How often have you been watching TV late at night or online, and one of those flashy miracle fitness ads pops up? “Find the best Fat Burner to help you achieve your goals!” “Lose belly fat with this one weird old tip!” We all know they’re BS, but that ridiculous clickbait still seems to weasel its way into our heads, nagging at us to get fit.
Thankfully, psychologists and doctors have spent the past century figuring out mental blocks and how to beat them. All you have to do is follow their advice to help you stop making excuses for not exercising and start getting fit one day at a time.
Did you know your mood can noticeably change even after a 20-minute walk? Exercise delivers a roundhouse kick to the face of depression, tension, and fatigue. Even a few sets of push-ups lead to a spike in energy, vigour, and blood circulation.
I don’t have time!
You don’t need Joanne McLeod and Hal Johnson to help you with a body break. Try an exercise spurt like a 10-minute walk during the workday, get out and play with your dog for 20 minutes, take a weekend hike with the kids, or hop on your bike with a backpack to grab a few groceries for dinner.
Exercise is boring
The easiest way to beat boredom is to be social. Grab a close buddy and enjoy a sunny Saturday walk. Pro tip: schedule times to get outside when you’re the most energetic in the day.
Gyms are too expensive
Try heading outdoors instead of to a gym. Some cities even install outdoor gyms in their parks, so ask around and see if any are in your area.
What if I hurt myself?
Pace yourself when you try new ways to get fit. Your body needs time to adjust to new activities. Always warm up and cool down by walking or jogging for five minutes with any workout, especially when weight training. Don’t increase weights by more than 10% each week, either. Talk to a buddy who keeps up with fitness—ask him or a trainer about the right level of intensity for your age, skill, and fitness level.
I don’t want to look ridiculous
Self-confidence (or lack thereof) can keep many guys away from the gym. Rather than focus on the negative, visualize yourself with a fit body. It’s easy to turn those love handles into powerful motivators.
One study showed most guys want to work out in a no-judgment zone. Group classes are a good way to try something new out with a bunch of people who also don’t know what they’re doing yet. Learning with a group can be incredibly motivating.
You don’t have to change much to beat those mental blocks, stop making excuses not to exercise, and start feeling good. And remember: action breeds motivation. Once you start…yeah, you know the rest.
Have you busted a mental roadblock that was preventing you from exercising? Share it with us in the comments below.
The article was originally published on May 28, 2015.