Top 5 reasons we fail to reach our fitness goals
More aptly put, these are my top 5 reasons, and as the title implies, there certainly are more than five, I (and others) just see these the most.
- No variety – we do the same routine (use the same machines, same exercises) every time. In exercise training terms, such behavior is a direct violation of the principle of variation. This principle reminds us that our bodies adapt quickly, not only to individual exercises or movements but to entire routines relatively quickly. If we do not vary our routines, the changes we seek will not occur.
- We think we are living in a sports drink commercial – We must sweat and punish ourselves, we must feel the burn or it doesn’t count, for only by doing this can we erase fat and become magazine cover models. This is hogwash. Here’s a little known fact, we may work hard and expend many calories in an intense workout but we will compensate throughout the day, even into the next day by moving less and being more sloth-like. While an intense workout is fine, you are not doing yourself any favors by making it the norm.
- We believe exercise erases bad eating choices – Going on a cruise soon? Going out this weekend with friends to eat and drink? Getting together for the big game (and eating and drinking)? It’s all fine, just get a good workout in, either before or after and neutralize any unhealthful behavior, right? Nope, sorry but that pile of wings has already been processed, same with that six pack of beer, or that cheesecake, you cannot undo them. If you want to counterbalance the extra calories, then you’ll have to do anywhere from two to three hours of exercise, in addition to what you would normally do. (6 drinks = 600 kcal + alcohol, 6 wings = 360 kcal, 1 regular piece of cheesecake = 400 kcal), Keep in mind, you can’t do anything about the fat, sodium, alcohol, or excess sugar, except limit intake.
- We don’t keep track – Research has shown, many times over, in general, we cannot accurately recall what we’ve done (including what we’ve eaten), and when we do, the details are often filtered in ways that make our past actions match our own ideals. Even worse, when we hear such facts we automatically believe they do not apply to us, only other people. In fact, I am not sure why I even include this reason, anyone reading it will inevitably think of someone else it applies to. Nonetheless, if we don’t periodically keep records of when we exercise, and/or what we eat, there is no way to know for sure that we are following the plan.
- We copy other people’s routines – Rather than construct and follow a plan appropriate for our own needs, physical (and mental) condition, limitations, strengths, and desires, we just do what someone else did. This violates another principle, that is the principle of individuality. This principle tells that two different folks can follow an identical exercise routine but have differing responses to it. While it can be fine and good to try out some ideas garnered from a magazine or website, or even advice of a friend, it can also be ineffective for you, or even detrimental. If you have never gotten any formal training in exercise (watching others for years at a gym doesn’t qualify) and/or do not have any idea of what your doing, it’s well worth the investment to get a few sessions with a personal trainer, who can help you craft an appropriate plan.
Any of the above appear familiar to you? Which of these have you done in the past (or in the case of #4, who have you seen do this?). Feel free to share, comment, ask questions. Thanks and see you next time.
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Published by mattktraining
I am currently the Owner of my soloprenuerial company Matt K Training. Through my fitness and nutrition programs I help adults develop skills and practices that help them eat, move, and recover well. Over the past 20 years, in various roles such as a Personal trainer, Exercise Physiologist, Clinical Researcher, and Health Coach I have helped hundreds of adults reach their health and physical performance goals. When not working, I enjoy active pursuits such as playing right field for the Charlton Giants (in a 38+ competitive baseball league), playing tennis, hiking, backpacking, and rock climbing. I also enjoy indoor activities such as playing strategy board games, reading and discussing science fiction literature, dabbling with my guitar, finding creative ways to eat oatmeal, and being a good dad.