15 Common reasons why people struggle to stick to a workout routine and stay motivated

Are you looking for motivation to maintain your workout routine? You’re in the right place!

In this article, I’ll give you some tips to stay motivated and overcome the obstacles that can hinder your fitness journey.



1. Your chosen discipline or activity doesn’t satisfy you


If the discipline you have chosen doesn’t appeal to you, it may be difficult to stay motivated.

There are many different physical activities to choose from, and you’ll likely need to experiment with several options to find the one you enjoy the most.

Plus, working out alone can be doubly challenging, so if you’re looking to stay motivated, consider working out in a group or with a personal trainer.


2. You don’t enjoy working out with other people

If you prefer to work out alone, there are several options you can consider.

For example, there are some sports video games like tennis or boxing, which allow you to train alone or against the computer.

Working out at home is also a valid option, especially if you have a space where you can build a small gym or purchase the essentials.

If you decide to work out at home, there are many online workout programs you can follow.

These programs can be very convenient and allow you to exercise when you want, without having to go to the gym.

Also, this approach to training can be less intimidating for beginners.


If you’re unsure about performing certain exercises and feel uncomfortable in a crowded gym, working out at home can be a good option to start.


3. Lack of variety

Doing the same exercises over and over again can become boring, and over time, you’ll lose motivation.

To avoid boredom, you need to vary your workout routine and try new physical activities.

There are many different activities to choose from, such as swimming, dancing, yoga, and many others.

Additionally, you can make workouts more fun by adding an element of competition or playing with friends.

For example, you can organize a game of tennis or basketball with friends or join a local sports team.

Once you find an exercise you like, be persistent and always try to make small progress.

For example, try improving your running time or increasing the weight you lift during weight training.


4. You have little time

Lack of time is often one of the main reasons why people struggle to maintain regular exercise.

However, even if you have little time, it’s possible to find ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

If you can’t find time for an hour of exercise every day, try getting up 10-20 minutes earlier than usual and doing a short workout.

Even a short workout can have positive effects on your health and mood.

Alternatively, you can break up your workout into shorter sessions throughout the day.

For example, you can do 10 minutes of exercise in the morning, another 10 minutes during lunch break, and another 10 minutes in the evening.

It has been shown that a single session of moderate-to-high-intensity aerobic exercise lasting 10 minutes already has positive effects on our body (1*)

Another good idea is to integrate physical activity into your daily routine.

For example, walk or bike to work or go shopping. This will help you get the physical activity you need without having to find extra time for regular exercise.


Time-Efficient Training Programs for Strength and Hypertrophy: A Review

This review aimed to determine the most effective way to do strength training in a time-efficient manner.

The article suggests prioritizing bilateral multi-joint exercises with a minimum of one leg press exercise, one upper-body pull exercise, and one upper-body push exercise.

He recommends performing a minimum of four sets per muscle group per week using a load range of 6-15 RM and incorporating advanced training techniques such as drop sets and supersets to save time while maintaining training volume.

Stretching should only be prioritized if the goal is to increase flexibility, and the warm-up should be limited to exercise-specific warm-ups.

By following these guidelines, individuals can optimize their strength and hypertrophy training while minimizing the time investment required. (2*)


Another solution, if you are a very busy person is to use a single training session for multiple muscle groups.

This way you can save time, as you don’t need to go back to the gym to train each muscle group.

Other benefits you will gain from a full-body workout include increased training intensity and improved muscle recovery, and what’s more, there are many variations to each exercise.

Finally, as you can see in the study below, both a split and full-body workout routine have similar effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy.


Split vs Full-Body Workout Routine

The study aimed to compare the effects of two different resistance training programs on muscle strength and hypertrophy. 

The two groups were Split Workout Routine and Full-Body Workout Routine, and both groups performed eight to 12 repetition maximum per set with 60 seconds of rest between sets. 

Maximal strength and muscle thickness were assessed before and after eight weeks of training. 

The results showed that both groups had similar effects on neuromuscular adaptation, provided the weekly set volume was equal. (3*)



5. Not having a pre-established workout plan

Without proper planning, it will be difficult to find the time and motivation to exercise.

A good workout plan should be perfectly tailored to your fitness level and goals.

Seek advice from a nutritionist if you need to lose weight or a personal trainer if you want to build muscle.

A study below shows how important it is for your workout plan to vary over time.




Writing an evidence-based workout plan

A workout plan or exercise prescription is a complex mix of interventions that change over time.

According to some researchers, it is impossible to base a training plan entirely on scientific evidence.

In a specific article, a practical six-stage approach is proposed for writing an evidence-based workout plan.

Adaptation to a training program varies, and until biomarkers are identified, researchers must test and monitor their athletes or patients.

Finally, workouts and exercise prescriptions should be based on individual needs. Coaches should help athletes or patients make informed decisions. (4*)


6. Lack of consistency

One of the most common reasons why people struggle to maintain regular exercise is a lack of consistency.

Hitting the gym only once a week or skipping workouts whenever you commit makes it harder to maintain motivation.

To maintain consistency in your workout, try setting up a workout program that is realistic and suits your needs.

For example, if you’re a beginner, start with a light workout program and gradually increase the duration and intensity of the workout.

Also, avoid overdoing long, strenuous workouts in the beginning.

And remember that your body needs rest between training sessions.


7. No gym nearby

Not having a gym nearby can make it difficult to maintain a good workout consistency, but there are many options you can consider.

If you don’t have access to a gym, you can do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, and squats, or cardiovascular exercises like running, swimming, or cycling.

Moreover, if you live in an area with many mountains or hills, hiking or climbing can be excellent physical activities.

Brisk walking is also a great option to burn calories and improve cardiovascular health.

Alternatively, you can buy some basic equipment like dumbbells or a bench and work out at home.

Many online workout programs can help you create a workout routine that suits your needs.


8. Set Small Goals

Before starting your physical activity, take the time to define your goals.

For example, you may want to lose weight, build muscle, or simply improve your overall health.

Once you have made your choice, create an action plan to follow through.

Talk to a fitness expert to help you create a workout plan and a diet that will help you achieve your goals.

However, you should not initially set too ambitious goals because it can be demotivating.

Instead, aim for smaller and more realistic goals because it will help you stay motivated and see the progress you have made.

For example, instead of setting a goal of losing 10 kilograms, you could focus on losing 1 or 2 kilograms per month.

Also, keep track of your progress and your successes.

Keeping a training diary will help you see the progress you have made and therefore maintain motivation.

If you have achieved a small goal, celebrate and be proud of yourself.


9. Overtraining

To avoid overtraining, it is important to dedicate the right rest days between training sessions.

In addition, start training gradually, for example, 20-30 minutes a day for 3 times a week, and then gradually increase the duration and intensity of the training.

This will help you gradually adapt your body to physical activity and avoid injuries.

Remember that in a regular training routine, it is important not to overdo it.

Listen to your body and let it rest between sessions.



New Mechanisms and risk factors associated with Overtraining

The article describes overtraining syndrome (OTS), characterized by insufficient performance and fatigue caused by excessive training and inadequate recovery.

The authors aim to identify new mechanisms and risk factors associated with OTS to facilitate early identification and prevention.

From the results of the EROS study, it emerges that OTS is triggered by multiple factors, not just excessive training, but also by chronic energy deprivation that leads to multiple losses in conditioning processes.

This article suggests that the term “paradoxical deconditioning syndrome” better represents the characteristics of this syndrome. (5*)


10. You Haven’t Understood That Training is a Lifestyle

Many people start exercising to build muscle mass, but physical activity should be considered a lifestyle and not just a means to achieve a short-term goal.

Regular physical exercise provides many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving mental health, and reducing stress.

It also allows you to maintain a healthy weight and increase energy.

Start by finding physical activities that you enjoy and then try others over time.

Try making physical activity a natural part of your daily life, like walking to work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

This will help you maintain regular training and reap maximum health benefits.




11. Not sleeping well at night

Lack of sleep usually harms your health,  and when you don’t sleep well, your exercise routine can be affected too.

Sleep deprivation affects many aspects of health, such as:

  • Your energy levels
  • Ability to concentrate
  • Your ability to resist unhealthy food temptations
  • Can increase the risk of injuries during exercise.

To improve the quality of your sleep, try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night and avoid exercising too close to bedtime.

It’s also a good idea to create a peaceful and comfortable sleep environment, with a cool temperature and a comfortable bed.


Why sleep is important

Sleep plays a crucial role in brain function and the systemic physiology of the body.

Sleep disorders are common and include deficits in the amount and quality of sleep.

Numerous factors contribute to sleep problems, ranging from lifestyle and environmental factors to other medical conditions. Sleep disorders have serious consequences for short-term and long-term health, such as activation of the sympathetic nervous system, metabolic effects, changes in circadian rhythms, and pro-inflammatory responses.

Medical literature indicates that sleep disorders are associated with increased health problems, including cognitive disorders, memory, and performance deficits, emotional problems, mood disorders, blood pressure problems, and metabolic disorders.

In addition, sleep disorders can negatively affect the quality of life and psychosocial health, such as in childhood and adolescence, where school and behavioral problems occur.

In conclusion, health professionals should be aware of the importance of sleep in health and quality of life, and consider prescribing interventions that minimize sleep disturbances. (6*)


12. Lack of visible results

When you train you don’t see results right away.

For this reason, it’s important to have patience and continue to engage in regular physical activity.

So, never get discouraged, and always keep going.

Focus more on the benefits that physical activity has on your health and well-being, rather than on the aesthetic results.


13. Lack of social support

Try to get friends or family involved in your physical activity or join a group that already does.

This way, you can exercise with other people, share your successes, and receive support and encouragement when you need it.

Alternatively, you can search online for communities or forums of people who share your same interests and goals.

Connecting with other people online allows you to get support and motivation.


14. Lack of energy

There are many things you can do to increase energy levels during exercise.

For example, try to eat healthy and nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Avoid high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Also, try to get enough sleep and reduce stress in your daily life.

Stress negatively affects energy levels.

Try practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga, to reduce stress and increase energy.

In addition, prolonged energy deficits can have effects on muscle building and strength during resistance training.


The effects of an energy deficit on muscle building

This systematic review of studies examined the effects of a prolonged energy deficit on muscle building and strength during resistance training.

A reduction in muscle building was found in participants with energy deficits compared to those without energy deficits.

On the other hand, strength remained relatively stable between the two groups. In addition, a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day seems to significantly compromise muscle mass gains.

Therefore, individuals who want to build muscle mass should avoid prolonged energy deficits.

Similarly, individuals who want to maintain muscle mass during weight loss should do so. (7*)


15. Mental health issues

When someone is struggling with mental health issues like depression or anxiety, it’s very difficult for them to regain interest in exercising.

People afflicted with these problems should first seek professional help to overcome them.

Only a mental health professional can identify strategies for symptom management and, more importantly, find ways these people can incorporate physical activity into a routine.

This may include starting with low-intensity exercise, finding a workout partner for support, or trying activities that are more social or fun.


Tips for establishing a daily routine for your workout

Choose the same days and times for physical activity so that it becomes a natural part of your daily routine.

If you skip a workout day, you should feel guilty unless there are legitimate reasons such as sudden illness, unexpected family or work commitments, or simply the need to rest and recover after an intense workout.

Consistent exercise is essential to maintaining your physical fitness and achieving long-term results.

Finally, remember to keep track of your progress.


What are the risks of not exercising regularly?

Not exercising regularly can pose several health risks and can lead to loss of muscle mass and strength, increasing the risk of falls and injuries.

In general, regular physical activity is important for maintaining a healthy body and preventing chronic diseases. (8*)

However, you should start gradually and work with a fitness professional to develop a safe and effective workout plan.


Obesity and Sedentary Lifestyle

Millions of people around the world are classified as obese and sedentary, and the thought of starting any kind of exercise program can be particularly intimidating for them.

And the first question people who carry extra weight ask is:

“Is it safe to exercise or can it be painful?”

The truth is that even sedentary people can undertake a regular exercise routine. (9*)



Maintaining the motivation to stick to an exercise routine can be challenging, but several methods can help you do so.

The first and perhaps most important step is to find a physical activity that you enjoy and that is fun for you.

After that, set realistic goals and create a daily routine for your workout.

Always keep track of your progress and if you can, involve friends or family to get support and motivation.

Maintaining motivation in a workout routine requires commitment and perseverance, but the benefits for health and wellness are invaluable.

With a little perseverance and dedication, you can achieve your fitness goals and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.


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