The Top 10 Factors That Undermine Fitness Goals

PLN reviews the top 10 things that people struggle with that undermine their fitness goals, and how they can be avoided.

Published April 20, 2023

9 minute read

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The Top 10 Factors That Undermine Fitness Goals

1) Tiredness 
Fatigue is one of the most difficult hurdles to achieving your goals, whether it's physical, mental, or a combination of the two.

Physical fitness necessitates a significant amount of energy: energy to get to the gym, energy to complete your workout, and energy to prepare healthy meals on a daily basis. This, combined with the other stresses of daily life, might make it difficult to stay on track for an extended period of time.

Solution: When it comes to getting in shape, keep in mind that it's a marathon, not a sprint. When you begin working out and eating healthy, make incremental but thoughtful improvements rather than massive, rapid changes to avoid early burnout and maintain such habits over time.

Additionally, try arranging your exercises and meal prep periods for the days or weeks when you are most active. For example, if you know you're going to crash at the end of the day and are a morning person, try to perform your workout first thing in the morning to get it out of the way.

Fortunately, it can also be a self-fulfilling prophecy, as regular exercise can boost your energy levels in the long run!

2) Inadequate motivation
When you first started your fitness adventure, you were probably eager to get started. But, no matter how excellent your reason for starting, that initial spark of inspiration may only take you so far once you get into the grind.

So losing sight of your motivation is typical, and it's a major reason why you may begin skipping exercises and reverting to unhealthy eating habits.

Solution: Even the fittest among us understand that you won't constantly be motivated every second of every day.

The secret to achieving your goals despite pauses in motivation is to hold yourself accountable to somebody other than yourself. According to one study, women who were held accountable by a support group or their loved ones were more likely to stick to their fitness regimens.

When you have to answer to someone other than yourself, you have another source of incentive, even if you aren't always intrinsically motivated. Enlist the help of loved ones, gym buddies, or a personal trainer to keep you on track even if you aren't feeling it.

3) Insufficient Time
Keeping up with your fitness and training routine can feel like a full-time job at times. When you have other urgent issues on your plate, such as work, family, and personal life, exercise typically takes a second seat.

If you truly want to succeed despite a time constraint, it may be time to reprioritize.

Solution: It's vital to remember in situations like these that many fit people don't have a lot of spare time, but they find methods to work around it to achieve their goals.

If you truly want to attain your objectives, you must prioritize them and treat them as an expected rather than a choice. This may imply reorganizing your current schedule and considering it as a priority on your to-do list!

For example, if you discover that you like to relax by going directly to the sofa at the end of a long workday, you might set a rule for yourself not to relax until you've completed your workout and dinner prep. Alternatively, if that is the only time accessible to you, you may have to get up early in the morning. Making time for it may be difficult at first, but it will be well worth it in the end.

4) Expecting immediate outcomes  
So you've been working out hard, eating correctly, and generally crushing everything on your to-do list - but it's been two weeks and you still haven't seen any physical progress.

This is, for the most part, typical. Even if you're doing everything correctly and incorporating all of the healthy behaviors required for long-term weight loss or body recomposition, you're not going to notice a lot of progress day by day. Long-term commitment to healthy practices will bring those results.

Unfortunately, the diet industry frequently gives us the concept that you can lose a lot of weight rapidly, which can be discouraging when you don't see such immediate changes on the scale.

Solution: Alter your perception of what success and advancement entail for you. Rather than focusing just on the scale, consider alternative kinds of advancement, such as measurements and body composition outputs, such as Body Fat Percentage and Skeletal Muscle Mass.

You can also examine your performance progression. Do you use heavier weights? Has your endurance improved? Is your gym performance significantly better than it was previously? All of these are indicators that you're making progress toward your ultimate aim.  

Finally, remember that fitness isn't a one-month commitment; it's something you're getting into for the long term.

5) Failure to maintain consistency
Whatever your aim, the most significant changes occur when you make healthy lifestyle adjustments and build daily habits that you maintain.

On the other hand, intermittent workouts and the occasional nutritious meal are unlikely to yield the desired outcomes. If you want to achieve real, long-term changes, you should make better choices the majority of the time.

Solution: It can be tough to break bad habits and form new ones when you first begin your fitness journey, so one method to maintain consistency is to commit to doing something for a certain amount of time. According to one study, it takes around 66 days for healthy eating habits to become automatic, and roughly 1.5 times that amount for physical exercise.

So, if you're having trouble sticking to your fitness and nutrition plans on a consistent basis, set a non-negotiable schedule for three months and observe how your life improves. During this time, you are more likely to develop better behaviors that become second nature, resulting in better results.

In summary, if you can stick with it for three months, you'll most likely be able to stick with it for a long time!

6) Failure to establish specific objectives
If you're having problems meeting your objectives, you might want to reconsider your objectives.

We often have a rough vision of what we want our fitness to look like, but we don't have a precise plan to get there. We all want to "lose weight" or "be healthy," but these aren't measurable goals.

They're also broad enough to appear as a variety of things. Having only a broad, hazy idea of what you want to achieve makes it difficult to plan how to get there or to observe any actual progress along the way.

Setting "SMART" objectives is one of the greatest goal-setting tactics. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

Specific Measurable
Attainable Realistic Timed
Making sure your goal-setting falls within these limitations offers you a lot better image of what you're attempting to do and also gives you less wiggle space, allowing you to reach it much sooner.

As an example:

"I'm going to the gym and work out for one hour five days a week this month," for example, is much more concrete and measurable than "I'm going to work out more." It provides you with a clear outline of what you need to do in order to set yourself up for success.

Body composition analysis can also help you develop and achieve SMART goals. Knowing your Body Fat Mass, Skeletal Muscle Mass and other quantitative characteristics will help you establish a baseline, set reasonable objectives, and track your progress.

7) Failure to account for the rest 
Obviously, going to the gym on a regular basis is critical to reaching your goals. However, if you work out too hard, you may find that your progress slows.

You may be working hard in the gym, but the actual growth is made when you're relaxing. Rest allows your muscles to recuperate and grow, however not giving your muscles enough time to recover might result in overtraining syndrome and delay your progress.

Solution: Schedule a few days off each week to recuperate and recover from your training. This is especially crucial following high-intensity exercise sessions, such as high-intensity interval training, when your muscles require time to replace their glycogen.

You also do not have to be fully dormant throughout this period. Walking, yoga, or other forms of mild exercise allow your body to recover while keeping you active.

8) Becoming overly at ease
You may have had a lot of success with the same routines when you initially started, but you may notice that they're getting easier over time, and therefore you're not experiencing the same pace of improvement.

The same workout plan with the same weights and equipment will only go you so far. While that program may have helped you see a lot of progress at the start of the journey, you must remember that you're getting stronger and fitter, and you must constantly challenge yourself to prevent going into a fitness "plateau."

Solution: Vary your routines on a regular basis to keep your body guessing! If your present routine gets too comfortable for you and becomes less demanding, you can:

Increase the weights you're using or the number of reps in each set. 
Adjust the tempo. You can shorten your rest periods between sets to keep your heart rate up, or you can slow down your lifts to focus on muscle contraction. 
Experiment with various types of sets. If you've been doing the same types of lifts for a while, try drop sets, supersets, or AMRAP (as many reps as possible) to push your muscles in new ways.   
Perform all new workouts. If you've been doing a lot of weightlifting, for example, try some plyometric body workouts. If you've been focusing on high-intensity interval training, switch it up with a lengthy run or bike ride. 
Changing up your training program keeps your body challenged, which is important for improvement.

9) Failure to prioritize diet 
Fitness is more than just going to the gym. Your diet is very important if you want to see real improvements.

Take, for example, this study, which looked at how exercise without dietary changes could benefit women's fitness levels. They discovered that despite exercising regularly and improving their physical fitness levels, the women in the research who did not adjust their diet increased fat mass.

The cliche "you can't out-exercise a bad diet" is absolutely correct. Whether you want to shed fat, add muscle, or improve your performance, eating a healthy and balanced diet can help.

Solution: Make sure you always have access to pre-planned healthy foods that correspond to your fitness objectives. You should pay close attention to portion sizes and calorie counts, especially if you want to reduce or gain weight. You should also ensure that your daily diet is well-balanced, with adequate amounts of high-quality carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

This could include setting out a specific time each week to plan recipes and meal prep. You can also utilize a fitness-focused meal prep delivery service that will plan out the macronutrients and calorie counts for you.

10) Giving up after the initial setback
As lovely as it would be to constantly stay on track, the reality is that life gets in the way. You'll almost certainly encounter instances in which you can't eat the "right" foods or have to skip a training session.

It's a scene all too familiar: it's Friday, and you decide to treat yourself to a drink with your buddies. But one drink goes into two, which turns into an appetizer, and before you know it, you've consumed your daily calorie limit. Then you decide that because you've already "messed up," you might as well let loose, and your entire weekend unravels, and you decide you'll simply wait till Monday to get back on track.

Solution: Avoid the trap of deferring any behavior correction until Monday. Change your habit immediately away—an odd cheat meal won't destroy your progress if you've been consistent otherwise, but allowing your cheat meal to evolve into a weekend-long affair may.  

Make it a practice to limit your negative self-talk in these instances. Think of it not as "messing up," but as a natural lapse that can be readily addressed right away.


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