It’s not necessary to be perfect with your program to be successful, but you need to be consistent.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that can throw you off.
Over the years, I developed a few routines that helped me stay organized to stay on track.
Tip 1: Separate Gym Bag for Lifting Stuff
Set up a bag just for the stuff you use when you work out. My bag is a backpack. This bag stays in my car when I’m not in the gym. These are the things I keep in mine…
- Workout log book
- Elbow sleeves
- Wrist wraps
- Knee sleeves and wraps
- Lifting straps
- Extra headphones
- Hair bands
- Cough drops/hard candy
- Small jar with preworkout power
- Elastic band with handles (I use this to warm up my shoulders before I bench press.)
Tip 2: Separate bag for clothes stocked with toiletries packed the night before.
Keep duplicates of things you need to get ready. I bought a second hair dryer and straightener to keep in there. Also set up a second make up bag with basics. Travel sizes of deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Put extra socks and underwear in a Ziplock bag to keep in this bag, too, just in case I forgot to pack these things.
I went to the gym in the mornings before work. When I got home from work, I’d carry this bag straight to the bedroom, empty the dirty clothes and pack it for the next day. I did this right away so I wouldn’t have to deal with it when I went to bed.
Tip 3: Workout when it works best for your life, not when it’s “optimal”.
When I first started, I struggled to make sense of all the information out there about the “best” time to workout. It would stall me out and I wouldn’t go at all.
When I started working with trainers, they corrected my thinking. The “best” time to workout is when you can do it consistently. For me, that was early morning. As the day rolled out, too many things came up that needed to be done, or I just ran out of energy.
If you’re a new lifter, I put my best advice in this PDF document you can download.
Tip 4: Bulk food prep and freeze.
Took me about five years to figure this one out – slow learner! About every three months, I would bulk cook chicken or other protein sources. After cooked and cooled, I’d cut it into cubes or strips, then freeze in quart bags. I dated the bags, too. A quart bag would be enough for me for work lunches for a week. I’d have 10-12 weeks of protein in the freezer at that point.
Tip 5: Make dry protein shakes ahead of time and store in car.
I have many shaker bottles. I put all the dry ingredients in my bottles at one time, seal them, then put them in a lunch bag. That bag stays in my car, too. When I get to the gym, I take out a bottle and toss it in my gym backpack. When I’m done with my lift, I add water and have my protein shake.
Tips 6: Block off workout time in your day as a “meeting”.
I schedule my workouts in my planner each week. It prevents me from scheduling anything else during that time.
What I like best about marking off my gym time in my planner is that it becomes a priority in my mind. Puts self-care right up there with everything else that competes for my time.
Tammy became an athlete in her 50’s and is passionate about helping other busy adults transform their health. Each individual has a unique combination of strengths and challenges that have to be used to shape a program that will work. Science-based principles, flexibility, accountability, and support make all the difference.