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Why Exercise Programs Fail – And What You Can Do About It

Quitting Your Workout Program


Looking to start a new fitness routine, but afraid that your exercise program is going to fail as soon as you start? You’re not alone.

For some strange reason, everyone believes that we’re all ‘lazy’ if we haven’t started a fitness program. I’m not so sure about that. I haven’t really met anyone that is ‘lazy’. Everyone I know has tried something in the past. They gave their best effort.

However, some roadblocks get in the way, and you wouldn’t even guess what they might be. In this article, I’m going to discuss one of the most overlooked parts of starting an exercise program. I apply the same principles in my 30 day challenges.

Being in the health and fitness for 15 years, the most common mistake I see is people become motivated to start, but then stop because of a few key road blocks:

No accountability or support

Accountability is one. How many times do you get stuff done when you work in groups instead of alone? How much more can you get done if you had some support? If you had someone that would check up on you to make sure you are on track, while at the same time being supportive of your roadblocks and setbacks? Most of us don’t have that accountability. So as soon as you hit a bump in the road, your negative mental thoughts start surfacing. If there isn’t anyone that you can go to, or share your concerns, there’s a greater chance that you’re going to give up. Not only will a group provide a greater sense of community, it will also help you prevent self sabotage.

I can’t tell you how many times someone starts a new program and loses a couple of pounds. You’re all excited, and motivation is high. You use these results to motivate yourself even further. However, people at work or even your ‘friends’ start noticing. Some of your coworkers or friends are supportive and compliment your new look. But all too often, there’s always that one person that tries to sabotage it. The worst part is, you won’t even see it coming.

That person is the one that starts asking you to go out for lunch more often than before. They’ll say things like ‘c’mon! Let’s grab a burger. It’s not going to kill you. You can’t be on a diet forever! Its just one!’

That person is the kind that starts bringing donuts to the office. They’ll be ‘nice enough’ to actually bring that donut over to your desk if you have already decided that you’re not going to go into the kitchen.

Or friends that you hang out with, will keep pushing you to drink, or have deserts with them. When you refuse, they will make you feel guilty saying : “You’re not fun anymore! That you have changed!”

See the pattern here? These people may not even know that they’re doing it. It’s an internal jealousy or resentment that drives them. They can be your best friend, your husband or your wife. Don’t hate them for it. But also don’t let them continue with it.

If you find yourself in this situation, you need to be firm. If they bring donuts to your desk, you want to say “I’m sorry, but I know you’re being very thoughtful in bringing a donut to me. However, I want to make it clear that I’m not going to be eating donuts at work again. So I’d love it if you could stop.” You may hurt their feelings in the beginning, but if they are truly your good friend, they will stop. Don’t let this slide. These small obstacles can snowball into you failing in your exercise program.

The second road block is trying to do too much too fast

If you are ready to start a program, that means you’re probably highly motivated. It isn’t easy to make that decision. You should be applauded for having the courage to actually begin. It takes time to get to this point.

However, once people start, they expect results overnight. They also dive in head first into the deep end, when they haven’t even learned how to stay afloat. Here’s what I mean. . .

Let’s say you’ve started a new exercise program. You’re excited so you also start a new nutrition program. You’ll try going to the gym as long as you can. You’ll spend your nights cooking your new nutritious recipes.

Before long, you begin realizing that you only have 30 minutes to exercise.

You also start realizing that you are too tired at night to cook those recipes.

Pretty soon, you start to feel guilty. You begin to say to yourself “This is too hard. I can’t possibly make a change in my life!”

And that’s how failure starts.

I’ve trained countless clients to realize that everything has to be taken one step at a time.

I start people with simple 10 minute exercises every day. Nothing too hard, but still challenging enough to make them sweat and feel a little sore after.

I don’t even focus on their nutrition in the beginning, as it can be an extremely overwhelming component by itself. The human mind can only retain and handle so much information at once before it shuts down and gives up.

Or if we’re focusing on nutrition, we make small changes there and don’t focus on the exercise program.

The thing is, you need to develop a habit first. If you don’t develop that habit, there’s a very big chance that you’re going to fail.

Stick to one thing. See through it over the next 21 to 30 days. After that you’ll realize that doing exercises is not all that bad. It doesn’t take over your life. You may then want to increase the exercise time or intensity. You may want to graduate into something more challenging. This is where you can now begin making diving into your nutrition.

The key here is to start with one thing at a time until you can make it a habit. Then add more. Remember, this isn’t a one month or 2 month plan. This is a lifetime plan. The better you prepare for it in the beginning, the more successful you’re going to be 1 to 2 to 5 years out. Be patient and focused, and the results will come.

Prestin xo

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By |2017-01-16T19:06:43-08:00September 6th, 2016|Fitness, Inspiration, Nutrition, Personal, Transformations|2 Comments

About the Author:

Laura Michelle Prestin is one of the industry’s leading internationally published fitness models in the world. Laura holds a degree as a Registered Practical Nurse specializing in health, fitness & anti-aging. Laura also attained a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University. Read More About Prestin or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. Casey Rhodes September 7, 2016 at 9:29 am - Reply

    It working towards a balance of exercise and nutritional balance. Sometimes I still get off track on balances, still. I started sometime in July I think. I get sore I rest for a day, then I eat more and on the days that I exercise I eat less. My exercise is mainly weights training. So now I feel I need to do is work in a little cardio to my program. I thinking I could workout the soreness with a cardio exercise.

    • Miss Prestin January 19, 2017 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Hi Casey,

      Thank you for commenting, sharing your thoughts with me and bringing up an excellent topic for others who are also interested in this.

      Some advise I’d like to share with you is that right now you are carb loading. Carb loading is where you eat a high carb day on days of exercise, and on ‘off days’ you are consuming good fats, and ‘healthier’ meals such as vegetables and protein. This is great but it’s again conventional dietary advice , as there is much more to it.

      The problem with this way of thinking is people will end up eating pastas, loads of grain, sweets and processed foods full of chemicals on days of ‘carb loading’. If you are eating healthy carbs, such as steel cut oats, this can be effective.

      However, to really maximize your body’s true potential it’s really about switching fuel sources (burning food to burning your own fat cells). What you don’t want is to destroy your hard earned muscle and metabolic system with refined sugars especially right after training when you are entering a fat burning phase. You also want to avoid continuously spking your insulin to prevent from becoming insulin resistant.

      So what’s the answer? Stick to only healthy high carbs. And alternate your days from good fats on a separate day from high protein. There is a great deal of strucutre and science that goes into this method of fasting, and switching fuels, in addition to avoiding deadly food combinations shown in my 21 Day Burn Program.

      Basically it is not so black and white.

      Secondly, as for training, I personally don’t separate cardio and weight training, as you want to activate your super muscle fibers with intense training that will not only give you an amazing physique, but enhance your athletic performance like crazy.

      This is another myth that is a tad outdated that you should train 45 minutes plus of cardio on ‘off’ days or rest days. Real rest days are extremely important for the body to fully repair and build new muscle fibers to maximize your results.

      Remember, MORE does not mean better.

      Hope this helps!
      Prestin xo

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