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9 Reasons Why People Don't Reach Their Fitness Goals

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And Handy Solutions To The Problem



Why do some people stop exercising before they even start? This is a question that has been on my mind for some time. It's common place for some people to enthusiastically pledge to get fit but after a few weeks give up and return to their previous lifestyle. Why is this so? In this article I'll discuss some of the possible reasons why people give up on exercise. I will also offer suggestions to those people who have suddenly discontinued their exercise regimen.


Many people fail to fully commit themselves to exercise. They see other people going to the gym, jogging, bicycling, etc. and think it would be great to get into shape but fail to consider what it requires to get started.

Becoming physically active requires work. It's as simple as that. You have to do physical work to make your body stronger and healthier. This means that you will need to set up a regular schedule to participate in physical activity. You will have to set aside time to go for that half an hour walk, get the bike out to go cycling at the park, work out at the gym, etc.

You will have to postpone watching that sit com on TV, or taking the snooze on the couch. If you are a person who has become comfortable in your old routine, developing a new habit maybe difficult, but it begins in the mind. You have to make the conscious decision to do something different. And then do that activity again and again.

Eventually- and this only happens if your mind is really into it- you'll come to accept this new routine without much thought. In other words, you'll have undergone a lifestyle change and exercise will become part of your identity.


We have evolved to seek out that which gives us pleasure and avoid that which gives us pain. Exercise is no different. If a person has just started an exercise program after a long hiatus, the first workout is often the hardest. You'll work muscles that are not accustomed to the sort of physical exertion you're putting them through. So when you've finished the workout you're likely to feel very sore.

Most people are unprepared for this and quickly give up exercise. This soreness is actually quite normal and there's even a scientific name for it: delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) . You can minimize soreness by stretching, or warming up before you work out (1). If you're feeling soreness after an intense workout, take a warm shower. The warm water will soothe the muscles that have tensed up as a result of the physical stress put on them.

Also, allow those sore muscles time to recover; when you next go to the gym (which, hopefully, will be within the next day or so following your first workout) work different muscle groups. For example, if you've worked out on the leg press machine today, work your back and shoulders tomorrow. Then the next day, instead of legs, back and shoulders, work your abdominal muscles.

By performing your exercises in this way, you allow your muscles to rest and become stronger while at the same time maintaining physical activity by working different muscle groups. On the other hand, if you feel sharp or intense pain this is most likely an injury. In this case, stop what you are doing and seek medical attention. Always remember to use common sense when you're working out.

Doing Too Much Too Soon

Some novices have a tendency to lift more weight than their body is ready for. This can lead to injury and embarrassment. The key is to start with light weights and increase the amount in regular increments ( 5 - 10 pound increase per week is recommended) thereby building strength and familiarity with the exercise.

If you're new to working out and train at a gym or fitness center, there are staff on hand who would be able to assist you with proper form and technique. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Even those of us who train using heavy weights (lifting amounts in excess of 100 pounds or greater than our body weight) ask for help.

I know this first hand because when performing some incredibly demanding strength exercises I've asked for spots and spotted others. It makes no sense to show off and risk serious injury, follow the motto "safety before vanity" and enjoy your workout.

Unrealistic Expectations

It's important to set exercise goals but make sure they're realistic. Some people mistakenly believe that all they have to do is join a gym, workout for a week or two and magically have the body of a professional athlete or fitness model. Sounds good, doesn't it?

But there's a major problem with this line of thought: it's unrealistic. The truth of the matter is that strong, toned, fit bodies are not made overnight. It takes effort, dedication, hard work, time and patience to achieve lasting results. In other words, it means you must workout for the rest of your life. There is nothing wrong with desiring a well sculpted body, as a matter of fact this is great as a long term goal.

In the meantime, though, take gradual steps to achieve what you want. Each person responds differently to exercise, some people develop faster than others. Don't rush it, take the time to learn the intricacies of good form and proper training and if properly applied you're more likely to see pronounced results in two or three months.

Lack Of Familiarity With The Equipment

Again, some novices who have little to no understanding of the many kinds of equipment available at their gym or fitness center maybe intimidated by what they see there. If you are such a person, seek help from the staff; many gyms will offer a short training course that will teach you proper form and technique.

Additionally, they may help you develop a training regimen that works best for your needs. If you have purchased a home gym or other fitness equipment, be sure to read the instruction manual and watch the accompanying video because these will provide tips to help you get started.


A lot of people stop exercising because they took up something that they didn't enjoy. Make your workouts interesting. Choose an exercise that you enjoy. It can be stair climbing, jogging, push ups, roller blading, tennis, swimming, hockey, basketball, soccer, etc.

There are many different activities that you can choose from, just pick the one that you like to do and then do it on a regular basis. And don't forget to mix things up a bit. Trade out some exercises for new ones, this keeps the workouts fresh, interesting and challenging.


Some people are very self conscious about their body. Body image is very important, it relates to our self esteem and self concept. So some folks who are overweight, obese or underweight may avoid the gym because of fear of ridicule.

But no one should ever be ashamed of the way that they look like or worry about what others will think of them. This applies in all situations including exercise. Most of us have something about ourselves that we would like to change. That is one of the underlying reasons why most people take up exercise. There's nothing wrong with using exercise to change the way our body looks and feels.

Regardless of a person's physical appearance, health is important for everyone. So, don't worry about what other people think; join a gym, go for a walk, jump rope, dance, ride a bicycle, etc. Do what you want to do because you want to do it, and you'll be healthier and happier for it. Everyone has a right to life so it is your responsibility to get healthy and stay that way.

Doing It For Someone Else

People who do things to please others often learn that their efforts are wasted. It's that simple. Exercise because it is one of the ways to care for the body God gave to you. Do not exercise to merely get the attention or approval of others. If you make a conscious decision to get into shape because it is something that you want to do to live in the service of God, you will stick with it.

Financial Constraints

Home gyms and fitness centers may cost more than some people can afford. If you're someone who has given up on exercise because of money, there are still plenty of inexpensive ways to exercise. Push ups, burpees, ab crunches and lunges are just a few of the exercises that you do without spending any money at all. Walking is also free.

Physical exercise is any activity which requires the body to move from a state of rest to a state of movement. Don't let a lack of finances be an excuse for not exercising. Choose an activity that you like and then get moving.

Now I want to hear from you. Have you ever had trouble staying focused on your fitness goals? How did you get back on track or stay motivated? Tell us about it in comments.


1. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.

"Why Do Some People Stop Before They Even Start?" copyright2009, 2010Living Fit, Healthy and Happy all rights reserved.


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