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How to Overcome Self-Imposed Barriers to Exercise


“I wish I could drop my body off at the gym and pick it up when it’s ready.” If you can relate to this quote, then you’re not alone!

If working out was easy, it wouldn’t have “work” in the name, right? There is a reason why even frequent gym-goers cringe at the thought of doing burpees - because it requires something that sounds simple but can be challenging to manifest: motivation.

Lacking motivation is the most frequent reason for not kickstarting your exercise, but it’s more complicated than just not wanting to get out of bed. You can lose motivation because you don’t think you have enough time, perhaps you have had a bad experience at gyms in the past, and keep procrastinating getting started.

Certified Personal Trainer at Planet Fitness, Lachlan Stewart, states, “A major cause of lack of motivation comes from being too tired after work or having too many commitments in our day to day life. If you set time aside to come to the gym, most people find that they become less tired and have the energy for the whole day.”

Thinking you don’t have enough time to exercise doesn’t mean you have bad time management; it just reveals you haven’t made exercise a priority.

We all know that going to the gym is good for you, but why do we procrastinate on getting started? Going to the gym can feel daunting, and that is why walking into a positive, supporting atmosphere is just the first step. A family-run gym like Planet Fitness has a ‘Judgement Free Philosophy,’ making it a non-intimidating space, where everyone who walks in feels welcomed and comfortable.

Statistics tell us that 56% of people in Australia are trying to lose weight at the moment. This is a staggering, but communal number. That is why feeling a part of a fitness community makes it easier to want to walk through the gym doors, as you are around likeminded people who are all just trying their best to lead a healthy and happy life. Being stuck at home due to Covid-19 also didn’t help.

“There’s definitely a rise in the number of people coming in telling me their goal is to lose the post COVID weight they have gained from being in isolation/working from home. Once they take the first step to coming in and talking to someone about their goals and committing to improving their health and fitness, they generally become more determined and more likely to stick to their training programs. With this consistency, I have seen first-hand how it can change their confidence levels and improve their mental health,” says Lachlan.

Another way to overcome the barrier of exercise is working out with a friend, partner or family member. Didn’t you hear - motivation loves company! When someone else is there, you are being held accountable, and you have to turn up for them and yourself. Ask each other - Why are we doing this? Knowing each other’s goals can help you to feel inspired and be supportive. It also becomes a social event; if you haven’t gossiped on the gym exercise bikes, then you don’t know what you’re missing! To help overcome the fear of not knowing where to start, Planet Fitness offers a free Orientation Session with a Personal Trainer for every new member, to help discuss their targets, their fears, and answer questions like, “What the heck does that machine do?!”

The last piece of motivation we can give is a pep talk: One hour is just over 4% of your day. No one ever thinks “Dang, I wish I didn’t spend that time exercising.” Once you find the joy in exercising and achieving your goals, you’ll sleep, work, eat and live better. And who knows – maybe you’ll learn to love burpees!

Words: Gjenae Rosekelly - Planet Fitness Lambton

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