Why fitness programs fail

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 2, 2014

By Brandy Hollaway

Every year around this time, people flock to health clubs and diet centers, pledging to get healthy. Yet by Feb. 1, 90 percent have returned to their old ways, except now they feel frustrated and discouraged, too.

Here’s my Top 5 list of why fitness programs fail:

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4Incomplete programs — Starting a health or weight loss program with no attention paid to nutrition, mindset and lifestyle is like buying snow skis when you live in Florida. Starting an exercise program without addressing your whole well-being first is just plain wrong.

With all the cookie-cutter diets and well meaning but uneducated friends giving you advice in this area, it’s no wonder there is so much confusion. All protein. No protein. All organic. Low glycemic. High glycemic. Good fats. Bad fats.

You need to address your nutrition as it applies to you, your body and your lifestyle to ensure success.

4Pushing too hard, too soon — So you’re amped and begin exercising with no instruction or guidelines. Add improper technique and the desire for instant results, and you are creating your demise. You work out hard for a week, can’t move your body for three and lose all the motivation you had when you started.

4No warm-up, cool-down or stretching — Most folks do not prepare their bodies for exercise. Whether you haven’t worked out in a while or you’ve been exercising regularly, this is essential, especially as you get older. You’ve got to warm up the car before putting the “pedal to the metal.” Otherwise you’re just asking for a trip to the repair shop — and trust me, you don’t want to go there.

4Lack of professional guidance — Go into any health club this week and you’ll see it all over the place — the blind leading the blind. Well-intentioned but misinformed and uneducated folks can sink your health and fitness ship faster than you can say “Titanic.”

You wouldn’t ask just anybody to give you financial advice, nor would you have just anybody give you legal advice. You invest in experts to get expert guidance. That’s why anyone serious about getting results from a fitness program should invest in working with a professional coach. You get what you pay for.

4Lack of accountability — You cannot be accountable to yourself. No matter how good your intentions, if left to your own devices you will almost always revert to old lifestyle patterns. I call it the rubber band effect. You start to stretch out, make changes, then before you know it you’re pulled right back to your old form. You’ve got to work hard to break free and adopt new lifestyle patterns.

Having a coach will hold you accountable to your plan and its implementation.

Invest in a program (private or group, depending on your needs) to ensure you’re doing what’s right for you and being held accountable to your goals. You must create change and accountability in your mind and lifestyle for the body to follow and have lasting change.

Brandy Hollaway is a fitness and wellness specialist and the owner of Eternawell in Suffolk. Email her at brandy@eternawell.com.