You look down at the scale and you can’t believe your eyes. That’s way higher than you thought it was. And then you stroll over to the mirror while taking your shirt off.

Turning side to side while glancing over your shoulder only adds to your misery. Shit, I’ve put on weight.

Where did my abs go?  Now they’ve been replaced by fat.

Where did my triceps disappear too? Now they’re flapping to the touch.

Where’s my butt? I used to have one but now it’s looks like a pancake.

Yum.  Pancakes. Now I’m really craving pancakes. Shut up brain. This is what got us in trouble in the first place.

Okay, now’s the time to dig out my rarely used gym membership, at the bottom of my bag and drive my pancake butt to the gym.

Now’s the time to get into shape before it gets any worse. Can it get any worse?

Don’t answer that question brain. 😊

Does any of this seem vaguely familiar?

If it’s been a while since you’ve darkened the doors of a gym, or you’ve never been, don’t make these exercise mistakes. They may slow your progress or worse, you may quit all together.

And you don’t want that.

1.Changing too many things at once

When you’re first starting, your gun-ho to get this show on the road.

You want to exercise 5 days a week. You throw away your junk food and buy lots of fruits and vegetables. And you vow to drink more water and less soda. However, the more you try to change, the less those changes stick according to Leo Babatu, the author of ‘The Power of Less.’

He said ‘In order to create a sustainable habit, you need to address one habit at a time.’

His research tells us that you will have an 85% success rate adopting one new habit at a time. Trying to change two habits at once the success rate to 33%. That’s a huge drop off.

Trying to change more than one habit at a time is more likely to lead to failure than success.

What to do instead

Start small– Most people want to create big change as quickly as possible. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight start with drinking a glass of water before each meal.

Get hooked on your habit- That’s the point. It takes a little while to make it a habit to stick. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Just don’t miss twice. The only way to fail is to quit.

2. Thinking Rome was built in a day

Following on from point one, because you’re making all these changes at once you (may) expect instant success. You feel the weight should fly off and the scale and mirror become your best friends.

Slow your roll a little bit.

Usually, it takes 4-6 weeks to see any visible changes in your body. During this time your nervous system, ligaments and tendons are getting use to the exercise you’re throwing at it.

They’re busy making new connections and getting stronger.  Once this period is over, you’ll start seeing some changes when you look in the mirror. The trick is to stick it out and be patient.

It doesn’t happen overnight but it will happen.

What to do instead

Realize it took you a while to get to this point and it’s going to take some time to get sexy again.

You have to celebrate the small wins. Even if you walked for an extra 10 minutes or did an extra rep in the gym, give yourself a pat on the back. This will help keep you going.

3. Making vanity your only reason

Self-improvement for whatever reason is a worthy pursuit.  The trick here is to keep it going and to find your why outside of vanity. For example, training for a 5 k or bending over to pick up your kids without pain.

Because when vanity is your only reason for exercising, and if your results dry to a trickle, it’s easier to give up and listen to your thoughts that are saying this exercise thing isn’t for you.

That’s why it’s important to spend some time finding your why.

Because when you have a deeper reason for your health outside of vanity, you’re more likely to keep going.

What to do instead

Spend some time in self-reflection and ask your self the 5 whys. 5 whys you ask?

Don’t worry here’s an example.

Why do you want to exercise? To lose weight.

Why do you want to lose weight?  Because I don’t like the way I look.

Why don’t you like the way you look? Because I’m 35 pounds overweight.

Why is losing 35 pounds important to you? Because I’m pre diabetic, have low energy and I can’t keep up with my kids anymore.

Why is keeping up with your kids important? Because they’re young and I want to be a better parent to them for as long as possible.

Boom. Now you do the same.

4. NOT asking for help

When everything thing is shiny and motivation is at an all time high, it’s easy. You’re going to the gym consistently and you’re eating better. Everything is going to plan until you hit a road block.

It could take the form of

  • A fat loss plateau
  • Your hours increase at work
  • Your caregiver duties increase because of sickness
  • You get hurt or injured
  • Life and it entails 😊

Then you either think power through it or you begin to drop off your good habits, little by little. Either way, reaching your goals has become harder. But you still got this, right?

What to do instead

I’m all about making it easier, (on myself and clients) not harder to get and stay in shape. This is why I enlist the help of a friend and coach to write my programs. Because a trainer who has himself as a trainer has a fool for a client.

Please make it easier for yourself by asking for help.

This may take the form of asking the trainer at your gym for tips to work around an injury or exercising when you have limited time. Enlisting help from your spouse or loved ones, so you carve out a little time for yourself for health purposes.

Because when you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

Wrapping up

Starting something is easy. The follow through and the ability to keep going is more difficult. Especially when things don’t go your way.

However, the only way to fail is to quit. And you’re no quitter, right?

Do you need help with your exercise, getting started or overcoming roadblocks to be your best self?  If so, please contact me here and let’s crush this thing together.


  1. Robbie

    Great article, Shane.

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