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Friday, September 22, 2023

Barriers to Fitness

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Exercise and fitness is something that is often on my mind. I am constantly think about my goals, when and where I am going to workout and what kinds of workouts I want to do. The most recent posts have been focused on tips and tricks to success. It is also helpful to consider the barriers to work to overcome those.

If you want to get fit and enjoy a healthier lifestyle, you need to stay motivated. Motivation gives you the mental urge to keep working out and eating healthily. When this starts to stray, you find everything more challenging. You struggle to get up in the mornings, and you find excuses stopping you from exercising - it leads to a negative spiral. 

The question you’re probably asking yourself is: why aren’t I motivated?

In many ways, you want to get fit. You understand the benefits of being physically fit, yet you lack the motivation. More often than not, it’s due to one (or more) of these four things: 

You perceive exercise as hard

Having an unhealthy relationship with exercise will lead to a lack of motivation. If you perceive it as a hard task, you won’t want to do it. Who gets motivated to do hard things? Nobody I know, that’s for sure! 

The key lies in making exercise easy. You want to stop looking at it as a difficult thing and begin viewing it as part of your daily routine. A simple way to do this is by exercising at home. It removes the barrier of trying to go to a gym and finding ways to fit fitness into your daily schedule. 

Another (perhaps even better) idea is to pick things you enjoy doing. Are there any exercises or forms of exercise that you enjoy? If you’re an avid walker, make this your main form of exercise and start doing it daily. Don’t force yourself to lift weights or do complicated fitness routines from the very beginning. Start by doing things you like doing and gradually progress from there. You’ll find it way more motivating. 

You’re setting unrealistic goals in your head

Secondly, a lack of motivation comes from not seeing results. You’ve been working hard for a few weeks yet aren’t seeing the progress you hoped for. 

A lot of the time, this is because you’ve set unrealistic health goals. Understand the changes you can realistically expect in certain timeframes. You won’t see huge body changes in a week or two - it takes time. 

Stop setting extreme goals and start setting smaller ones. Making your goals more realistic means you feel more motivated as you’re constantly hitting targets. A simple place to start is with your weekly exercise time. Maybe you start out exercising for 2 hours a week. Set a goal of boosting this to 3 hours a week by the end of the month. It’s a simple goal, but you will easily achieve it so the motivation remains. 

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Your mental health is getting in the way

You have to come to terms with the fact that your mental health can get in the way of fitness motivation. Issues like depression or anxiety block you from reaching your true potential. You want to exercise, but your mind has intrusive thoughts telling you not to. You’re looking in the mirror hating what you see, making you lie in bed under the covers rather than working out. 

Gym anxiety is a real thing too - you get so anxious at the thought of going to the gym, so you stay at home and avoid it. It’s perfectly normal to experience gym anxiety or depression, but you shouldn’t ignore the issues and let them demotivate you. 

Tackle your mental health problems head-on. If you’re severely depressed, it’s a good idea to get professional help from a depression rehab center. Hopefully, you can tackle the problems before it gets to this. Find a therapist, open up about your mental health, and get things off your chest. If you have anxiety about working out, think about doing things that don’t cause anxiety. Don’t go to a gym - or plan to go when it’s quieter and there are fewer people. 

Addressing your mental health can help you remove this barrier and feel more motivated to work out regularly! 

You’re making too many extreme changes at once

We’re all guilty of getting excited about a fitness journey and making extreme changes right away. We immediately switch to a different diet or lifestyle, and then instantly regret it. 

Fitness needs to be sustainable. You will not sustain motivation by making drastic and extreme changes right away. Pace yourself; alter small parts of your life and gradually change the way you live. For example, instead of wiping out all the treats from your diet and sticking to a very strict eating routine, make some subtle changes. Alter your portion size, cut certain things out first, and gradually remove others. This makes it far easier to maintain motivation because everything isn’t as extreme. 

Finding your fitness motivation is crucial if you want to see long-term improvements. Barriers can get in our way, but you’re in charge of breaking them down and driving the fitness train full steam ahead. 

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*collaborative post

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