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


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  77 comments   :  18,109 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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  • 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
  • 26
    You are definitely right. You should never count anything out until you've given it a chance. This applies to more than fitness and health. Very good blog! - 6/23/2010   12:16:58 PM
  • 25
    Earlier this year I started to exercise and hadn't done a cardio class in so long that it felt very ackward. After several tries I started to relearn the steps and get back into it. - 6/23/2010   11:34:55 AM
    I tried Zumba class one time. I had at least 3 left feet and never did get one step right. Didn't even make it through the hour. I still think it looks like a great exercise and I know it is something I could enjoy if I could coordinate my left feet. Maybe I will give it another try and not be so critical of myself and my stumbling around. Great article. Thank you. - 6/23/2010   10:59:10 AM
    You are completely right on with this article. I have been trying to run regularly for almost a year now. I started out slow and was able to run 10K after about a month. I have been able to run for 10K usually 2-3 times a week and I was in my first 10K fund raiser a couple of weeks ago. I still do not like running!! I have never experienced the "Runners high". I am trying to like it. I will keep on until I do. I went to a "Hot Yoga" class last fall and thought it was great right from the first time. I am now a regular going 4 times a week. There are several activities I do while in the gym that still do not turn my crank but I find I just do those less and spend more time on the exercise I like. It is all good. I think the main thing is to keep active doing whatever keeps you going and do not be afriad to try new things. - 6/23/2010   10:57:12 AM
  • 22
    I agree that you should try it more than once to get a good idea of how it works or if it's really you. I took a whole aerobics class for months and no I don't like it. I also took a water aerobics class and I loved it. I had an indoor bike and rode it for months and it just isn't me. But get me out in Gods creation and I love walking and running. - 6/23/2010   10:31:34 AM
    This is great advice, I will most definately be trying another yoga class, and running, because I do want that experience everyone is always talking about. Thanx! - 6/23/2010   10:22:32 AM
  • 20
    I agree that the instructor can make all the difference. And the class as well! I stuck with tai chi for over a year, learned all the moves, and was practicing it diligently at home. Then I realized that the people in class were getting on my nerves and that, given the amount of time I walk, do pushups and ST, and do pilates, I just didn't have the time or will to devote to tai chi any longer. I still do a couple of the fundamentals exercises, but there are only so many hours in a day! - 6/23/2010   10:18:16 AM
  • 19
    For good or for bad, I am committed to doing lots of yoga. I just switched to another yoga studio where the style is more sedate, where my lungs don't have to fight the incense fumes, and where you're not hit over the head with the spirituality of the practice ... BIG factors: They charge less than the former one (which thinks it discovered the latest, greatest workout craze and personal atonement philosophy all rolled into one); love community more than the former one; and they have less of an attitude ...

    Look, I had to do what I had to do!

    This may sound counterintuitive, but my home practice (which I do the most of) HAS to be the more vigorous ...

    I am almost the opposite of a control freak, but, even if it's a little late in the game, it is time I took control.

    Give up yoga? Or anything?

    Play your cards to WIN !!
    - 6/23/2010   10:10:51 AM
  • PEPE865
    I really needed this blog. I've taken 2 Zumba classes where I've mostly just moved my feet in approximately the same direction as the class but no where near correctly. Last night I came away thinking "never again". Thank you, Nichole, for inspiring me to try again next week. - 6/23/2010   10:00:56 AM
  • 17
    I attended a Zumba class twice last year and HATED it. But this article has me thinking that maybe I should give it a shot again. - 6/23/2010   9:54:25 AM
  • NOIRE3
    And a really great instructor can make an activity you didn't think you'd like, or didn't like with someone else, absolutely great!

    A lot of my exercise is dance (except for weight lifting) and I wasn't all that interested in Bollywood--but it was good aerobics and at a convenient time. But the instructor was absolutely amazing and the people in the class just came together as a group and it was 9 fabulous months when I wouldn't miss a class.

    Now that that instructor has left the region I wasn't sure what to try at the studio. I never thought of chorus dancing--don't much like the music and thought it sounded dorky. But I saw the class before my belly dance class and it looked like it could be fun, so I think I'll give it a try... - 6/23/2010   9:44:51 AM
    Thanks for the great advice and making me rethink my decision on giving up on the first try. - 6/23/2010   9:37:03 AM
  • SHB1964
    (Read as sarcastic teenager...) All right, FINE, I'll give exercise (in any form) another try. But I still won't eat Brussels sprouts and YOU CAN'T MAKE ME! - 6/23/2010   9:36:56 AM
  • 13
    It's definately yoga for me. It was tougher than I thought. It's also much more focused, & low key than my other workouts. I do intend on trying it again. I always figured I would have to do my cardio in addition to yoga, & that's been hard to fit in because of limited time. Yoga is definately a challenge for me, but I should give it a try again soon. - 6/23/2010   9:30:48 AM
  • 12
    ok, I'll give yoga another chance with a different DVD. - 6/23/2010   9:20:50 AM
    Good advise - and I agree with trying a different instructor as well. - 6/23/2010   9:14:54 AM
  • 10
    A good instructor can make all the difference. Another strategy is to do the new activity with someone who's already hooked. They can mentor and encourage you through the awkward stage. - 6/23/2010   9:07:53 AM
  • 9
    My first class after rejoining a gym, which was a combination of cardio, strength and stretching I went home and cried because I couldn't do most of it. After a couple more weeks with my trainer I tried it again and it went better. It still isn't my favorite way to workout because I don't have much balance (yet), but it is a great workout and it does improve the more I do it. - 6/23/2010   8:58:25 AM
  • 8
    I haven't given up a workout in one class. I usually try to give a class a few tries before I decide whether or not I like it. However, I have given up an instructor in one class. I tried a spinning class and I walked out after 30 mins. I would have walked out sooner, but that might have seemed rude.

    His style of teaching did nothing for my motivation. It's a good thing I tried other instructors at the time. Otherwise, I would assumed the way he taught was the way all other instructors taught. No, this person was just not a good instructor.

    - 6/23/2010   8:44:09 AM
    When I try anything new I know I need to give it more than one try, and for most exercises this worked for me. But with step class I knew after the first time that it's not my scene. I'd rather spend the hour walking the dog. However I do the step exercises on my Wii. - 6/23/2010   8:35:56 AM
  • 6
    I tried the Brookly Decker Pilates class from Exercise TV On Demand, and I have to tell you I did feel really awkward and unbalanced! I guess this means I need to go back today and try again. I will make that one of today's goals! Thanks for the good advice! I was going to give up on pilates all together! - 6/23/2010   8:31:48 AM
  • 5
    I wrote off yoga for a long time, kept retrying once every blue moon, but found it frustrating because of my lack of balance or center. Now I love yoga because it challenges me in that way...I have no idea what changed, except maybe my attitude. - 6/23/2010   8:26:01 AM
    Mom was right about trying it more than once before you decide you don't like it! Sometimes, it turns out to be a REALLY good thing!!! It also helps if you change your MIND SET before you try it the second time!! Makes ALL the difference sometimes! : - } - 6/23/2010   8:20:07 AM
  • 3
    i tried a les mills body attack class twice and it was so fast paced that i didn't go back, but now that i have been going to the gym for a while and my fitness level has undoubtedly improved since that time, i might give it another shot. thanks for the advice. i love pilates, and it is definitely true that it changes your body, and relatively quickly too! - 6/23/2010   8:19:31 AM
  • 2
    I've tried many different incarnations of hi/lo classes and hate them all. - 6/23/2010   7:50:42 AM
  • 1
    Thanks for the great advice. I had not thought about trying an exercise or routine more than once, though it makes sense. The things I am doing now I did not like all that much the first time I tried them but now they are enjoyable.

    - 6/23/2010   7:42:12 AM

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