Updated: Oct 24, 2022
Slow consistency is the idea of finding a moderate pace that you can sustain indefinitely.
It helps prevent burnout and gives you results that will last. It leads to better compliance because you’re able to stick to the realistic expectations you have placed on yourself.
When it comes to fitness, it means that you set realistic goals for yourself about what you’re able to commit to. It means finding a balance between your high expectations, and what is actually attainable for you. It might mean that you’re only able to give 50% effort to some workouts, or some weeks maybe you only workout once instead of your goal of 3x per week.
But most importantly, it means you keep going.
Slow consistency means you understand that Rome was not built in a day, and neither is your health or fitness. Habits take time to stick and you’ll make mistakes along the way.
You have to give yourself grace, and forget the all or nothing thinking. You have to start slow, accumulating small wins along the way, until you have built the skills required to do more.
That’s how I have practiced fitness for the last several years, and why I believe I’ve been able to be consistent and not give up my workout routine. To read more about how I learned to be consistent, read my fitness journey.
It is my opinion that when it comes to exercise and nutrition, consistency is success, even more than meeting a goal or accomplishing a challenging feat.
I was reminded of this idea of slow consistency during our hike up Fairview Mountain at Lake Louise in 2020. The last climb to the summit was steep and rocky. I was getting tired and moving very slowly. It was hard to tell how much longer we had to climb, so I tried really hard to keep a positive attitude and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I reminded myself that I can do hard things, that experience has taught me to stay positive, and that I had trained for this very thing. And then all of a sudden, we were at the top! Of course, the views were incredible and we were ecstatic to have made it.
Now, when I think about that hike, I don’t think as much about the 30 minutes we spent at the top enjoying the views (and our lunch) although that certainly was memorable. Instead, I think about the other 5 hours we spent on the side of the mountain, climbing up and down, back and forth on the switch backs. I remember seeing the sun rise over the valley, walking through an enchanting yellow forest, seeing the snow caps, watching the train from above, and praying we wouldn’t run into a bear or sprain an ankle.
Do you see where I’m going with this? I think fitness is the same way. Enjoy the process. It’s not a sprint to the top. It’s not a straight path either. You’ll spend most of your time “on your way” and even once you’ve reached the “summit” (aka your biggest goal) you’re still not even close to done yet. Hopefully, you’ll never be finished. Enjoy. The. Process.
Sure, it’s not as exciting as going ALL IN and busting your butt in the gym every day for 11 days straight while all you eat is salad (and then giving up completely because there’s no way to keep this up so what’s the point.)
Finding a pace and a routine that is moderate and achievable for you is so important for your long-term success. Plus, it’s better for your health. This is because your health benefits most from actions that you repeat over a long period of time. Running every day for a week and then giving up isn’t going to improve your health much beyond that first week.
Fitness is for life, so you have to find what works for you.
Start small. Stay consistent. And give yourself grace!
If you have any questions or inspirational stories of your own, feel free to send them my way! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org