Why many of us fail when it comes to our exercise routines.
The most common reasons you tell yourself why you haven’t started a routine yet tend to be, in the main, time related. “I don’t have the time yet whilst the kids are on holiday” or “I don’t have the time as my job is currently so demanding” ect ect
In reality we both know that commitment to an exercise routine is committing to usually two to three 45-minute workouts a week and a general lift in daily activity which is within anyone’s gift. The week after all has 168 hours! If we sleep for 1/3 and work for 1/3 we still have a 1/3 left over to prioritise what’s important to us, after all 2 hours out of the remaining 56 is still just 4% of your final third.
I don’t think its actually time though that hinders the majority of us, It’s the pain threshold that holds us back. If exercise felt as good as a glass of wine in front of Netflix wouldn’t we all do it more often??
What’s this pain threshold I hear you ask? Well, when you first start a routine, it hurts, its uncomfortable, the exercises make you feel strange, you spend more time being so conscious about how you look doing the exercise rather than getting the real benefit from the exercise. After the session it actually gets worse, you hurt, a day later DOMS kicks in and you feel even worse again. To top things off, over the next 3 weeks, you put in what you deem to be a great effort and when you step on the scales guess what?? Yep …..nothing, no movement, and worse, some people actually see an increase???
Its at this stage many of us just simply give up. “Exercise just isn’t for me.”
So what’s actually happening?
The first thing that is happening is your body is in shock, its not used to this level of activity so it effectively starts fighting back, the increase in energy expenditure tells your body to tell your mind that your hungry and you need to replace the calories you’ve just lost. Your muscles have undergone some low-level trauma and are now having to repair themselves, again sending signals to your brain that you need more food. You aren’t fit enough yet to release endorphins, so you just feel a bit shit, oh yeah and hungry.
The upside is when your body repairs the muscle not only does it repair and make you stronger your tolerance for pain increases and that’s where the magic starts to happen. With an increase in pain threshold, you can push harder and when you push hard enough you do release endorphins that make you feel great, and then the results start to come. The stronger you get the harder you can work and the more endorphins are released the better you feel and the more the results flow.
Problem is …many of us don’t get this, we just don’t stick at it long enough to increase our pain threshold and ultimately build a habit.
All that crap about building and breaking a habit in 21 days is also not true for many of us. It takes a good 8 weeks. The first 4 you build your tolerance for pain and the next 4 you start to see small changes; the big stuff comes further down the line.
How will knowing all this help?
If you really want to make a change and ultimately feel better in your own skin, know that there is light after the initial short term pain and it’s so worth it.