Benefits and Barriers: Why the Benefits Outweigh the Barriers

It’s July, which means statistically speaking only about 8% of our 2015 New Years Resolution crew remain at our gym. This is indeed a small number because adopting a fitness lifestyle is the number one resolution that the American population decide to take on in the 21st century. Unfortunately, that minute number I just mentioned of those that remain in our gyms across America is the sad truth.

Let’s face it, most of the American population fail at fitness. Why? There are many, many reasons. Here are just a few I’d like to point out:

  • I work long hours
  • I have no social support
  • My kids and/or spouse won’t adopt the lifestyle with me (an extension of the above excuse)
  • I have no time to workout
  • Life got in the way
  • I don’t have time to cook the right foods, so exercise only defeats the purpose
  • This lifestyle is too expensive
  • I lack motivation

I’m going to break these bullets down into a couple of simple categories. The first category: Time. The second category: Lack of Support. The third category: Expenses

1) Time

I know, I know, I know, that unless you tend to work at a gym, live at a gym or live near a gym that this lifestyle is just simply too time consuming. Okay, really? For starters, joining a gym does give anyone a wide variety of equipment to work with. Another inconvenient truth, however, is that the average American who joins a gym uses their membership two to three times per week tops as well as chooses movements and resistance that they fall into a comfort zone with. How does this relate to time? If one DOES have the time to get into a gym and they use the same equipment over and over again, then why join in the first place? Seriously, if you own a couple of dumbbells your entire house just turned into a gym and you would see better results than those who do the same things in the gym day in and day out. What I am saying is that you can’t use the time excuse for joining a gym when you already have what you need in your basement. Of course, if you are looking to really enhance your physique then the gym is a must but if you want to be in good shape it is not a necessity. All you need is time to walk down your stairs.

Now that we debunked the time myth as it relates to physical activity lets now focus on the nutrition myth. Is it really more time consuming to eat healthy? Not really. Cook multiple meals and store them as leftovers. If you don’t like leftovers, then there are many cans and packages of tuna for sale at the grocery store. If you don’t like tuna then I’m sure you like Greek yogurt, assorted nuts, raw vegetables, etc. In other words, there are healthy ready to eat options that taste good! It is prudent to stay away from protein bars since many of these bars are practically candy bars that have been fortified with protein. Quest Bars, however, are much, much healthier and nutrient dense. They also come in a wide variety of flavors.

In conclusion, there really is time to do anything no matter how hectic the lifestyle is. There are 168 hours in a week, and if you work 40, then you are making excuses. If you work 60, you are making excuses because you still have 4 and 1/3 days left in the week with a 60 hour work week. If you have kids and tend to haul them everywhere after school then why not visit a nearby gym and get a workout in while they are doing their activities. Again, no access to the gym doesn’t hurt you. Is there a park nearby? Get after it. Are you living in Minnesota and it’s “too cold” to go outside? Maybe take a drive home and get a workout in there. It’s only for a few months. There is time. You just need to buckle down and make the most of it.

2) Lack of Support

So, you are the dark horse of the family. That’s funny, because many who take up a fitness lifestyle are. You are no different than the rest of us. In fact, if we can do this why can’t you? Let’s see, it’s summertime and you go to a cookout only to find that nothing is being served except junk, so you have to eat it right? Not right. Either bring your own food and politely ask your host to prepare it for you and if that’s out of the question then you can always eat before going out. Better yet, take one of those healthy snacks that were mentioned in the ‘Time’ category. You can eat that when everyone else is eating.

Another excuse that many will say is that their family and friends will ridicule them for adopting a different lifestyle. Here’s yet another inconvenient truth: your family and friends can’t handle the fact that you decided to take the right step in bettering yourself. What’s even more is that they are unwilling to better themselves and they do not want you to get a cut above them. This is the negativity that we see too much in American society today. We see people hating on others because they have that desire to succeed. That’s all it is, and it’s as simple as that. Those who don’t (or won’t) succeed because it may be the “status quo” of their environment will continuously bring down others who are succeeding or are on the way to success so they can feel better about themselves. If this describes your family and friend network then I suggest you find a group of friends who do share the same goals that you do. You can relate to them better. Get to know them. Again, if you have no gym access, use social networking, maybe talk to a co-worker who may know a few people who do live the same lifestyle. People in this industry will support you. We are your social support when there is no one else to turn to. There is always someone to turn to.

3) Expenses

This one is my favorite. The gym is too expensive, the healthier food is too expensive, hiring a trainer is too expensive. It’s all just too far out of my budget. Okay, so there is probably a very small percentage of people who may have a point. But here’s the score: Is this lifestyle too expensive or are you just unwilling to give up what’s going to ultimately keep you from succeeding in this lifestyle. Let’s clear a few things up:

  1. Do you routinely go out during select weekdays and on weekends? If yes, then you want to cut that down. Most people make the wrong choices when going out and it costs a lot of money. Alcohol costs a lot more money when going out. Restaurant food costs more than store bought food. Worse yet, restaurant food is almost always not as healthy. This isn’t because there aren’t any healthy options out there. This is because people see a food on a menu and they want it now. They want instant gratification that almost always leaves them feeling guilty the next day and they say “no more”, only to go out and do the same thing again. And the cycle continues.
  2. Do you go to the store and impulse buy? Let’s make one thing very clear: stores will purposely set up so that one does impulse buy. Heck, local Wal-Marts these days are actually putting freshly baked pizza right near the cash registers now. What’s worse is that it’s only five dollars! Wal-Mart is going to see a lot of pizza. Ever wonder why candy is right there at the cash register? So people can grab their favorite candy bars without thinking. Why are stores set up this way? For the same reason, so people can buy without thinking. Do an experiment, the next time you go to the grocery store, do what you always do, just one final time. When you go home, take note of what you bought. You will be shocked to find out that you bought way more food than you thought. Worse yet, the food you bought probably wasn’t even necessary to buy. The next time you shop, eat a nice, healthy meal right before making the trip. You will be surprised to see how much less you impulse buy. Not only that, but you have a lot more room in those cabinets now.
  3. A gym membership and a trainer are too expensive: Really? We trainers admit that we do charge others in order for them to learn about fitness. It’s what we do. It’s not greed. If you hire a music teacher to teach music and art to your kids are you going to pay them? If you hire a baseball coach to work with your kid, are you going to pay them? I would hope so, people need to make a living. However, it’s funny because a gym membership plus a trainer to fall back on when things get tough is really, well, not very expensive in the slightest. Relate what is being said to the Q&A above this third excuse. You are spending money on something that is going to hinder yourself into becoming the best you can be not only in fitness, but in life. If you can make a change for the better, you are going to maximize yourself. If you do have a spouse, kids, or other family members that are close to you, even if that social support is dwindling, your chances of maximizing the potential in others is going to skyrocket. Hey, some of those former doubters and haters may suddenly turn around and say “If they can do it then so can I.” And they will be asking you how you achieved your goals. Yes, it takes discipline, and yes, it’s going to require sacrifices, but it’s going to for the better, and that’s why you are going to succeed. Taking on a New Year’s Resolution is a challenges that few see through to the end, but with a little bit of knowledge, you can be in the 8%. In fact, that number has potential, a lot of potential, to grow. It takes knowledge, it takes discipline, and it takes sacrifice. Always keep those goals in mind. When you do that, you will succeed.

Even if you don’t have access to the gym, you can still hire a trainer. There are trainers out there, everywhere, looking to change lifestyles. It’s very, very cost-effective to hire somebody to design a scientifically backed program for you. It’s very affordable to hire somebody to tell you to eat this and not that, and for good reason. In other words, it’s very cost-effective to hire somebody to help you change your lifestyle, maximize your results, and help thrust you forward. Trainers help clients break down would-be barriers every single day. Trainers serve as social support for their clients when no one else will. Trainers will help keep this investment affordable when we hold clients accountable for saying no to going out and wasting money each week, or paying for other things that hinder the healthy lifestyle. And best yet, hiring a trainer will help clients save potentially thousands in medical bills down the road, and that money saved can go to better investments, such as paying off a house or a vehicle early, or even putting a kid through school. It all starts with investing in your lifestyle today.

By: Todd Matthews

ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer

Determination, Motivation, Inspiration, Action.

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