5 Reasons Short Term Fitness Programs Often Fail

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Instant gratification. For a lot of people this is our greatest weakness. When we want something we tend to want it now. It’s all or nothing in our minds, including the way we work on ourselves. If the changes aren’t quick they’re seen as worthless.


We are wired to attract to things that offer quick results or rewards. Often forgetting that the outcome we really want is not the quick and easy results. The type of results we want are bigger and better than that. The downfall we tend to see is that they require long term focus, permanent lifestyle changes, and years of hard work and dedication. Quick results don’t last, and many fitness programs use this instant gratification weakness to get you to choose their product or program. Promising results in as little as 10,30, 60 days, whatever the time frame is. These are marketing tactics the fitness industry uses to attract the weaker mind. These marketing styles set us up for failure in a lot of ways. 


 We are wired to attract to things that offer quick results or rewards.


Here are 5 reasons why short term fitness programs often fail and why changing your overall vision to a longer term focus will give you better consistent results, less stress and more enjoyment throughout the process.



1. These programs create false expectations

Beginning a program that has quick physical results triggers your mind to look for these results and changes in yourself every day. This can be rather discouraging for someone who is starting out at a minimal athletic level. Body changes are going to take a lot of time. Generally, about half way through most short term fitness programs (if they have kept up with the program that long) most people aren’t really noticing the unrealistic changes they dreamed of in their mind. The changes the model promised on the advertisement. This slow progress causes discouragement and a sense of failure for not achieving the results you had set out to. Let’s be honest if there was a secret for quick 6 pack abs and a nice round booty we all would have signed up a long time ago. But the reality is there is no quick fix and there is no rush for anything that is truly worth having. There is only now, ultimately it’s the process of achieving the results, that makes the results so valuable in the end. The time the progress takes the work you actually put in for that body, that version of yourself you’ve pushed for years and years to become. The way you see yourself changes the time you have spent on your body ads personal value to yourself. That’s why this time for yourself should be quiet and enjoyed, not rushed or spent stressed out and angry waiting for results. Take a step back and think about what you actually want here.


2. These programs try to predict the future

How can a program promise results in a set time frame for everyone? How can anyone predict your future? We can’t tell how quick our bodies are going to react to the physical challenges we put it through. Neither can we predict all the other things that will go on in our lives while our body is changing. The thing about fitness and physical development is that it improves our personal and mental health development simultaneously. When our bodies change so do our minds and our lives. Many people start a physical lifestyle change and end up in situations they never expected. Things happen you cannot control relationships end or begin, new jobs change your routine, moving to a new home involves a lot of time.


There are many things in our lives that will occur along this physical journey that we cannot predict. This is why we cannot expect anything to happen in any certain time frame. Things will play out as they are meant to. The important thing is always focusing on the long term vision and the daily effort that needs to happen to keep progressing. Try not to get too carried away with the how? when? why? questions in your mind, just work on yourself every day and the answers tend to just show up without a struggle.


3. These programs set short commitments that generally don’t last


The idea that the commitment to health and fitness will have an end date or time frame is the wrong way to think about fitness. This commitment has to be lifelong, you have to commit yourself to this change forever. Not for 30 days, 3 months or 6 months.

This is a training plan that has no end.

Sure changing your regular fitness routine and trying out some 30-day fitness programs within your lifelong training journey is great. Try to incorporate all kinds of different versions of workouts into your life. The idea of the quick “results” over scheduled short time frames, has to be seen differently for long term success. “If you want to look like an athlete you have to train like one.” Like anything else you want to achieve. The second you stop working and training you have to expect your body to stop physically progressing. Without total awareness and effort there is no continuous change.


4. Short programs provide unrealistic progress comparisons

We cannot compare our bodies to anyone else. I highly encourage fitness be a personal process, not one that’s shared heavily or glorified all over the internet. Weight loss is not about the attention you receive and more about the life you gain and share with others. We can spend ages looking at beautiful bodies and find everything we need to fix our own. Someone else’s 30-day progress cannot compare with yours, there are too many variables to consider. Your body will not lose weight in all the right places, in all the right orders that you want. You won’t really know what your body will progress like as a result of your work until you start focusing on the work. I can tell you through experience that I never expected my body to change as well as it has, but also in the way that it unfolded. There was a long time where I did not think I could lose weight after destroying my body for so long. I didn’t think that I could ever be happy with after all the scars, stretch marks and saggy skin.


One day while I was training to become hypnotherapist I was introduced to the power of visualizations. We must be able to see ourselves as what we want to become. To see ourselves as the better version of ourselves we know exists inside our mind. Create a vision of what that would be like in your head. This image will likely change as you progress but your visualization has to be believable and attainable in your mind now. You can’t be the people in magazines, or on TV because they are not you and that’s not realistic. You have to believe it to achieve it.


5. Short Programs Have Too Much Structure


Many of these short programs are pretty challenging especially for beginners. They have schedules to follow, shakes to drink, and these are things we stress over. I remember when I tried Insanity workouts by Shawn T. I felt like I was going to die, I dreaded the workout, and never successfully finished the full program.


I was starting with a program that I really hadn’t worked myself up to. I was not in a regular routine of working out let alone stepping it up to such a schedule and level. Now if I do these DVD’s I can actually have fun with them, they’re great workouts. But I don’t plan on sticking to the “schedule” ever. I’ll do whatever I feel like in that moment, so I enjoy my fitness. When I started those DVD’s I was hoping for extreme results in short time frames. I was giving it my all and hoping tomorrow I could see a difference. I thought that was what commitment was. I was exhausting myself, stressing out about my results, the structure of the program, the thought of missing a workout. It all created self-doubt inside myself. Telling myself things like this is too hard or negative messages. Instead I said forget this schedule, I decided to let go of the structure and set myself a rule that every day for 1 hour I would workout. Telling myself just as I would when I have been prescribed something by a doctor, I will do this no matter what, this will benefit me every day.


I took away the structure around what my workouts would be like and instead paid attention on how I felt that day changing things often and never getting bored or stressed out about fitness and body weight. Getting to a comfortable point takes time and you will always have struggles. You have to develop a complete trust in yourself that you will succeed and over time that trust builds up and you slowly create your ultimate self. Like anything you have to start somewhere, there will be vacations, sick days, lazy days, hang over days, recovery days… These are meant to challenge you and teach you that you can get back on track, you can stick to this, this long term focus is worth more than any set back. 


Tips for Success

  • Be accountable to yourself. Don’t depend on sharing your results and progress with friends, groups and social media. The only person you have to impress is yourself. I tend to not even mention when I am trying new workout plans or see physical changes I want my results to speak for themselves.
  • Fully Commit. There is a different between interested and committed. You have to be fully ready to commit there is no in between when it comes to fitness success.
  • Accept the process. There will be good days and hard days. These are all necessary to teach you determination. You are strong enough to push through any obstacle.
  • Set a daily time. There has to be a scheduled time in your day (especially Monday to Friday) that you have an hour to yourself that you can move your body and get active. It has to just be part of your day, just like you don’t think about how long you take to shower. You shouldn’t question this hour it takes to feel good about yourself.
  • Think about forever. This has to be something you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. Obviously the intensities of your fitness level will change but that time is set and dedicated to you every day for the rest of your life. Don’t even let the questions of how? when? Where? what about when I’m 50? These are all self-doubtful and negative messages. Ignore them, tune them out, focus on now, those thoughts don’t matter. You are healthy strong and ready to start a new way of living NOW. Don’t wait.
  • Success is continuing no matter what. Your success is not in your results it’s in your ability to keep going. It’s not about bragging on the weight you lost in 6 months. Likely hood is in 6 months most people have gained it back. The idea is that 3 years from now you’ll have results others dream of. You just need to keep going.
  • Clap for yourself. You have to be your own cheerleader through this. Some people you know will be jealous, unsure, and opinionated about your lifestyle changes. You would think this was their life or something. Just ignore the advice you don’t want to hear. Don’t let negativity pull you down. This is your vision not theirs.
  • Do what you love. Find exercises you love; and things that target the areas you want to work on. There’s no point on repeatedly doing something you hate every day.
  • Be mindful. Eat a healthy diet, spend time with your family and friends, ask the right experienced people for help. Lifestyle changes are not meant to be the end of your social life, but they will likely change the way you choose to socialize, and probably who you socialize with. Once you start seeing results over time you no longer want to jeopardize your body by drinking too much or eating the wrong foods, you tend to be more mindful of what you choose to put in your body after working so hard for so long. You start to make long term choices due to your long term efforts.



Kayley Gravelle

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