It is not easy to stick to exercise program, even for the most committed exerciser. Even the best-laid plans get affected by life. Some of the expected ones are: Work, family, illnesses, bad hair days. We can’t control everything, but sometimes we make our exercise much harder by putting hurdles.
There are things you can do if you find it difficult to stick with your exercise. Below are some of the most common reasons for not following your exercise properly.
1. Too hard Workouts
If you are not doing workout for many years or for a short period of time, you may be mistaken by some assumptions: Thinking you’re in better shape. That leads us to do too much too soon rather than easing into our workouts.
Avoid the following workout mistakes:
Trying to Make Up for Lost Time
When you realize how long it’s been since your last workout and how much you gained weight, you start high intensity workout so as to lose weight faster and cover up to lost time.
Doing the Workouts You Did 20 Years Ago
Another mistake we make is going back to workouts we did years ago, thinking, “I was in such great shape when I used to run 10 miles a day/exercise for 2 hours, I should do that again!” Unfortunately, you may not be able to keep up or, worse, end up with an injury.
You forget that what you did in the past won’t always fit your current life. You have a different body, schedule, level of energy and goals now.
Assuming Your Body Will Be in Shape Instantly
We sometimes force our body to lose its comfort and do so much which makes the body look tired and sore. This can also result with the injuries. We forget where our body is now and try to get it in shape instantly.
Solution: Start Where Your Body Is Now
Approach your workouts from where you are now, not where you used to be or where you want to be. It’s tough to do that when you want fast results, but you’ll get no results if you can’t exercise at all. Before going all out, consider the safest way to get back on track:
- Start easy: If it’s more than 12 weeks since you worked out, start slowly with some basic exercise. Like start with 20-30 minutes of moderate-cardio for 3-4 days. After that when your body is in form then do high- intensity workout.
- Modify: If you’re going back to previous workouts and it’s been more than a few weeks, back off. Do one set of each exercise and use less weight, for example. Or, if you were doing an hour of cardio, take it back to 20-30 minutes and stay at a moderate intensity for the first couple of weeks. Gradually work up to where you were over a period of weeks, not days.
2. Your Workouts Don’t Fit Your Lifestyle
The exercise guidelines tell us that, to lose weight, we have to exercise almost daily for about an hour. The trouble is many of us don’t have the time, conditioning, or energy for an hour every day. So we end up skipping workouts instead of doing what we can in the amount of time we have, thinking that small workouts are a waste of time.
Solution: Create a Doable Schedule
Before setting up a routine, ask yourself two important questions:
- How many days can I really exercise? Every week is different. Some weeks, you’ll have more time and energy and others, you won’t. Set aside time each week to schedule your workouts, choosing days where you’re at least 90% sure you can exercise.
- How much time do I have to exercise? This includes the time needed to prepare for the exercise, pre-workout, the time for doing whole workout, post-workout. Calculate everything and then decide the total time.
Be realistic: The key is to figure out how much time you really have (not how much you want to have or hope to have) and fit your workouts into that time, rather than trying to create more time for workouts. You don’t need an hour to get a great workout. The right exercises can make even 10 minutes count.
3. You Don’t Like Your Workouts
We often try workout programs to lose weight without considering our own personalities and what we enjoy.
You don’t have to start a running program just because your friend lost 25 kilos while training for a marathon or something like that. You have to find what you like and, sometimes, that takes a little experimentation.
Solution: Find Exercises You Enjoy
One key to sticking with an exercise program is to incorporate fitness activities that you enjoy. Here are some ideas:
- If you don’t like structured exercise: Try tennis, basketball, or some other sport or use daily chores to get more exercise. Run up and down the stairs. While you’re doing chores, add squats and lunges as you work in the garden.
- You like a challenge: Try high-intensity interval training, training for a race.
- You’re a social exerciser: Try fitness classes, a walking or running club, or find a workout buddy.
- If you’re easily bored: Try circuit training or bootcamp workouts or maybe something fun like Zumba.
If you don’t know what to do: Hire a personal trainer or consider using exercise videos that lead you through different types of workouts to try them out. Another idea? Just do anything! Take a walk, do some push-ups, move around. It all counts.
4. You’re in Pain
It’s hard enough getting through daily activities when you’re in pain, but thinking of adding exercise to the mix may be too much to bear. Whether it’s from soreness, an injury, lower back pain, arthritis, or headaches, you may be afraid to exercise, worried that you’ll be in more pain or make things worse.
You should never work through pain during exercise, but exercise can actually help some conditions and, for others, there are ways to keep moving, even if you have to be creative.
Solution: Consult an Expert
Get medical help to help you heal and learn how to work with your pain (when appropriate).
Never Work Through the Pain
Unless your doctor has told you to ignore it, never continue doing something that’s causing pain or making it worse. Sharp pains in the joints, swelling, pulled muscles or pain that goes beyond the normal exertion of exercise are warning signs that something is wrong.
We often keep going, thinking it will go away, but doing that can actually make things worse. At any suspicious pain, stop what you’re doing and either try something else or take a rest day to see how things feel.
5. You Don’t Have a Balanced Routine
Finding balance is something we all strive for, but our workout routines often don’t reflect that. A balanced routine doesn’t just mean fitting in the Big Three (cardio, strength training, and stretching); it also means balancing your workouts with your schedule, energy level, and body.
We often approach our exercise programs as though we can do the same thing every week, but that isn’t always the case. When you try to force a schedule you just can’t manage, you may end up quitting exercise altogether, feeling like a failure.
Solution: Practice More Balance
Try these tips for creating a more balanced fitness regime:
Balance the intensity of your workouts. There’s an emphasis on high-intensity circuit and interval workouts these days, which is great for burning more calories and losing weight. Too much of that, however, can lead to overtraining, injury and burnout, all things which also lead to quitting.
Make It Feasible
Balance exercise with the rest of your life. It’s a nice fantasy to think we can work at the same level all the time, but sometimes we can’t. Rather than throw out your workouts completely, figure out how you can fit in exercise (e.g., short walks or exercises at the office), even if you can’t follow your original plan.
Individualize It for Your Body
Balance exercise with your body. Another thing to consider is your body. You may want to launch into a killer strength training workout, but notice extra tightness in one hamstring or that your shoulder feels funny every time you move your arm a certain way. Or you may want to do a lower body workout, only to realize your hips are sore from a workout the day before.