Unpack those fitness limitations and find solutions!
Have you ever heard the quote that goes something like this, “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the made-up story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it?” It comes across as a somewhat harsh self-help rallying cry but I don’t think it is too far off base.
As a health and fitness coach I spend at least 50% of my time hearing about clients’ limitations and the obstacles they face. We chat a lot about the things that are keeping them in a perpetual cycle of poor health, yo-yo dieting, and often physical discomfort. These obstacles seem insurmountable for most people. They feel too big to work around because they have been hiding behind them for so long that it would be frightening to make a change. It would also take a lot of work. It is much easier for us to stay right where we are, doing the same thing we’ve been doing, using the same excuses we’ve been using than to step outside of our comfort zone and plow right through those road blocks.
I’m not suggesting that some of these limitations aren’t real, valid, or sometimes very challenging. I know how hard it is because I’ve been there myself. I am suggesting that it can be done if you are willing to open your mind, put in the work, and become your own ally instead of your own worst enemy.
So, what are the most common exercise limitations I hear and how do we unpack them together to find a solution? Let’s walk through them here.
“I just don’t have any time to fit in exercise. I’m too busy.” This is hands down the most popular story I hear, and I get it. I really do. We are all SO busy these days that it is almost a competition. Every time someone brings up the time excuse they start listing all of the things they have to do, the places they have to be, and how stressed and frazzled they are with their hectic schedule. Trust me, I’m in the same boat. My only response to this is that we make time for the things that we want to make time for. We make time for the things that are most important to us and to our families.
I suggest that your health and fitness should be one of your top priorities. I guarantee that you will be a better mom, grandma, spouse, employee and friend if you are taking care of yourself. If you are healthy and thriving and moving your body and carving out time for yourself. It’s like when they tell you on an airplane to put on your own oxygen mask before helping your child. Everyone benefits.
Really think about how and where you spend your time. What time do you go to bed and wake up? What time of day are you most energized and effective? When we start plotting out our days and talking about how our time is spent we almost always find ways to make adjustments.
The first thing I ask people is about how much time they spend watching tv or scrolling through Facebook. I listen to people complain about their busy lives but then later hear how they spent all night binge watching House of Cards on Netflix. If it is important you will find the time.
“I’m too far gone. I’m so out of shape that I can’t even begin.”
When I hear this what I am really hearing is, “I don’t know where to start and I’m afraid of failing”. Who isn’t? We are all afraid to fail, it’s human nature. Let me assure you though that you are never too far gone. It is never too late to start exercising. You just have to start from scratch. Talk to your doctor, take it slow, and set very reasonable expectations for yourself. If you are starting from ground zero or have never exercised then you are in luck! Even very small changes can make a big difference in your life and health. Momentum will build from there, even if it happens slowly. Those small changes will help you feel better and build your confidence and allow you to push yourself further and exercise more over time.
It comes down to a major shift in mindset. You have to stop telling yourself that you are too out of shape. Instead of thinking about what you CAN’T do, start to focus on what you can do and WILL do. Yes, it might be uncomfortable at first, and you might be sore and self-conscious and frustrated. Just think about what you are working towards and try to keep the rest in perspective. It is never too late.
In this last category, I lump together a lot of common obstacles that I categorize as general excuses. I’m not belittling them in any way but I AM suggesting that any of them can be overcome with persistence and creativity. “I can’t afford the gym”, “I have a bad back”, “It’s too hard”, “I have knee pain”, “I’m always so tired”. Trust me, we all face these issues from time to time. When I ran my first marathon I was passed at the 16-mile mark by a man with a prosthetic leg. It was a humbling reminder as I was pushing myself to the max. Just thinking of all the obstacles and excuses that he had to overcome in order to run 26.2 miles got me through the rest of the race.
At the end of the day, it is HARD to start a new exercise regimen and make healthy changes to your lifestyle. It is HARD to make that decision to eliminate the excuses and go for it. It is also incredibly difficult to be overweight, unhealthy, unhappy and tired. You just have to make the choice!
© copyright 2017 Hadley Sorensen all rights reserved.
Hadley Sorensen is a health and fitness coach who lives in Virginia with her husband and 3 boys. She is an avid reader, runner and fitness instructor who has a passion for helping others learn to enjoy exercise. Hadley uses one-on-one coaching as well as virtual accountability groups to provide support and motivation to her clients. Her guiding philosophy is that it’s never too late to take charge of your health and improve your level of fitness. Find her on Facebook @HadleySorensenFitness