By Leo Babauta

We had a chance to interview Roger Lawson of Rog Law Fitness about forming the exercise habit. Rog has had the fitness habit himself for years now, and publicly shares what he does and how he learns with people on his site, Rog Law Fitness. He also works with clients to get them sexified!

In this interview, Rog shares his successful methods for creating the exercise habit — with himself, but also with his readers and clients.

1. How long have you had a consistent exercise habit? What’s your current workout schedule (just a quick summary)?

Rog: I started exercising seriously back in 2007 after my doctor told me that my cholesterol levels were ginormously (ok, she didn’t use that word, but my numbers were 300+) high and haven’t looked back since.

I normally workout exclusively with barbells, dumbbells and bodyweight exercises 2-3 times a week for 45-60min at a time. Cardio makes me a sad, sad man, so my cardio consists of Dance Central on the XBOX or walking and listening to an audiobook or podcast.

Here is what my current workout schedule looks like. If I train more then 2 times, I simply repeat a workout.

Day A:

Deadlift – 3 x 5
Weighted Chin Ups – 3 x 6-10
Barbell Row – 4 x 10
Back Extension – 3 x 20

Day B:

Barbell Box Squat – 3 x 5
Weighted Dips – 3 x 10
Barbell Hip Thrust – 3 x 10
1 Arm Dumbbell Row – 3 x 10

2. How did you create the exercise habit? What worked, what obstacles were tough to overcome?

Rog: As cliché as it sounds, one day at a time.

Initially it sucked – HARD! I couldn’t really move my arms, walking up stairs was a pain, and the thought of trying to get out of bed or off the toilet was almost enough to make me want to live my existence by standing in a corner, never doing either of those two things again!

Pushing through that initial soreness was rough, but I just kept telling myself that if millions of people around the world could do this on a consistent basis, and that they were no better than me, then I could do it, too.

Each time I went to the gym, I added another victory link to my chain, and the longer this chain became, the more unwilling I was to let it break. I began to take it more seriously, treating it as a commitment versus just an option or something I would fit into my life.

In early 2011, I injured my lower back and along with that injury came a crippling blow to my confidence and will to exercise. I took 4 months off of training completely, ate like crap and subsequently 10+ lbs of fluff.

Returning back to the gym after this layoff was, as all the cool kids say, a hot mess. I was weak, demotivated and simply didn’t want to be there. I was rusty, it took everything I had in me to keep the rust from setting in permanently.

After the first week, I took the pressure off myself and simply began building my chain of wins back up, just like I did when I first started.

Look at me now =)

3. What motivates you to exercise? What makes it something you look forward to doing?

Rog: I’m a huge gamer, so the concept of leveling up is something that I take very seriously, so why not apply it to fitness as well?

Much to my nerdy enjoyment, a website called Fitocracy applied this concept to exercise, so I immediately jumped on the platform and began using it aggressively. Even after spending years in the gym, I haven’t been this excited about training in a very long time. I enjoy it so much because I’m rewarded for exercising – points, rewards, badges and props from members of the community.

Even though I’m a personal trainer, I don’t enjoy exercise all that much. I view it as a means to an end; I don’t like exercising, but I love having exercised. Because of this, progress points like those mentioned above as well as things like changes in the mirror and silently serving as an inspiration to others looking to improve their own health through fitness are what motivates me most these days.

4. What have you done to help clients form the exercise habit? Are there obstacles you have been good at helping them overcome?

Rog: Hold them accountable!

We’re all human, and with that comes the occasional slip ups, especially when it comes to creating lasting habits that run counter to our normal tendencies. That’s where I come in to the rescue for my clients – I help them create realistic goals and then I wait there like a unicorn mixed with a puma, waiting to pounce on them just when they’re about to give up on themselves, injecting them with a healthy dose positivity, actionable steps and support when they need it the most.

I work best when I’m able to relate my own failures and mistakes to my clients. I’m no infallible guru, just a guy who has learned a lot from falling down pretty often and wants to share his experiences with others to streamline their success.

5. Tell us a bit about your blog, and how that’s helped people form the exercise habit?

Rog: Your fantastic readers can find my blog here. I use it as a vehicle to hopefully inspire people to take control of their lives through fitness, with my sincere belief being that it can change your entire life for the better.

I often write about fat loss and muscle gain, interweaving game, comic book and 90s pop-culture references into my writing as well to make it a lot more fun for both myself and my readers.

6. Any other advice for people who want to make exercise a regular part of their lives?

Rog: “Because your own strength is unequal to the task, do not assume that it is beyond the powers of man; but if anything is within the powers and province of man, believe that it is within your own compass also.” – Marcus Aurelius