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There have always been a large number of fads, machines and gimmicks touted as “the” answer to improved physical fitness.  From the latest “infomercials” for the Insanity Workout and P90X, to some hilarious products promising 6-pack abs without having to do any exercising, it’s clear that there is a huge market for “wonder solutions” to get lean and mean (or just healthy).  Don’t get me wrong, some of the underlying principles like “muscle confusion” are proven methodologies to drive better results from a workout routine, and these can be great “kick-starts” to a life change.  However, very rarely do such purchases lead to sustainable long-term results.

So save yourself the money and take action to eliminate or reduce the real barriers to a solid fitness routine.  The following is a list of common barriers, and a few suggestions on how to reduce or eliminate them.  In a future blog post, I will tackle “Starting a Fitness Routine” in greater depth, but for now I am simply addressing barriers:

1.      LEARN TO LOVE THE PAIN – humans we tend to do what we can to avoid pain whenever possible, which makes logical sense.  However, the old adage “no pain, no gain” is true when it comes to physical fitness.  There is no magic solution, so you will need to come to grips with the fact that to build muscles, you have to first break them down (and it hurts).  Accept this and move on.

2.     FIND THE TIME – Time, or a lack there of, is likely one of the largest barriers to individuals starting and sustaining a workout regimen.  You must commit to at least 30 minutes a minimum of 3 days per week if you expect to see/feel results from your routine.  Thus, find a time-slot that works best for you and fight to keep it untouched from other distractions.  This is your time.  If you have to move it, learn to capitalize on those times when you could be multitasking (e.g you can jog on a treadmill while watching the evening news).  I don’t have the time the most convenient excuse to “not work out” – – If you watch 30 minutes of TV per day, you have the time.

3.     AVOID THE UNSUSTAINABLE START – It’s Amazing, but folks who haven’t worked out for a long time always seem to join a gym, jump in and spend a 1-2 hours there a day for a few weeks, as they channel their new found passion for fitness.  I love the passion, but this routine is likely not sustainable.  Rather, I would suggest starting with a few smaller steps (e.g. 30 minutes every other day), and build from there.  The chances of adapting and sustaining the workout are greater, and if in a year you’ve evolved to 1+ hours, you will have done so in a manageable way.

4.     BE PATIENT, RESULTS LAG – The fact of the matter is that with a few extreme often risky exceptions, you will not feel noticeable changes in your health nor see noticeable changes in your appearance for 60 to 90 days after starting a new fitness routine.  Thus, you have to push through the first 90 days (which is also the toughest period from a pain and distraction standpoint), before the positive reinforcement begins.  Give it a try and soon you will not only have people asking you “have you lost weight?”, you’ll feel great and have much more energy as well.

Begin working through these barriers, and start doing anything to move your body more on a consistent basis.  Small steps add up!