What Causes Workout Drop-Off and How to Avoid It

How to Avoid Giving Up On Working Out

Workout Motivation

You made that New Year’s plan to lose weight, which included regularly working out. Now it’s May and the last time you exercised was ___________ (fill in the blank and proceed to be mortified). So, after the first few weeks of going strong why did you, and the other 50% that fell off the wagon, stop exercising?


In a 1995 report of United States Department of Health & Human Services, Physical Activity and Health, it was reported that 50% of people who started an exercise program, dropped out within six months. That means that the other 50% maintained their program and reaped the benefits of achieving weight goals, improved self-esteem, less illnesses, lower depression rates, better sex, improved cognitive function… I could go on. So the answer to the above question can be found in the other 50% who stick to their workout programs.

Reasons Why People Stop Working Out

Not Enough Time to Workout

As a group fitness instructor and personal trainer for close to 15 years, I have witnessed a wide range of reasons why people don’t maintain a consistent exercise program. The foremost issue is time constraints. If you’re a working parent having enough time to wash your hair can be a daunting task. Time really becomes precious if you’re a single parent managing a household. Many employers now offer fitness facilities – taking them up on their offer to keep you healthy can help you find those precious minutes. Giving up two or three lunchtimes per week is an invaluable opportunity to stick to your workout plan and not take time away from the family. It will probably help you from overeating at lunchtime as well as choosing healthier food items that compliment your workout mindset.
If there’s no gym at work then take a lunchtime walk. Wearing a pedometer will motivate you to get out and challenge yourself to increase your step goals. Hey, you’ve got to take the time from somewhere, so why not make time at work?

Lack of Results From Working Out

Another popular reason for not working out is a lack of results. Although people feel better after starting a workout plan they may find that they haven’t lost any weight and get discouraged. If this puts you in the 50% fail category then it’s a matter of making changes to get back on track and see those results. If weight loss if your goal and you’re not seeing results than you may need to adjust the intensity level of your workout. That leisurely stroll on the treadmill cost you an hour of time and no weight loss benefits. If working out regularly already fits in your schedule then get back in the gym; This time increase the speed/incline combo that’s going to get you utterly exhausted in just 15 to 20 minutes. Add resistance training to the workout mix and the results will have you coming back for more. If you’ve been taking the same Zumba class with the same instructor for the past two months, your body is probably so conditioned to the routines that it barely gets you sweating. Change your cardio workouts up, by taking a spin class for example, to confuse your muscles and rev up the metabolism.

Loosing Sight of Your Goals

There’s another big reason for falling off the wagon: “I missed a few days and got off track (discouraged).” At one point or another we all get off track when going after our goals. Remind yourself of other goals you were able to reach despite getting off track. Issues got in the way of a work project – but you made it happen by working around them. Or, you purchased your home despite a myriad of issues that came up during the mortgage process. Missing a few workouts is a minor obstacle to accomplishing your weight loss and quality of life goals.

Staying on Track With Your Workouts

Reward Yourself for Small Wins

A fun strategy for keeping your eyes on the prize is to reward yourself with a massage, facial, golf outing, or some other treat, when you reach a step in your goal. If you miss a few days, you’ll be raring to make up for it to get closer to that full body massage!

Have Fun Working Out At Home with YouTube or Xbox

If you did miss your appointment with the gym, tune into YouTube for great workout options that you can do from home. I love to dance, so when I get sidetracked I put in an Xbox dance game with the goal to get a perfect five stars in each dance selection. It’s fun and makes me a viable dance partner at the next party!

Schedule Workouts in Advance and Put Them in Your Calendar

This article assumes that you have the will to stick to a workout program. So lastly, a great way to keep your motivation and willpower to work out is to put workout appointments in your calendar, along with your lunch dates, nail and hair appointments. Scheduling them makes them just as important as the other calendar items that you would be loath to miss. This mindset will keep you on track to joining the 50% that have successfully made the transition to a healthier lifestyle.

Benita Perkins

Benita Perkins – is a widely acclaimed health and wellness branding expert focusing on the fitness needs of women and the special demands they must overcome to step into a lifetime of healthy living through fun, interactive lifestyle events. Her company, Bennie Girl Health & Wellness Branding & Events, works with businesses and organizations to associate their brands and products with a healthy lifestyle, by identifying opportune events to participate in and activities that will best define and communicate the organization’s mission.

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