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10 Reasons Why Exercising HAS FAILED To Work For You

Updated on October 11, 2012

Anybody Can Start an Exercise Routine...

Are you one of the millions of people that have started a workout program, only to give up early on without anything to show for it? Well join the club. As I mentioned before, there are millions of others that have done the same. Don't feel ashamed about your lack of resolve. Way too many genuine exercisers fail before they even start by making one, some or all of the mistakes below. Learn what those mistakes are and get back in the gym to finish what you started- you can do it!

1. You harbor unrealistic expectations. Life hardens us. We have all had tremendous dreams that went south, big plans that didn't work out, and schemes to get ahead that just didn't cut it. These disappointments, over time can leave us callus to any optimism, and quite skeptical to claims of success. However, I've found that people will make an exception when it comes to their body transformation. Simply put, you want a better body and you allow yourself to hope for one, despite your tendency to stifle any "unrealistic notions" that your mind might conjure up. That's part of the reason you have unrealistic expectations- you want it enough to step out of your comfort zone of skepticism and into the childish wonderland of no impossibilities. But's that not all folks, there's more. The fitness industry has contributed to this hopefulness, and goes beyond contribution to actually planting dreams of fitness, weight loss, and attaining a sexy body, fast, easy, and cheaply (only 5 easy payments of 69.99)! The fitness industry has convinced you that fitness comes in a bottle, a box of resistance bands, a case of dvds, or with some piece of equipment you get in the mail, and in doing so has raised your expectations so high that the only conceivable way for this to end is in bitter disappointment (for you, that is; the fitness industry is doing quite well, due to it's numerous customers). Don't buy this lie of quick-witted marketing specialist- fitness is a lifestyle, not a product. You can't buy it- you have to live it. Legitimate weight loss will take place at about 1 to 2 pounds per week, on average. Anything significantly more than this is indicitive of weight loss in something other than fat (probably water or muscle). So, with a new goal and realistic expectations, there's no need to become disenchanted with working out when you don't lose 15 pounds after the first week of exercise.

2. You don't know where to start. You're probably a reasonably smart person (if you're reading this). You might be a very smart person. But intelligence doesn't necessarily translate into extensive knowledge in every category of life. As well versed as you may be in corporate sales, or mechanical engineering, or basket weaving, you may very well be quite clueless when it comes to exercise. With this in mind, let's explore 2 different kinds of people that are both less-than-knowledgeable about exercise: first, there's the kind that admit they need help; second, there's the kind that act like they know what they're doing, but are really all show and no know.

Now, if you are the kind of person that admits you don't have a lot of exercise know-how, you might try some low risk, generic forms of working out for a while, but give up when you fail to illicit tremendous change. However, if you're the person that acts (and maybe talks) like you know your stuff without actually know what your'e doing (you know who you are), then you are more than likely to hit the gym with a plan and work it for awhile. However, depending on your degree of lack of knowledge or misinformation, you'll probably get discouraged over a lack of results and give up. The solution? Educate yourself from reliable sources by professional people. Once you understand how your body works, you can differintiate between high and low quality supplements, training methods, etc

If you're wondering if you have legitimate knowledge about weight loss, here's a quiz to help you find out. If you can't answer these (without consulting google) intelligently or in detail, you probably need direction in your workout attempts. 1- what are calories, and why do they make you fat? 2- what is metabolism? How do you workout to burn fat, as opposed to building muscle? 3- Should you ever change your workout routine, and if so why? 4- How often should you exercise, and what determines how often? 5- if you're trying to build muscle, when should you eat in reference to your workout? 6- if you're trying to burn fat, when should you eat in reference to your workout?


3. You start off way too strong. That's right, you start with way too much change. A new diet, a new gym or workout, a new daily schedule (to accommodate for you exercise plan). Everything changes and it's like trying to live in a completely different environment. Now don't get me wrong, all the things that I listed are important to succeeding, but you can't suddenly flip your world upside down and expect the change to be permanent. It won't be long and you'll start compromising to get a little taste of what your life used to be like, and then before you know it you've made a complete relapse into your old lifestyle.

The key is to make it gradual. I advise people to take it slow and focus on their eating for the first week or so. Then maybe introduce a moderate workout plan in week 2, but nothing too outrageous- you don't want to debilitate your body with soreness and lose your momentum. This is where a personal trainer can really make a difference. If you don't want to hire a personal trainer, simply ask someone you know and trust who has experience in exercise to help you make out an appropriate exercise plan. The main point here is that diving in head first will make the transition difficult- take your time and ease into a routine of exercise and healthy eating. It should, however take you no more than a few weeks to grow accustomed to your new changes; anything longer than this is probably just procrastination.

4. You take advice from too many people. This might sound surprising at first. After all, wouldn't more advice make for a more successful venture? It may in some enterprises, but in the context of your fitness endeavours, too many sources can muddy the water. Think about it, you can go online and pull up an endless amount of counsel on exercise. I guarantee you that numerous sources will contradict each other and give you a different idea on what works and what doesn't, on every aspect of the topic. And it's the same deal with people; different people have different levels of knowledge and understanding and will inevitably disagree on more than 1 issue. To keep your head from exploding, try to pick 1 or 2 primary advisors and stick with their counsel. In the next point I will talk about who to go to for quality information.

5. You take advice from the wrong people- you're too gullible. Even if you don't take advice on exercising from a ton of different sources, chances are you draw conclusions based on what you've seen or heard from unreliable sources. If I had a nickel for every person I've talked to that found confidence in their efforts after watching an infomercial on a weight loss product of some sort, I'd be dirty rich. Don't be so quick to trust someone who is trying to sell you something. Just because the commercial used words like "metabolism", "lean muscle", "plateau-breaking", and "breakthrough discovery" doesn't mean that the product is legitimate or the science they're gabbing about is actually science-based. I've seen a lot of "scientific claims" on television commercials that are totally bogus.

So who should you listen too? They key is to find someone you can trust- someone with experience, education, and is hopefully not trying to get your money. Find someone who is all about helping people reach their fitness goals, not parting them from their hard-earned cash. You may want to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist, a trainer, or both to set goals and implement a plan to attain those goals. Whatever you do, don't assume that just because someone is throwing big words around, that they're interested in helping you. The internet can be used as an excellent tool to review trainers and cross check so-called professionals.

6. You have no plan. Way too many people start off with the best of intentions, but have absolutely no structure or plan for their exercising efforts. Running on the treadmill is great, but what's your goal? How fast for how long and how many days a week will you be running? Going to the gym and merely "doing the machines" is a poor substitute for planning which muscle groups you want to focus on and outlining which days you will alternate your routine. The old saying "plan your work and work your plan" might sound cliche, but it's very appropriate when talking about exercise.

Here's the long and short of it. You have a long-term goal, let's say losing weight. If you make a plan, you can then formulate short-term goals and track your progress and consistency. Then, once you've accomplished your short-term goals, you can re-assess where you are compared to where you started and where you want to be, and formulate new short-term goals. However, without a plan, you simply have a long-term goal and a very vague, general idea at how you're going to achieve it, with no way to track your progress effectively. On the other hand, you don't want to get so focused on results that you become distracted from how those results come about. Too many people are obsessed with results and forget about what brings the results in the first place. That brings me to my next point.

7. You are too results oriented. That's right, you want results. If this describes you, then you're probably more prone to buying into fitness scams because they typically focus on results. This point is probably more geared toward those interested in weight loss, although some people trying to gain muscle might benefit as well.

I think the most common form of obsessive results disorder (not a real disorder) is scale addiction. Yes, scale addiction. People that are trying to lose weight often spend way too much time on the scale and not enough time in the gym. Weighing yourself after you eat, when you wake up, after you workout, before bedtime, etc, etc is a horrible habit. Remember, your weight will fluctuate several pounds throughout the day due to numerous factors, so don't sweat little gains in weight from a few hours ago. Your body is most likely holding onto a little more water than it was in the past hours, nothing that will keep you from burning fat and losing weight in the long run. So, discipline yourself to weigh in at a certain time every 1 or 2 weeks, not days or hours!

I suggest, for example, hopping on the scale every Saturday morning right after you wake up. Weighing yourself right after waking is the best time to do so, in my opinion because you havn't altered your body weight by eating, drinking, exercising, sweating profusely or anything else. Some people relieve their bladder just before they step on the scale to minimize any "weight" that may have accumulated overnight. Health professionals typically agree that weighing oneself soon after waking is the most reliable, consistent method.

8. You are too self-conscious. You know who you are. You're one of those people that won't workout unless you go to the gym. If you're at home, you're gonna relax, simple as that. By the way, that's not really a bad thing, if you go to the gym! But way too many people are scared of the gym. Maybe it's their body, their age, or maybe they're just really self-conscious; either way, wild horses couldn't drag them to a local gym. Now I don't know you, and I don't know what you look like, how old you are, or anything else that keeps you from attending the gym, but I do know about being self-conscious.

You are not alone, a lot of people have that weird feeling that everyone else in the gym is staring at them. But take it from me, it's better to confront that fear and work through it, than live in fear of what others think. So what if they are staring at you? You have just as much right to be there as anyone else- your health is just as important as anyone else's. And I think you will find that it's really all in your head. No matter what, you can't base your decisions on what others think. You don't need to conform to the norm to be happy, you just need to be you.

9. You always make an excuse. This might be number 9 on the list, but it could be the most common reason why people don't workout, or fail to do so for long enough to see results. There will always be a million reasons to not do something. All you need, however, is one good reason to go through with it. For every excuse you make to not exercise, think of one good reason to workout. If you can't get past 5, you need to be educated on the benefits of exercise. For me, living longer is number 1 on that particular list, and it's more than enough to leave every excuse known to man withering in the dust. Beyond that, I workout because it makes me feel better about myself, it gives me more energy, it enables me to help others in their quest for better health and it provides short-term goals that I can measure and feel accomplishment over achieving.

10. You don't have time. This could easily be placed under the "excuses list", and often is for many people. I'd like to take a moment to distinguish between the people that claim they have no time for exercise while reclining in their living room, and the people that claim they have no time for exercise while at work, school, or on their way to pick up the kids from daycare. The point being, that some people have time and are simply too lazy to exercise, while others simply do not have time. If you have time, then get out of your recliner and hit the gym. If you don't have time, make time.

Working out at home may be the only option you have- but if you have time to watch the news, check your facebook, or text that cute guy/girl for 15 minutes after work, then you have time to workout. It's a matter of priorities. What is important to you? If exercise is, then you'll make time for it. Maybe your only time is after work and you're too tired to exercise after work. Start somewhere. Your first few workouts may be slow, exaughsting, and brief, but exercising will improve your energy levels. It's okay to start out slow, just don't give up. Part of your issue may be nutrition if you find yourself totally spent after work. Either way, people will make time and save money for the things that are important to them. If exercising is important enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen.

Hopefully this article has helped you identify one, some, or all of the reasons you havn't had much success with exercising. All I can say now is, change your methods where necessary and get back at it! You can achieve success, but it's up to you and no one else.

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    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 4 years ago from Nottingham UK

      Nice reversal on the usual reasons to exercise hubs so often published on Hubpages. I think in the society we live in we have all become very results orientated- that has to be a very important demotivating factor for the many who expect to lose huge amounts or weight or gain big muscles in an obscenely short space of time

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Thanks CyclingFitness. The expectations many people have are way too high, I agree.

    • zulumuscle profile image

      zulumuscle 4 years ago

      you make some great points my favorite being " fitness is a lifestyle, not a product. You can't buy it- you have to live it. " People have to realize that setting realistic and achievable goals is the first step, and that its has to be a lifestyle change as you said. If you work out, eat right and lose weight then after that you go back to your old ways that will not be helpful because you will gain all that weight back.

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      Thanks zulumuscle- I agree, only a lifestyle change will bring about lasting results.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      Very nice hub jclaffe, I actually think that the high expectation and listening to the wrong people are the biggest culprits. Most people dont understand the science behind their body and know what its capable of doing naturally and there are always those guys in the gym that get 2 muscles and think their Ronnie Coleman and try to help every one.

    • rodney80 profile image

      rodney80 4 years ago

      Seems most are psychologically related. I have seen some people who are sincere follow strict rules and workout routine from competent instructor. Still get very poor result. I want analysis for this sort of person's failure from the physiological standpoints.

      Thanks.

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 4 years ago from Texas

      @rodney80 - If a person is sincere and follow strict rules/diet etc, their psychological mind state should be positive. I would put this on the trainer/instructor. Although a trainer my be competent and understand how the body/muscles work, everyone's body/metabolism is different and responds/reacts to different types of training. If they are getting poor results, the trainer did not take the time to learn/assess this particular persons body and trained them incorrectly. You can not train everyone in the same manner.

    • rodney80 profile image

      rodney80 4 years ago

      Yes, I specially know him, he is my close friend and a competent trainer, he know most of the loopholes of training... body type, exercise tolerance, fiber type, hormone response type and time, changing to exercise, exercise routine cycling, isolation, compound, pyramid... etc, etc but knowledge is endless and human physiology has not been understood completely, special to mention is Genetics.

      Still when he produces eight good physique out of ten he can't see results to 2 person that is really surprising. He asked me for a little help to find out if there is any specific reason.

      I've get few surprising points but want to know more and be sure after hearing from some knowledgeable trainer.

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      @Alphadogg16- haha! I know those kinds of guys, somebody needs to let them know that 2 months in the gym and watching the P90X infomercial does NOT make you an expert! lol

      @rodney80- I'm a little skeptical when I hear about people that are training and eating flawlessly for extended periods of time and getting no results. My experience with people like this usually consists of them claiming that they're doing everything right and following everything their trainer says to do diet-wise and exercise-wise, but then when you do a little prodding you find that they're slacking in some way.

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      I agree that "human physiology has not been understood completely". However, be careful about blaming poor results on genetics- that's an easy out. I remember a classmate of mine complaining that she'd tried "every diet out there and nothing had ever worked". She said this as she munched on a big mac and drank a coke. On the other hand, I'd hafta know about the client in particular and the specifics of their situation before I could make a judgement as to why they're not seeing results. Some people have health or joint problems that prevent them from training in an ideal manner, others have a true metabolic disorder (not to be confused with someone who just has a slower metabolism and a weight problem because they eat junk). If you give me specifics about the client, I might be able to offer a more precise analysis of their poor results.

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      I agree, most are psychologically related. I've replied to your posts a couples times below, but I wanted to add something here as well. First define failure. Without specific, short-term goals, the line between success and failure can be very blurry. Second, all we as trainers have is the client's word that they are, indeed following all of the guidelines we give them. I touch on this below as well, but it's worth reiterating. IF the trainer is directly overseeing each workout, it's plain to see whether or not the client is following instruction in the gym. However, that's not the only thing to consider. There’s also eating- and no trainer is really going to have unlimited access to what the client is eating. People are very prone to “sugar coat” their eating practices, or make their diet sound much more healthy than it actually is. Although the body is not fully understood, we understand enough to illicit a change if the right eating and exercising practices are in place. Remember, healthy eating and exercising has not so much been tried and found wanting, as it has been found difficult and left untried.

    • rodney80 profile image

      rodney80 4 years ago

      Yeah, you are correct, none of the trainer never peep his client's life style and eating for 24 hrs. There are some metabolic disorder and that are different issue... hopefully that you may consider to write on later. I want to say that there are some hardgainer type who are hormone resistance ( growth hormone). why not pay some attention on it to share your 2 cent.

      I know that hard gainer can have good health with will power and proper exercise, diets, for example, Fran Zane and small bone structure like Larrt Scot had been the World Champion under tutelage of most controversial instructor Vince Gironda.

      Thanks

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      @rodney80- I agree, however metobolic disorders including hormone resistance issues could definitely be labeled as an issue affecting a minority of the population and this hub was meant to address the most common reasons why people see poor results. I do respect your ability to differintiate between the two though- thank you. Growth hormone resistance can often be related to insulin issues (and even insulin resistance- type 2 diabetes) since elevated levels of insulin will decrease HGH (human growth hormone) secretion from the anterior pituitary gland. However, I find that problems with HGH secretion are usually related to two things: 1- diet, too much sugar will spike blood sugar levels (obviously), subsequently elevating insulin as well, thereby greatly decreasing HGH secretion (as I just mentioned); 2- inconsistant training of the larger muscle groups in the legs through exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, cleans, leg press, etc. etc. These exercises promote testosterone production, which is associated with other hormones including HGH levels. Neglecting these exercises will diminish your body's ability to build muscle systemically, not just in isolated muscle groups since hormones exert their effects on the body systemically. I assume you know this, but I thought I might tie the concepts together. An article on this is a good idea, however it would be addressing less common issues, seeing as how the most common reasons for failure are the psychological ones we both mentioned above.

    • rodney80 profile image

      rodney80 4 years ago

      Yeah, I know that and thanks for this, a sort of, in- depth discussion. I think quite a number of people over here will get some insight on how biochemical change occurs with exercise and the importance of compound exercises to develop muscle. Squat, deadlift even any exercise involves multiple muscle and requires balancing excite nervous system and that also a good cause of different anabolic hormone secretion.

      Thanks once more for your articles, these are really informative.

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 4 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Great article! I never had trouble with weight until I passed 50, and then, everything downshifted. I spent five years or so in denial and then realized I had to get more active, build muscle, and eat healthier. But I've made every one of the mistakes you list here, and I have to say, I've worked at places that ENCOURAGED peopled to make these mistakes by holding contests (who can lose the most in the shortest time) rewarding employees with food instead of money, and refusing annual requests from, like, everybody, to have a treadmill or two on site. Semi-retired now, I'm lucky to live in an area with lots of wild areas and have discovered I love to be outdoors. For me that's part of it--I have to be enjoying myself or I'm just not going to do it--or, I'll do it and then hurt myself because I'm just trying to get it over with. I walk 45 minutes each day with my dog, up and down hills, etc., and am trying to gear up to jog each morning in addition by spring. So I guess that's sort of a plan. Voted up! :)

    • jclaffee profile image
      Author

      Jesse Claffee 4 years ago from Winston-Salem, NC

      You've discovered one of the most important things- finding something you LIKE to do exercise-wise. I am so happy for you; many people flounder and blunder for years and years before either getting serious and changing their habits to become healthier, or waiting until their health deteriorates to the point where they cannot effectively exercise without causing serious damage to thier bodies. Good luck with your goals, I am pulling for you (and your dog)!

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