If I had a dime for every time someone told me, “I’ve tried everything and still can’t lose weight / get fit / tone my arms!” I’d be writing this from my own private island in the middle of the South Pacific.
Such is not the case. I’m in my home office without an island in sight, yet I still receive these emails without compensation.
First, a brief backstory…
Like so many trainers, when I began my career in 1995 (let’s have a moment of silence for that era), I got into the business thinking I could rid the world of unwanted poundage, inspire the uninspired to get off their couches, and share the wonders of fitness to the world!
In other words, I was completely off my rocker.
I soon learned the cold, hard truth: It’s not that easy, and not everyone gets results.
In fact, more than half of new exercisers quit and go back to their couches and ditch this whole crazy get-fit idea after about six weeks, surveys show.
So, if you decided to get in shape this past January 1st, chances are good you’ve fallen by the wayside, so to speak, by now.
If not, good for you! You’ve beat the odds.
If so, I can help.
Let’s take a look at why so many people fail to see results and what you can do to avoid becoming a statistic.
Fitness Fail #1: You Set Unrealistic Expectations
Going from zero to 100 mph in the form of “not working out at all” to “working out every day” is not going to happen. Sure, you may do it for a week or so, but if you’re doing the same routine over and over each day, one of a couple things is bound to happen: you get bored or you get injured.
Both are motivation killers.
Or, another common unrealistic goal may be striving to drop a bunch of dress sizes within a short period of time.
FITNESS FIX: Start from where you are and set small goals. Instead of vowing to exercise every day, start with three times a week. Or, better yet, do something active but different on alternate days.
For example, if you weight-train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, plan on doing cardio, yoga or stretching on alternate days.
Fitness Fail #2: You Do a Little but Expect a Lot
Performing a couple sets of ab crunches and expecting flatter abs is like eating a salad and wondering why you’ve not yet lost weight.
The problem is, technology allows us to download books in seconds, receive groceries within hours, and view movies on demand.
But here’s the thing: Our bodies did not get the same memo.
Evolutionary beliefs aside, not a whole lot has changed within the human species in the way of metabolism, digestion muscle building, and other bodily processes.
Real change takes time.
People who see results stick with a routine or workout for weeks or even months before expecting to see visible changes in their bodies.
Of course, you’ll experience other benefits such as sleeping more soundly and feeling more energetic fairly quickly, but seeing a new line of definition in your triceps? You’ll need to hang in there a bit for that.
But when that day rolls around you’ll be ordering a case of tank tops to reveal those puppies to the world.
FITNESS FIX: Trust that it’s happening beneath the surface. Patience and consistency win the race! Do the right things and focus on the process, not the outcome. Results will happen as long as you stay on track… which brings me to my final point.
Fitness Fail #3: You’re Not Doing It Right
“Not doing it right” may refer to several issues:
- You’re using poor exercise form from either copying someone else at the gym – or trying to “wing it” on your own.
- You only do the things you want to do, so your program isn’t well rounded.
- You do a little of this and a bit of that, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.
- You stay within your comfort zone and never push yourself a bit.
FITNESS FIX: Do your research. Look for nationally certified trainers, whether you hire one for an in-person workout or follow them on social media for guidance and instruction.
Be sure to include both cardio and strength training and challenge yourself while staying within your own abilities. For example, a leisurely stroll is fine for socializing, but if you want to burn serious calories you’ll need to pick up the pace.
Same goes for lifting weights: You’ll need to use enough weight to feel you’re putting in some effort, or you won’t see the changes you’d like.
What frustrates you about exercise? Do you see the results you want, or do you find yourself giving up after a couple of months? What are your fitness fails? Please share in the comments below.