How you’re sabotaging your fitness – and how to stop doing it

When it comes to following a regular training routine, it’s often roadblocks we put up ourselves that can get in the way of achieving what we set out to do.

Getting and staying fit is about giving yourself the best chance possible to make it happen – and that includes navigating your way through common self-sabotaging behaviours.

The problem: You put up barriers

Telling yourself you can’t do something or that it’s too hard is a common form of self-sabotage.

With mindset playing such a critical role in our ability to stick to a fitness routine, taming that negative voice in your head is paramount.

The fix: Recognise when negative thoughts sneak up on you

“It can be challenging at first to be self-aware, but over time, watching your thought behaviour can help you to look at what triggers you to think a certain way,” says personal trainer and health coach Camilla Bazley.

“Meditation is a great way to combat this, and also having a trainer to help push you past these limiting factors.”

The problem: You’re great at coming up with excuses

Most of us are great at making up excuses to get out of exercising.

It can range from telling yourself you have a headache so can’t possibly train, or that your leg hurts so you can’t go for a run.

The fix: Rethink how you think

“(It’s about) reprogramming the way you think and figuring out what is going to be stronger – your effort, or your excuses?” says exercise scientist and Balance Fitness and Nutrition founder Brooke Turner.

Think of a way to counter the excuse in a positive way, says Brooke. For example, if you have an injury (real or imagined!), instead of giving up entirely on working out, tell yourself: “I’m sure there’s a modification for that.”

The problem: You keep putting off exercise

Whether it’s hitting snooze when the alarm goes off for you to get up for your morning workout or telling yourself you’ll exercise once your schedule isn’t so busy, most of us have been guilty of putting off a workout (or two).

The fix: Just do it

Life is always busy and there’s never a perfect time to start working out, so why not just start?

“Get yourself an accountability buddy. Someone you can go to the gym with, walk with, or have an appointment with a trainer booked in,” suggests Camilla.

“Another sneaky one is naming your alarm something like ‘YOU TOLD ME NOT TO LET YOU GO BACK TO SLEEP!’.”

The problem: You set the bar too high

Setting lofty goals such as vowing to work out every day or committing to a two-hour session at the gym can set you up for failure.

The fix: Take a pragmatic approach

Take it one session at a time, and don’t let one setback derail all your efforts.

“(Ask yourself) what you can realistically achieve each day,” says Brooke.

“If you miss a training session… don’t let it become a bad ‘day’, week or month.”

Written by Tania Gomez