Starting a new exercise routine can be a challenge on your body and schedule; sticking with it can be tough. The benefits and results may be a great motivator, but more than 90% of people who join a gym quit after just three months. In fact, about 73% of people who set fitness goals as their New Year’s resolution give up before meeting them. This may seem all too familiar and a bit discouraging, but think about this: Even the most advanced bodybuilder started as a beginner. Thankfully, there are ways to get started on a fitness routine and stick to it.
Before You Get Started
Some people think that once they sign up for the gym or buy dumbbells for home workouts, their life will magically change. The reality is that these purchases often become less about physical wellness and more about a pesky credit card charge. A true transformation starts with a new mindset. Before you buy those running shoes, identify the reasons that fitness is important to you and make sure it’s worth your investment.
Then, create a plan that’s actually enjoyable. If dread starts to creep in every time you approach the treadmill, choose a different form of cardio. If the Smith machine is always full, try the free weights. Watch training videos each time you want to get moving at home. If a workout is viewed as a chore, there may be less motivation to continue.
To help stick with a fitness regimen, share your goals with friends and family. Social support makes a difference. Trying to maintain personal accountability without any outside help can be a lonely and daunting task; it’s sometimes easier to quit if we think no one is watching. Find a friend or two to join you at the gym and hold you accountable.
There are plenty of excuses to avoid working out: You’re too busy. You’re too sore from yesterday’s workout. You had a bad day and just want to take a break. Taking the steps to build a solid workout foundation could make all the difference. Try to workout at the same time every day to turn exercise into a daily routine.
Why Do People Give Up?
Calling it quits is common among beginners. Turning exercise into a habit requires a sense of dedication that may be hard to implement. For one, moving your body after being sedentary or inactive for a while is hard work. Here are other reasons some people may revert back to their old lifestyles:
- Lack of time: From the prep to the commute to the actual workout, heading to the gym could easily turn into a two-hour affair. Many people simply don’t have the time to prioritize the gym. However, this could be combatted by consciously moving more throughout the day instead of forcing yourself to perform structured exercise. For instance, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. You could also set a timer so that you stand up and do a walkabout for 10 minutes every hour.
- Injuries: Many overeager exercisers care more about sets and reps than form, causing them to injure their muscles and delay progress. To avoid a visit to the hospital or a trip to physical therapy, practice and perfect proper form — then focus on stamina.
- No motivation: Those first few days of a workout routine may be filled with enthusiasm and interest. However, once a piece of cake or movie marathon presents itself, all progress might fly out the window. Find exciting methods of encouragement, such as a reward or other treat, and seek friends to help keep you accountable.
- Unsustainability: Going to the gym six days a week, eating clean with no “cheat” days and skipping social events to avoid temptation often builds too much pressure. After a while, burnout can become an issue. Eat foods in moderation and don’t make yourself feel guilty for missing an exercise day or two — just make sure you get back on the wagon if you stumble.
- Inconsistency: One of the most important aspects of building a successful workout regimen is to give it time. Taking week-long breaks or ignoring proper nutrition can delay results and leave you feeling discouraged. Start small and make manageable lifestyle changes before tackling the heavy lifting.
- Poor nutrition: Many people want to see results as fast as possible. They may cut calories and forbid carbs but quit if they don’t see results quickly enough. Remember to take care of your body: If calories are burned through exercise, it’s necessary to replace them and have enough sustenance to build muscle. Otherwise, the body may be deprived of proper nutrients.
Many companies advertise products that promise to jump start the metabolism and help you lose weight quickly. Though some beginners may fall into this trap, it can be avoided. Be honest about the journey and remember that the key ingredients aren’t a fancy trainer or expensive gym, but time and consistency.
Have you ever heard that saying, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint”? The same holds true for getting in shape. Setting slow, meaningful goals can result in greater progress while helping avoid injuries and burnout. Almost every experienced fitness enthusiast has had their setbacks. Be prepared for the obstacles and have the patience to keep going. To learn more about how regular exercise can positively affect the body, check out our resource.