How often do you exercise?
Once a year on the 1st January?
Twice a year; Once in January and again the week before your Summer holiday?
Perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, and you do make it through the gym doors or onto the footy pitch a bit more regularly. But something always seems to get in the way and prevent you from making any real progress, right?
Studies suggest that a high percentage of adults in the UK are increasing their chance of health risks by failing to get enough exercise. According to one study, almost 80% of the population fails to hit key national government targets that advise people to perform moderate exercise (i.e. light jogging or swimming) for 30 minutes at least 12 times per month.
Are you hitting that figure?
What’s stopping you?
Here are the top ten reasons we believe are the major obstacles that are stopping men in the UK from getting enough exercise and what you can do to overcome them; Can you relate?
#1. We don’t like getting out of our comfort zones
If we’ve been out of the exercise game for a while, it can be daunting to really push your mind and body out of its habitual comfort zones. And if you’re not used to getting out of breath or feeling sore from physical exercise, it may seem like a steep mountain to endeavour to climb. But once you make those first tentative steps (literally) and begin to get used to it, you will start to love the feeling of pushing your body to get healthier and fitter. We guarantee it.
#2. It hurts
Unfortunately, exercise can sometimes cause a little discomfort, but if you focus on the outcomes you want to achieve – such as staying alive, just being able to run for the bus without getting out of breath, or even a fitness model physique – it will become easier to find the motivation.
#3. Tired after work
If you’re working long hours during the week – and perhaps commuting for an hour+ on top of that – you’re likely to be tired at the weekends and after work. But contrary to popular belief, exercise can make you feel more energised, and ready to face your next day at work with renewed vigour. Obviously, if you’re really fatigued and under the weather we wouldn’t recommend a hard session at the gym. Let your body lead the way, but don’t be tempted to submit to yet another night on the sofa. Give yourself a bit of a push and go out for a walk in the fresh air or a ride on your bike. You’ll feel better for it. And any amount of activity all adds up to put you in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you take in), which will lead to weight loss. You don’t have to be Iron Man every day.
Men working long hours throughout the week are likely to be tired at weekends or after work. So, you may also need to commit to being a little more creative with your time – focus on the outcome you want to achieve and the rest will follow. Maybe get up an hour earlier to exercise in the morning when your energy is high – or squeeze something into your lunch break. You’ll be on fire for the rest of the day.
Ah, those pesky rug rats. We love them, of course, but they don’t half get in the way of doing what you want to do. Plus, if you’ve been at work all day and your partner has been at home all day with the kids – pulling her hair out, you’re not going to be very popular if you swan in from work and announce you’re going straight to the gym. But rather than get resentful (god bless them), perhaps you could build your exercise routine around the kids and get them involved? Like a weekend walk up a big hill or a game of something in the park or at the beach. It’s all calories out – wherever you choose to get yourself moving. Not forgetting tiring the little darlings out ready for an early bedtime.
#5. The glorious British weather
Exercising outdoors is great for the mind and the body. But the weather in the UK isn’t always great for getting out there in the fresh air, even in the summertime. Be careful not to build your exercise routine around exercising outside. You might love running outside, but make sure you have a back-up plan for things you enjoy doing indoors, too. That way you can’t use a little bit of rain as an excuse to stay in and order take away.
#6. Finding it hard to stay motivated
We’ve all been there; signing up to the fancy new gym that’s just opened – in the first week of January. You buy some smart new gear, train once and never step foot inside the place again until you check your bank account and realise you’ve invested 12 months of payments into the owner’s deep pockets without anything in return. Whose fault is that? Yep.
Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys exercise and it can be a chore at times – even to the most seasoned athlete. And when you feel like that it can be hard to stick to a regular routine. To get around this, make sure you choose things you enjoy doing and set targets that are realistic and achievable (whilst still aspirational). That way you’re more likely to stay motivated.
You could try joining a sports team if you don’t like gym workouts, or enter yourself into a race or competition that you’ll need to train for – anything that keeps you interested and fired up. And if you stop enjoying it, change it up and do something new and exciting.
If you don’t set aside specific times throughout the week to exercise, you can easily be distracted and end up jeopardising your exercise regime and long-term weight loss outcomes. Distractions can come from literally everywhere, whether it’s an old friend inviting you down the pub for a pint or a TV programme you really want to watch.
You can overcome these distractions by scheduling in your exercise sessions into your diary as if there were important business meetings. And make yourself accountable for sticking to them. But at the same time, if something unavoidable comes up and you can’t help missing a session, don’t beat yourself up. Just add in an extra session to make up for it. If you can’t fit in an extra session, make a conscious effort to walk up more stairs, park the car further away or just jog on the spot. Every little helps.
#8. Poor Diet
If you’re eating a crappy diet, the chances of you sticking to an exercise regime that requires energy and motivation are somewhere between slim and zero. So, if you’re living on fast food takeaways, sandwiched between heavy drinking sessions, your energy will be continually low and you will find it much harder to exercise. And you’re destined for failure before you’ve even started.
Food should be enjoyed and savoured, but it’s predominantly fuel. You wouldn’t expect your car to run well on poor-quality petrol, so your body won’t either if you’re not giving it what it needs to perform at its best.
Do yourself a favour and clean up your act, so you have the get-up-and-go you need to enjoy life, and to get where you want to be with your health and fitness.
#9. Lack of results
Men, especially, are often put off if we don’t see immediate results. It’s in our DNA.
What you don’t realise, however, is that it can take weeks, sometimes months before you start to see real noticeable results, particularly if you have been out of shape for a while.
Rather than trying to achieve the perfect body straight away, think about setting smaller, measurable outcomes to keep you on track and focused on the end game.
But, most importantly, don’t give up.
You’ll get there.
And it’ll be worth the patience.
This leads us onto our final reason why men don’t exercise enough. Embarrassment. We can’t all have the chiselled body of the celebrities and athletes we see on TV, so we can sometimes feel ashamed to be seen at the gym /working out when our bodies don’t measure up. We know, we’ve been there. But instead of using this as a reason not to exercise, use it as motivation to improve your overall body image.
And we can guarantee that all those buff bodies in the gym are too busy looking in the mirror to worry about what you’re doing, or what you look like. And those who aren’t, probably want to give you a high five for having the courage to get amongst it and clearly working hard to change.
Need help organising your life to fit in exercise?
We have many more helpful tips and articles on how to become the man that can, instead of the man who can’t on our website.
But if you’re serious about changing your life for the better and are willing to invest your time in totally changing your mindset to make success a given, rather than a pipe-dream; our Living with Pirates Weight Loss Programme has everything you need to make your dream, of losing weight – without restrictive fad diets, a reality. Check it out now and never, ever look back.