“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” -Frank A. Clark
It is important to understand that there are going to be obstacles on the road to getting in shape. Understand that you are not alone.
You CAN do it!
“Are you crazy, I can’t afford a gym membership!”
“Eating healthy and working out is expensive.”
Ok, so you think you can’t afford to live healthy. Wrong!
A healthy lifestyle can be broken down into two parts: diet and exercise. Keep the diet simple, eat between 3-5 meals per day, drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water (if you weigh in at 140 pounds, target 70 ounces of water), eliminate snacks, and don’t within an hour of your bedtime.
Try to make each meal equal in size, and replace white flour with whole wheat wherever you can.
The American Dietetic Association provides excellent resources for making healthy diet choices. For more information, check their website here.
No matter who I talk to, I can usually come up with exercise options to fit their budget. I recommend checking out the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations in this article, Fitness for less: 4 low-cost ways to shape up.
Obstacle: Injuries (My neck and my back)
“I would exercise but I have a bad back.”
“Last time I worked out, I couldn’t move for TWO weeks!”
First off, if you do have an injury or some other medical condition that puts you at risk, it’s a good idea to check with your family doctor for recommendations on the best way to break into your new fitness program. Check with your doctor if you fall into one of the following groups:
- You’ve been diagnosed with heart problems, high blood pressure or other medical conditions
- You’ve been sedentary for over a year
- If you’re over 65 and don’t currently exercise
- You’re pregnant
- You have diabetes
- You ever experience chest pains, dizziness or fainting spells
- You’re recovering from an injury or illness
- You have a diagnosed medical condition or illness
For many people, injuries can actually stem from a lack of activity, poor flexibility, or an unbalanced workout program. While we don’t want to readily admit it, we are all getting older. Becoming active and getting in better shape can actually help.
Make sure that your workout program includes a balance of resistance training, flexibility training, and cardiovascular training. Only use about 60% of your energy for the first month, and gradually get your body into shape pain free! If you don’t know what to do, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you come up with a program.
Obstacle: You hate to exercise
“I HATE going to the gym.”
“I wish I could just take a pill to get me in shape.”
This is me playing good cop-bad cop. Ready? Here I go. The good cop says, “You just haven’t found the right workout yet. Look around and find something that interests you. If you don’t like running, then don’t run! Get it? Research different workout programs and see which one you like the best.”
The bad cop says, “You have to do things in this life that you might not want to do. Exercising is not an option but an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Ok, so you have a few hours a week in which you aren’t indulging yourself. Deal with it (and then pay your taxes).”
For the record, the good cop and the bad cop are both right on this obstacle!
“I just don’t have the time.”
“Between work and family life, I just can’t make it to the gym.”
First of all, I understand this obstacle 100%, but this is a very personal decision that requires unparalleled commitment. Making the time for fitness is essential to the success of your program. Period.
Remember that crush that you had in the seventh grade? You would have done anything in your power to get a smile, or find out if he liked you. If he asked you to go on a three day walk in the desert with you would have done it. Well all we are asking for about 10% of that dedication or two hours and fifteen minutes per week. That’s only going to the gym three times for 45 minutes each time. If you are in shape you will have more energy and also sleep better. This will cause you to improve your quality of life and get more out of your day. Make time for yourself.
Obstacle: Emotionally Not Ready
“I really don’t want to workout. It’s not my thing.”
“I always feel so out of place when I go to the gym.”
This is the biggest issue that nobody wants to talk about, but trust me this is number one.
We live in a society where the beautiful are revered and the imperfect are ostracized. This causes people to be incredibly embarrassed by their bodies. For most people it is a very difficult decision to get in shape, then they have to deal with going into a scary, new environment where they feel like they are the center of attention.
Rest assured, the first day of getting in shape will be the hardest one, then every day after that will become easier. You must take yourself out of your comfort zone to make the change. That being said, make sure that you find an environment that feels the most comfortable to you. Starting the journey is often the biggest step to your success.