11 Reasons Why You Are Failing at Fitness
This year was the fourth year you've promised to get in better shape and things haven't quite worked out. If you are a sedentary person, you may start beating yourself up for not being more active. You may struggle with food and it causes stress that makes you crave more food.
We've all been there.
You may also be someone who is somewhat fit, you take walks and you opt for the stairs.
Related - Find the Best Workout for Your Goals
When it comes to starting exercise, there's a lot of information out there. Maybe you want to pick up from where you left off a few years ago. Deciding what program you're going to follow is important, so knowing your goals is a must.
So here's what normally happens:
Your first month goes alright. You have to miss a few workout sessions but overall you're doing well. You like the gym, it feels good to be in there, and you feel like progress is being made.
Month two rolls around and you seem to miss a few more workouts than usual. You may have started your own made-up workout instead. You feel a little guilty about slacking off but you still try to eat healthy. You may start eating things that are "bad" for you a few times per week.
As month three approaches, your lack of motivation and results will start to get to you. You feel like a wuss and don't understand why you don't go to the gym.
Month four is here and you are lucky to workout once per week. You start skipping meals and your protein intake plummets. You may start forgetting to take your supplements.
Month five rolls around and you feel like crap. You've only been to the gym a few times this month.
Half of the year is gone and you think that this is "the time." You bought a new workout program and some workout clothes, and it's time you "stick with it."
And you fail again.
Does that sound familiar? I'm sure it does to many of us.
Stop Failing at Fitness
#1 - You Have No Time
If you want something bad enough, you'll make time for it. Not having enough time has become one of the biggest excuses for not working out. How much time do you think you need to workout?
Research suggests that it is more efficient to workout 20 to 45 minutes per session three to four times per week. Less can be more.
Take a look at the time you spend on social media, procrastinating, and doing other tasks that may not help you toward your goal. It's possible to free up 20 minutes per day to be physically active.
#2 - You Have No Motivation
We all lose our mojo through the daily stress of life. Sometimes you have to show up whether you are motivated or not. Going to the gym and working out builds mental fortitude that carries over into the rest of your life.
Writing out your goals, creating a timeline and plan, and creating a reward for accomplishing your goals can help you cultivate motivation.
#3 - You're Not Seeing Results
It's hard to keep busting your butt at something and not seeing any results. Once the excuse of "no time, no money, or no whatever" comes out, your motivation has vanished. There are generally two reasons why someone doesn't accomplish a goal — they don't have a specific plan, and they are left with a bunch of guesswork and hoping you are making progress.
Lastly, many individuals don't have a consistent diet that supports their workout goals — making this one of the biggest reasons someone may not see any progress.
#4 - You Are Stressed
We all know that exercising helps with stress, but did you know that stress is the number one exercise deterrent? Exercise helps alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety. It helps your mind and body relax and unwind.
This allows you to cope with whatever you are dealing with.
Simply taking a walk, practicing yoga, learning to meditate, or lifting weights helps relieve stress and will produce the feel-good hormone serotonin.
#5 - You Have Unrealistic Expectations
When you start exercising, there is a bit of lag between when we start exercising and when we start seeing results. Experts suggest that it can take at least six weeks of regular exercise or longer before any physiological changes start to kick in.
This is why many often feel defeated after a few weeks of effort.
As your disappointment levels start to rise, you're more likely to quit. Losing weight takes time and you have to understand to get long-lasting results, you're going to have to set realistic time frames, and it's going to take a lot of patience.
An easy way to see if you are improving is to assess how hard your workouts are. As you improve your health and strength, your workouts will ultimately start feeling easier.
#6 - You May Be Overtraining
Between the stress at work, in our personal lives, and in the gym, we push our bodies too far.
The thought is that you will attain your goals faster... but you won't. Your joints, bones, and muscles are going to take a beating and you will not have adequate recovery between your workouts.
As you push yourself harder, you'll likely start feeling weaker and seeing a loss in performance. Taking a day or two off from a heavy training day is recommended. Programming in a deload week every fourth week works for intermediate and advanced lifters.
#7 - You Have a Bad Attitude
Whenever you tell yourself that you are too lazy to do something, you are setting yourself up for failure. Ridiculing and picking apart all of the minor things you "messed up" can destroy your confidence. The more negatively you talk about yourself and think negative thoughts, the more you will slowly derail.
Next time you catch yourself being critical of yourself, turn the negative into a positive. Basically, take your wins when you can. Praise yourself for taking a walk at lunch. Tell yourself you're doing a good job for going for a bike ride after dinner.
#8 - Your Goals Are Too Vague
Goals that are vague lead to confusion and overall failing to reach them. I mean, when your goals are so vague, how can you actually achieve them?
For for instance... "I want to lose weight." How much weight? How long are you expecting it to take? Having a general idea for a goal will cause your motivation to die quickly. You'll feel like you're wandering around aimlessly and wasting your time.
Create goals with tangible parameters and provide a realistic time period for achieving this goal.
If you want to lose weight, write down your ideal weight or how much you want to lose, write down when you want to achieve it, and start writing what it will take to get there. Having a clear path to your goal helps you gain control and achieve goals.
#9 - You Don't Have Short-Term Goals
So you have your long-term goals... but what about short-term goals? All of your big goals could take months — if not years — and it is easy to lose focus and motivation. If you can step back and take a look at short-term goals, you can use them as stepping stones to achieving your long-term goal.
Celebrating small successes along the way helps to reinforce your motivation and can help you evaluate if you are making progress or if you need to adjust anything.
Achieving five goals of losing five pounds equals a 25-pound weight loss. The small wins along the way makes the larger goal feel attainable.
#10 - You Don't Have a Plan
Since you don't have a specific and measurable goal, it's likely you don't have a plan. You need to start prioritizing what will help you achieve your goals.
Preparing your workouts in advance helps make the gym experience easier and faster. Write down your exercises, reps, sets, and the weight you will use. It helps you keep a log of your workouts and helps you see what works and what doesn't.
#11 - You Lack Variety
It's important to push your body and consistently improve, but performing the same exercises over and over may make you bored. Try some new exercises and stick to the ones you love the most. If you're excited to go to the gym, it's more likely you can follow through with your gym commitments.
If you're in a funk and not wanting to go to the gym... go anyway. Try some new exercises, mess around and try a new rep scheme or tempo. Allow yourself to experiment and enjoy the process.
How to Stop Failing at Fitness
Failing at your fitness goals is normal. We may be hoping to lose weight, or we start trying to adopt an unsustainable lifestyle.
Here are a few tips on how to finally stop failing at fitness.
Understand Your Fitness Levels
Before you jump into anything, you need to assess your fitness levels. Test yourself to see how much you can do before you are tired or completely out of breath. Keep track of things like your pulse, how many reps of an exercise you can do, or how long it takes to walk or run a mile.
If you are very overweight or have a heart of respiratory condition, be careful and consult your doctor. Once you find your baseline, you'll have something to base your progress on.
Find a Program
There are several options when it comes to fitness programs. You can find ready-made fitness programs or check out our own workouts.
Follow the instructions, be consistent, and start working toward your goals.
Set a Goal
You know what you are capable of, now it's time to set a goal. Think about exactly what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it. Do you have a certain weight you'd like to reach? Would you like to run a certain pace or distance?
Choose a specific goal, set a time you want to accomplish it by, and put in the work.
Hire a Personal Trainer
If you're finding it hard to follow a workout, it may be best to hire a personal trainer. They can help keep you focused, on track, and performing exercises correctly.
A trainer can help hold you accountable and help you stop with the excuses. You can find an online coach or hire a personal trainer at your local gym. Some trainers may hold your hand a little, but they are going to expect effort and results.
Find the Timing That Works for You
Not finding the time is one of the most used excuses for not exercising. Starting at the right time that fits your lifestyle is crucial.
Map out your days and find out how long you have to exercise. You don't have to work out every single day, and don't fret if you can only exercise for 20 minutes at a time — you can get a great workout in when you push yourself hard.
Get Everything You Need Ready in Advance
When it comes to starting a new fitness program or getting into the habit of going to the gym, you need to make the transition as easy as possible. Now is the time to get excited about trying something new.
Start thinking about what you're going to need for your workouts. You may need to find a gym, buy some equipment to exercise at home, and you may need some exercise clothes. Get a gym bag and have it prepared so you have no real excuse for not going to the gym.
Removing any resistance from getting to the gym and exercising improves your chances of actually going to the gym.
Once you get started, the hard part is over. Now is the time to work on cultivating motivation.
Motivation doesn't stay, either. It will come and go.
Keeping your goals in the front of your mind helps keep you focused and motivated to accomplish them. Find out your motivators and start rewarding yourself or exercising with friends.
Creating a lifestyle that is sustainable is important — you need to find joy in your lifestyle or it will be hard to maintain.