4 Signs You Won't Reach Your Fitness Goals

By , SparkPeople Blogger
No one wants to fail.  When you start a fitness program, the hope is that all of your hard work (and sweat) will carry you to the finish line. A lot of people can start a fitness program, but very few can stick with it for the long-term. Why?
In my experience as a trainer and health coach, the excuses we use to miss a workout aren't the real reasons people fail. You don't have to be a fortune teller to predict who will be going strong a few months from now and who will be starting over again. Most often, I can tell whether someone will succeed or fail based on four simple signs.
The good news is that you can avoid—or correct—these areas to set yourself up for success.

Signs Your Fitness Routine Won't Last

FAILING FITNESS STRATEGY #1: You're doing too much, too soon

It's tempting to want to capitalize on your workout enthusiasm when you first start an exercise program. But being too ambitious with your workout goals can leave you physically drained, mentally fatigued, and even injured. Plus, it simply burns you out mentally and makes it hard to stick to a routine.
FIX IT: Learn how to set realistic fitness goals that suit your current level and your lifestyle. Sure, you may think you can commit to that "insane" 90-day fitness program that promises extreme results in just a few weeks. But will you really be able to keep up with it 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months from now? Forget the quick, hardcore fixes when you're starting out. Your best bet is to start slow, setting small goals and incrementally increasing the intensity and duration of your program as you become more fit. Don't think of an exercise program as a sprint to the finish, but rather a marathon that lasts the rest of your life.

FAILING FITNESS STRATEGY #2: You've overcommitted

When you joined the gym, working out every day a week sounded like a great idea.  But that daily routine can quickly become a drag when you feel like your body never gets a break and your schedule is consumed by exercise appointments, and little to no downtime. You don't need to exercise every day in order to see results. In fact, I think your body appreciates at least a day or two of rest each week (and maybe more if you're a new exerciser.) 
FIX IT: Whenever you start or make changes to your exercise routine, make sure they are changes you can live with for the rest of your life. If you don't think you can keep up two-hour workouts forever (assuming you aren't training for a marathon), then perhaps you should consider scaling back to a more reasonable level that you can maintain long-term. Your body and mind will thank you for it in the long run.
FAILING FITNESS STRATEGY #3: You don't have plan

Most people don't head out on a road trip without a map or plan to show where you're headed and how close you are to your destination. Yet most people start exercise without a real plan in place. Without a plan, you're more likely to give up because you don't have clear direction or ideas about what to do or how to reach your specific goals. You won't see the results you had hoped for when you're wandering aimlessly through the fitness landscape, trying things on a whim or without consistent effort.
FIX IT: Creating an exercise plan and setting goals along the way can help you stay focused and motivated as well as measure your progress.  If you set a goal to walk a 5K, you probably wouldn't just walk a few days a week and expect that eventually you'll reach the goal.  You'd find a training plan, time your walks to know how far you're going, progress in a specific way each week, and at some point, sign up for a race.  Creating a plan helps you know exactly where you are and where you need to be to maximize your chances of success.
FAILING FITNESS STRATEGY #4: You expect unrealistic results

Change doesn't happen overnight. It can take time to start seeing gains in strength and endurance or changes in how your body looks. Although a regular exercise routine can make you feel better within the first few weeks, it can take longer to improve your fitness level and notice changes in your weight. You aren't going to gain five pounds of muscle overnight, or go from walking a mile to running a 10K without training—and time. Reality TV and flashy infomercials may lead you to believe that big changes happen easily and quickly, but those scenarios and results are, as the fine print says, "not typical."
FIX IT: The truth is that change takes time, but with hard work and dedication, it WILL happen! Limit the number of times you weigh in to no more frequently than once a week, and even then, don't expect to lose more than a maximum of 2 pounds per week. With your body, change will happen slowly; others will probably notice it sooner than you will. Be patient and remember to find other ways to measure success that go beyond weight, body fat, pounds lifted or miles trekked. Reward yourself for your consistent efforts—not just the outcomes of your training—and you'll stay motivated long enough to stick to a routine that will provide results.
One of the greatest feelings is to set a goal, follow through, and successfully reach it. Avoid these common mistakes and you'll be well on your way to reaching not only fitness goals, but goals in all other areas of your life!

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HOBBESIS49 3/1/2021
This was another well written, interesting article with concrete doable changes a person has the capacity to make. Thank you. Report
JUDY1676 10/15/2020
Thanks Report
JUDY1676 10/15/2020
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BIKE4HEALTH 10/15/2020
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KATHYJO56 6/25/2020
Interesting Report
It's important to have a real plan. Without a plan, you're more likely to give up.
http://lennyface.co Report
A great read. Report
Thank you Report
thanks for help Report
Thanks! Report
Very sensible. Thank you! Report
Yep, I want it done yesterday, lol. Report
Thanks! Report
Great test to keep us on the right track. Thanks. Report
Good to know about Report
Good to know. Report
thanks Report
An excellent informative article. Report
This was a great read! My husband always has a comment on how often I exercise instead of letting me set my pace. It is annoying, so I overdo it from guilt and give up because I'm sick of it all. I tell him to not ask me about when I exercise but he doesn't seem to get it. Report
Congrats Martha324. My story is a little like yours in that I came to a point where I knew I needed to move everyday. I, too, have started slow and am only about 1/5 of the way to my overall goal. In August I started a SP 5k program to train for my first 5k the 3rd Week of Sept. Once I completed that race I decided to run one race a month simply for the fact that it would keep me running to train in between each race. I just met with trainer at our local Y ($30/hour) to start a strength program. I was surprised at first that we did not go to the weight room, but he gave me instruction on core stability and moves to practice at home until I decide I want to meet with him again. I can easily do four of the moves and the other is something to work towards. I have become content to make slow steady progress, but that was something I have learned over time. Glad to read I am on the right path this time around. Report
I think I backed into the way to have a successful fitness routine. Didn't do much except find ways to move more while I worked on the way I ate. then bought a pedometer and worked up to getting 10,000 steps/day, then focused on getting 30 mins of aerobic steps. After a heart attack (I"m fine) I started in on cardiac rehab.
Now get to the gym 3 - 4 days/week, wear my Nike Fuel band to encourage me to move during the day, do strength training at least twice/week and take yoga at least once/week. Report
To TRIPPLEB3, I often have the lapse in weight shift. 400-500mls warm water from the kettle with lemon juice before anything when you first arise, stimulates your liver into daily action. Raw vegetable juices... and lots of proteins like boiled eggs and meat or salmon patties that you can carry with you in your day.

Hope that helps! Report
Several months ago I read some comments by another Spark team member, to paraphrase, after doing the yoyo thing for many years she'd changed and would not adopt a habit or practice that she didn't think she could maintain for the rest of her life. She reported that while her weight loss had been slower than on the "yo-yo" approach, she'd maintained her target weight for over a year (at the time of her posting) and was feeling that she could maintain it for the long haul.

I took her comments to heart and shifted a few things around. My weight loss slowed but my stress level reduced substantially. Weight gain was only a pound or two over the holidays and while I adjusted my fitness to accommodate the holiday schedule (visitors, events, etc.), I still managed a meaningful amount of workout time. It was based on the premise that there will be holidays for the rest of my life so I need a workable strategy to enjoy them without them being the trigger to go overboard and back into troublesome habits and thoughts ("oh, who cares about losing weight, I'll just learn to be happy with the way I am"). Report
I set 5lb per month goals and workout 3-4 days a week, sometimes in the gym and sometimes at home. I think it will be easier to focus on 5lbs each month while I increase my endurance and tolerance of exercise rather than trying to be at the gym 5 days a week hoping for 20lbs to be off in a couple of months. I also intend to eat more whole foods and less processed. Report
Solid, no nonsense information :) Enjoyed reading it and pondered my own plans for the year. Thanks!! Report
Starting the year off on a good note. Committing to at least 15minutes of exercise per day, and journalizing everything I eat. Mini steps to start! Report
Two new plans this go round. #1. I moved my gazelle right next to my bed so @6am I sit up, lace up and practically roll over onto it. I love morning workouts. #2. Variety in food is my enemy. Keep it simple, healthy, delicious and repetitious. Report
I do not like working out on machines. But walking outside, I seem to walk more and feel a lot better. Report
This is great info to know Report
You must have a plan, and reminders posted with a reward at the end. It is great to get the spark emails to keep me on track. Report
I started in Nov and the gym just feels like something I do each day, it makes me feel good. I was ill recently and was in the bed for 5 days and could not wait to get back to my new, healthy routine. Report
5 years ago I quit smoking I thought I would worry about weight gain after the first year , 4 years latter I'm still fighting the weight battle I seem to be ok with exersizing but can not get my eating habbits under control I get so discouraged I do 90 minuits on the tread mill but still can't lose weight any sugestions out there . Report
I struggle with weight loss even with my lap band due to thyroid issues. I have finally gotten my thyroid under control so I am focused on my thinner future! I have already lost 50 lbs and I am excited about working on the rest!! I'm starting today with walking to work and the sun is shinning for me. Report
Great solutions. Last year I went hardcore with exercise and as the article describes, I burnt out. It was too intense, too hard, too much all at once. I've learned my lesson! Report
This reminded me of the importance of having a plan. Report
Slow and steady really does win the race. Making small sensible choices and slowly increasing my activity has cause me to lose 6 kilos(13.2 pounds) in one month Report
I'm reading "Wheat Belly" by William Davis M.D. I recommend his lecture on YouTube. Very Interesting. Report
I have successfully made exercise part of my everyday life. Now it is time for me to get my food down so that I can reach my goals this year. My eating wasn't HORRIBLE last year, but instead of losing much weight, I basically lost a few pounds and maintained. So my eating really needs to get under control. Report
I have a fitness plan in place. When I decided to lift weights I bought all the stuff and lifted a little at home. Then I realized that I needed a plan as I did not really know what I was doing so I signed up for Group Power weight lifting classes and that was a good plan. It helped so much. I love the classes and I am always learning something new. The biggest thing I learned is my fitness is a way of life now and not just something I do. Report
SO true. This year I'm making reasonable decisions--shorter length, more specific goals--in keeping with the results of my physical therapy. I still don't 'love' the gym, but it's definitely something I need to do and NOT doing it gives such immediate and negative results, that my own body is now my prime motivator. Report
I have my Fitness in place (for now, life as it is), it is the food part that needs active attention! (I can't keep chasing poor food choices w/ exercise!) Report
Slow and steady changes collecting over time: I once tried to quit smoking, eat a radically better diet, and start a hardcore exercise plan in a day--I lasted until at least 3 pm. before I folded.
This time, I have taken it slow, and I am finding success! Report