The Fitness Trail: Keeping fitness expectations in check (column) |

The Fitness Trail: Keeping fitness expectations in check (column)

As January and February fade into the background, we as fitness professionals know that part of why those that begin an exercise program during the beginning of the year do not adhere to a program long-term is that they possessed unrealistic expectations heading into this journey. One common statistic is that approximately 50 percent of those that begin an exercise program, fall off the exercise track in part or completely in the first six months after beginning the program.

And, in our business, we have spent millions of dollars and countless hours of research and effort to find out why this occurs. However, after 31 years in the fitness industry, training thousands of clients through those years, here are six, out of dozens of methods, to keep your fitness expectations in check throughout the year so that you may experience the plethora of lifelong benefits which fitness has to offer. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Method #1: If you are new to fitness, prepare to take the “crawl/walk/run” path to fitness. You did not arrive where you are today overnight, and you will not arrive fit as a fiddle overnight either. Think of fitness as a marathon and not a sprint and set realistic goals before you begin this path.

Method #2: Are you 100 percent focused when you exercise? As we teach our clients, even those who exercise regularly must be focused and productive during each session. When you really consider that you only spend a few minutes per week on each muscle group or fitness component, these minutes must be undistracted to be fully effective.

Method #3: Do you have significant injuries or limitations? While everyone has some limitation, there are those with more significant issues to cope with and this requires expert consultation and direction. If you have not consulted a true fitness or health professional about your injuries or limitations, this is the first step. We must possess an understanding of the body’s status before we may safely and effectively train it.

Method #4: Have you always disliked exercise? This is not an unusual feeling. After all, exercise may be uncomfortable and downright difficult at times! However, creating a proactive train of thought toward exercise, building it into your lifestyle, focused on positive outcomes, may help you to dislike it a little bit less!

Method #5: Do you believe you are going to return to your fit, high school/college body? Well, this may be possible for a very small percentage of individuals. However, if you are 20-30 years or more beyond those days, what you want to do instead is to concentrate on what the state of your current body is capable of managing. You may end up looking and feeling better than your high school/college days because we know a great deal more about health and fitness than we did 20-30 years ago and that knowledge is at your disposal!

Method #6: Do you believe you may consume whatever you like since you are training hard regularly? Time to rethink that concept! There is no exercise program that will undo overconsumption. There must be a balance achieved, which is different for each of us, between input and output of calories.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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