Three Obstacles to Reaching Your Fitness Goals

You may be preoccupied with the holiday excitement right now, but New Year's Day and your resolutions are just around the corner. Setting fitness and health goals at the beginning of the year is a great (and popular) idea, whether you want to eat healthier, exercise more frequently, or shed some excess pounds.

But if you enter the New Year with great expectations and no preparation, you can find yourself giving up by February, just like the majority of people who set resolutions. The end of the year is the perfect moment to figure out what obstacles have previously prevented you from accomplishing your health goals. You can find a workaround if you identify the obstacles that have prevented you from moving forward. You can only maintain your course when both little and major crises pose a threat to your progress.

The Three Big Obstacles to improving health

Prior to making any New Year's resolutions, reflect on the previous year. Which of these three categories of obstacles did you encounter?

Physical Obstacles


You've been working long hours, and you're worn out. Your workout from yesterday left you sore. You think you could be getting sick. These are all valid excuses for skipping your normal exercise, right?

Wrong. These may be some of the more common justifications for skipping a workout, but that doesn't imply they are valid, asserts Brad Schoenfeld, a certified personal trainer, expert in strength and conditioning, and the author of Strong and Sculpted. Admit it; the underlying reason might just be that you don't want to exercise and are searching for an acceptable justification.

He claims that the most common justification is laziness. "There is the suffering associated with training, as well as the human need to seek pleasure and avoid pain." Fitness is on the painful side of the equation, regardless of how enjoyable the activity is.

Remind yourself of the benefits of becoming and remaining fit in order to overcome your innate propensity to suffer, such as when you are too exhausted to exercise. Is it so you can get in shape or so you can have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids? When you need a motivation boost, look over the list of your personal motivators that you've written down.

"I'm exhausted" is a justification, says Schoenfeld. Everyone will experience fatigue on some days more than others, but you must consider your fitness goals carefully.

Even though you might feel more exhausted right after working out, as you get fitter, you're less likely to experience fatigue throughout the day. You will become less fatigued over time by strengthening your muscles and improving your cardiovascular system, according to Schoenfeld. Looking ahead will help you avoid experiencing future short-term effects of fatigue.

The justification that you're still sore from your most recent workout is also insufficient. In fact, being sore after a workout is a good motivation to return to the gym. Light activity after high-force eccentric exercise, such as weightlifting, improves muscular function recovery and may even lessen muscle soreness, according to research. Walking or swimming at a leisurely pace are examples of low-intensity exercises that can improve circulation and speed up recovery.

What about the other typical justifications for minor diseases like a cough or runny nose? Don't let them keep you from exercising. Try exercising at a lesser intensity rather than giving up exercise altogether. Make sure to stay hydrated and pay attention to your body; if you don't feel like going out, take the day off. Additionally, postpone your workout for a few days if you have a fever.

Emotional Obstacles

Does it take you a week or more to restart your program after a slight setback? It's common to think in all-or-nothing terms. You become frustrated and have to restart because you think it's not worth it if you can't get in your typical workout. You'll be more likely to remain with your program if you are kinder to yourself.

Schoenfeld advises using even one workout per week as a starting point. "That will make it much easier for you to resume exercising." If you choose to do nothing, you will essentially have to start over. Nothing is ever better than doing something.

Another typical emotional barrier is having unattainable expectations. No amount of exercise will give you the body of a tall supermodel if you are 5'2" and have a strong build. However, you can improve your strength and leanness. The trick is to have reasonable expectations about your abilities.

Another typical emotional barrier? Stress. If you're under a lot of stress, consider that one more justification for working out rather than skipping it. Exercise is one of the best stress-reduction strategies you can use, along with prayer. According to studies, it lessens depression and anxiety.

Exercise relieves stress because it diverts your attention from your issues. When your mind is preoccupied with performing squats or intervals, you are too engrossed in what you are doing to pay attention to your difficult coworker. Additionally, studies show that working out makes you feel better. Not only will it improve your attitude, but you'll feel better knowing that you took care of your body.

Lifestyle Obstacles


The main justification for not working out? not enough time, as you already know. However, getting healthy takes less time than you might imagine.

The first benefit is that working out doesn't take much time, according to Schoenfeld. "You can complete a fantastic weight workout in about thirty to forty minutes."

If lack of time is your biggest obstacle, get your calendar out and sit down. When is it most convenient for you to work out? Is it during your lunch break or first thing in the morning? Or is the optimum time for you to eat after work? If you make "appointment" times for exercise, just like you would for any other commitment, you'll be more likely to follow through with your plan.

If you're limited on time, think about combining activities. Go for a walk with your best friend instead of going out to lunch. Download a motivational podcast to listen to while doing cardio, or incorporate prayer into your morning walk. You must be adaptable when balancing your obligations to your family and your job. This can entail performing quick, intensive weightlifting routines during the week and longer ones on the weekends when you have more time.

Perhaps your lack of exercise is not due to time constraints but rather boredom. Add something fresh to your workouts to overcome that problem.

According to Schoenfeld, variety is the flavor of training. "A workout shouldn't ever be dull, and the main cause of that is that people get accustomed to the same pattern and repeat the same actions."

Try swimming, a brand-new gym class, or a hike on uncharted terrain. If you exercise in a gym, vary the weights you use with various variations of other exercises, and use interval training to keep your cardio workouts interesting and challenging. Even following your regular routine in a different order will make your muscles work in a different way and make you think more about what you're doing, which will help you avoid getting bored.

Remember that everyone experiences a few obstacles on their path to fitness, no matter how committed they are. You can make sure that you won't stop making progress toward achieving your health goals for this year by recognizing your obstacles and figuring out how to get past them.

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