It’s that time of year. Resolutions have been made, diets and workout routines planned, and IG-ready workout fits purchased. This is the year you’ll get THE body you’ve always wanted, right?
Many of us, and I’m saying us, because the struggle is real for me, are energized and motivated to make and work toward fitness goals in the wake of a significant occasion. Whether it’s a new year, an upcoming birthday, trip or event, or if it’s just the arrival of summer, we say, “I’m forreal this time,” and make plans to finally reach those #bodygoals we know we’re capable of attaining. And then, 2, 4, 8 weeks later, or maybe even 12 weeks if you get a real good run going, something happens. The gym selfies get posted less frequently. The time that was reserved for your workout starts to get replaced with sleeping in, happy hour, or a new show you can’t miss. The night-before planning stops altogether.
So, why is it that we have such a hard time committing to our fitness goals, and how can we do better? Here’s some insight from Lorenzo Hopper, a certified fitness coach out of Charlotte, NC.
As a personal trainer, what are the three main excuses you hear from people who struggle to commit to their fitness goals?
…if you want something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
I have heard them all. If I had to pick the top three I would say:
1) lack of time; 2) lack of energy/motivation; and 3) dealing with previous injury are the most common excuses from those who struggle with their fitness goals.
While these challenges are very legit for those who feel like they struggle with consistency, they are not the end-all be-all, and definitely should not stop you from reaching your goals and staying on track with your personal health and wellness. Life is busy and it’s tiring and we all have our own unique obstacles to deal with. I always say that if you want something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.
What’s your advice for getting past those excuses?
…there is no “trying.” Either you are doing something or you are not.
My short answer is to stop “trying,” and commit! As a personal trainer, I try to encourage my clients to remove the word “trying” from their minds. Don’t even use it. To me, there is no “trying.” Either you are doing something or you are not. I’ve found that once we get into that way of thinking then it’s easier to stick to our fitness journey and stay the course.
For those who struggle with finding the time to workout, I encourage you to add simple workouts to your daily activities or alter your daily activities in order to add workouts in throughout your day. Think about how much television you are watching during the week or on weekends and consider doing quick exercises during commercial breaks. Turn your commute into a workout. Consider exercising at home instead of searching for time to go to the gym. If you struggle with building a workout plan then talk to a trainer or friend for more ideas.
For those who struggle with finding the energy to workout, consider that exercising actually charges up your energy levels and improves oxygen flow to the blood. There are many reasons as to why we feel down and out. These reasons range from pure exhaustion to downright laziness. If this is your main reason for not reaching your goals, find an activity that you enjoy and trust the process. You’ll feel much better in the long run.
Personal trainers and physical therapists will tell you that “motion is lotion” for those nagging joint injuries. If you have old injuries that make it hard to get active, then get creative! Look for different activities such as yoga to get you back on your feet and progressively active!
What do you think is a common mistake people make when setting fitness goals?
Most people set long-term, unrealistic goals instead of S.M.A.R.T goals. SMART is an acronym that [most commonly] stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Short-term goals that are more thought out tend to help you feel like you are being successful on your fitness journey as opposed to falling off or failing. I’ve found that this holds true for setting fitness as well as life goals.
Do you recommend any tools, such as apps or programs to stay motivated?
This is a great question because contrary to popular belief, I’m not as fond of the many gadgets and tools that are out there. Many of these tracker gadgets and apps can add to your fitness, but they won’t burn the calories for you. What I like most about them is that they log what you are doing so that you can look back at your progress. Most people who struggle with simply being active continue to struggle even with these tools.
There are tons of apps and programs out there to help with the know how and motivation for working out. Youtube & motivational social media accounts are really helpful if you don’t know where to start or need a little fitness inspiration. I started a Youtube channel and blog, where I provide in-depth personal health and wellness advice and even share some of my workouts for tips/ideas.
What motivates you personally to stay fit?
Motivation is so fleeting. It is here this week and gone the next. I even struggle with staying motivated at times. There are a few things that really help me to stay motivated. My background as an athlete is where I initially got the drive and determination to hit the gym. So I decided to try powerlifting as a sport/hobby to keep me competitive and challenged. This really worked for me and keeps me going. Also, helping other people really keeps me motivated. Once I began sharing my workouts online, it made me feel so full that I workout harder to try and reach as many people as possible, especially my people since we struggle with so many health disparities that could be improved by improving our health and wellness.
I began BTY fitness, which stands for “Better Than Yesterday” or “BeaT Yesterday” because it is one of my personal mantras. I wake up each day with the mindset that I am not going to dwell on yesterday or worry about tomorrow. If I simply work to be better than I was yesterday as a person and with my work, then I will continue to stay on the right track. It’s not about being perfect, it’s just about striving to always better yourself and never becoming complacent.
For people who find themselves strapped for time to workout, what are some quick at-home workouts they can do?
It is hard to recommend specific workouts because everyone is different on what they prefer and are capable of performing, but there are so many ways to get active that don’t require weights or a gym. You can’t go wrong with the traditional pushups, crunches and jumping jacks. You can also go to Youtube and search for at-home workouts. One great circuit that comes to mind is a dynamic exercise that I recorded with my sister. Check it out and try it at home. I will be posting more at-home workout videos in the near future!
Y’all heard the man. Don’t try, just do it. Set realistic goals that work for you, and don’t let life get in the way of a better you. Here’s to being better than yesterday in 2017!
Lorenzo N. Hopper is a certified fitness coach and record-holding powerlifter. He spreads the message of being “Better Than Yesterday,” his mantra, for challenging/encouraging individuals to put forth their best efforts daily to live a healthy lifestyle. Lorenzo has worked as an independent fitness trainer for the past 2 years and loves to use various platforms to promote health and wellness in new and engaging ways.
Lorenzo is an Adjunct Professor of Personal Health & Wellness at both the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Wake Tech Community College. Lorenzo holds a bachelors degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master of Public Health degree from East Carolina University. Currently, Lorenzo is pursuing a PhD in the Maternal and Child Health from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
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