How to Overcome the 2 Biggest Obstacles to Long-Term Fitness: Part 1

How many times in your life have you tried to start or maintain a workout program? 5 times? 10 times? Have you lost count? Although we have so many options available to us to improve our health and fitness, human nature continues to win out in the struggle to improve our wellbeing.

Although this struggle is real and it’s likely that you’ve encountered it more than a handful of times in your life, overcoming this bipolar attitude toward working out is simple. It’s simple because the 2 biggest obstacles standing in your way are the same exact obstacles that everybody else faces on their fitness journey. Which means if millions of other people are able to overcome these obstacles and maintain a good workout regimen, then you can too.

In this 2-part series, you’ll learn about these 2 obstacles and what you can do to overcome them. First, of course, it starts with staring the obstacles right in the face and figuring out what you can do to push through them. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the first obstacle so you can start to master your fitness and become the best version of yourself possible.

Are you ready to improve your fitness but don't know where to start? We have the program for you (HINT: it requires mud, sweat and possibly tears)👊.

Obstacle #1: Getting (re)Started

I may have failed to mention that the 2 biggest obstacles that everyone faces are blatantly obvious. So obvious, in fact, that we tend to overlook them for more intricate reasons as to what is getting in the way of your health.

Yes, getting started is clearly the first obstacle to overcome toward better fitness. Because of the abundance of options available to us, it’s easy to get caught up in paralysis analysis. After all, there has to be the perfect workout plan to help you lose weight or to help you sculpt your 6 pack, right?

Well, kind of. Yes, of course there are certain forms of exercise that will work better for weight loss or a chiseled 6 pack. However, doing research and trying to decide which one is going to be the best option certainly isn’t moving you closer toward your goals.

Even harder than getting started is getting REstarted. The second you step out of the routine of getting in your workouts is the second you will have began the constant struggle of maintaining a good schedule. Having to plug that time back into your schedule after taking it out can seem impossible.

Luckily for you, there are a few strategies you can use to overcome both getting started in the first place and getting restarted after quitting.

#1) Implementation Intention

Intentions are all well and good. I’m sure you’ve had intentions of going to the gym or starting a running program in the past. But intentions mean nothing if you don’t have a plan to back them up.

Which is why you should incorporate an implementation intention to get you started on your fitness journey. An implementation intention is very specific in its description. In just one just sentence it describes what you plan to do, when you plan to do it, and where you plan to do it. Here’s how the sentence should look:

I will (enter action) on (enter day/time) at (enter place).

Let’s put a scenario together so you can see how this works. Here’s what your implementation intention might look like if you’re just getting started on a weight training program:

I will weight train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work at Globo Gym.

Here, weight training is our action, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday after work is our date and time, and Globo Gym is our place (perks to you if you get that reference). Just remember, the goal of this strategy is to be as specific as possible. When you layout your intentions like this, the idea of “starting to workout” becomes much less ambiguous.

#2) Try it for 12 weeks

As I mentioned above, you have tons of options when it comes to working out. And, because of that, you can be overcome by options. Should you do P90x or Yoga? Crossfit or Pure Barre? Orange Theory or Soul Cycle? Of course, it’s great to have options. But if you’re not taking action towards your goals, then even the best options available mean nothing.

Instead of wavering on what to do, pick 3 options. Put those 3 options an individual slip of paper and draw one out of a hat. Whatever option you choose, get started on it ASAP! Vow to try it for 12 weeks, no more, no less.

Why 12 weeks you ask? Well, because everything works for about 6 weeks…and I mean just about everything. Especially if you haven’t exercised in a while, starting ANY program is going to work as compared to the nothing you’ve been doing so far. So, those first 6 weeks are going to be a breeze when it comes to getting results.

The following 6 weeks is when you’ll really find out if what you’re doing is going to stick. You should enjoy the exercise that you do (at least, you should enjoy it most of the time). And if you’re still enjoying your new program in those second 6 weeks after progress starts to slow down (and it will slow down), then you know you’ve found something worth sticking with.

#3) Find a Coach

It may seem like I’m biased in this regard because, well, Thriveology is a training studio that is based around coaching. So, of course, I’m going to recommend that you find a coach.

However, I’d challenge you to think of all of those times that you attempted to start a workout program on your own. Do you remember walking into the gym and having a lost feeling? Do you remember feeling like you didn’t know what to do or how to do it? Or maybe you were too intimidated to walk into the weight room because of all of the testosterone or for the simple fear of getting hurt.

No matter what it was, there was something holding you back from putting in the work that you intended to do when you signed up in the first place (there are those dang intentions again). But this doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you’re not meant to be fit. It just means that you, like every other busy person on this planet, can’t be knowledgeable about everything. You can’t know exactly what exercises to perform and how to perform them correctly and what your reps should be if you’re wanting to lose fat or get stronger or build muscle.

This is why hiring a competent coach will be a GAME CHANGER for your health and fitness. Because a coach knows all of this. A coach knows what you need, when you need it, and how often you need it. Which means you just have to show up (we’ll talk more about this soon enough) and do the work. No guesswork. No thinking. Just doing.

Don’t overlook the importance of getting started on the right foot. Whether you decide to set an implementation intention, try something out for 12 weeks, or find a coach, it’s important that you are decisive in your actions and go with it.

In next week’s article, we’ll cover obstacle #2. At the end of that article, we’ll bring all of these strategies together in a unified plan that you can use for long-term health and fitness success.

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