Most people don’t start working out on a whim. It takes time to build up to that decision. Maybe you haven’t been feeling your best, and catch yourself reminiscing about the good old days when you played sports. Or, your doctor or family members have been nudging you to exercise. Perhaps you have an upcoming beach vacation that you’re secretly dreading.
Whatever your reason is for beginning an exercise program, the fact of the matter is that something eventually pushes you over the edge and causes you to hit the gym. The first few weeks or months are exciting. You get stronger, learn new exercises, feel better, and often have some quick results. Then, things start to slow down.
It gets harder to make progress as you go through your fitness journey. That’s simply how the body works. The first few pounds you lose or the strength you gain are the easiest. Your body resists change in two ways.
The first is body fat. As your fat cells shrink they release a hormone that makes you hungry. That means the more weight you lose, the harder it becomes. Muscles initially build up quickly but then progress slows. That’s because muscle tissue burns a lot of energy and is hard to maintain. The human body doesn’t like to have too much muscle.
When you start to hit these walls and progress slows, motivation can fade. You have to start shifting your mindset away from those lofty goals into the benefits you feel from every workout. By focusing on the near term, you can give the long-term goals time to manifest.
One of the things you should focus on is how your workouts impact your energy levels. Most people don’t like going to the gym, and they may not even like working out, but they generally feel good after. Working out boosts your energy levels and can make you sharper throughout the day.
Exercise is also one of the best ways to relieve stress. Plus, unlike drinking or smoking, you’re becoming healthier simultaneously. Exercise also boosts your mood. Notice how you feel and how you interact with friends, loved ones, and coworkers after a workout versus days when you don’t exercise. Often, people who work out feel better and are more pleasant to be around!
When you realize how much exercise helps your day-to-day life, it won’t seem like such a chore. Then one day you’ll realize that you’re much closer to achieving your goals than you realized!