Are you a quitter?

As you read the title of this blog, I hope you are shouting NO at your computer but the sad reality is, the stats are against you. Does it surprise you that 90% of people who signed up to a new gym this January would have already quit? Most of these would have hung up their trainers by March. It’s a sad statistic, but most people who started this year with great intentions to get fit or lose weight would have already failed 6 months in.

But what are the main reasons so many of us abandon the gym?

Expenses. Money is probably one of the most common reasons people quit the gym. If we can’t commit to regularly attending, that membership begins to burn a hole in our pocket. Many people don’t want to pay for a gym membership if they’re not going that often – which makes total sense. Feeling as if we’re draining money is enough to put anyone off.

Time constraints. Having enough time to train is a huge factor to why we don’t get ourselves to the gym. Early morning workouts are not appealing – especially in early January when the car is frozen, it’s dark outside and our beds are just too comfy. Even after work, hitting the gym still doesn’t seem too appealing. With hundreds of things to do, we all know we can come up with an excuse on the drive home of why working out that evening is just not a good idea. Let’s be honest, it’s much easier to start thinking about what we are having for dinner.

Prolonged results. Sometimes when we don’t see instant results, we begin to lose motivation and purpose. Humans tend to want immediate gratification, and it can be irritating when we don’t see it in one of those many mirrors on the wall. Ladies, I hear you. You all want to be in those size 6 jeans after one workout – but sadly that is not achievable.

The commute and atmosphere. Some facilities aren’t the most desirable. There may only be a few machines available, or perhaps the commute is too far from home. The thought of driving to the gym and back seems daunting in our busy lives and it’s easy to skip after a while. This can leave us with no other choice but staying put… in the house… with a generous helping of Ben & Jerry’s.

All the gear but no idea. Many of us think “If I had a cool tracker device I could wear on my body, I would meet my goals” or “I love the cool cardiovascular machines the gym has, which even track your workouts for you. Those will certainly make me stick with it”. What about that time you brought some brand new trainers and were kitted out in the nicest set from Fabletics? Sadly, the accessories won't help you stick to the gym. In fact, they’re just burning a bigger hole in that poor pocket of yours.

So how can we make sure that we are still working out in 6 months time?

Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behaviour becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. How long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behaviour, the person, and the circumstances. In Lally's study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. No one is perfect. We all fall away from our best intentions and eat the wrong things, skip the gym or get a bit lazy and make excuses. The most important thing to remember is not to berate yourself about it but rather spend the energy getting back on track.

Recognise your excuses. We all use them but it’s important to know an excuse when you hear yourself mutter one. “I’m too busy! I’m too tired! I don’t have enough time! It’s too expensive!”. Remember, if you don’t have enough time to be healthy you better find the time to be sick.

Remind yourself what you want . It is important to remind yourself of what you want to see. Visualise yourself successful and see this daily to help motivate you. Keeping pictures or affirmations in important spots, such as the fridge, can be helpful reminders. If you are looking to get married maybe the dream dress is on the wall, or for the men, maybe it's having abs of steel for your next holiday. We all have different motivations so use yours to fuel your workouts.

Set yourself short term goals. Have a monthly goal – whether it’s to lose 2 inches off your waist, lose 6 pounds, improve your running time, lift heavier weights or fit into that dress for an event, making it bite size will make it feel much more achievable.

Know your weaknesses. This allows you to be prepared for future downfalls. Knowing what your weaknesses are can empower you to be prepared for those times ahead. If you are likely to snack in the car, have the right snacks available, if you are too tired to train after work, always work out in the morning or at the weekends. Find ways to get around your weaknesses rather than letting them win.

But the key ingredient to help you succeed is your social connections. Humans need human interaction to stick with goals and succeed. If a person joined the gym and claimed to enjoy walking on the treadmill daily by him/herself, I think we all know that person is doomed to failure in about 95% of the cases. When training, it’s important to have support and someone who cares about you. If you don’t show up to the gym, who is going to be the one to call you and say, “Hey, where are you today, are you ok?”

Having weekly sessions with a personal trainer significantly increases your ability to move upwards through the stages of change in regards to physical activity. Overall, 60% of participants from a recent study moved up one stage, whilst 13% moved up two stages, demonstrating evidence of health-behaviour change over a 10-week period. Personal training has also been shown to significantly impact cardiovascular- and muscle strength−related gains. Mazzetti et al. (2000) found that training loads, 1RM, peak power output and fat-free mass were all increased to a greater extent among supervised (personally trained) participants compared to those who were unsupervised.

You’ve read the facts and know you’re guilty of one or two of the above excuses, so what can you do about it? If you’re looking to make a change, then get the support you need and work out with me. I will make sure that over the next 6 months you will achieve your goals and never let the word quitter enter your mind.

I look forward to working out with you soon.

Brad Gray