Automaticity is the new buzzword that promises to fast-track your fitness, but how could it help you hit your goals? Discover what automaticity is and how it could help you learn how to make fitness into a habit naturally…

Finding the get-up-and-go to lace up your trainers and head to the gym can be as much of a challenge as sweating through a hardcore workout itself. Keeping motivation levels high is a crucial part of a successful fitness routine and, interestingly, experts have coined a new term – automaticity – as the main driver that helps exercisers excel in performance.

Related: How to motivate yourself to go to the gym

What is automaticity in fitness?

A pilot study by sports scientists at Les Mills Research Lab found that ‘automaticity’ – transforming exercise into a habit that you do without thinking about it – is what differentiates those who are active with those who are inactive. Indeed, the research found that 100 per cent of active people strongly agreed that exercise is an automatic part of their lives, whereas 92 per cent of inactive people disagreed.

‘When you bring fitness into your life as a habit, it starts to become part of your lifestyle and something you can’t live without,’ says Tara Lee Oakley, a personal trainer and Pilates teacher at East Of Eden.

‘After practising a new habit for a while, it becomes part of you, your character and your identity. Once you see fitness as part of your life, it’s much harder to give up.’ Here’s how to change your approach to exercise so that you’ll naturally get the results you’re after.

workout plan turn fitness into a habit automaticity

Automaticity: 5 ways to make fitness a habit

Join a group class

Whether it’s an indoor CrossFit workout, an outdoor bootcamp in the park or even an online group class, working out with others can be immensely motivating and keeps your fitness programme fresh and exciting.

‘There will always be new music, new routines and plenty of words of encouragement,’ says Oakley. ‘I highly recommend getting a variety of movements and fitness styles in your routine. Combining stretch, sculpt and cardio into your schedule each week will mean you’re getting all the elements of fitness you need.’

Observe your progress

Don’t just go through the motions without a second thought. Taking time to think about your goals and observing how you feel during each fitness session will help to enhance the overall experience. ‘Track your results and progress with an app, smart watch or even a journal. When you observe positive changes you’re more likely to stick to your wellbeing plan,’ believes Oakley.

Reward yourself

Giving yourself little rewards when you reach certain milestones, such as managing to do five pull-ups or beat your personal best on a 10K run, can help to keep motivation pepped up and gives you something to work towards. ‘Book a dream yoga retreat to kickstart your programme, buy those beautiful leggings or treat yourself to a massage,’ says Oakley.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Allocating rests days in between workouts allows your body to heal from putting it through its paces. When you rest, your body starts to repair muscle fibres, and it helps to minimise the risk of injury and exercise burnout.

‘Allowing breaks between workouts will also improve sleep and can help support the immune system. Remember that balance is the key to wellness success,’ maintains Oakley. During rest days, make sure you prioritise your nutrition by eating a well-balanced diet to nourish your body from the inside-out.

Bring a buddy

There’s a time and a place for solo exercising but, when motivation starts to falter, recruiting a friend with a fitness-orientated mindset can help to get you back on track. ‘Studies show that working with others makes you more likely to stick to a fitness routine. Not only will you have more motivation and accountability, but the social side also offers many mental health benefits,’ explains Oakley.

3 tips for workout success

Tara Lee Oakley shares her top tips to be your best fitness self

1. Shout about your success

Talk about your achievements on social media. Connect with like-minded people, share your journey and inspire others around you.

2. Set goals

Do a Google search to find fitness charity events. There are so many to choose from and they give you a focus to work towards. Your incentive could be to raise money or attention to a special cause.

3. Train with the best

Find leading experts in your area of interest – learning from them will be a game-changer. This could be via YouTube workout videos, fitness
apps or in person.

Share your experiences, challenges and achievements with your bestie and the chances are you’ll fast-track your performance.

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