Common Barriers To Exercise - What's Holding You Back From Reaching Your Goals?

By Lyndsie McDougall I know the struggles of getting on a regular exercise plan and sticking to it. I tried and tried to initiate the process dozens of times over years and years to no avail. It wasn't that I didn't have the motivation, I did. It just wasn't the RIGHT motivation. 

You see, looking at Instagram fitness celebrities and idolizing their amazing physiques is cool and all, but where does that get you? You know how she got those abs and those killer legs? She didn't sit on IG looking at other fit girls, she was in the gym, working hard to get the body she wanted.

 The difference between real motivation and simply wanting what you don't have is all in your REASONS. If the only reason you want to be fit is to finally conquer the popularity contest you failed at in high school... then odds are that dream will only last until momentarily. If your motivation is to get fit because you've gained some weight, lost your energy and self-confidence, and now your joints ache... that's probably a reason good enough to get out of bed and do something about it. In order to successfully reach your goals, you have to abolish any and all excuses you can possibly come up with. If you are able to dispel your disbelief before you begin the process, you will have an easier time pushing yourself through the tough times- like when you hit a weight loss plateau. The first barrier we have to break through is TIME. When I ask new clients what has held them back from reaching their fitness goals in the past, 9 out of 10 will say "I just don't have the time". Really? That's the best excuse you can come up with? Well, Fitness Coach Lyndsie here to tell you, your excuse sucks. Here's how you can un-do this false thinking.... It's not that you don't have the time, you lack time management. Your free time is usually spent watching TV, surfing the web (do people still say that?) or checking emails. Be aware of how much time you spend doing those activities- write down how much time you spend on your phone/computer or in front of the TV today. If that time equals 1 hour, tomorrow, spend 30 min doing those (pointless) activities, and the other 30 min getting in a workout. BOOM! I know, I just blew your mind.... NOT! Time management is simple... and that's why I see TIME as nothing but the world's #1 excuse for not accomplishing anything. The second stumbling block you will hit when trying to reach your goals is UNREALISTIC GOALS. This isn't so much your fault... it's primarily the media we are exposed to. But when you give into the hype or fall into some trendy diet plan or weight-loss supplement, you are looking at the ad and thinking "I want to look like him/her" and THAT'S why you buy the product. You have to learn how to look at YOURSELF for goal setting- not outside influences. If you’re overweight, you’re not going to look like the girl on that supplement ad in a few months. Not even a year. Sorry, that's just how the human body works. You have to look at yourself and what you are capable of- if you don't work out, you can’t expect to look like someone who does. Set small, achievable goals for yourself like: "I am going to start working out 5 days a week and watching my diet in order to lose 1 pound a week until I lose 10 pounds in the next 3 months." That is a small, achievable goal that you can accomplish- nothing crazy or unsafe, just committing to a REALISTIC GOAL.

Another reason people fail at their attempts to get fit is a LACK OF SOCIAL SUPPORT. This can be a huge factor for some people, and not even an issue for others. But from my experience, most people will allow this excuse to invade their mind and sabotage their own goals. If you are feeling like you don't have support from your friends and family to achieve your goals, then you really need someone in your corner, pushing and motivating you to reach your goal (enter Fitness Coach). Working with just 1 person who believes in you, your goal and your ability to reach your goal is the difference between reaching your goal or giving up early. If you are fortunate in having people around you who are supportive of your goals, that is GREAT, and odds are you will inspire others to reach their goals, too! Having support in your current exercise and nutrition program is the difference between enjoying the experience and feeling guilty for focusing on yourself.  Don't let people rain on your parade- invite them to join in and see how much they can benefit from living a healthy lifestyle. You'll not only gain a cheerleader in your corner, but you can influence positive changes for those around you. One thing that I know really screws with peoples' heads is SOCIAL PHYSIQUE ANXIETY. Yes, this is a real thing.  If you are concerned about your body image or how you appear to outsiders, you have Social Physique Anxiety. Sometimes this can be a positive motivating force behind reaching a goal, but for the most part- it's not. Most people who suffer from this anxiety feel the need to constantly compare themselves to the other people they see at the gym (or worst, those models on IG). They tend to over-emphasize the difference between their own physique and someone else's- believing that they are MORE overweight and MORE out of shape than ANYONE else in the world. Ever. Although that sounds like an over-exaggeration, if you feel like you have this type of anxiety, you probably feel like that statement hit the nail on the head. So if you feel like you are MORE overweight and MORE out of shape than ANYONE else, it is important for you to know that this is not the case. Making the decision to change your lifestyle to be more healthy is doing more work than all those people sitting on the couch, so you have already won that battle! If you feel anxiety about going to the gym and 'being judged' (because you’re not, your only judging yourself, the other people at the gym don't care about why your there), take these few tips: 
1) Try working with a professional in the privacy of your own home. You can buy into some workout videos or hire a Fitness Coach to create custom programs for you, within your comfort zone and specific for your goals. 
2) It sounds silly- but it works.... If you go to the gym and feel anxious, go out and buy a new gym outfit. It will give you a little boost of confidence and make you feel like you 'fit-in' with the crowd of regular gym-goers. 
3) Try a group exercise class- this is a great way to break through social physique barriers since there is a mix of people in these classes. Some people will be super fit and dancing circles around the instructor, some people will leave 15 minutes in because they are too out of shape to continue.... where ever you fall, you’re not alone, and you will feel more at-ease about your own insecurities. The third barrier to exercise I hear from clients is CONVENIENCE. Like the 'time' excuse, I feel like this one is given too much president over the importance of reaching your goal. Going to the gym isn't convenient, huh? Well it won't be very convenient going to dialysis 3 days a week when your kidneys fail and you have diabetes from a life-long poor diet and lack of exercise. Convenience is a luxury. Get that through your head. I have taken an over-loaded semester with 21 college units, maintained a 4.0 GPA, held down 2 jobs AND trained for my first NPC Competition. What's your excuse? There are a lot of things that are inconvenient in this life, like taxes and pap smears, but let’s face it you just have to do it. Whether you prefer to hit the gym or like to workout at home, make is an absolute task in your day and leave now room for excuses- MAKE it convenient!

There are many more reasons people find ways around reaching their goals, whether to finish college or lose weight. Some of those barriers are real, some are perceived. Plan to overcome these barriers before they pop up by talking to a Fitness Professional about your goals and how you can make the initial steps to getting there. Blogger: Body By O Angel, Lyndsie McDougall - A.S Kinesiology/Athletic Training, NASM CPT, NPC Bikini Competitor

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