How To Overcome Your Fitness Barriers

by GEM Magazine / Aug 18, 2015 / Comments

My professional life has been committed to the health and wellness industry; namely, facilitating the path others take to reach their goals. In that time I have worked in various positions, from Personal Trainer to Physiotherapist, and Fitness Facility Manager to Lifestyle Coach.

Why is this important? Because if you can tell me a barrier to wellness I haven’t heard during that time, well, I will buy you a smoothie… a gluten free, sugar free, fat free, soy free, egg free, dairy free smoothie… ok a water, I will buy you a water.

Barriers to fitness come in all shapes and sizes. Common examples are: financial, lack of time or motivation, tedium, insecurities, past perceived ‘failures’, injuries and lack of family support. The list is endless.

The greatest part of my profession is seeing that you contributed to creating a positive change in a person’s life. Whether aesthetically, health-wise, performance, psychologically or even socially.

In contrast to that, the lowest times in my professional career have been watching people walk away from their potential and their self admitted goals, because their perceived barriers were too high to overcome.

For example, a single mother in her late thirties crossed my path. She had fallen on tough times financially, struggled from depression, anxiety and subsequently was on temporary disability.

After a training session, we set out some clear goals and a plan to reach them. She left feeling “the most happiest and motivated she had in months”. The joy I personally felt from seeing his lady express what she wanted, laugh and leave on an endorphin filled high was obliterated 3 hours later.

I received an email explaining that when she called her mom to tell her about the experience, she had ‘blasted’ her for being selfish, financially irresponsible and naive.

I met with this lady a couple of times and I would love to tell you all that she'd overcome her barriers and continued to train, however that is not the case. No matter what solutions were presented and agreed, the psychological damage delivered from her main pillar of support was too scarring for her to overcome.

That is a strong example of someone having multiple barriers to wellness. For myself, it was a rare and regrettable case where I was unable, despite my best efforts, to help.

From that moment on, a fire within began to burn.

I decided I would do my best to ensure such a situation didn't happen again, and focused on how we can bulldoze these barriers head on.

Lets look at a few barriers and solutions;

Lack of Time
- Change your perception - The recommended exercise duration (150 minutes) represents only about 1 per cent of your time in a week.
- Prioritize what is really important in your life - Use time management skills to schedule exercise during your week and make exercise part of your daily routine; like brushing your teeth or going to work.
- Monitor your activities for one week and identify at least three, 30-minute slots you could use for physical activity. If you can’t find a block of 30 minutes in your day, break up your exercise time into two periods of 15 minutes. Include physical activities that you can perform as part of your daily routine.
- Get up earlier - If your days and evenings are hectic, get up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you've adjusted to early-morning workouts, begin to add more days to your routine.

Lack of Funds
- Open a fitness account - Cut back on a certain vice, for example, buying one coffee instead of two and using the money saved to support your new healthy lifestyle.
- Find free drop-in sport activities in your community or set up a weekly sport game with your friends or co-workers.
- A gym membership is not required for physical activity as you can walk or run outside for free.
- Pursue group training options with a trainer to reduce costs.
- Squats and Lunges are also free by the way.

Lack of Support
- If your family and friends don't view exercise as important. The question should be, do they view you as important? Sit with them and calmly let them know what you want to do and ask for their support. They may surprise you.
- Seek out others who value exercise - There are a lot of people who are in the same position and you may find yourself with a whole community of new people who support and share your values. This can be one of the most motivating aspects.

Remember that we are all unique; our needs, mindsets and goals.

Our barriers and perceptions are no different, while the above solutions may work for some, obviously they will not work for all. That is where you can ask for help.

And it also means you get to decide which avenue to go down; Friend, fitness professional, internet search, partner, life coach, nutritionalist etc.

Although I strongly recommend anyone who struggles with barriers to their health and wellness to seek out a fitness professional and build up a rapport with them, regardless of whether or not you intend to purchase their services.

It only takes one positive conversation, an affirmation or even a useful suggestion to make those barriers crumble down to set the foundation for a new you.

By Steven Inglefield

Steven is currently the owner/operator of Steven James Fitness. He believes in utilising his experience across multiple sections of the industry to provide a comprehensive, holistic personal training experience. Steven is also the founder of Findmefitness; a site that enables clients to find their perfect fitness professional based on their individual health and wellness goals.

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