Despite being told the benefits of working out on a near-daily basis (thanks, Facebook) it is still a HUGE challenge for most of us to even begin.
We know that working out helps with weight loss, muscle building, and improved mental and cardiovascular health.
Life’s daily challenges (and stress) not only limit our motivation to exercise but also our physical ability to make it to the gym or maintain a regular training schedule.
Maintaining both our work and social lives is incredibly important (trying to live without food and friends is not a particularly enticing prospect).
However, I would like to argue that maybe those needs shouldn’t be prioritized above our health ALL the time.
So with that in mind, we are going to touch on some of the biggest workout challenges people experience when trying to exercise regularly.
These tips will help you overcome them through smart planning and minor lifestyle changes.
So, what are the two of the biggest workout challenges and how can you overcome them?
1. Daily Life
The vast majority of us find it extremely difficult to find the time to exercise.
This is completely normal.
Between working, studying, and socializing with friends, our available time can fill up rapidly, leaving brief opportunities to train.
In a study done by CDC, only about 20% of respondents met the recommended amount of exercise.
Though neglecting our own health in favor of maintaining other lifestyle factors might be the norm, that doesn’t make it appropriate.
We need to maintain a positive health-life balance.
This includes regular exercise, while still enjoying time with friends and family.
Ideally, we could also manage our work and study effectively.
This is easier said than done.
Overcoming the obstacle of daily life
However, there is a way to manage this amazing feat of balance: creating routine.
By organizing our schedule thoroughly, you can allocate time to your responsibilities and exercise efficiently.
While this may sound a little boring (because it doesn’t suggest a lot of spontaneity), that isn’t really the case.
By writing a daily or weekly schedule, we can mentally prepare ourselves for the upcoming week and all that it entails.
Not only will this make us more efficient in almost every aspect of life, but it will also make us more likely to perform those tasks on our routine schedule.
By allocating exercise to specific days of the week, and at specific times (either before or after work is best), we are more likely to make it to the gym and work out.
This is because we are mentally and emotionally prepared to do so.
Once this routine becomes a habit, then we will start going without a second thought.
This is going to make it easier to train regularly and reap the rewards of exercise in the long run.
It will also limit the implications of work and study on our exercise schedule.
Finding a regular gym buddy will help you stick to your schedule.
Having someone to train with regularly (whether it be a friend or colleague), will help us become accountable to someone other than ourselves.
This should improve our adherence to exercise, making us more consistent because we are not only working out for ourselves but for someone else as well.
2. Maintaining Motivation
Going hand in hand with lifestyle-related factors mentioned above, one of the biggest workout challenges is heavily related to motivation.
I get it: exercise is difficult.
Making lasting changes requires hard work and dedication.
We need to exercise consistently for a decent chunk of time.
This prospect can actually become disheartening because we want to see the progress of our efforts immediately.
Thinking about this can make it extremely difficult to even start exercising.
It is also important to note that a huge portion of those who start exercising don’t continue for a very long time.
According to wellness expert Paul Elsass, “90 percent of people who sign up for gym memberships in January will quit coming before March.”
With this in mind, it’s important to take a step back and realize that exercising regularly is, in fact, a lifestyle choice, not a quick fix.
How to overcome a lack of motivation and develop a goal mindset
Once we adopt this mindset, it makes it so much easier to go to the gym and exercise.
Especially if we consider that it’s for our own benefit.
To see that benefit, we need to maintain our efforts on a regular and consistent basis.
Setting training goals is one of the best ways to eliminate the likelihood of this occurring is to keep ourselves interested by setting training-related goals.
You could commit to completing a marathon in six months (or something similar ) and target your training.
Once you have accomplished that, you can move on to a completely different goal (e.g. dead-lifting 225 pounds or completing 10 bodyweight chin-ups).
It doesn’t really matter what the training goal is–just that we have one.
By having a goal, we are more likely to train with intent in every single session, while working towards a specific outcome.
By changing this goal once we have achieved it, we can vary our training style and continue to keep our exercise program interesting.
This will help maintain our motivation and improve our adherence to training for the long term—turning exercise into a lasting lifestyle change.
Overcome your workout challenges by changing your perspective
Second, we need to consider exercising a task that we want to do, rather than something that we have to do.
Enjoy the gradual process of changing your body.
Observe the physical changes, or changes in performance (e.g. an increase in strength or speed).
For most, this means paying close attention to how we feel during exercise.
Enjoy sweating and working hard, while also seeing the amazing feats that our body can perform.
Why it is important to overcome these workout challenges
Exercising regularly is hands down the best thing we can do for ourselves—it’s just doing it that’s the hard part.
By making regular exercise a part of our weekly routine, and changing the way we view working out, we can increase our adherence to exercise in its entirety, while also improving how much we enjoy it.
This will allow us to reap its rewards, while also increasing our ability to train on a regular basis.
Whatever workout challenges you’re facing now, be confident that you can overcome them, eventually.