3 Surprising Reasons Exercise May Be Easier Than You Think
It’s hard enough to get motivated to exercise when life is busy and other priorities take up your time.
It’s even harder when you aren’t exactly a great “worker-outer” and struggle to get through exercises other people have no trouble with.
Whether you have a problem with exercise itself, or just have a tough time sticking with it for any meaningful period of time, there are 3 reasons that struggle could be more amplified in your life than necessary.
In other words, these are 3 reasons exercise may be easier than you think.
My Current Routine
I’m not the type of personal trainer who wakes up in the morning excited about exercise.
If you happened to run into me at a party, I wouldn’t be eating a piece of broccoli and talking about the gym. I’d have a whiskey on the rocks in my hand and would probably be talking about movies, or traveling, or why my kids have made the unilateral decision in our family to deprioritize sleep.
I do stay consistent with my workouts most of the time, but I recently started a new program after taking 3 weeks off. I didn’t take that time off intentionally, it just kind of happened.
In the grand scheme of things, 3 weeks isn’t that long.
My body didn’t dissolve into a skin sack of jelly; I’m pretty much picking up where I left off. But it’s just long enough that getting back into the routine hurts — a little bit mentally and a-lot-a-bit in my glutes.
For the past few months I’ve been doing longer workouts than I prefer (which is probably a big reason why the break happened). It was time to make some changes so my workout sessions could come a little easier again and I wouldn’t dread them so much.
The reason I’m telling you all this is so you know when I say “exercise may be easier than you think,” I’m not speaking as a genetically gifted freak who loves fitness. I’m a guy who gets burned-out if I exercise too much and has to fight to get back into it, even if that means cutting my workout time almost in half to do it.
Which brings us to the first reason exercise may be easier than you think…
1. You try to exercise too much or too often.
One of the most common reasons people have a difficult time being consistent with exercise is because of unrealistic expectations of how often you need to work out or how long your workouts need to be.
You can accomplish MORE by committing to do LESS.
This is a point I’ve made many times, so I won’t preach on it too long here (you can get more details in “How Much Should You Exercise per Week”), but it’s crucial to understand that there is no bottom end to this concept (or at least it’s WAY lower than most people think).
If you workout 10-20 minutes just twice a week, you can see significant results in how you look and feel. You could even cut back to 5 minutes just a few days per week — you’d still notice a positive change in your life.
The changes won’t happen overnight, but this is about making it easier to stay consistent.
When you determine the amount of exercise you can (realistically) be consistent with for months and years at a time, that’s when you’ve found the secret to getting impressive, long-term results.
2. You’ve only done it when trying to lose weight.
Anytime I’ve lowered my food intake to drop a few pounds, my overall energy drops almost immediately. Even menial tasks like taking out the garbage feel more difficult (not that you’d normally see me skipping to the garbage can, but you get my point).
It makes sense that this happens.
Your body works kind of like a storage facility. When you eat enough food, it takes some of the energy from that food and stores it (in the form of something called glycogen) for when you really need it… like when you exercise.
When you go to lose weight, you have to give your body less total energy than it needs so that it will break down fat to use as energy instead. An unavoidable consequence of this is that you can’t rely on that “back-up energy” in your storage facility to kick in as you work out.
In short: it can make exercise feel awful.
I’m not saying exercise will ever feel like a day at the spa, but if you’ve only ever done it during weight loss, your perception of what working out feels like may be heavily skewed toward the negative.
The more aggressive you are about dropping calories (and especially carbs in particular), the more miserable your workouts will feel.
So if you want to get into a better habit of exercising regularly, it’ll be easier if you take a more moderate approach to your diet, don’t cut out major food groups, and stick to a realistic rate of weight loss.
Or even take a break from weight loss for a while.
It can be good for you physically and mentally, and as long as you’re still paying attention to how you eat and don’t go hog wild, you might just be surprised at how you can still lean out and tone up.
3. You’ve never had someone customize it to your abilities.
I remember an episode of Ellen where Bill Gates tried to guess the price of everyday grocery items. He had no clue. He’s too far removed from that lifestyle.
Similarly, most trainers and coaches are bad at understanding what real-life people are ready for when it comes to exercise.
Because of this disconnect between fitness enthusiasts and the normal, everyday person, the types of workouts that have been made popular in the general public are high-intensity, high-impact, and highly unpleasant.
Not only is this not a good fit for most people, it’s a completely unnecessary strategy for weight loss.
I’ll admit, when I first started training family and friends, I had unrealistic expectations, too. I ignorantly assumed everyone would be able to do 50 squats and push-ups on their first day.
Now I know better.
Most of our clients can’t do one push-up from the floor when they first get started with us. That’s normal and there’s nothing wrong with that. What WOULD be wrong is trying to force you to do something that I think is “easy” when, for you, it may just get you hurt.
The good news is, push-ups can be done with your hands against a wall or a high counter. Squats can be done with the assistance of a chair, or while holding a small weight as a counterbalance. Every single exercise can be modified (or swapped out for another) to make it easier and more doable for you.
There’s no reason your workout program has to be filled with exercises you can’t do. You just need someone to show you more appropriate options.
If you’d like help making exercise (and weight loss) more convenient, check out how we accomplish this with our private, online coaching here.