Why do we give up with exercise?
If you are like most people then you have probably started an exercise programme only to quit a couple weeks/months down the line. Before we start the programme, we’re raring to go, we are completely fed up with how we look and feel and are willing to do anything to change, then all of a sudden one day the motivation has disappeared and we can’t be bothered exercising anymore. 50% of us will quit an exercise programme within 6 months of starting. Why do we quit and what can we do to make us more likely to stick it out?
Probably the biggest reason we quit exercising is because we haven’t achieved the miracle results we expect, the ones that you see on Biggest Loser USA or on the adverts on TV for magic pill or ab crunchers. The fact is we are all hung up with the number on the scales and if that hasn’t dropped dramatically in the first month our motivation takes a huge hit.
Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
Losing weight is hard, very hard in fact!
If it was easy, then everybody would be cruising around with a set of chiselled abs and toned, slender legs.
And if you’re like most people (and you probably are), then you are not going to get ground shaking weight loss results within the first few weeks of starting an exercise programme. Your weight is not a good indicator of your fat loss, especially in the short term; your weight is effected by a great number of things, not just the amount of fat you are carrying. Your weight differ from one week to the next due to increased muscle mass, water retention, hormones and even whether you have been to the loo in the morning! So just because the scales haven’t moved or even going up a pound or two, doesn’t mean you haven’t lost any fat. It is much better to focus on your inches and how you look and feel.
(The average person will lose around 1.5 lbs per week. That doesn’t sounds like much, but type in ‘1 lb of fat’ on google images and you will actually see what a pound of fat actually equates too.)
Now you know those ‘fitness people’? You know, the ones that workout every day without failure and don’t mind telling you about it constantly. The ones, who look at you in disgrace when you offer them a tiny piece of chocolate?
How do you think they became like that?
Well they we’re born like that right? WRONG! When these people started off exercising and eating right, they found it just as difficult as you, but they have stuck to it and now exercising regularly and eating right is now a part of their behaviour. Just as brushing your teeth every morning and night is natural to you (I hope) , exercising regularly is just as natural to them. So when they are on their way to the gym after a hard day at work, they don’t have that internal struggle at every junction (whether or not to make a bee line for the couch at home) they just go, as they are programmed to go. And after that session when they do hit the couch they feel all the more better for it.
You can become like one of these people too, if you stick to something long enough it becomes a habit. It won’t always be this difficult and will get easier and easier the longer you go.
Another reason people quit is because they believe that they just can’t exercise correctly; that their body it just not built for it; they feel silly performing exercises and eventually talk themselves out of it. The human body is made to move and everybody has the potential to exercise correctly. Sure when we first get started, our form is not going to be perfect and we may look a little funny with some exercises, but the beauty of exercise is that you get better and better at it the more your do it.
A lot of people become bored during an exercise programme, this can be a factor into why you qui,t even if you are getting good results. You need to vary your exercise sessions; doing the same thing over and over again is not only monotonous, but can slow down your results rapidly. The more you do the same thing, the more efficient your body becomes at that movement, meaning less calories burned and slower results.
A good strategy to use to help you stay on track and something that I use will all of my client’s is to measure and set goals. If you don’t have your starting measurements then it can be really hard to tell if you are getting results. Most people will use the scales as their sole indicator of success, which as I’ve mentioned before, is a terrible idea. You may be losing weight slower than you hoped, but you could be losing loads of fat and inches, if you don’t measure before you start then it is hard to tell if you have lost. (Your mind plays tricks on you and tells you ‘you haven’t changed’ even when you have.) When you have taken you measurements (And I would suggest taking loads) you need to short term and long term goals. Setting goals really helps you stick to a programme and spurs you on so you can try and beat them. You want to set lots of goals, long term and short, e.g. lose 2 inches on hip in 4 weeks, lose 2 stone in 6 months, run 5k non-stop in 3 months.
To get into, and stay in shape, you have to be exercise for the rest of your life. That’s quite daunting, I know, but it’s totally worth it. Did you know exercise makes your life better? Now why would you not want your life to be better? If you exercise long enough it becomes a important part of your life and you will never want to stop.
If you struggle with exercise and would like some help to start your own fitness journey, why not sign up to The 6 Week Body Transformation Challenge with Transform Fitness Training? No more excuses. For more info click here.