Three Reasons Why People Quit the Gym
Have you ever noticed what a gym looks like the first week of January? It's very busy. You might have more luck winning the lottery than finding an open treadmill to use. Everyone has just made their New Year's resolutions to lose weight and get fit. The motivation is there, the plans are there, and the gym is full of excitement and promise. This will be the year! Then comes February. The gym is back to the same 25 regulars that were there every day the year before. For those of us that enjoy having some space to workout, we know we just have to get through January, and everything will be back to normal. For those of us that have tried and failed to commit to a New Year's fitness resolution, we know that the hardest part isn't starting, but finishing. Come February, the motivation has died down, the plans have become hard to keep up with, and the excitement of going to the gym is no longer there. Why does this happen and what can we do to change this trend? Let's take a look.
Are You Seeing Results?
I see this all the time. People quit the gym because they aren't seeing any results. Naturally, if you commit to something, and it doesn't lead to any positive results, you're going to look for a different way to do it or quit altogether. The truth is, though, one month isn't enough of a commitment for fitness. It usually takes at least three months of healthy nutrition and consistent, purposeful exercising to begin seeing the physical effects of correct nutrition and exercise. You have to persevere past that initial three month process of your body adapting to the new lifestyle you are trying to create. Some people will see results faster than others. Some may see results after only two months, while some may not see results until six or nine months. There are many factors that impact this, but the truth is, it doesn't make sense to think that one month of going to the gym will make up for years of neglecting health and fitness.
Most of the new people I see at the gym in January are simply jogging on a treadmill for an hour every morning. They check their weight before and after each jogging session. With time, they find that they aren't losing weight the way they think they should. They become frustrated that they have to wake up early to go to the gym before work, push through a jogging session that they hate, and not even see results for their actions. I understand the reasoning behind quitting. Why rob yourself of the extra hour or two of sleep every morning and force yourself to do something you don't like if there aren't going to be results?
Well, my solution to the problems above is simply to plan better. I have found that many people decide they are going to make this big change in their lives without doing the research to figure out how to best make the change. They believe if they can just get themselves to the gym and run for an hour five days a week, they will see the change in their lives that they want to see. There is little research done as to what the most impactful ways of exercising and eating are. That is step one in making a change in anything in your life. The better you plan and research, the more well prepared you will be to achieve your goals.
Lack of Self Motivation
I'm not here to praise myself, but I consider myself to be good at self motivation when it comes to my health. I usually enjoy working out, but even when I don't feel like it, I'm able to push myself to go to the gym, or at least get a body weight workout in at home. I don't need a workout buddy to get me to the gym. In fact, I actually prefer to workout on my own. When I go grocery shopping, I fill my basket full of healthy foods, and I'm not easily tempted by the plethora of junk food that fills our grocery stores. I am able to do this because I have specific reasons for working out and eating healthy that go much deeper than simply having good looks.
So, how can you find the self motivation to persevere when you don't feel like it? Well, getting results definitely helps, but even that motivational factor can wear off after a while. You have to dig deeper. Figure out why you want to reach the goals you've made for yourself. Dig deep. Really discover the root of why you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or simply be healthier. Is it because you want to feel more confident around your friends, look better for your significant other, or impress that special someone that you've been attracted to for three years? Or is it to prove to yourself that you can accomplish a goal that requires commitment and dedication, add years to your life to see you children and grandchildren grow, or simply be able to perform activities in life that require a little bit of fitness? Figure out what the root of your desire is, write it down, and put it somewhere that you will see it every day. Find a way to remind yourself every day why you took on this challenge in the first place, and don't let yourself forget it.
If you still can't find the self motivation to keep pursuing your goals, then you're going to need to find some strong accountability. This is common for most people, don't feel bad. However, chances are, if you aren't very self motivated, you aren't helping your accountability partner stay motivated either, and as soon as he or she loses motivation, you both are done. So, you need to find someone that is able to motivate you that won't give up on his or her own goals. There are plenty of people out there for this.
Maybe you have that friend that already works out everyday and has a really disciplined diet. Try asking that person. Chances are, she would love to help you reach your fitness goals, as she also finds it very important. Having a close friend that can motivate you, or that you can go to the gym with can be very helpful. However, the understanding has to be that this friend of yours is probably much farther along in her fitness progress. It is unrealistic to expect to come in and have the same abilities as she does. So, you'll have to accept the fact that you will not be able to do as much as her. That being said, you can use her progress to motivate you to keep working hard to someday get to the place that she is at.
There are also people who literally do this for a living. They are called personal trainers. Being one myself, I can tell you, they are great! Hiring a trainer takes away almost all of the thinking for you to reach your fitness goals. Trainers will write the workouts for you, give you nutritional advice (some will write complete meal plans for you), make sure you're seeing progress, and keep you motivated. All you have to do, is show up at the gym. If you don't show up, you better have a good excuse, because they are there to make sure you don't give up on yourself. They will push you to continue pushing towards your goals.
Personal trainers, however, can be very expensive, and are many times not plausible for tight budgets. So, on a cheaper route (like for free), I advise you to follow someone, whether it is a blogger or someone on instagram, who's purpose is to motivate people to live a healthy lifestyle everyday. The fitness world is massive, and social media is, as well. There are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who want to inspire and motivate others everyday to keep on pressing towards their goals, and they can be followed for free.
I believe the best way to find the motivation to exercise and clean up your nutrition is to find someone who can help you. You don't necessarily have to pay anyone to do this. Like I said, there are plenty of people out there that can motivate you with daily blogs or videos. If you do take the extra step to hire a trainer, though, you don't have to have him forever. You can have a trainer for six months to a year, in order to learn how to effectively exercise and eat healthy and create a habit of living this new healthy life. After that, you'll have all the tools you need to live healthily for the rest of your life. More importantly, you'll never again be the person that quits the gym.
© 2017 Micah Reum