by Will Grumke June 01, 2021 13 min read
How often have you started a new fitness plan with the best of intentions, only to fall back into old habits within a few weeks?
We all have goals that we are striving to achieve, and it can be disappointing when you feel that you are coming up short, while other people are succeeding.
What’s the difference between you and the inspirational before and after photos that you see online?
In many cases, if you've been giving it an honest effort, it actually only takes a few small tweaks to your mindset and daily habits to get the results that you want.
The key is to identify the things that are standing in your way, so you can avoid common roadblocks. This simple strategy can take your results to the next level—but you have to be committed to the process.
Today, we are taking a look at the top 12 reasons why people fail with fitness.
Not only are you going to uncover the barriers between you and your desired results, but we're also going to break down the action steps you can take to propel yourself forward and achieve success with your health and fitness!
When it comes to fitness and/or weight loss, it always comes back to two basic principles:
1. What are you eating?
2. How are you exercising your body?
Don’t overcomplicate this process by feeling like the only way to succeed is through a complex meal plan or complicated workouts.
There’s nothing wrong with following advanced training principles. But you need to be sure that you have the basics in place before you implement a bigger system.
You’re likely setting yourself up for failure if you are trying to build consistency in a system that is difficult to implement.
If you don’t have a proven history of managing your food intake and eating nutritious foods and consistent exercise, then the most beneficial thing you can do is to build a foundation on basic principles.
Do the basics and stay consistent with your efforts, and you will see results!
Over time, you can tweak your meal planning and workout intensity as needed. But consistency has to come first—it is the key to long term success because it builds systems and habits that can last a lifetime.
One reason why people fall off of the fitness bandwagon is that they get weary of repetitive workouts.
For example, it can be flat out boring to walk on the treadmill day after day...
You only have so much willpower to get you through the boredom ... so it is essential that you look for ways to find engagement and enjoyment in the process.
Because the truth is... workouts don’t have to be boring! Here are a few ways you can infuse fun into your fitness:
» Choose activities that you enjoy. If you hate spending time at the gym, then try hiking instead of walking on a treadmill. Anything that gets you moving can be considered a work out: skiing, biking, dancing, and more.
» Shake things up by rotating through multiple activities. Not only does variety keep things interesting, but it is important to cross-train so you can maintain balance and flexibility in your fitness routine.
» Create a motivating playlist or listen to a good book while working out. Keeping your mind engaged in something interesting will take your focus off the clock. Instead of counting down until your cardio session is over, you can let your mind get lost in a fun story or interesting podcast.
If you feel like exercise is boring, then it likely means that you haven’t found your “sweet spot” yet. Explore new options to figure out what you enjoy.
Being willing to step out of your comfort zone is often the best thing that you can do to discover a new passion in fitness/exercise.
Look for ways that you can infuse motivation into your daily life.
Creating a vision for the future can be a compelling reason to get off the couch and do something that will be good for your body.
Here are a few action steps that might help in creating the motivation and vision that is needed to keep you going:
» Find a picture of the body type you are working to achieve and hang it on your fridge or bathroom mirror. The visual can keep you on track, even when you don’t feel like it.
» Choose a few simple affirmations to change your mindset when you are feeling unmotivated. Telling yourself: “You’ve got this!” while putting on your athletic shoes can be a fast, simple way to shift your thought patterns in the moment.
» Stay fueled with good, healthy food choices and supplements, so you don’t slip up when temptation comes along. Schedule one or two days each week to focus on meal planning so that healthy snacks are easy to grab as you are on the go.
» Lighten your goals if you are feeling overwhelmed by a complicated fitness program. At times, feeling overwhelmed can be the biggest killer of motivation. Look for ways to simplify your actions and goals so that you can see the small bits of success over time.
» Focus on how you will feel when you are enjoying a healthy, fit life. When you are walking out of a great workout, you won’t regret that you took the time to strengthen your body. Remember that the endorphins will come if you just start moving.
If you only show up to exercise when you feel like working out, then you will be missing a lot of opportunities!
Motivation can be beneficial to get you started, but you don’t need the motivation to keep going. Yes, strong motivation can help you push through the hard moments.
At the same time, the most important decision you can make is to show up regardless of the way you are feeling each day.
How would it feel if you scheduled a lunch date with a good friend, but that person never showed up to the appointment?
In that moment, you would likely feel let-down and disappointed. We consider it rude to no-show to an appointment with a friend. And yet, it is common for us to no-show for ourselves.
If you schedule a time for a workout, then hold to that appointment as if you were meeting a friend at the gym. Keeping promises to yourself can be a powerful way to build internal trust and help you become the person you want to be.
There is incredible power in the practice of keeping promises to yourself.
One common reason people fail with fitness (or any other goal for that matter) is that they break personal promises that were made when the goal was set. These types of promises might include:
» I promise to go to bed on time, so I have enough energy for my workout in the morning
» I promise to count my macros
» I promise to avoid the candy jar at work
» I promise to go to the gym 4 times per week
More often than not, we let go of these personal commitments. We fail to show up for ourselves in the moments that matter.
Breaking a promise to yourself is a powerful message you are sending your brain: you're not important.
Failing to stick to your personal promises means that your goals and health is a lower priority than the other activities that you choose instead.
On the flip side, learning to keep promises to yourself can be a powerful way to boost your happiness and self-confidence, which keeps you on track with your goals.
Choose promises you can keep, then be consistent about not letting anything get in your way. Write down those promises and track your progress, so you can hold yourself accountable for the daily actions.
Keep them small at first, drink water, cut out soda, no fast food. These small daily wins will compound into lasting results and they can be built upon as they become thoughtless.
While it is important to show up for yourself, sometimes it can be hard to stick with the plan if you don’t have outside accountability to keep you on track. If you are finding it difficult to maintain consistency by yourself, look for ways you can bring in support from friends or family.
Take time to consider the accountability structure that is most motivating for your personality. Fitness can be a lonely path, especially if you are surrounded by friends and family who don’t prioritize their health.
Find at least one friend who is walking the same path, so you have someone to turn to in the moments when you are feeling weak.
Knowing that you will need to report to another person can often be enough motivation to help you avoid slip-ups along the way.
Accountability might be as simple as a text message at the end of the day to report on your goals.
Or, you could choose to leverage technology in a different way and join an online community like the My TransPHORMation Starts Today Facebook Group ... or download the 1st Phorm App to be connected with a group of like minded and goal-oriented people!
Often, committing to a habit for 6–8 weeks is enough to build the momentum so that you can be self-motivated in the future.
You just need to get past the initial roadblocks so that you can start enjoying the benefits, which gives you a clearer understanding of the long-term results that are in store.
While it is good to have an accountability partner, consider the exponential power that can come when you are part of a fitness group ... a group of people who are also along their fitness journey!
Spending time around and interacting on social media with people who share similar goals can be an effective way to stay on track with your personal commitments.
“You are the average of your 5 closest friends” is a real principle when it comes to health and fitness. If your friends are always eating takeout and playing video games instead of exercising, then it’s likely that you will participate in those same activities.
On the other hand, if you’re spending time with people who enjoy clean eating and physical activities, then it is easier to participate in these same habits as well.
One of the simplest ways to build a fitness group is by paying for a monthly membership at a CrossFit gym, health center, or yoga studio. This investment helps you tap into a network of other people who share similar interests.
Even if that is not an option though, joining and being active in online communities plays a huge role! Shoot, being a part of the 1st Phorm Phamily as a customer, and have the support of other people using the #1stPhorm is one of the reasons I connected with the company and started a career here!
Plus, so many of us spend a lot of time on social media platforms, finding a fitness group to be a part of like the 1st Phorm App and corresponding private facebook group will also help make sure good information is coming across your news feed.
They could be healthy fitness tips ... motivating progress photos of other group members ... as well as fun ways to engage in the community!
In both cases, it feels good to see a few familiar faces and people to interact with!
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will accidentally end up in your workout clothes at the gym without being intentional about preparing yourself.
You need to build the habit into your daily system.
Too often, people fail to implement systems, which means they drift through the days, weeks, and months without purpose or intention.
Consider the steps that need to happen before the most important action occurs. Here are a few examples of how you can design a system that sets you up for success:
» Set out your workout clothes before bed, so you can change into them right when you get up in the morning
» Schedule meal-prep once or twice a week, then place the prepared meals at eye-level in the fridge
» Take a gym bag to work, so you can stop at the gym before going home at the end of the day
» Create a “habit chain” in the morning to create a powerful routine each day: ex) make your bed, drink a glass of water, stretch, read 10 pages in a book, workout, eat, shower, go to work ... or something that works for you
» Build in environmental cues that will remind you to stay on track: stock the pantry with healthy snack options, place a written reminder of your goals by your computer, or put the protein shake bottle on the counter so it’s the first thing you see in the morning.
When you design a system of small action steps, it takes away the small decisions that can trip you up.
Instead of having to choose your meals each day or decide when you are going to work out, you simply follow the plan because you’ve figured out what works best for your lifestyle.
Are you just “punching the clock” when you show up at the gym?
If it feels like a chore and you are just trying to get through your workout, then you won’t have the motivation to maintain the habit.
Yes, a low-intensity workout can be better than no workout. But how much are you missing out on because you aren’t putting intensity into your workout?
When you schedule time on the calendar for fitness, show up and give it your all.
If necessary, set your phone aside and turn your attention to the things that you can do to push your body. Instead of spending hours at the gym, you can optimize your fitness routine to maximize benefits in the shortest amount of time.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great example of ramping up intensity in short bursts, with meaningful rests in between sets.
Pushing your fitness levels a little bit each day will add up in the results that you see over time. Always ask yourself where you can amp up your effort by 10%.
Here are a few examples to spark your ideas:
» Decrease your rest between sets
» Increase your weight during resistance training
» Truly focus on giving your all during a rep, set, or round
» Increase your cardio by just a little bit
It’s a fitness myth that you need to be in the gym 60 minutes a day to see any results. While most training sessions and fitness classes are 60 minutes in length, it doesn’t mean that every workout session needs to be an hour.
In fact, researchers are finding that shorter workouts are more effective as long as you focus on intensity during the workout.
Remember that a focused HIIT session can be more beneficial than a 60-minute workout session. Knock out these heart-pumping exercises in the first hour of your day, or when you are stressed for time to help stay on track with working out consistently.
Even if your schedule is packed, you can squeeze a 20-minute exercise session into your day by cutting out a bit of social media time or getting up a little earlier.
Yes, the reality of a busy schedule can be a challenge ...
But don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking that you should only workout if you have at least an hour available.
The truth is that in many cases you will likely see better results training more intensely for 20 to 40 minutes a day, 3 to 5 days a week, than you will with hour-long, low-intensity sessions 6 days a week.
Setting a goal is just the first step. If you aren’t doing the right things to move forward, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
If you want to change your results, then you need to change the actions you are taking each day.
You need to align the ongoing choices to ensure that they will lead to the long-term gains you want.
Identify the day-in-day-out steps that will impact your results, and be willing to hold yourself accountable for changing your habits as necessary.
Generic, nonspecific fitness goals are hurting your results. How often do you hear someone say that their goal is to lose weight or get a six-pack this year?
While these are good aspirations, they aren’t really specific.
Not only do you need to have specifics that help you know when the goal has been met, but you also need to know your starting point. Then, track the action steps that are being taken every step of the way to get you from Point A to Point B.
Tracking data can be empowering because it gives you real-time feedback to see what is working. The data will tell you if you are doing the right things.
If the numbers aren’t lining up to match your overall plan, then it doesn’t mean that you are a failure.
Instead, it is a cue that you need to make a few changes.
Measuring your progress can be done in a variety of ways. I would recommend using multiple ways to measure your progress.
One thing that many people fall victim to, is JUST tracking their progress by the scale.
From years of experience, I can tell you, that’s a recipe for disaster. Too many variables influence your weight on a day to day basis ... even at an hour to hour level.
If you choose to track by the scale, weigh yourself once a week. Then support that measurement with photos, body metrics, habits, etc.
You can count macros, track workout sessions, or write down everything you eat each day.
The easiest solution to simplify your fitness tracking is to choose the right app, with features that keep you on track through notifications and accountability.
Our minds dictate how we look at things, and what role those things play in our life.
Are these actions going to be viewed as a negative ... something we have to do? Or are they something that you GET to do ... and play a positive role in your journey?
Making that clear distinction to yourself can be a major key in sticking with it, and so is realizing that you are capable of pushing yourself in the gym. In addition to that, you are capable of eating healthy, and have the opportunity to get better each and every day.
Making the conscious effort to correct your thought process on a daily basis will lead to a more positive outlook on your situation ... allowing you to be more motivated and excited to follow through with the plan.
Don't get me wrong, not every day will be easy ... but this slight perspective change can make an immediate impact on whether or not you stick with living a healthy lifestyle.
Whether you are just getting started with a new fitness routine, or you are looking for ways to stay on track with your current goals, it is important to watch for these common roadblocks that can get in the way of your success.
At 1st Phorm, we are committed to providing the tools and support you need to achieve optimal fitness.
We help you get real results through meal plans, workouts, contests, reminders, and other fun fitness strategies that match your unique needs.
Stay connected with our community on social media or through the 1st Phorm App.
Our goal, our mission, is to help real people get real and long-term results.
So whether or not you ever shop with us, if you need help ... guidance ... or support, know that you can always reach out to us and we’ll make sure you have what you need to succeed!
Will Grumke is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, NASM Certified Nutrition Coach, NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, NASM Certified Weight Loss Specialist, NASM Certified Behavioral Change Specialist, and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer.