Commitment is simply something that modern man is not up for these days. We live in a society where divorce rates exceed the rates of successful marriages and where people have a great deal of difficulty committing to long term goals. This societal issue also begins to really come to the forefront when talking about men and fitness. However, there seems to be several simple and logical explanations for why this happens.
The American Society:
The first and foremost factor has to do with the nature of American society. Basically, there are just too many distractions out there and too many things going on in people’s lives for them to make fitness a priority.
A common trend is for men to support a family or themselves. To do this, they often spend 40 hours or more working to keep the financial situation stable. On top of that, they still want to go out and have some leisure time to release the stresses that accompany long hours at work. Therefore, they will usually spend time with their girlfriends, families or buddies.
When it is all said and done, there simply isn’t any time left to make it to the gym. It becomes an afterthought compared to keeping up with finances or maintaining social relationships. If you throw the whole idea of a solid nutrition commitment on top of all of it, then pursuing fitness ends up being too much of a time commitment as well as a mental burden.
Fitness Is Not Pleasurable:
Another factor is that fitness is not pleasurable in any sense. Think about it. Lifting weights puts your body in extreme pain and doing cardiovascular activity, leaves you gasping for air. No wonder it becomes so hard for most people to get started on a fitness program. The reality is that yes, it’s not fun.
It is especially rough when a person is just getting started because their body hasn’t adjusted to the whole idea of fitness. Therefore, they are usually in a lot of pain during the first few weeks of working out, which ends up being a reason to procrastinate and not go back to the gym.
There is a certain threshold associated with fitness that many do not overcome. Experienced runners or bodybuilders have it much different because their body is well accustomed to the style of training that they use. Because of this, their pain receptors are much less sensitive as well.
A bodybuilder can go and bench 500 lbs while barely feeling the after effects the next day and a runner can go out and run 10 miles with no pain in their lungs whatsoever.
For inexperienced lifters and runners, the whole ordeal is just downright miserable. Just doing a minor workout is going to make it hard to get out of bed the next day. On top of that, getting the absolute best results means that each training session must be extremely intense which always involves even more pain and more misery. Most people just aren’t willing to deal with all of it. Can you blame them?
The next point I want to make goes back to finances. The reality is that pursuing fitness is expensive. A gym membership costs money. Workout clothes cost money. Healthy food costs money. It all costs money. Many guys I know simply can’t commit to a fitness lifestyle simply because they don’t have the extra money to invest. It is as simple as that.
Probably the biggest factor for why guys can’t commit to fitness is actually really simple. It’s time management. For some reason, guys seem to have trouble managing their time. The main idea behind time management is to set up priorities and then plan out your time in advance.
The issue is that fitness becomes something that guys will get done when they feel like it. When they take that attitude, it leaves fitness at the bottom of the priority scale. Why? Well, as explained earlier, there just isn’t a whole lot of time to throw around because of everything else going on in life.
If anyone wants to succeed at fitness, then they must learn to make it a priority by planning it into the schedule. This idea of time management leads me into my second point.
Long-term planning is really an issue for a lot of people. This is why fitness becomes so hard. The thing about fitness is that it takes commitment and patience, two things that a lot of people seem to lack. Everyone wants everything the quick and easy way. It’s also the reason why diet pills are doing so well. People would rather take a pill to lose weight instead of pursuing a healthy nutrition and fitness program.
I can sympathize with these people because it can get rough when you spend hours and hours in the gym and you want to see drastic results in a short period of time.
The problem is that in a healthy individual, gaining a pound or two of mass per week is considered normal for rapid weight gain. Losing rapid amounts of weight the healthy way also deals with the same ratio of one to two pounds per week. This is also assuming that the person getting these kinds of results is doing everything right as far as training and nutrition.
If you talk about an average Joe who has little to no knowledge about weight training or weight loss, then obviously it will take much longer to see significant results.
Generally speaking, it takes at least 3 months of commitment to a program before a person can accurately assess whether or not what they are doing is actually working. Now you can imagine why it becomes so hard for people to commit to a fitness lifestyle. After a month of training, there might not be noticeable results and a person might just give up.
A lot can be attributed to the food selection here in America.
Back in the days of early America, people cooked every meal by themselves.Vegetables were grown in the back yard and meat was acquired from home-grown animals. Early Americans even made their own bread from scratch.
The only food selection was to eat what was on the table. Usually, that would involve some kind of vegetable, bread, milk and some kind of meat. You can imagine why there weren’t a whole lot of morbidly obese people back then. They used to go out and work on the farm all day and then come back to eat.
Today is marked by a surplus of terribly unhealthy food that is made convenient. Since Americans are so busy all the time, there is little time to make food. If there’s no food readily available, then heck, why not go to McDonald’s or Burger King. It’s fast, convenient and actually tastes pretty good.
The problem is that because of the desire for fast food, companies have managed to produce that kind of food, but it ends up being poor quality. Usually, convenient foods, such as microwaveable dinners and burgers from the nearest fast food joint, always contain high concentrations of saturated fat and/or large amounts of preservatives.
Many convenient foods may also contain large quantities of sugar. When it is all said and done, most of these foods are terrible for supporting bodily functions. They lead to disease and severe increases in adipose tissue.
When trying to pursue a healthy fitness lifestyle, the kind of food that is consumed has everything to do with the results that will be achieved. Unfortunately, eating the right kind of food is usually inconvenient and so once again, the modern man is stuck with another dilemma.
Psychological & Practical Strategies
After saying all this, there is still hope for the modern man to achieve his fitness goals. It will simply take some lifestyle and psychological adjustments on his part. Usually, this comes down to increasing his attention to detail and yes, a certain level of commitment as well.
Here are several psychological and practical strategies that will help anyone succeed in pursuing their fitness goals:
1. Make Fitness A Priority:
Usually, the biggest problem is that fitness is not a priority, but is considered something that will just get done whenever that person feels like it. The reality is that it must be made a priority that is given significant attention and focus.
Planning out time to get to the gym long before the week begins in always the key. If working out before work is the only time that works, then go to bed earlier and get up. If after work is the only time available, then go right away after work to minimize the chance of distractions. Either way, going to the gym must be scheduled routinely to maintain a level of consistency and focus.
Planning out meals is also critical. It is hard to maintain a healthy eating lifestyle when there is no planning involved. This means making meals ahead of time as well as planning out what meals should be eaten and when they should be eaten during the day.
Personally, I like to write out a detailed copy of my schedule before a week begins so that everything is planned out ahead of time. By doing this, I end up being more productive and efficient with my time. It also makes going to the gym routine and non-invasive in relation to the rest of my time since it is just a part of the schedule.
3. Commit To Long-Term Goals And Manage Them Through Short-Term Goals:
If there is no long-term goal in place before you step into the gym, then you are setting yourself up for failure. I think that it is physically impossible to commit to fitness unless there is a long-term goal in mind. That long-term goal is what will keep you going back even when you really don’t feel like it.
Long-term goals can be broken up into a series of short-term goals as well. You might have a large goal to lose 100 pounds, but as a series of smaller goals, you could aim to lose 5 pounds per month.
Succeeding at smaller goals makes much larger goals more manageable. Relating back to my example – losing 100 pounds – will take any person a long period of time and a lot of hard work.
Trying to attack the monster head on is a set-up for failure. Rather, evaluating oneself on the basis of smaller, more manageable goals, one can expect to succeed. It is much easier to try and lose 5 pounds every month instead of trying to lose 100 pounds in the next year and half. 5 pounds a month simply sounds better and much easier to manage.
The main idea though is to be goal-oriented in your approach to fitness. Without goals in place, there is nothing to strive for and nothing to achieve. Otherwise, the whole notion of fitness becomes too abstract and failure is almost imminent.
4. Stay Positive And Believe In Yourself:
Many people fail before they even get started because they don’t believe that they can achieve the results they want. It’s basically shooting themselves in the foot before they even get started.
Science shows that there is a strong correlation between what the mind believes and what the body does. When someone gets depressed, then they are more likely to get sick. People that stay positive have a better chance of recovery from cancer. Successful athletes always have confidence in their abilities and therefore, they succeed.
The list goes on and on. There definitely is that correlation between the mind and the body. What this means is that in order to achieve the body of your dreams, you must first believe it is possible. The next step is that you must pursue that dream with the confidence that you will succeed.
I think this is also an important life lesson:
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.” - George E. Allen
In order to succeed in fitness or any other aspect of life, it all comes down to winning the battle in your mind by convincing yourself that the “impossible” is possible. From there, you must do everything that you can to insure that you will succeed (Winston Churchill may have said this … I just pulled it from memory so I can’t remember).