We might have the best of intentions, but sometimes sticking to an exercise regime is hard and it can feel like it isn’t making much of a difference. Research suggests that up to 50% of people who embark on a new fitness regime drop out within the first six months, so how can you ensure you stick to your plan and make it go the distance? Here Garry Kerr, Head of Operations at British Military Fitness outlines the top reasons you are likely to give up on exercise and the easy fixes you can use to get back on track.
1. You’ve hit the dreaded plateau
When we start a new exercise regime, it can be an exciting time. We start feeling better right away and the results start to become noticeable. However, there comes a point that if we don’t take it to the next level, the body starts to get too comfortable and we reach a point where we’re no longer progressing. Hitting a plateau can be incredibly frustrating and might make you want to throw in the towel altogether, however stick with it. Make sure every time you work out you are using it as a chance to push your body that little bit harder, to run a little bit faster or to lift a heavier weight. Ensure your workouts are getting progressively harder each time to avoid hitting the dreaded plateau and you’ll see your motivation increase as each workout becomes a new challenge.
2. You’ve gone too fast, too furious
The opposite of getting too comfortable, it can be just as damaging to get overzealous about your new exercise regime and burn out as a result. You want to reach your goals right away but unfortunately when it comes to exercise there is no magic bullet that will give you a six pack or great glutes straight away. Reaching your goals will take time and consistency, and working out too hard or too often will likely only lead to the muscles becoming over trained, or worse, injured. To allow your muscles to strengthen, you need to allow them to recover after vigorous exercise. Ensure you are building in rest days to your regime to make sure the body has enough time to rest and recover, and listen to your body and how you’re feeling to prevent injuries.
3. Your diet isn’t up to scratch
As beneficial as exercise can be in improving your physical and mental health, it doesn’t cure all sins. If you’re continuing to indulge in a poor diet, aren’t sleeping well or are throwing pints back in the pub every night, it goes without saying that the results from your exercise regime are going to be negatively impacted. While allowing yourself the odd treat should be encouraged, moderation is key to getting the most from a healthy lifestyle. Take a close look at what you’re eating, and try to make healthier choices in all areas of your life. It will help you achieve better results, which will, in turn, help you continue to stick to your plan.
4. You’re too focused on outcomes
Whether it’s slimming down before a big event, or toning up for an upcoming holiday, sometimes we are too focused on outcomes when it comes to exercise, and when we don’t reach the (often unrealistic) goals we set for ourselves we can feel unmotivated and like there’s no point in continuing. Too often we forget that exercise should be enjoyable and a fun addition to our lifestyle, and get too focused on the outcomes rather than the activity we are taking part in. Counteract this by trying new types of exercise to find something that is fun as well as functional, whether that’s joining a running club or trying an outdoor fitness class.
5. You’ve lost your mojo
Sometimes working out can be a hard old slog and when you’ve lost motivation, sometimes you just need a little help from your friends! They say there’s strength in numbers, and studies have found that those who work out with others are less likely to drop out of an exercise regime than those who work out alone, meaning there’s a good reason to recruit an exercise buddy. Make it your aim to try out a new type of exercise with a friend every month. You might find something you love and if not, at least it’s a good excuse for a catch up.