We’ve all been there, we’re killing it at the gym for two weeks, next minute we’re face deep in a pizza and we’re beating ourselves up for quitting again.
Back when I was a personal trainer at a big globo gym, all of my leads would come from chatting to people in the gym and hearing the same thing over and over; “this is my first day back in 1-6 months”.
I’d offer to help these people and they would quickly realise WHY it was so damn hard to keep a routine and hit the goals they had.
Let me break down a few reasons why we fail and what we can do about it.
You’re doing it alone.
There are so many reasons why training solo is hard to maintain.
It can be boring – it usually feels like a chore rather than something you enjoy. (Who keeps up with optional chores!?)
There is no accountability, no one gives a shit if you hit a personal best or if you sleep in today.
There’s no motivation – no one to share your success, no one in your circle getting it done to inspire you. (Ripped dudes/chicks on the internet don’t count!).
My best advice here is TRY SOMETHING NEW. Get a friend in with you, invest in a PT, try a bootcamp or do a trial at a CrossFit gym and just see how different it is.
*Note: TRUST that fitness professionals know how to work with you, I am always hearing how people are “not fit enough to try that”. You will be fine – take a chance, do a trial. A good coach will always ensure your fitness level and abilities are catered to. If they’re not, you’re not with a good coach. And if you don’t like it, you just leave! There is no harm in trying.
Your goals are superficial and flaky.
Sorry, but probably not sorry. Can we think about them for real for a minute? If your goals are literally “lose weight” or “build muscle” or “get fit” and that’s the end – you need to keep reading.
What exactly does “lose weight” mean? How much? By what date? How are you going to lose weight? What exactly are you going to change to make it happen? WHEN you lose weight, what exactly is this going to achieve? How is your life going to improve? How will it bring you more joy? What will your life look like whilst achieving this goal and after achieving it?
These are the things most of us don’t think about. We forget that actually, our number one and two life goals are survival and happiness. If you decide your major goal is to “lose weight” and you haven’t pictured those nights going out to dinner with your friends drinking water and having a salad while they eat pizza and drink beer or if you want to build muscle and you haven’t imagined those days where its 9pm and you’re forcing in your 3rd dinner – what do you think is going to happen when you come across these challenges?
You’ll be unprepared, which generally leads to failure. But on top of that – you might act like it’s NOT really what you want. You will find that when it comes to the crunch, you’d rather eat the pizza than have abs or you’d rather sleep than force food down your gullet.
This is excellent information and totally fine. We don’t all need to be supermodels or Mr. June. It’s your life and if you’re having a shit time living it just trying to see some lines on your stomach, that ain’t worth it.
HOWEVER, this is not usually how it feels at the time. You forget your goal for a minute, focus on the fun, eat the pizza. Then you go home and start beating yourself up about being “weak” or having “no willpower” etc. You feel like shit and you force yourself miserably back to the gym tomorrow.
Here is the issue. Here is why we can’t keep consistency. If you want two things, pizza AND weight loss for example, some days you’re going to need to decide WHAT YOU WANT MORE. You can lose weight and eat some, controlled amounts of pizza, sure. But for the most part, you need to stay organised, committed, make some sacrifices to make it happen.
You need to know what you truly want. Do you want to lose weight and miss some social events, pizza nights, sleep ins, whatever else? I know you want to say yes to the first part and no to the rest, but you need to make a decision. Be clear with yourself about what is a priority and to what extent.
When you truly understand that, it will be easier to miss out on some things you might usually get caught up in. When your health and fitness goal is a true priority – you will WANT to make the sacrifices, to get up early and workout, to eat a salad etc because it contributes to your dreams.
If you want to live carefree and have a good time MORE than you want to lose weight, you will always see the work that comes with weight loss as punishment, horrible things you have to do to yourself to attain a dream that to be honest, is never going to happen with this mindset. So quit pretending this is your goal, because it’s really not.
For most of us, be real, we want to live our lives. Set yourself fitness goals, but don’t choose Instagram-fame kinda goals. Choose a goal in that middle ground where you can take a slightly cruisier approach, train most days, eat well most days and you will be generally fit and look good. It’s a win-win and no one has to cry over pizza nights!
You need to know yourself and know what you really want.
Your expectations are unrealistic.
Every gym has these glamour shots of ripped guys and girls all over the walls. Every gym is running some kind of 12 week challenge or 8 weeks to abs program. Every supplement store touts the best fat burner that has you thinking you’ll be a bikini model any day now. Literally the whole world is against you, trying to convince you that you SHOULD and WILL look like a supermodel if you just do all the right things.
99.9% of us cannot and will not, EVER do all those things.
Not because we’re lazy but because all those things include craaazy stuff. Like, dehydrating your body on purpose, like eating chicken and broccoli at every meal, like missing family Christmas. We ain’t about that life!!
You don’t need to be. However, if you get sucked into this stuff and start believing you can and should be seeing these kind of results, you will struggle big time and continue to fall off the wagon.
As a personal trainer, the number of times I have heard someone say things like:
“I ONLY lost 2kg this week”
“I lost 10kg this month, but its taking forever”
“I want to lose 20kg in 3 months”
The first two are great/crazy results and yet they’re not satisfied? Or they think 20kg is a reasonable amount to lose in 3 months?
Unless you’re about to go on The Biggest Loser, quit your job, not see your family, be locked in a house with limited food and have trainers kick your ass for HOURS every day – it ain’t gonna happen.
We live normal lives, we have jobs, we have kids, we have responsibilities, most of us might have a good hour to put into our fitness every day. Set your goals to match!
Any progress is good progress. With a mindset like those in the above comments – you destine yourself to failure.
How do you think you’ll feel if you “ONLY lost 1kg” versus “Shit yeah I lost 1kg!!!!”?
The first option probably puts you in bed with a tub of icecream thinking F*** it, what a waste of time.
The second option pumps you up to be back in the gym and prepping food for the next week.
Set goals to match your ideal lifestyle and embrace every bit of progress on the way. Every person’s journey is going to be different, enjoy your own. This will help keep you positive and on track. Fitness goals are never pass or fail, they are an ongoing challenge!
Your environment sucks.
This is everything – your gym, your friends, your partner, your family.
Does your gym offer you any accountability? Any support? Or do you scan in, walk past reception and work out alone?
Do your friends support you? Do they train with you, share healthy recipes and enjoy the occasional cheat meal with you? Do they acknowledge your efforts or put you down?
I know I always come back to CrossFit but there’s a reason I invested my entire life into it. Every time someone walks into my gym, we talk, we have a chat about their lives, or my life, because we know each other, we’re friends and we care.
We workout in groups, making jokes and laughing about how hard the workout is together. I work with each member individually to ensure they have a plan for the WOD (workout of the day) that matches their abilities and goals.
They give 100%, they fist-bump their mates and they go home feeling on top of the world. Once a month we meet for a BBQ and a couple drinks or to play games, head out to dinner, watch a movie, something fun.
How much easier do you think it is to turn up to a gym like that?
I’m not saying you need to CrossFit – I’m just saying you need to create an environment that breeds success for you. It’s almost impossible to stay consistent with no support, no accountability, no coaching. Don’t blame yourself for NOT finding the gym the most interesting and fun place in the world if it isn’t. Find something that IS interesting and fun for you.
Stop beating yourself up.
Usually you’re not inconsistent because you’re lazy, lacking willpower or a sucky human being. Let’s stop with that talk. Get to the route of what kills your motivation.
Is it that your goals don’t match your lifestyle? Is it that you expect too much of yourself? Or is it that your environment sucks and you can’t reach your potential in your current gym and you need new people around you?
Good luck guys, if you need help getting to the route of your goals or creating some consistency I’d love to hear from you,
Owner/Head Coach CrossFit Long Haul
CrossFit Long Haul hold free trial sessions, perfect for beginners or anyone who hasn’t done CrossFit before, every Saturday at 8am. If this time doesn’t suit, we can find you another please email us to book!