Six Reasons You Can’t Get Fit (and how to overcome them)
I first started to get into fitness when I was about 15 years old. My brother was into body building and purchased an impressive amount of weight training equipment which he set up in our basement. I think it might have been the only time he was ever motivated to use a wrench. In 1979, gyms with weight training capabilities were unheard of where I lived and still rather uncommon in major cities. I was intrigued by guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane who filled the pages of various body building publications. I’m not sure how it came to be, but my brother gave me a routine to follow and that was the start of an off and on love affair with weight training and fitness. I used that routine religiously, not knowing anything else, and did the exact same thing for years. It never made much difference. For various reasons, I took a long hiatus from fitness and returned with a new program that I followed religiously for a few years before falling off the wagon again. This is a pattern I repeated for many years, until recently. I finally figured out why I couldn’t stay motivated to work out and what I needed to do to overcome my magnetic attraction to the sofa.
As I see it, there are several reasons why most people have difficulty maintaining a commitment to regular exercise. I guess if there were only one reason, the problem would be very easy to overcome. Here are some of the issues I noticed in myself and in others and some ways to overcome them. If you follow my guidance, I think you will find yourself getting more excited about working out and more committed than you have ever been before.
Doing too much too soon: When I first started to work out again, I was not sure how committed I would be. I had stopped and started working out several times before and since I hadn’t done anything for a while, other than go for a walk outside, I was feeling pretty lazy about the whole thing. I decided that I would start slow because it seemed more important in the beginning to do what I could do consistently. I think many people start a fitness routine that is a bit too intense and unwittingly turn it into an unpleasant experience. I decided that all I could do consistently was show up 5 days a week for a 20-30 minute walk on the treadmill. I gradually began to challenge myself and got a trainer to give me a quick workout that was efficient enough to allow me to work several muscle groups at the same time. Soon afterward, I found myself looking for new exercises on YouTube and reading about fitness to find more ways to maximize my time in the gym.
Not going often enough: Most people join a gym and think they will work out three days a week and they will be able to stay motivated. While a slow start is better than no start, going three days a week breaks your momentum. That is why I opted to do five short workouts rather than three longer sessions. I found that the three day a week thing made me lazier. I have to treat going to the gym like I treat going to a job. I get out the door on time, five days a week and I don’t call in sick unless I am truly unable to function. It works. Building the right mindset and forcing yourself into a habit of fitness is essential if you want to be able to change your fitness level permanently.
Not setting yourself up for success: I like to work out first thing in the morning. I find that anything I really want to do, needs to be done then. I don’t let myself do any work before I go to the gym. I also eat my breakfast in my gym clothes so I don’t have any opportunity to get distracted or lazy. You have to make it easy for yourself to just go; no matter what.
Comparing yourself to others: Those early workout days while you are still pretty unfit can be brutal. Gyms can be intimidating when you are new and unsure of what you are doing. How do I use the equipment? Am I doing this right? Do I look stupid doing this? Am I too fat to be here? All of these thoughts run through our heads and interfere with our ability to gain momentum. Consider that the journey you are on in the gym is really your own. Don’t live your life through someone else’s eyes. It is about your personal fitness goals. Nobody else should matter to you in that moment. Besides, nobody really cares what you are doing. In fact, most people who work out regularly are fully focused on their routine and don’t even pay attention to those around them. Put your blinders on and get it done. You won’t regret trying to be fit, but you will regret making the choice to remain unfit.
Slow or minimal results: If you don’t work out consistently enough and if you don’t challenge your muscles, then you will not see any difference. If you don’t see a change, then you will not care to continue. While there is still merit in being in the gym, there needs to be a compelling reason to keep going. I find that once I see results, I don’t want to lose them and I am more able to push myself to do more and therefore stay motivated to continue. Fitness is a lifestyle choice, so you have to keep it going if you want to keep looking and feeling good. Don’t be afraid to add a little extra weight, change your routine every few weeks, add more reps, do circuits, etc. These days I do a three day rotation over five days. One upper body day, a lower body day and a full body day. If I feel like doing something different from my regular program, I do it, but I always challenge myself. It’s all about having fun, getting stronger and being focused on the discipline of regular exercise. It’s also about panting and sweating. Those two elements will cause change, but eat sensibly as well. 80% of your effort will be lost if your diet is unhealthy.
No back up plan: Have a home workout ready in case you have an important meeting or inclement weather to deal with and can’t get to the gym. This can be a series of body weight exercises combined with cardio so that you have a quick, full body workout that is ready to go. Having a spare workout that requires no equipment and can go everywhere with you (even vacation) will help you maintain your momentum. Write it down and have it on hand for those days when being in the gym is just not possible. You’ll be glad you remained dedicated to your plan to stay fit. Message me if you want me to share my spare workout with you. You can also check out YouTube. There is a ton of free and excellent fitness instruction there.
Low priority: If being fit is not a priority, you will never do any of the things I suggest here. Try to build a compelling reason to stay fit. Think about what your motivation is. Pain usually motivates us to do things we need to do. Think about what you are sick of or afraid of in terms of your health and body. Are you sick of looking flabby? Are you afraid of being on insulin? Are you battling mental health issues? Whatever it is, it needs to serve as a strong reminder to you. Taking control of your body is a great way to start taking control of your life. The more discipline you can build around physical activity, the more disciplined and focused you will be in your professional and personal life.
One of the many wonderful benefits of fitness is that the more you do, the more you feel like doing. Nothing makes you lazier than being lazy. Have a fitness goal and you will soon find yourself with all kinds of other goals. Be fulfilled, be happy, be fit.
Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has held leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing strategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work.
Renée really shines in marketing communications. She is known for developing and implementing comprehensive communications strategies and generating results through flawless implementation. With such strong business acumen, passion for her work and a natural talent for business strategy, Renée is definitely considered an important resource for her clients. Is your business in transition? Do you need help with your communications or public relations efforts? Contact Renée through her website.
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