Today I want to introduce my friend Marius whom I met here in Spain 2 years ago. I knew that Marius was very active and liked to do sports but had never talked about details. One evening we were having dinner in a nice restaurant and we were talking about activities and sports, how important they are in our life and how to develop good sport habits. Through this evening I found out new information about planning, implementation and achievement of goals in sport. About very interesting activities too. I realized that he perfectly organizes his sport routine and has very good tips which help achieve results. So I decided that he really had something to share with us all.
Read our conversation below.
WHICH PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES DO YOU LIKE THE MOST?
Well, I enjoy the most when I can unleash my competitiveness, high energy, add to it some experimentation and have the feeling of being fit. It all fits into my philosophy of “why” I like active sports.
Although I like many sports activities such as playing basketball 4-on-4, jogging, doing high-intense interval training, swimming, aikido and trekking but nothing beats a jumping rope workout. There was a famous study done, more info here, that basically says that jumping rope workouts are the best cardio workouts that are out there. So, on top of being an entertaining exercise tool it’s a perfect workout.
WHICH BENEFITS DO YOU GET FROM YOUR WORKOUTS? HOW DOES SPORT AFFECT YOUR LIFE?
Mind and body are interrelated so when my body is in shape my mind also is. I have never been a professional athlete, but I think I got much more from sport than sport got from me. Overall I get fun, mental focus and positive emotions. It helps me to stay on track of my performance and my personal goals that are not directly related to sports.
IS IT EASY TO INTEGRATE YOUR SPORT ROUTINE INTO WORK? HOW DO YOU PLAN YOUR WORKOUTS?
Well, it’s always a challenge. To get it done I try to reduce complexity in my weekly schedule and in the day-to-day activities. On my calendar, I reserve time blocks for sports and have one day as an optional day to workout if I miss one of the scheduled days. So, for example, I work out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and an extra day is Saturday. So, I if I miss Monday or Wednesday or Friday then I work out on Saturday.
Regarding daily activities I try to simplify and overcome barriers that prevent me from avoiding a workout, for example I:
- Know which exercises to perform during the workout in advance in order not to lose concentration & motivation
- Find a nearby gym that I like and a place to work out if the gym is closed
- Always have everything prepared for a workout at home
- Not in the mood? Then I put some songs to get me pumped up for the exercise
- When I don’t want to work out, I always remember the feeling of accomplishment that I get after it.
To sum up, it’s important to know yourself and set some workarounds to get you moving towards your exercise in case mood or weather has an impact on your mental state.
Another thing is not to put pressure on yourself. I mean, I accept that I will be living a physically active life and it’s not a lose-10kg-in-three-months program. I seek consistency. It’s the critical approach that serves me well. The small thing that makes all the difference in the end.
Regarding the results that I want, I try to change workouts and sometimes play basketball, attend flexibility classes or high-intensity workouts. It is fun! But lately, I don’t need that much of variation. It’s just in case I want to change a routine.
HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO CONTINUE YOUR WORKOUTS?
Well, I bench-marked my performance and always remember how my start was or the level of my performance six months ago. For example, the number of double-jumps I did six months ago, the degree of flexibility, the weight that I can lift or the number of pull-ups I can do per set. You can measure your performance only if you keep exercising. Also, always know your desired outcome.
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHICH HABITS IN LIFE HELP US ACHIEVE GOALS?
Consistency, progress tracking and self-consciousness of your own performance. When you see that you’re getting better at something it’s a strong push forward. Plus, always try to avoid burn-outs. It takes twice the effort and time to come back to the same level of performance after reaching too far. I change the pace or the activity from time to time. It’s not sprint but marathon in whatever that I do. So, being self-conscious about your views and performance helps a lot.
HOW TO DEVELOP APPROPRIATE HABITS TO HELP DO SPORTS?
By connecting triggers to the habit and the good feeling that the practice brings. It’s well described in a book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. The book explains well the concept of habit and how it works. Below is the sketch made by the author.
The sketch explains how habits are formed. First, you have to have a cue or a trigger that kicks-off the routine. Next step is the routine itself and finally the reward. I agree with what Charles highlights and what crucial element is craving. Over time the brain starts seeking a habit. It brings a strong desire for a good feeling and this way it strengthens the habit even more. For example, my sport shoes are left in the room at home. It triggers the routine to go to the gym, after which I feel energized, and that brings me a strong desire to improve my performance and feel better even more! So, I recommend the read. It explains with compelling examples on how to form or change habits.
WHAT DO YOU THINK HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DEVELOP GOOD HABITS AND ACHIEVE GOALS?
It depends on the level of your consciousness, forgiveness when you fail and being emotionally well concentrated. I think when you remove the urgency of getting everything here and now your mind stays more balance. Focus on long term performance, get one thing at the time. One day you will realize you have all the habits you wanted.
HOW OFTEN PER WEEK DO YOU DO YOUR EXERCISES AND IS IT ENOUGH FOR YOU?
Three times per week. And if I have time I go to a flexibility class to prevent injuries. I do think it’s enough for me to stay fit and enjoy sports.
IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO TRACK YOUR RESULTS?
Yes. At a certain point, you stop improving and when you become conscious about it you look for new ways of doing things. It’s fun, you always learn something new and keep improving. I think we all need to grow one way or another.
IS SPORT A PART OF YOUR LIFE? HOW MUCH DO YOU WANT TO EXERCISE IN THE FUTURE?
Indeed it is. It helps me to stay focused and sharp during the day. Maybe I will change my sport activities, but the purpose is to be active. It’s part of me so this way I don’t feel the pressure that I should do this or that. It’s my way of living. Always move and have fun. Progress and advancement matter to me. I do believe that it has a positive impact on my mental state.