What is it that causes us to crash and burn with our fitness programs and how can we start to overcome them?
As I write this I am overweight and very unlikely to get myself on the cover of Men’s Heath anytime soon. Like many I seem to have succumbed to the fact that life just gets in the way, spending the vast majority of my time entertaining my new family or on my backside commuting or while at work. Up until my mid-twenties I was regularly playing sports but the last time I regularly exercised was about three years ago and about two years ago my attempt to run myself buff ended with a tear to the cruciate ligament in my right knee. Now in my 30s I have decided to take action and get in the best shape of my life, to lose weight, regain my energy levels, concentration, eliminate tiredness, and look after my rigid bones and my useless muscles.
These are all good intentions, but I’ve been here before. How come I haven’t maintained my previous fitness programs and why am I not already in the best physical condition of my life? I need to break the cycle of fitness failure and formulate a winning strategy; to do this I need to understand what causes me to crash and burn. I did a little research in an attempt to identify the common obstacles, or risks if you like, to my fitness success. This is what I came up with, some of these maybe obvious to you but I’m sure some may resonate with you in some way.
1. LAZINESS AND IDLENESS
Believing that exercise is too hard or is something that everyone else tells us we should be doing. It’s either painful or boring and therefore a chore or something we hate. Why would you want to trade our comfort for pain? This kind of framing and negative association leaves us with no motivation whatsoever to start or even maintain any kind of fitness program.
2. YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START
There’s either too much or too little information available on exercise and nutrition and the experts are all telling us a variety of different methods to fitness success that leave us confused. Finding an individual plan that will work for you feels like an impossible task.
3. LOW SELF ESTEEM OR TOO SELF CONSCIOUS
You consider yourself to be too fat or unfit to exercise and think that people will laugh or judge you in any attempt to improve your fitness. This is an attitude that perpetuates your negative association of exercise and your self-image. Thinking like this will never inspire or motivate you to make any positive changes.
4. YOUR BROKE
You can’t afford the gym membership fee or to buy any fitness equipment so believe that without this you are unable to exercise.
You expect to too much too soon. When you don’t lose the gut and get that washboard stomach within a week or month you feel frustrated or disillusioned. It isn’t long until you lose momentum or motivation and give up.
6. UNDERMINING YOUR EFFORTS WITH BAD EATING HABITS
After a good session at he gym you reward yourself with a binge of unhealthy eating with the logic that you deserve it or that you can allow yourself to do it because you’ve just exercised. In reality you have put yourself back at the starting line, wondering why you are not making any progress.
7. NO TIME FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL HEALTH
Having no time due to work and family life is probably the most common obstacle to overcome. You see or believe these things to be more important than your own personal health and well-being.
8. NAÏVITY AND VANITY
You’re currently happy with your level of fitness or body so believe that you do not need to exercise.
If the gym or pool is too far, the exercises too hard, if it’s too cold or you have no one to go running with then you are just finding ways to put off exercising so you can continue to wallow in idleness, even though your waistline is slowly expanding and your long term health deteriorating.
OVERCOMING THE OBSTACLES
To counter these obstacles we need to get real leverage on ourselves. If we are exercising because we are feel we should or if we are waiting for that window of time to appear in our weekly schedules we will never fully succeed in any personal fitness program.
Leverage is having a real genuine need and the desire to exercise. This can come from clearly defined and realistic personal goals, inspiring motivations and a real awareness of the benefits of regular exercise and the consequences of inactivity. This is further supported with an appropriate plan of attack that enables us to jump well clear of our obstacles and keep us on track.
With this in mind I am coming up with a list of things that I believe can kick start a fitness program and help to maintain it which I will share with you in my next article. I hope that you found this article a good read whether your are already an accomplished athlete or a guy looking to get to grip with his personal health and well-being, like me.
Let me know if you have any other thoughts on what stops us from reaching our fitness goals by commenting below, I’d love to hear your ideas on how to over come them.
UPDATE: The list I mention above has now been published and can be viewed here:
13 Ways to get Leverage for Fitness Success