in reality you’re likely to get used to a new schedule very quickly.

Change up your routine at least monthly.

We’ve recently written a blog post on this subject, but we can’t say it enough – switching up your fitness routine every 4-6 weeks is crucial to increasing strength and endurance, as well as weight loss. Plateauing is a huge demotivator, but you can avoid it by incorporating interval training, cross-training and circuit training to your workouts. Every Future Fitness Centers member is entitled to an hour of free personal training by one of our nationally-certified trainers each month; their goal is to help you mix it up to provide the huge benefits that come from varying your workouts.