Overcoming obstacles to exercise

June 29, 2022| Previous Issue, Editorial

Christine Sciberras, Founder and Head Coach at Melita Fitness

If you’re having trouble starting or sticking to an exercise plan, you’re not alone. Despite our best intentions, it’s easy to push ‘exercise’ to the bottom of the To Do list.

We all know good reasons to exercise: better energy, mood, sleep, less peri-menopausal symptoms, less anxiety and stress. But sometimes the gap between knowing what to do and actually doing it can seem insurmountable.

In many cases, this gap is made up of the excuses we make for ourselves and the stories we have told ourselves for years or decades.

So today I’m going to hand you over to some brilliant Melita Fitness clients to talk about how they managed to overcome obstacles to exercise.

Lisa says “I’m not a natural athlete and hated PE at school. My biggest achievement was plucking up the courage to come to my first taster session and then to come back again.”

Lisa suggests, “You have to prioritise your wellbeing and realise that all the reasons you think you can’t are just excuses that are holding you back.”

“I’m too busy was my favourite excuse,” says Catherine. “I have a full-time job and 2 young children. My strategy is to book training in my diary and the family diary. That way the time is allocated. I don’t get dragged into working late and my husband knows he’s sorting out the children!”

Sarah says: “I used to think I’m too unfit. I kept thinking, I’ll do some Joe Wicks first and then I’ll join… But Joe Wicks never happened. When I finally plucked up the courage, I felt like kicking myself for not starting earlier. The classes are small and you feel well looked after. So my advice is don’t worry about your fitness level. Everyone is on their own journey and the regulars remember exactly what
it was like to start out!”

Some Final Words
Start Small. The trick is to start small and build momentum. If you haven’t exercised in years, it’s unrealistic to aim for 5 times a week. The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail. It’s better to start with a goal that is so easy that you know you can achieve it. And once you do, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum.

Be kind to yourself. Self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed. So, when things don’t go to plan, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, treat these instances as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Check your expectations. It will take longer than you want. Expect too much and it will lead to frustration. Don’t focus on the outcome, focus on the process. Aim for consistent behaviour towards the goal and celebrate that!