Overcome Training Obstacles: 7 Tips for Your Exercise Program

Amelia Phillips

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Editors Note: This post is written by contributer Andrew Verdon. Andrew has completed a Diploma in Exercise Science, Certificate IV in Fitness, Level 1 Strength Coaching Qualifications with ASCA. He is currently completing a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Science (Elite Sports Training) and will go on to do a Masters in Recovery.

All of us know the benefits of regular exercise and most of us are keen to exercise regularly but too often “stuff” gets in the way.

The main excuse I hear is lack of time but other excuses include lack of motivation, boredom, no energy, no access to a gym – in fact the list of excuses can be as endless as your lack of progress and results.

So what can we do to overcome these obstacles? Here’s my top seven tips to overcome these obstacles:

1. Time – make it a priority

All of us have busy lives – school, uni, work commitments, family, social and other responsibilities. Exercise time often comes very low on the list of demands on our time. The most successful people I see are those who schedule exercise into their week. They have a standing time every week and do not miss these sessions – no matter the weather or their location. Treat your session like a dentist appointment- would you blow this appointment off in your saw it in your diary? No you would show up as you know it is important.

There are 168 hours in a week. So look at your week and plan in either 3 x 60 min sessions or 6 x30 in sessions. Lock them in for 2 weeks and do not miss them. Once you form the habit – they are quite easy to follow each week.

2. Work toward small goals

We all love a sense of achievement and the positive feelings this creates within us. This in turn motivates us to keep going toward the next small goal. Create small steps or goals in your program to work towards – touching your toes, another 5 push ups, completing your run in 1 minute less, learning a new exercise. This gives you a mental goal to physically work towards and keeps you progressing and renewing your motivation

3. Follow a program

Now you have your days locked in – what will you do? Do you just lace up your shoes and go for a jog or a walk? The best way by far is to have a clear idea of what you will do each session. Remember we looked at the 3 S’s of fitness – suppleness strength and stamina. So make sure your week includes some flexibility, some cardio and some strength for a balanced program.

4. Change your program regularly

So many people just do the same gym program or the same run or the same class week in and week out. If nothing changes then nothing changes and progress slows or stops and you get bored and unmotivated. This variety will eliminate boredom and routine creeping in.

Change your program every 4-6 weeks. the main changes you can make are the type or time of exercise, the frequency or the intensity or a combination of these four factors. Think FITT (frequency, intensity, time, type of activity) to remember this.

5. Train with some one occasionally.

I think a training partner is a great idea. Having some one there for some sessions makes you accountable to some one else and you often push each other to train a bit harder than you would on your on. Book the times in each week and commit to each other to be there. It may not be practical for every session but aim for at least one per week.  If you do not have a training buddy maybe have a session with a personal trainer periodically to help set a program and drive you a bit harder. Or schedule a class you enjoy into your week and commit to turn up to it every week.

6. Have a plan B

Away from home with work? Raining outside? Gym closed or no time to get there? You could just let the session go or you could go to the plan B. I set all my people up with a home exercise program they can do without equipment or inside if need be. You can do a great session in 20 mins if you have a plan – think about including some skipping, stair climbs, hill jogs, trunk work and some stretches to finish. Having a clear plan stops the obstacle of not knowing what to do and using this an excuse.

7. Schedule time off.

If you are training consistently then actually not training or easing back is vital to keep going long term. You should not train at the same level for 52 weeks a year. In fact I think it is a good idea to take a break every 5 -6 weeks. this may mean easing back to some low intensity session or doing a week of easy activities rather than exercise sessions. It gives the body a chance to catch up and recover and gives you a mental break to rejuvenate and come back fresh for the next week to start the next small block of training. Holidays are perfect time to do this but work deadlines or exam periods may also be a good time to schedule in a lighter week. We call these weeks unloading weeks in sports conditioning – they unload the physical and mental system by reducing the number of sessions and the intensity of sessions.

Remember: action breeds motivation. Follow Amelia’s 5 minute rule to kick you into gear.

This post is written by contributor Andrew Verdon. Andrew has completed a Diploma in Exercise Science, Certificate IV in Fitness, Level 1 Strength Coaching Qualifications with ASCA. He is currently completing a Post Grad Diploma in Applied Science (Elite Sports Training) and will go on to do a Masters in Recovery.

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9 responses to “Overcome Training Obstacles: 7 Tips for Your Exercise Program”

  1. Peter J says:

    I definitely agree with point # 5, It helps to get motivated when you don’t want to let your training partner down, especially when you train early in the morning!

  2. Sandy Burke says:

    I like point 2 – work towards small goals. I had a goal to lose 20kg but that amount just seemed too impossible so I set small goals such as learning how to jog, entering a fun run, and now I have lost 15kg 12 months later.

  3. Hi Peter,
    Yes and if you can find a partner who is even more motivated than you, even better!

  4. Wow Sandy you have achieved some fantastic results! I agree that setting short term, small goals that are in line with your big goal is very powerful. You are living proof of that!
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Hi Sandy
    Wow you have achieved some fantastic results! I really agree with you that setting small goals in line with your large goals is very powerful! Your results are testimony to that!

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