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6 months ago

Are you aware of the fitness trap?

Often when we try something new a large portion of the experience is exciting. There is new terminology, tricks and tips and as a curious species we always want to learn more. The fitness industry is a multi billion dollar industry and like all industries - it wants you to give it your attention, to play and ultimately to stay.

When we start out on our fitness journey we may have some very simple goals.

  • It might be to lose 5kg.

  • To move freely with your children.

  • To not get puffed going up stairs.

  • To get in better shape for an upcoming wedding.

Knowledge and experience is low, as is expectations and what it might take to reach our goals.

There is a fitness Trap that many fall into…

One where you surpass all your goals and yet end up frustrated, feeling unaccomplished and like you aren’t ever good enough.

Here is a classic example below.

Girl meets gym.

Let’s call her Jess (just because I don’t train a Jess) is in relatively good shape, considered healthy by standard health markers, blood work and body fat percentages. She hasn’t lifted weights really consistently, just goes with some friends and plays on the machines infrequently. The last few months she has noticed that she is tired and would like to get more energy alongside maybe tighten her bum up if thats possible.

Jess starts out sticking to a schedule of 2 times a week and starts noticing she does in fact have more energy! she goes by herself once a week and with a friend once a week. After several weeks Jess gets talking to some other girls in the gym, they notice she comes regularly and state how well she is doing. Jess noticed they are in great shape and that they also have clothing that appears to be very specific to the gym. She makes a mental note to get some gym gear once she is home.

Once they finish chatting Jess thanks them for the kind words and gets back to finishing her workout.

Jess continues her 2 x a week routine and is really enjoying the gym by the time the next few months go by. She has nice workout clothes that make her feel good and move easily. She has started to look online at different workout routines that claim to sculpt the bum well and has started following a few social media accounts for motivation and workout ideas.

Jess runs into the same girls at the gym again and they happen to be doing the same exercise this time. She noticed that they are lifting much more than her. Jess wonders why she can’t lift a similar weight. She has been trying pretty hard and going to the gym consistently. Jess figures she must start going to the gym more if she wants to keep up with the other girls and have a better body like the ones she follows on social media.

And so begins the fitness trap.

Jess is now 12 months into her fitness lifestyle and has these 3 milestones to be proud of:

  • She wanted more energy and has that.

  • She wanted to tone her bum a little if possible and gets compliments from friends and family so thats a tick.

  • She has trained twice weekly consistently for at least 8 months now.

Instead, Jess is starting to feel weak - after comparing to other people.

She feels she doesn’t look great - again when comparing to other people online and in real life.

Jess is even starting to feel her routine, despite regular attendance and positive change isn’t enough.

This is a common story and things can easily spiral out of control here.

Soon you start tracking calories religiously, with your eating behaviours defined by some metrics prescribed by you to a non-qualified person or macro calculator online…

  • You get anxiety from not being able to perfectly stick to the daily macro numbers.

  • Seeing progress in the gym is ‘to be expected’.

  • You have foods that are off limits and can’t enjoy meals out with family or friends.

  • You can’t post a photo of yourself without taking 15+ shots and checking multiple filters on it.

  • Any positive progress in performance or body shape change is met with “I still have so far to go”

The Fitness Trap can grab a hold of many and thats on purpose, to ensure you keep buying more supplements, better workout gear, so that you keep engaged and buying nonsense programs, skinny teas and other ‘solutions’ to the problems you weren’t aware you had.

What can I do about it??

  1. Check in with yourself and write down your goals.

  2. Know how will you confirm that you have made progress.

  3. Unfollow people on social media that don’t give value or make you feel good.

  4. Compare your gym performance to yourself only.

  5. Make it an enjoyable experience - Listen to good music, Smile, Make friends, Chat to others if you like interaction.

If you feel like you might have fallen into the fitness trap - take a step back to check what you wanted when you started, recognise how far you have come already and if you are really struggling… reach out.

Matt Lomas

@lomasspt on instagram

[email protected] for inquiries.