One of the biggest reasons people quit their health and fitness routines is lack of progress. A significant reason people keep going with their exercise routine is progress.
Here is what I mean when talking about progress in the fitness realm.
More sets, reps, and lifting more weight in general
Like what you see in the mirror
Reduction in depression symptoms
Clearing your head
Reducing your stress
Reduction in heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight
Physical capacity to do more and improve your quality of life
I could talk till I’m blue in the face about the health and mental benefits of exercise, but the main ones most focused on are the physical factors. Are you sleeping better, and your high cholesterol has improved?
Yes, big deal; You still weigh the same. Some people quit because the other physical factors are way more important than the other benefits of exercise.
If this sounds like you or anybody you know, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll state the obvious about progress and advise you to stick with it even when your physical progress slows.
My Story About Progress
My journey with the gym started after high school because I was sick of getting sand kicked in my face, and I wanted a little attention from the opposite sex. That is probably the exact reason for many guys.
I made good progress initially, then gave it up for a life of sex, drugs, partying, and rock and roll. Well, minus the rock and roll. Then after getting fat, I got back into it again, moved countries, got married, had kids, and became a certified personal trainer.
Quite a journey, right?
Now because I’ve been lifting for a while, my physical progress has slowed, and I have to use other measures of progress to keep me on the straight and narrow. Because like you, some days I find it hard to do anything, let alone pick up a weight.
There is nothing wrong with focusing on physical progress regarding your health and fitness. But it becomes a problem when it’s all you focus on, and you quit because you feel you’re not making any progress.
Client Stories Of Progress
Recently a former client said that no matter what he does, he still weighs roughly the same. When he is more active, he walks and watches what he eats; he still weighs the same when he doesn’t do those things. He completely discounts all the other benefits of exercise and concentrates on the physical.
Does he get closer to his goals and the progress he wants to make by stopping those healthy behaviors? I think you know the answer to that question. Because progress, no matter what kind, is never in a straight line.
A female client who has been training with me for around a year initially didn’t see much physical progress. Granted, she was putting the work in the gym, but other factors were holding her back from the physical progress she wanted to make. But her runs were stronger; she was recovering quicker, and she remained injury free.
The benefits and progress were there; it just wasn’t showing up physically as she wanted. Recently she has become more dialed in, getting stronger, losing fat, and now she is starting to see the muscle definition she wanted all along. It did take her a while, but she stayed on the course even when the progress wasn’t apparent.
Progress is hardly ever in a straight line.
If You Do A, You Should Get to B
Here is where I state the obvious.
Our human bodies are complicated pieces of machinery and way beyond the scope of this blog and my brain. Even when you feel you are doing all the right things health and fitness-wise, you jump on the scale or look in the mirror and still weigh and look the same. Sucks, right?
Here are a few things I know about the human body and progress. Usually, before you see any progress on the outside, you are making progress on the inside with some of the factors mentioned above. You might not want to acknowledge they’re happening (because you’re disappointed), but they are a happening, sweetheart.
Our bodies seek balance, or homeostasis, and like to get there as quickly as possible. Why? Because the body and brain want to keep us safe and sound when being disrupted. What does that mean?
Simply it means you need to do more (when you want to improve) when your body seeks to recover to regain homeostasis. And hopefully, you get bigger, stronger, and lose fat between the good stress you put on the body and the body seeking balance.
Yes, it is way more complicated than that, but hopefully, you get the picture.
When you do A, you don’t necessarily get to B.
Don’t Quit Due To Lack Of Progress
Health and fitness is like life, you might get no satisfaction, but you might find you get what you need.
Rolling Stones for the win.
You might not always get the physical progress you are looking for.no matter how long you’ve been exercising, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working.
The health and mental benefits of exercise often, IMO, outweigh the physical, particularly when you get older. But that doesn’t mean vanity isn’t essential; you need to reframe what you mean by progress when the physical isn’t going your way.
So, before you consider quitting the gym or your diet, remember the health and mental benefits of engaging in a healthy lifestyle. If that doesn’t work, remind yourself that quitting doesn’t get you closer to your health and fitness goals. Only further away.
Quitting is not all bad. Quitting bad habits and bad jobs is warranted but giving up on your health and fitness that’s not cool. Regarding exercise, progress is quantified in so many ways that focusing only on the physical will lead you down the path of no satisfaction.
And Mike Jagger wouldn’t want that. 😊