This is possibly the most common frustration for people starting a new fitness regimen to improve their health. And of course the most common response, which is not in the least helpful, is “Be patient – it takes time!”
So let’s have some fun with this for a minute before taking the problem seriously. Since we have all experienced this frustration at one time or another, look at the list of other responses below and pick the one you’d most like to hear:
- Shoot! It works for lots of people but apparently not for you. That means you must have Nofitosis. You need lots of rest and good food. And no more workouts for you – ever.
- Shoot! We forgot the fit pill! Workouts don’t actually work without the fit pill. I have some samples here and here’s where you can buy more. This will fix you right up.
- Wait, really? You look amazing! I’m sure you’ve added muscle weight so the scale isn’t a good measure. And the same goes for the way your clothes fit. You’re bulking up – take my word for it!
Ok, enough silliness – let’s get real. What if you ask yourself these two questions when you feel this way?
- What is “It”?
- What, exactly does “working” mean?
“It” is what you’re doing differently (or not), and “working” is how you’ve decided to define success. The two need to line up in the real world. First, ask a fitness professional for realistic and healthy goals (for example, losing 5 pounds/week is not a healthy goal). Also consider changing your measuring stick. Instead of counting pounds, ask your trainer to measure your heart rate recovery time improvements or pay attention to your performance/stamina in your favorite activities.
Second, be real about what you’re doing differently (if you’ve signed up for 3 workouts/week with a trainer but on average cancel one of those each week, then you’re not getting 3 workouts/week). And if you’ve cut soda out of your diet but sneak an extra beer every day when no one’s looking … well, you know.
Bottom line, success is about meeting expectations. So if you really want an excuse to quit, you’ll find one. Otherwise, be careful what you expect – set the right health goal, measure the right things and get real.