Starting a fitness program is not easy. If you’re new to exercising or coming back to exercising after a break, you’re probably going to have some challenges adjusting. For some people, adjusting to those challenges can end up in giving up on fitness programs altogether.
If you know ahead of time the problems that you’re likely to encounter, it’ll make it easier for you to tackle them when they get in your way. Finding a workout program that works for you is a central part of getting past those roadblocks that get in the way of you and your fitness goals.
1. "I don't have time"
Life is busy. Juggling work and family doesn’t always leave a lot of time for working out. Not only that, but we all have lives outside of our responsibilities. What free time we have, well we naturally want to fill that up with things that make us happy like hobbies and downtime. It’s an honest problem.
For most people, this obstacle to exercise is a perceived one rather than a real one. There is a reality that we have a finite number of hours in the day, but this doesn’t take into account the mental and emotional benefits of working out. Making strides in fitness doesn’t only take away time, it gives tangible rewards that boost other areas of life.
A great example of this is in mood. We know that working out regularly is a major mood booster. Making that time every day or a few times a week is tough at first, but the even emotional state that it gives you will make up for that time. You’ll spend less time needing to unwind with Netflix or checking out on your phone because consistent workouts will reduce the amount of stress you carry. Though you’re spending time on your fitness, you’re getting it back.
Another perfect example of this is in sleep. Lots of people struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep. This represents real time that you lose in your day. When you participate in fitness programs, your sleep is likely to improve. Again, by putting time into your health and fitness, you’re getting time back through better sleep.
These are just a few ways that a fitness routine helps you gain time back into your life, even though you’re taking time to do it. From a cost/benefit standpoint, you’re getting more time than you put in.
Fitness time tip: Schedule your workouts and prepare for them. Put it on your calendar just like you would a meeting or a doctor’s appointment. Lay out your gear, pull out your clothes, prep your protein shake and water bottle.
2. "I'm not seeing results fast enough"
When you start a fitness program, you’re probably interested in reaching a specific fitness goal. That’s great! The problems come when those goals are out of sync with what’s realistic given your current level of fitness. In fact, measuring your fitness goals only in terms of losing weight or gaining muscle mass in certain numbers is a recipe for giving up on your workout program.
Especially with beginners, overdoing exercise can cause burnout. You start off going hard, expecting to drop off the pounds or build on the bulk, and when it doesn’t happen quickly enough you get overwhelmed and quit.
Consistency is the key to results in fitness. You’re much more likely to reach your fitness goals and maintain them in the long run if you start off with something manageable and then build on it. This is true if you’re new to working out or if you’re experienced in weight training or cardio. Instead of going for five classes a week, begin by committing to two classes a week for a month. After that, adding another class won’t feel overwhelming, and your body will have time to adjust and get in the rhythm of working out. This will also prevent plateauing, because you’re changing things up for your body.
Set yourself up for fitness success by measuring your progress not in inches on your waist, but in the time you’re putting in and the quality of your workout. You have to learn to trust the process. If you’re consistent in your fitness training, you will reach your goals. With every workout, you’re also building your overall health. You might not be able to see your cardiovascular health in the mirror as clearly as you see your muscle mass, but in ten years or twenty years your body will feel it through improved health.
Fitness results tip: One way to combat this is to partner with a fitness trainer that you can trust. An experienced workout instructor will be able to keep you motivated and moving in the right direction. This can help you to stay grounded and moving forward, even when you’re discouraged.
3. "I hate working out"
This last one is arguably the hardest to deal with. It’s pretty impossible to move yourself forward in fitness if you don’t enjoy the physical feeling of exercising. But it doesn’t have to be!
When some people think about getting in shape, they imagine a gym filled with row after row of treadmills or stationary bikes. They might think about hard core trainers yelling at a person who is struggling to do a pullup. While those are ways that people get fit, there are so many more options out there for improving fitness! You don’t have to run eight miles a day or do fifty push ups in order to reach fitness goals. Training in self defense, practicing martial arts, or doing cardio kickboxing might be the thing that lights your fire to get moving. Just as we discussed in number two, the point is consistency. It doesn’t matter so much what kind of fitness program you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it consistently. Find the thing that works for you!
For people who have always thought that they hated working out, the real reason might be that they haven’t done the right kind of exercise for them.
Fitness motivation tip: If you’ve hated working out before, push yourself to try something new for a month. It might be working out from home with an online class if you’ve not enjoyed the gym, or it might be heading into an in-person fitness class if you’ve not enjoyed working out at home.
Sticking with a fitness routine isn’t always easy. Everyone has a rough time with fitness motivation sometimes - even those people who have been working out for a long time! If that’s you, then try looking at your lack of motivation from new angles. You can do it!
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