How to Create the Fitness Habit You Can't Live Without

Vanessa Gatelein Mar 10, 2023

Just starting out and what to build a fitness habit that sticks? Try this!

Introducing the Japanese concept of “Kaizen.” This word translates to “continuous improvement" step by step and not making huge dramatic changes that are not sustainable.

Kaizen comes from the Japanese automotive industry where they are constantly improving the process on the assembly line. Think about it, they cannot make big changes that could slow down productivity or reduce the quality of the car. Instead, they make small manageable changes that help them to improve their end product while improving on the process.

How does Kaizen work in real life… and with fitness?


Many clients come to me and say, “Vanessa, I am going --all in-- and this week I will go to the gym 5 times.”

And I smile :).

Typical Approach

You see… just practically speaking about time, that adds +30 minutes to get there, +1 hour for the workout, +30 minutes shower and clean up, then +30 minutes to get home x 5 times in the week. That equals an additional 12.5 hours you must add to the week. That could overwhelm anyone trying to fit that in around a full-time job or staying at home with the kids. And I didn’t even talk about sore muscles!

The Kaizen approach says… 

Add 1 workout in this week and see what happens.

That is +2.5 hours to add into your already busy week.

Things to ask yourself:

  • How was it to prepare for exercise?
  • Was it easy to start on time?
  • Does this time slot suit me?How do I feel in my body before? After?
  • Did I enjoy that type of exercise?
  • What is my hunger level like at this time?
  • How was it to clean up after?
  • Anything else to note?

When this time slot works, say a Thursday over lunch, then LOCK IT IN as your regular appointment with yourself to exercise. This is GREAT because you are building a routine for that day without overwhelming your whole week. You also teach people around you, that this set day and time is sacred for your workout and they will start to leave you alone and possibly even support you in getting your workout in.

After practicing your 1x a week workout for about a month, consider adding in 1 more workout on a different day and see how that goes. Reflect on the same questions, because it needs to work or you. No one else. Tweak your routine in tiny kaizen bits and pieces until you’ve found the magic formula that makes it easy to get your workout in.

So… what do you think about Kaizen?

  • Is this an approach that could work for you?
  • Do you see the advantages of taking it step by step?
  • Do you want quicker results, and couldn’t bear taking it slow?

Whatever you choose, keep yourself in motion, and enjoy yourself along the way.

Cheers to you!


Health & Wellness Coach

  • Mindfulness