5 Things That Could be Standing in the Way of Your Fitness Goals

+ what to do about it!

Hi friends! Hope you enjoyed the weekend! We’re getting into Week 4 of Summer Shape Up if you’d like to check out the workout plan for this week + all of the details here.

I’ll be back later today with some pics from the weekend, but in the meantime, I thought it would be fun to do a bit of a discussion post. 

Let’s chat about fitness goals and some things that could be in way of our success. Maybe you’ve been cranking along your routine for weeks, months, years, and not seeing the results you’re after. Sometimes we hinder or our results, or can let outside factors affect the final outcome. Even though I haven’t trained clients since P was born, these are some of the things I’ve noticed with clients and also myself.

5 things in the way of your fitness goals

Here are some of the things that could be deterring your from reaching your fitness goals + what you can do about it:

1) You don’t have a plan.

I believe that consistency is the key when you want to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but there’s something powerful about having a solid plan in place. What’s your goal? What are you working towards? If you’re wanting to stick with it for the long haul, consistency should be your mission and aim to hit your ideal amount of training sessions each week. However, if you’re working towards specific goals (increasing mile time, squat weight, decreasing body fat by “x” amount, etc) it’s helpful to have an action plan for how you’re going to get there. Going to the gym and going through the same motions, or taking the same classes, is AWESOME for consistency, but a balanced plan can take it to the next level.

Some of my ideas:

-Check out your training plan and make sure that it’s a nice mix of steady state cardio, interval training (for my intermediate/advanced friends), stretching/recovery/mobility and strength (working all muscle groups). I get SO TEMPTED to do the same things all the time, but I know in my heart that it will get me the same results. So I’ve been making a conscious effort to mix it up, or I’d do probably barre everyday and spin or OTF mixed in there.

-Some methods to work towards specific goals:

Increasing mile time: Complete a 1-mile run at your fastest pace for a benchmark. In your running routine, add in some tempo work and interval training with your long run. Try to increase your tempo speed gradually over time (new goal!) and your sprint speed (new goal!). Test your sprint mile again in a few months and see how much you’ve improved. Make sure to add cross training and strength into your routine to prevent prevent overuse and to also strengthen the muscles in your legs to support your running.

Increase squat weight: I’d recommend working at this one with a buddy. #1: make sure your form is ON POINT. It’s worthless to stack plates on the bar if you’re going to hurt yourself, mmm k? A majority of the time, we can squat WAY more than we think we can. It’s helpful to do this one on a Smith machine because if it gets too tough, you can just set the bar on the rack instead of worrying about getting it over your head to set down. (This is another reason why having a squat buddy is helpful; they can assist you as you set up and get the bar down to rest.) Take note of your max squat weight, and continue to strengthen the rest of the muscles in your lower body and core to support your strength training.

Fat loss and muscle gain: lift heavier weights, increase protein while staying mindful of carb and fat intake (and their qualities), add interval training, eat lots of veggies, get good sleep, and drink lots of water. I’ve also heard that drastically cutting out alcohol can make a huge difference, but this is where I raise my wine glass and say, “Let me know how it works” haha. This is where consistency can make a huge difference; stick with it to see results, and avoid “quick fixes.” Slow and steady wins the race. 

2) You’re stuck in a rut.

Our bodies are intelligent machines and will kick things into cruise control whenever possible. If we constantly impose the same demands, we will achieve the same results. This is why it’s important to change things up and add little stressors into your workout whenever possible. Change the types of weights you’re using (try TRX, kettlebells, cable machines, barbells, stability balls, ropes, and slam balls to mix it up!), adjust your muscle split (instead of circuit training, try a lower/upper split or check out this weights 101 post for more ideas), add in different types of cardio, or take a new class. Anything you can do to keep your body guessing will encourage results! For more ideas on busting a rut, check out this post and this post. 

3) Despite the best intentions, you’re doing too much.

This is one of the most common things I see, and also something I’ve been guilty of doing in the past. More doesn’t equal more when it comes to health and fitness. Aim to dance in the happy line right in the middle of “balls to the wall” and “recovery nap day.” A balanced training plan should have at least 1-2 days of rest each week of gentle stretching, yoga or walking; no strenuous activity. The body needs rest to recover and grow back stronger. 

4) Excuses and true barriers.

There are so many excuses in the book (“I’m too tired,” “I don’t have time,” “My kids/job/life keep me too busy,” “I don’t have equipment,”) and the list goes on of stories we tell ourselves that get in the way of our success. Instead of telling myself “I can’t,” I’ve actually started saying, “I’m not making that a priority” in my head. Because, the reality is that I probably could, but I don’t want to, so I tell myself that I *can’t* do something. The goal here is to access our inner monologue to determine if we’re being truly honest with ourselves, and how we can change this mindset for true priorities. And if something isn’t a priority, it’s ok to say no!

You don’t need a lot of time, money, or fancy equipment to take care of yourself or take your goals to the next level. You just have to find that internal motivation and even if you have to get a little creative, you can make it happen. <3

Of course, there are true barriers that can stand in our way, like an injury or illness. The best thing you can do in these situations is to be patient with yourself,. Do what you can with what you have. If you’re too sick to work out, focus on eating well to fuel your body and facilitate healing. If you can’t take your favorite class because you’re injured, talk to your doctor about safe, low-impact alternatives.

5) Lack of support. 

This can be a significant one, because finding a caring gym buddy or healthy food friend can really help to propel you towards your goals. This is where I run around virtually high-fiving my internet friends. Even if you don’t have a physical support system, there are men and women all over the world, here on the internets, who want to cheer you on. A great example of this is our amazing Summer Shape Up Facebook group! The support and virtual love from SSU-ers all over the world has been incredible.

So tell me friends: what goal are you working on right now? Was there ever something that stood in your way that you had to overcome?


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  1. Jessica @ Semi-Sweet Tooth on August 1, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Love this!

    While I rock at getting to the gym and working out when I have a specific goal in mind, I struggle a bit more -and way depend on accountability partners- when long-term health is my only true goal in mind. Truthfully, my blog has held me more accountable than I would be solo.

    Great idea to have that structured plan for the week rather than “flying by the seat of my pants” for my workout each day. I always have a time ready with a loose plan, but I could definitely structure it out a bit more.

    Thanks for sharing & for the Monday Motivation!
    XO, Jessica

  2. Melissa c on August 1, 2016 at 7:13 am

    This is soooooo great especially for Monday! I just got finished telling my hubby that I’m stuck in a cycle. I eat really clean, follow a weight/ cardio routine from Jaime Eason 12 week program ( only on week 3)- and I’m wondering if it’s working??? I have about 25 pcs to lose but need to build muscle AND shred fat, ugh! However, I do have to take full responsibility that I get a little lax Friday and Saturday with my eating. Friday the hubby and I had date night so I had two margaritas and we shared a Volcano Bowl, chips and Salsa etc. Getting my focus back today. But I need to find discipline for weekends:(

  3. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on August 1, 2016 at 8:05 am

    This is so helpful for people! I think the biggest problem are the perceived barriers people have. They can’t run due to injury or have other medical conditions that prevent them from doing certain activities which dumps them into the all or nothing trap. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you can.

  4. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on August 1, 2016 at 8:59 am

    It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut fitness wise. Before you know it you’re doing the same workouts, the same classes, and you’re not really putting in 100% effort.

  5. Yvette on August 1, 2016 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for not mentioning the big bag of Bob’s peppermints I’ve been enjoying way too much!

  6. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on August 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Yes to all of this!! I’ve started doing the same thing, saying I don’t want to, instead of I can’t. I truly believe we can do anything we set our minds to and prioritize.

  7. Mollie K on August 1, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I think another huge think standing in people’s way of their fitness goals (and something I am working on in all aspects of my life!) is the idea of being scared of being vulnerable and having the mindset of not being “________ enough” Being too weak to ever look like the girl on instagram or lift as much weight as her. Not strong enough, not skinny enough to take that class, not worthy enough to take care of myself…fill in the blank. Being scared of success…I am not sure if I am making sense with my words, but I think one’s mental thoughts and energy is a huge component of achieving and reaching for our goals. xo

  8. Sam @ Barrister's Beet on August 1, 2016 at 11:01 am

    My goal is to finish the SSU ’16 strong! I had a little hiccup in life last week get in the way of perfectly following the plan (I’m a strict adherence person lol!). I’m back on track this week and looking forward to finishing out the rest of the challenge with such a fun, inspiring group of women : )

  9. Stephanie G. on August 1, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    As always, nailed it! Thank you Gina!!

  10. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on August 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Happy Monday, August 1. These are all such good reminders Gina.

  11. Bethany on August 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Love this post! I just returned to a workout routine about 4 weeks ago. I gave myself about 10 weeks post baby. I have been tracking my food intake using MFP and almost feel I am overeating (I add about 400 calories for BF). I also feel I have to eat so many fruits and rice to hit the 50 % carbs. This makes my sugar intake a bit high. I know it’s natural, but still seems too much too many days. Thoughts? Do we really need 50% carbs?

  12. Kristi on August 2, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I loved this article! I feel like it’s exactly what I needed to read and no one else has said it yet 🙂

  13. Andreya on August 3, 2016 at 6:05 am

    Lack of support has been my biggest barrier. Nobody in my family ever really tried to get fit by exercising and improving their diet, so when I started lifting weights at a mere 7 lbs., they were all shocked and said I was overdoing myself. Lol! It was hard at first, but I shut them out and focused instead on getting support from online communities composed of people who had the same goals as me.

  14. Jennifer on August 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Can’t believe SSU is almost over! Will you be posting a workout schedule this month or waiting til September? Love hearing your meal plans if ya feel like keeping up with it too! 🙂

  15. Sara on August 3, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Love this! I get really stuck with the “true barriers vs. excuses” issue a lot. I have recurring upper back issues. Sometimes they are bad enough I have to take a break for weeks. But when they are just kind bothersome, it can be hard to judge “is this an actual reason to not work out or am I making an excuse?” But I am getting better at it!

  16. Crystal O'Morrow on August 5, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I’m having a tough time getting my nighttime binge eating under control. Any suggestions?

    • Fitnessista on August 5, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      how is your eating during the day? making sure that you’re eating well during the day and drinking a lot of water. i’ve found that i snack way more at night if i didn’t eat enough (esp protein and produce) during the day

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