Health and fitness has a low bar for entry, but the secret enemy stops many people in their tracks before they even get started. Becoming or staying healthy and fit is simple (but usually challenging). Pick up a weight or two a few times a week, get sweaty occasionally, and eat like an adult more often than not.
It doesn’t sound difficult, correct, but then again, obesity (there are many other factors than diet and exercise) is a worldwide crisis, and new drugs have been invented to help. There are many factors in and out of our control when it comes to health and fitness. I acknowledge that, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is a low entry bar.
Even with a low barrier to entry, some people cannot even reach it. Why is that? Let’s explore a few reasons (In My Opinion) why.
Enemy One & Two
Every new year, new and old gym goers flood the gym, thinking this will be the year where everything changes and they will get their six-pack. Then, the number of gymgoers drops dramatically at the end of January or early February. Why is that?
There are a few reasons, but the one that trips many newbies up is high (or unrealistic) expectations and time. When they work out for a few weeks and shove numerous salads down their throats, they expect to see results. But despondency kicks in when they step on the scale, look at themselves in the mirror, and see no change.
Some have high expectations excepting instant change because they have been ‘good,’ and it is a bye-bye healthy lifestyle when they don’t get it.
Time is not the enemy of health and fitness per se. But many, if not all, people starting their health and fitness journey underestimate how long it takes to reach their goals and, when they get there, the time it takes to maintain what they have worked for. Crap, I’ve been lifting weights for over 25 years, and I still haven’t reached all of mine.
Impatience is not bad because it drives some to get things done. However, most need to realize it takes time to reach high expectations. Remember the cliché as old as time itself?
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
It pays to remember that one because does anyone get closer to their goals by quitting?
I wrote this a little while ago, so I’ll avoid beating a dead horse (cliché 2), but another enemy of fitness is accountability or a lack of it. I’ll let you in on a not-so-secret why many personal trainers stay in business and do very well. It’s not their sparkling personality or programming skills, although that is part of it.
It’s definitely not their ability to count reps because most trainers suck at that, and it’s not their fashion sense because some personal trainers’ high fashion sense is sleek tracksuit pants. So, what is it then?
The clients have skin in the game after paying for sessions. The trainer keeps the client accountable by keeping them coming in for sessions and coaching them to do well. Because when it comes to getting results, consistency is critical. And with the trainer providing the client with accountability, this consistency becomes a reality.
If you have trouble keeping yourself accountable (who doesn’t), read the link above. Accountability and consistency are the secret sauce of fitness.
Secret Enemy Four
I’m going on the record to say I have never had an issue with this secret enemy of fitness, but I feel many people do and stop them in their tracks. Do you know (or are you) people who like to get all their ducks in a row before starting anything or going anywhere? Things like
After the wedding, and all the cake is eaten, it will be the perfect time to start getting healthy.
When you retire, you will write that book when the kids leave the house.
I’m too busy to work out; I’ll start when my schedule clears.
I’ll start going to the gym again when I’ve cleaned up my diet.
Some put conditions on starting something new, like a diet or exercise program. You could call it procrastination, but here’s what it really is—waiting for the perfect time to start—basically perfection. Waiting for the ideal time to start is fruitless because the adage (or cliche) suggests there is never a perfect time.
Waiting for this time becomes another excuse people like to tell themselves to let them off the hook. Taking imperfect action beats taking no action every time, which is valid for your health and fitness.
Starting something you want or need to do while you’re busy is more likely to stick than waiting for the perfect time, and you stop because you’re too busy. Perfection is a sneaky secret enemy of fitness and one that needs to be nipped in the bud when recognized.
Please stop waiting for the perfect time and take small, imperfect steps toward your goals and desires.
These enemies are no longer secrets because they have been exposed. I still struggle with these, but recognizing and writing them helps me get on top of it sooner. If you acknowledge these four fitness enemies, stopping them will get you where you want to go faster.
I counted three cliches. What did you get?