Skip to content

Sustainability: A Major Contributing Factor to Fitness Failure

You have finally made the decision to start bettering your health.

It’s been on your mind for the past 6 months, and then you finally decide that it’s time to start.

You’ve done some research on a few gyms, so you have maybe one or two places in mind: The Big Box gym, and the local Personal Training/Bootcamp Studio.

Now, because you have NOT been exercising for a while, your mind is telling you that membership access to machines won’t be enough because you are clueless on where to start. Your mind is telling you that personal coaching and or a smaller, family type of environment might be the best solution.

So you go with the local gym.

Yea, it costs a bit more, but you really want a result and know that you will need some motivation, and the community of the gym is better.

You go on the website, sign up for a 3 week trial pass, and get ready to start up Monday.

Monday evening comes, you are nervous and don’t know what to expect. You head over after work, and you pull up to the parking lot, full of cars, and all you can see through the front window are people doing some very intense looking exercises, sweating like crazy, clapping each other on for motivation.

You walk in, and are greeted by the desk attendant, who welcomes you and instructs you to place your bags in the locker and shows you the designated wait area before the 7 pm class starts.

After having placed your things down, you head over to the bootcamp room, where you see 8 other women circled around talking about how sore their shoulders are from yesterday’s class.

They look crazy fit.

They introduce themselves and amiably welcome you, asking if this is your first time here.

“Yes! I haven’t worked out in years. I’m nervous. You guys look so in shape!” You say.

To that, they reply, “Don’t worry. You will be fine. Just push through!”

You look on the “Workout Board” and you see the program for the day:

1/4 Mile Run

30 Bodyweight Squats

30 Push Ups

10 Burpees

4 Rounds

The instructor comes in, welcomes you to the class, and says “Take things at your pace” reassuring you that you will be fine.

Workout begins. You get pretty exhausted through the first round. But you see the other ladies in the class pushing through the workout, so it “motivates” you to keep going.

47 Minutes later you finish the workout, the most physically exhausted you have been since being in your mid forties. You have some slight pain inside of your knee and your low back, but you feel accomplished that you finished the workout and you want to come back.

Fast forward to the next morning and your knee is aching pretty badly, and your back is so tight that you are having a tough time bending over. You start to wonder how you could even make it for tonight’s class.

Aching through the day while limping a bit from point A to point B, evening time comes. You pull up to your gym, and you see your new training buddies. They welcome you back and tell you to get ready for the day. You look over and see the board:

20 Push Ups

20 Mountain Climbers

20 Squat Jumps

10 Burpees

You think about your knee and how your back is feeling, but go for it any way.

Again, you push through and successfully make it through the workout…at the expense of your already aching knee and now even tighter low back.

“How can I do this for another 3 weeks?? Let alone 6 months. I don’t know if this is sustainable.”

Sustainable exercise.

Not all exercise is created equal.

Can your body realistically withstand (sustain) exercise for long periods of time without breaking down?

Does the intensity of exercise surpass your body’s structural capacity?

Do the trainers you work with know your limitations?

Is it really sustainable for someone with limited knee function, shoulder function etc. to tax those very areas on a daily basis.

Mentally, maybe. Structurally however, no.

It will and always does catch up.

A major reason why people, especially middle aged from early 40’s and up, drop off from exercises or don’t go back to gyms is because the exercise programs were not sustainable.

At this age, you aren’t capacitated to handle that type of stress daily. You’ve got limitations that you might not even be aware of unless properly assessed.

Asking your body to consistently exceed what it is structurally capable of AT THAT POINT IN TIME is asking for more than you physiological bank account has available.

Your exercise should start where you are physically available, and step by step increase your work tolerance.

Ease in to it. Don’t always PUSH through it.

The next time you go in to your group class and you glance over at the workout board, ask yourself, “Is this really sustainable for me?