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Don't be a Quitter! Try Every Workout More than Once

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/23/2010 7:00 AM   :  76 comments   :  13,152 Views

You probably remember your parents' relentless requests for you to keep trying those lima beans or Brussels sprouts despite your protests that you hated them. They probably even told you that your tastes can change and you might change your mind about them. ("Yeah right!" you'd say.) Maybe you begrudgingly at them over the years, but they always encouraged you to keep trying. I scarcely ate a vegetable or fruit as a kid, but not I love almost every single one of them as an adult. Whether it's eating vegetables, riding a bike, or interviewing for a job, now that we're grownups, too, we understand the importance of trying things more than once—and not giving up.

But how often have you popped in to a yoga class, joined a running group, or visited a new gym for the first time, only to decide you didn't like X, Y or Z about it and give up, completely writing it off as something that's just not for you? I'm willing to bet that this happens more often than you'd like to admit. But unlike getting back on your bike as a kid or trying broccoli again as an adult, you don't resolve to go back and give it another shot. What's it really matter, anyway, if you just don't like Spinning class? There are plenty of other things you can do to get in shape.

The latter may be true, but I'd argue that it does matter. Yes, there are endless possibilities when it comes to achieving personal fitness, and different things work for different people. But just as you can misjudge someone after a first impression, you can do the same with exercises. That Pilates class you took that made you feel like you were flopping around on the floor like an out-of-water fish could have been just the ticket to getting you motivated and seeing results, but when you gave up after one class, you missed a golden opportunity. You'd never know if you never tried again, and that's a shame.

As a fitness instructor, I know that my style of teaching might not be for everyone, but that doesn't mean the workout itself isn't. I've tried a lot of different workouts that didn't wow me in the beginning. But no matter what, I gave it another shot. And another. I kept trying until I felt experienced enough to make a good decision about sticking around or moving on. I always tell people to try a new workout at least three times before they decide they don't like it. Try different instructors. Try it in different formats (a DVD, a class at another gym, a shorter or a longer session). Get as much diverse experience as you can with the workout, but do it three times—minimum. Then decide if it's right for you.

When I started running more regularly a couple years ago, I wouldn't say I hated it, but I definitely didn't enjoy it. I totally didn't get the love of running that Coaches Nancy and Jen would blog about so often. Was it the activity or me? I felt determined to experience what they were feeling because it seemed so great. I kept running (more than three times, I'll add!) and it took me more than a year to start liking it. Now, I can't imagine NOT running—and I'm so glad I didn't give up on it!

When I first experienced Pilates, I definitely didn't get it. I was skeptical of its claims, and I sure didn't see how these body weight exercises done (mostly) lying on the floor would help me in ways that weight training couldn't. But I kept at it, deepened my knowledge, and now it's one of my favorite workouts.

Yoga was another thing that I tried off and on for several years. There were times when I enjoyed it more, but ultimately, after trying it a lot, I decided to move on. I may be a yoga dropout—and I'm OK with that—but I'll still try it again. Just as you can change your preferences for vegetables or whole-wheat bread after awhile, I'm sure that I'll be in a place later in my life where I'll be better able to understand and benefit from yoga, even if it's not for me right now.

I'm going to sound like your parents here and give you flashbacks to the family dinner table, but KEEP TRYING! You'll be glad you did!

Have you ever given up on a workout after just one experience? What exercise have you written off that you could try again today?

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Comments

  • 76
    Umm - I said earlier I knew I didn't like step class after the first time I tried it. I tried it again and... it was fun. Guess an old dog CAN learn new tricks. - 8/3/2010   10:34:36 PM
  • SOUTHERNBELLE32
    75
    I agree that you should try new exercises a few times before deciding whether or not it works for you. There are definitely a lot of factors involved regarding your opinion about the exercise, whether it is the time of day, or the instructor. I have found that I absolutely love spinning in the late afternoons. I think that if I started spinning in the morning, I probably wouldn't stick with it, but that is because I HATE exercise in the morning. So accepting that, I have stuck with spinning in the afternoons 3-4 times per week for the last month and have consistently lost weight each week.

    I tried the whole running thing, and to be honest, it just didn't do it for me. I dreaded it, and I prefer to do an exercise that I have enjoyed from the beginning than to continue doing something that I find boring. Kudos to you though for sticking to it for a year! That's dedication!! - 7/21/2010   11:21:44 AM
  • 74
    I am a spinning drop out. But it's because I have zero padding back there. It hurt SO bad. Even with padded shorts, my tailbone was massively bruised and I had only stuck it out for about 10 minutes! - 7/11/2010   12:23:07 PM
  • 73
    "That Pilates class you took that made you feel like you were flopping around on the floor like an out-of-water fish" - wait, were you spying on me? Because that's definitely how I felt! :^)

    I am a Pilates drop out. I attended the entire session and gritted my teeth through the whole thing, but in the end, I never felt like I'd made any progress and didn't see any possibility of improving. I'm sure it was the instructor - but she's the only Pilates instructor at my Y, so I just do other workouts instead! - 7/5/2010   10:00:10 PM
  • 72
    I only tried bikram yoga (super hot yoga!) once - I felt like I was going to pass out twice and I like the idea of a diversified yoga class rather than doing the same poses every time! - 7/1/2010   4:10:25 PM
  • 71
    I agree that things should not be given up after the first try. I now love Zumba, spinning, and the treadmill. The one thing that I have not attempted is the eliptical machine. - 6/26/2010   8:24:48 PM
  • 70
    I SO agree! I rented My Fitness Coach 2 and tried it and hated it. I was ready to return it when my 17 yr old son said to try it again before I do. I did and now I love it. Im not sure what the difference was doing it the second time but whatever it was, it was worth it. - 6/26/2010   12:41:10 PM
  • PEGGIE57
    69
    The only thing I did once was a biggest loser workout, but I plan to go back to it when my arm and back are healed. I really enjoy biking, hiking, swimming, anything I do with other people like games. - 6/26/2010   12:49:21 AM
  • JENNJENN00
    68
    I tried Brazil Butt Lift once and I have already sent the DVDs back. I don't think it was worth the money I paid. - 6/25/2010   7:39:53 PM
  • 67
    My gym instructor said I was ready to go to spin classes. I took one look through the glass in the door and didn't even go in. It was the thumping music and screeching class leader that put me off. How was that supposed to be relaxing or good for my blood pressure? I always regretted it though because I agree that I WAS ready for spinning. Hey ho. - 6/25/2010   2:56:24 PM
  • JUDYPOPPINS
    66
    The "old" me gave up many types of exercises after unpleasant experiences...yoga, aerobics, step, etc. The "new" me gives it a chance and always tries new instructors (which can make a world of difference). Now that I am an ex-exercise hater, I often mix things up by trying different instructors just for fun (I have several I love so I generally go back to them), but mixing it up is sure fun & exciting. - 6/25/2010   1:31:22 PM
  • 65
    I felt similarly about pilates - tried it many times over a period of 2 years, very frustrated and convinced that I just didn't "get it." I finally discovered that I clicked with certain instructors: Ellen Barrett & Denise Austin. They present the exercises in a way that makes sense to me, and now I'm finally willing to stick it out and reap the benefits. - 6/25/2010   8:43:58 AM
  • 64
    I am learning this lesson - I have always said I hated formal exercise but actually with the 10 minute sections on Fit Firm and Fired Up and now the 10 minute Exercise Streak Team I am not only doing loads more exercise, I am finding that it is leading to more and varied exercise sessions as I try out new things - several times until I either find I like them or know that I've given them a good go before I give up. - 6/25/2010   8:11:19 AM
  • DSMBURTON
    63
    I will make sure that I lead up to what I am about to say. I am disabled and suffer severve back pain due to ostearthritis. I have given up an exercise after only doing once but it was because I suffered in pain for days after doing it. Sometimes I can adapt exercise to work for me but sometimes not. There are certain motions my back simply wont tolerate so going to an execise class of any sort rarely works for me because they have the one size fits all routines and I find being on my own difficultt at times but do it so I can specialize to what my back can tolerate. Basically, for people in my situation, you do what you can tolerate because a program that makes you suffer unbearable pain is definately not something you will stick with. I stick with what works for me but I realize I am kind of the exception to the rule.
    - 6/25/2010   4:30:39 AM
  • 62
    Yes cycling. I like it but it is rough! I just so want to do it! - 6/24/2010   11:35:43 PM
  • 61
    I must add, if I were yuppie enough to fit in with my fellow practitioners in my former yoga studio, there would be more than enough other (social) reinforcements to make up for the arrogant, self-righteous, small-size-chauvinist and food-phobic yoga instructors I had to put up with. (I was counting the days until I could use up the second class pack I bought there.) The other students were friendly enough ... really, having enough money makes you naturally gracious (after a good yoga session) and we would have been all gracious together ...

    Tina - 6/24/2010   5:46:31 PM
  • RLMCCUE
    60
    I think this is great advice and is very timely for me, because I've just made a personal commitment to myself to try some different classes at my local Y, and do each class at least 4 times before making a decision about continuing. Thanks for the encouragement! - 6/24/2010   5:07:34 PM
  • 59
    I think the only things I ever gave up after only one try were cross-country skiing and golf. Cross-country skiing is a lot of hard work and I might have enjoyed it more except that the bindings were screwed up on the skis I had rented and I was constantly having to stop and fix them. I don't live in the same area now, or I would give that a try again.

    As far as giving up golf after one try, I think I'll try it again eventually. Problem is that I had injured my knee before we ever left for the golf course and I didn't realize how badly it was injured until I walked 9 holes listening to my sister and my hubby criticizing everything I did and ragging on me about being too slow. Turned out that what I thought was just a badly bruised kneecap turned out to be a dislocated kneecap that I further damaged by walking on it all that time. So...I sort of associate golf with intense pain. I know that's an unreasonable response, but it is what it is. (I'm really good at WiiFit Plus driving range. Does that count for something?) - 6/24/2010   2:23:28 PM
  • 58
    I agree! Not just trying Yoga again, but any form of exercise. It's all about finding what works for you. After you've gotten into a better routine, try something again, you mind be able to handle it better at a later time. It has worked for me with a number of things, now that I'm in better shape. - 6/24/2010   1:48:33 PM
  • MIEZEKATZE
    57
    I've tried Yoga twice now - once via DVD and the other time was an actual class. Both times I hated it, I didn't feel like I was getting a workout at all, I like to feel the burn! Perhaps I'll give it one more chance, my friend is really into Bikram (hot) yoga, maybe that would be more my style.

    I really, really, REALLY want to take a spinning class... but all the gyms here that offer it are out of my budget range. - 6/24/2010   11:35:48 AM
  • 56
    My first Zumba class was a disaster. Hated it!! A friend made me try another class, nearly a year later. I went kicking and screaming. Guess what ... LOVE it!! In this case it is all about the instructor. So I agree with Coach Nicole ... try it at least 3 times before you make up your mind. - 6/24/2010   9:41:15 AM
  • 55
    Well I got dragged out to hot yoga----- thought I might die in the process, but, hey, it turned out that I liked it!-Good to try something new! - 6/24/2010   7:24:06 AM
  • 54
    I agree with this blog. Try, try again! - 6/24/2010   7:08:24 AM
  • 53
    I donít think being a glutton for punishment is endearing or noble. I also doubt nagging people to try things they donít like is the way to go. One of the joys of being an adult is that you donít have to do things like that. Why keep trying something you hate when there are so many other things out there? I know myself well enough to know when I donít like something. If I donít like something then, I will avoid it. There are so many options in exercise that I think it is ridiculous to brow beat yourself into doing one you donít enjoy. - 6/24/2010   6:52:19 AM
  • 52
    The only workout I tried once and never did again was a Walk Away the Pounds "Walk-Kick" DVD. It wasn't so much the workout, though, it was just the set-up for the filming... everything had this soft, fuzzy "glow" to it, the angles made it hard to see, and the opening sequence was so cheesy -- complete with plastic ivy!!! Of course, I've done 4 of her other DVD workouts, so I can't even say I gave up on WATP... I just gave up on that one lousy DVD. - 6/24/2010   6:40:02 AM
  • PERKINSSISTERS
    51
    I love swimming, walking, biking, hiking, strength training. I used to jazzercise and loved it but it took a while to catch on. I work out on my own now so I can do what I want when I want. I've tried other classes at the Y, step classess etc. and do not enjoy them. I have to love or like what I do when it comes to exercise. I would love to run but my feet hurt a lot of the time even after being fitted with appropriate shoes by a professional. - 6/24/2010   4:05:23 AM
  • KAKIPOPUP
    50
    I don't like classes (or group exercising) in general - I get way too competitive and end up injuring myself either physically or psychologically - Yoga is the exception for me. I'm looking into trying Zumba and I'm trying to persuade LOML to get back to square dancing - his knees are iffy, though. - 6/24/2010   2:37:36 AM
  • 49
    I've tried more new things in the past couple of years than in my entire life. I never thought I would ever ski a black diamond run or ride a bicycle over 50 miles in a day or even jump from a mountain on a zip line. Yet I've done all 3 after the age of 55. It keeps you young. - 6/23/2010   10:50:35 PM
  • JBURD09
    48
    I think for every DVD out there, I've given up on it after one or two tries. They're "too hard" or "too complicated". Since I've started this (FINAL) journey in weight loss, I'm dragging out the old DVD's that I have and allowing them to reignite the passion I have for working out. Another example is the C25K program from coolrunning.com; I tried the first week and dropped out, I'm starting it again. I want to enjoy running, so I'm persevering through the beginning uncomfortableness. I think that when it comes to working out we all have our preferences, but it's more than okay to try out new things (more than once)! - 6/23/2010   9:26:45 PM
  • 47
    I tried Jazzercize years ago, and gave it up because I looked ridiculous in the leotards and tights! - 6/23/2010   9:19:25 PM
  • 46
    I think of the belly dancing class I was in more than 30 years ago. I was actually enjoying it until the instructor singled me out to show me how it SHOULD be done. It truly embarassed me, and I dropped out. I'm not a dancer and never will be. I think as long as I wasn't in danger of hurting myself, the instructor should have let it go. Nonetheless, it is time I, at least, tried some dancing class again. It's time I got over that particular inhibition. - 6/23/2010   7:17:35 PM
  • 45
    I order the Mari Windsor Pilates system years ago, tried it once, and then sent it back because it was way too hard. In retrospect, the problem wasn't with the workouts but with me because I was still a beginner exerciser who'd never tried Pilates before. Now that I'm more of an intermediate exerciser who has done Pilates several times, I might be able to do those workouts. I still keep trying yoga, hoping it'll grow on me, since it has so many benefits. - 6/23/2010   4:34:20 PM
  • ZOOLOVER
    44
    Years ago I tried a Jazzericse class for beginners. I quit after 1 class, due to the injury to my leg from the class. The instructor was not very good and didn't pay attention what the student were doing. I injured my leg trying to keep up and not knowing the proper moves/form. When I spoke with the instructor about it all she could say was that I should have been a the front of the class so she could have seen me. Excuse me, shouldn't she be going around the class to get a look at the students? Perhaps I try it again, there a store not far from my house. But I ill ask a lot of questions this time before trying anything. - 6/23/2010   4:18:08 PM
  • 43
    I like to try new things and new exercises, it shakes things up. I would like to run too but think I should wait till I lose more so I won't hurt my already sore knees more. - 6/23/2010   3:06:26 PM
  • 42
    As I lose weight it opens up different worlds of activities for me. At 315lbs the elliptical made my knees click, for example. Right now walking via The Step Diet (see my page for the SparkTeam) and strength training with 5 lb weights, are making me more flexible. - 6/23/2010   2:50:54 PM
  • JSTERK
    41
    Jaxmommy, I love to cycle and the only way to keep your butt to not hurt is to wear bike shorts that have a pad in the rear and lady area. Your rear will also get better with the more miles you ride. Remember, more pressure in your feet means less in the butt. - 6/23/2010   2:49:09 PM
  • PHROSE22
    40
    I loved Spinning since the first time I tried it (despite the soreness in my legs I suffered for the next couple of days) and I'm always excited to go again and again.

    What I didn't like is water aerobics. It was kind of disappointing for me. I heard so much about water excercises and their benifits but when I tried, it was boring and I didn't feel that it was so challenging for me, as if I was just splish-splashing in the water. I didn't feel so much increase in my heart rate like in other cardio classes so I thought either I'm doing something wrong or this class just isn't challenging enough and it's not much of an excercise for me. I didn't go back again. But now that I've read this article, I think I can give it another shot. I'll try with a different instructor and see how I'll do! - 6/23/2010   2:41:47 PM
  • 39
    I definitely had the same experience with yoga. I tried it a couple times and just absolutely hated it. I've never been into relaxing and have always preferred fast paced workouts. But I gave it one last chance a couple weeks ago, and tried a yoga class that was made for fighters. I loved it!! And I'm definitely going to stick with it. I think that when it comes to yoga there are such wide varieties and styles to choose from that there is bound to be one for any style of workout you're usually into. - 6/23/2010   2:41:32 PM
  • 38
    Spinning class! I tried it once with a class of all young, fit men and felt like a heavy breathing old lady in it! Not only that, but my rear end hurt for days and days! I keep saying I will go back, but haven't yet and that experience was in October, 2009! I was hoping another class would start with females for one thing. Any tips on keeping my butt from hurting so badly? - 6/23/2010   2:39:06 PM
  • SUNSET09
    37
    I try not to give up something, like exercising after one try as we tend to get better with practice, especially when we see the results! Somethings to reflect on, thanx! - 6/23/2010   2:33:32 PM
  • 36
    Huh, turns out the answer for not liking exercise is the same for not liking veggies. Maybe it wasn't cooked right (format) or maybe you didn't like it in combo with the other foods it was always served with (instructor), but if you keep trying it different ways, you may eventually find a way to serve it in a way that you enjoy. - 6/23/2010   2:28:01 PM
  • 35
    Rowing. - 6/23/2010   2:00:36 PM
  • STATS2332
    34
    Sparkpeople was like that for me. When first introduced I really didn't get it. what's the big deal? But I came back to it and love it. I insist on getting at least 50 sparkpoints a day and I am learning all kinds of things and trying everything... even your favorite yoga. - 6/23/2010   1:40:39 PM
  • 33
    I tried a Hip Hop class and a belly dance class once and did not go back. I gave it a try and did not or would not do it again. - 6/23/2010   1:18:34 PM
  • RIGBY31
    32
    People evolve over time. Something I loved when I was 30, I can't imagine doing now. Just as I couldn't imagine being in my fifties (where I'm at now). It's okay to say "okay -or- it'snot for me". If "no" comes up everytime, well there's something else going on! - 6/23/2010   1:17:50 PM
  • 31
    This is a really good article. I have tried many things like Spinning, Yoga and Running. While Spinning and Running are enjoyable yet a little difficult now, I just can't get the hang of Yoga. However, with this information I think I should try different classes or DVDs and see if it really is something I can enjoy. - 6/23/2010   1:13:11 PM
  • 30
    While I agree you should be open to something new and try it a few different ways before deciding its not for you...I also think sometimes you just know if something is just not for you. For me its yoga. I loathe it. I spend every single second of doing it wishing I were somewhere else, anywhere else, doing something else...ANYTHING else. I hate yoga so much I would rather run...and I believe you should only run if someone is chasing you lo. I've tried different classes, different instructors, DVD's, going with friends, nothing has made a difference. I endure it, not enjoy it. I'm too busy watching the clock praying for it to be over to achieve a zen like state. I just hate it.

    But I do it anyway lol. I like the results I get. So yeah I do it, but man I don't enjoy a moment of it. Same for Pilates lol. - 6/23/2010   1:04:28 PM
  • HOKIESIS
    29
    I think trying a routine/class/etc a few times might be good but I refuse to stick with something that I hate for more than a couple of tries. Sure, lots of runners say they hated running for the first few months/year/etc but now they LOVE it. I'm just not willing to stick with something I hate for so long on the off chance that I might eventually love it when I have things I can do that I love right now.

    Not everyone who sticks with something will love it. I hate running. I ran for the 3 years I was in the Army and I did fairly well on my PT tests because I hated running so much I would run as fast as possible to get it over with. Whenever I ran on my own, I ran for the minimum time/distance needed to maintain my speed and I'd be staring at the clock the whole time. Now I swim or ride my bike, I enjoy myself, and I often keep going past the minimum because I'm enjoying myself. I also don't dread exercising like I did when I ran. - 6/23/2010   12:27:39 PM
  • 28
    You are so right! I can't tell you how many times I've struggled with this, especially with gym memberships. I even tried a personal trainer for a time. Sometimes, you find out that you have to start small. Once I found out that I had a back problem and received physical therapy first, then I was able to try exersizing again. I found I just had to be patient with myself. - 6/23/2010   12:27:26 PM
  • 27
    I've discovered there are a lot of things I thought I didn't like that I actually do like after I tried them a couple more times; things like running and mustard. I'm trying trailrunning again this summer - giving it a REAL chance rather than the half-hearted attempts I've done in the past. But I've got to say I don't like hiking. I've tried it numerous times now and I regret doing it every single time. - 6/23/2010   12:27:16 PM

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