Fitness Setbacks: How to Overcome Them

Aug 05, 2020

If you’ve been on your fitness journey for some time, it’s likely you have experienced a setback in some shape or form. It can happen!  However, a setback doesn’t need to derail your motivation.  The resilience you learn and the determination required to overcome any setback are great characteristics to build upon.  Think of the setback as an opportunity to learn about yourself, your body, and your mind.


There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here.  Setbacks come in many shapes and sizes.  A setback may hold you back for a day or perhaps a week or even a month.  You may even encounter more than one setback on your fitness journey.


Illness or Injury

We all get sick from time to time.  The flu does the rounds in the cooler months, a headache can strike at any time, or sometimes your digestive system will play up, leaving you feeling off.  As annoying and disruptive as it can be, when you’re not 100% you need to take some time out.

The same goes for injuries.  Always seek medical advice and give your body the time it needs to recover.  Remember, your body needs a chance to rest, recover, and reset.

During these times, it might be a good idea to add some chair yoga, stretches and even some cardio walks. 



Schedules change and that’s a part of life.  A change in schedule can make sticking to a routine tricky.  Be easy on yourself and allow yourself time to adjust.  Perhaps you previously had an hour to workout and now you only have half an hour.  Work with what you’ve got.  It’s still possible to get your heart rate up in a shorter amount of time.



A loss of motivation can strike at any time.  There are so many reasons why we lose motivation.  Perhaps sticking to a fitness routine seems impossible.  Or you’re finding it hard to keep up.  Also, working out can simply drop down the list of your priorities.  Don’t beat yourself up.  Losing motivation can be common.



Holidays are a time to relax and unwind.  Sometimes that means your fitness routine eases up.  It’s important to enjoy and make memories on your holiday.  However, it can be difficult to adjust back to everyday life when you get home, especially when you add jet lag or being exhausted into the mix.


Everything else

Of course, these are only some of the setbacks you may encounter over the course of your fitness journey.  There are so many other obstacles you might encounter, possibly common and uncommon.  The first thing you must do is acknowledge the setback.  Accept it for what it is and make peace with it.  Then, focus on what you will do next. 



Overcoming a Setback

Make a plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish. So, what is your goal?  Do you want to get back to working out a particular number of times a week?  Do you want to work back up to lifting a certain weight? Define your goal then make a plan to achieve it.  Make sure the plan is realistic and break it down into smaller steps that are within your reach.  Most importantly, stick to the plan that you create. 


Get organized

You set your goal, you have a plan, now it’s time to get organized.  If it means setting your alarm early to squeeze in a workout, dedicating time in your diary to breaking a sweat, or packing a gym bag to have on standby, then do it.  Make sure you have what you need to complete that workout. 


Find a support network

A supportive network around you can make all the difference.  They will check in with you, lift you up when you need it most, and make sure you achieve your goals.  A support network could include a partner, your family, friends or even our Facebook group where you can meet others who are on the same journey as you.


Speak up & get help

Sometimes setbacks can be overwhelming and in these instances it is best to speak up and get help.  You might speak to someone within your support network or a medical professional. 


Get inspired

Why did you start working out in the first place?  If you can rediscover your ‘why’ and remember your reason behind wanting to exercise you can reignite your inspiration.  Your why can also change over time and that is okay.



When motivation lacks, discipline needs to kick in.  Fitness isn’t always easy but you can make the choice to show up and do your best every day.  Think of discipline like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.


Don’t give up! 


If you take just one thing away from this, remember to never give up!  We all face challenges and setbacks, but the truth is, you become a stronger person when you overcome a setback.  Break it down and make it doable.  You truly do have the ability to overcome any obstacle and get back into your regular workout routine.


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