Considering how “deadly” health experts claimed COVID-19 to be, you’d think the pandemic would have sparked a worldwide health movement and made fitness goals a huge priority. But the threat of “possibly” dying hasn’t really moved the masses to lose weight and get fit.
I often sit and think about the career I’ve chosen. The failure rate on all sides of this business is high. I have seen dozens of gyms close, thousands of fad diets come and go, and different training routines become popular. I’ve seen trainers burn out regularly, only to have two or three new ones take their place.
What are we all missing? Why hasn’t anyone broken the code when it comes to health and fitness. So many experts; so much money spent. Plus, we have decades of data, as well. What is the answer? Is it motivation, finances, accessibility, knowledge? No one truly knows.
Is lack of motivation a legitimate reason that many people never achieve their fitness goals?
Maybe the answer is “time,” or the perceived lack of it. The most common excuse people give for not working out or eating right is lack of time. Then again, some people always make time for their fitness. They get up 45 minutes earlier before the kids wake up, or they skip watching jeopardy after dinner. They know you can get a great workout in less than 20 minutes if you just stop making excuses and do it. So maybe the “time crunch” is actually just a function of attitude.
Similarly, cooking a healthy meal takes the same amount of time it takes to cook an unhealthy meal. Food really isn’t all that complicated, especially if you follow simple recipes. But I’ll admit: I’ve found it’s just easier for me to say I don’t have time for something, rather than admitting I’m too lazy to get up off the couch and do it. (I may have just sold myself out to a lot of people that have asked me to hang out lately.)
So the great modern fitness failure must actually boil down to motivation, right? Maybe, maybe not. Motivation is fickle, even for trainers.
I have been fit most of my life. I’ve dedicated my entire life to the pursuit of fitness. It’s more than a passion for me; but even I find myself sometimes not wanting to participate. Therefore I don’t think you can blame motivation for a worldwide lack of fitness, because motivation is a fluid state of mind more than a cause of inaction.
The real issue holding us back is an addiction to fake pleasures, like drugs and entertainment
Imagine if the first thing you did in the morning was workout instead of look at your phone and drink a gallon of coffee with a doughnut? We have become so addicted to things that are so bad for us, yet release similar chemicals in our bodies as eating right and exercise do.
Serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins from a healthy lifestyle can be just as addictive as a McDonald’s coke or a Krispy Kreme doughnut. Our brains are hard-wired to seek out behaviors that release dopamine. That’s why junk food and sugar are so addictive and can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many more chronic illnesses.
Conversely, a healthy lifestyle can prevent or sometimes cure those illnesses and more. Which brings us back to what I said at the beginning; one might think that the threat of dying would be enough to launch a worldwide health and wellness revolution, but clearly it isn’t. The allure of chemical, sedentary pleasure is too strong…even for death. But I’ll keep trying to shake folks out of the slumber, and convince them that the pleasures of health and wellness and fitness goals far outweigh the fleeting pleasures of iPhone screens and junk food. I hope you’ll join me.