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What stops people from starting to get fit?

general probe for thoughts here... to while away a few minutes :-0

What stops people from starting to get fit? maybe they used to exercise regularly, stopped for whatever reason and want to start again... but what prevents them from doing so?

Or maybe somebody has no history of exercise but decides that they need to start dealing with advancing years, or a thicker waistline, or getting out of breath. What do they need to know, or have to start ... or what stops them from starting?

Open forum here, all and any thoughts welcomed




  • Vanity
  • BlinkybazBlinkybaz Posts: 1,144
    One issue which stops alot of people doing or keeping to exercise, everbody says exercise makes you feel good right?
    Well it does but not until you are getting fitter, So when you forst start you dont get the endorphin release like fitter people do. So you dont bother because all you get is knackered and sweetie!

    2 as Triumpant said Vanity !!! but dont forget a dislike of lycra!
  • A friend of mine was saying the other day that a charity he does work for offer him a GNR place every year and every year he turns it down because he's never run and never could, because he's far too unfit and overweight. He uses me and another friend who's recently starting running as examples of what he could never manage to do.

    This ignores the fact that when I started out I was a twenty stone heavy smoker in worse shape than he is now. It seems like he just can't imagine himself making the same change that other people did, even though he's watched it happen gradually over the last five years.
  • I think it's a motivational thing myself it's like when you join a gym you start off well with all good intentions but then it dies off why? Probably down to will power too!
  • Starting. I'm sure is vanity. Too many people are self conscious of what they will look like training. In a gym you'll feel fat and unfit, while all the uber fit exercise around you, so you don;t go. Reality is, the gym is full of all shapes and sizes and all fitness. But most of the 'posers' will look at you, but then spend most of their time preening their hair, admiring themselves in the mirrors, or trying to catch the eye of some woman. If you want a laugh get one of the muscle bound monkey's to do a spin class. At my last gym I persuaded one who ridiculed me for high rep low weight sessions to do s spin class, and he was dead within 10 minutes.

    Once you do get the bug, it is difficult to fully commit to, as life gets in the way, and of you do get too anal about, then other non exercisers do see you as some kind of freak, and you have to justify your training to them.

    I was overweight and unfit a few years ago, and had a weekend away at CenterParcs with family and nephew's/nieces, and struggled to keep going all day with them. 4 years on and I'm back there this weekend, and I know that I'll be doing my usual 10km run on a morning before I get back and make their breakfasts for them, and if it's anything like last year, they'll be asking if they can go to bed, as they'll be exhausted.

    Being fit is one of the best feelings. I'm fit, but not fast, so I know that whatever they want to do, I'll have the endurance to keep going long after they've dropped. nothing better than being in your mid 40's, and hammering the spotty playstation teenagers into submission because they've never even run a bath.
  • AtomicAtomic Posts: 126

    Just can't be arsed
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Despite more education about diet people these days simply just do not give a toss. Getting p###d, gorging on food and loafing in front of Sky TV or an X box is considered the norm. Trash/celeb mags, reassure that unless a woman is at least a size 14 she is not a 'real woman'; women who are size 14+ are described as 'curvy'. I am sorry ladies at size 14, 5’ 4” you are not curvy you are overweight verging on obesity and that goes for the blokes as well, you are not built like a rugby player, you do not have a sportsman’s physique, well Sumo perhaps.

    The ‘average’ British male takes a 38in waist trouser and measures 41in around the hips. The average woman has a 34in waist and also has 41in hips.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/artic ... ancer.html

    Seven years ago I was over 13st, 36 waist, 5’ 7” despite me being active, I was fat! not all the euphemisms bandied about nowadays, I was fat! The weight just piled on gradually and before I knew it I was a fat b###d, then I did my first triathlon in 2006 and am now 66Kg/10st 5lb 32” waist. I still have a belly roll that is a sod to shift yet my colleagues call me skinny! No, I am still overweight, my belly roll flops over my waist band even though my (crude) BMI is 21.6 and electronic gizmo thing says 19.8.

    The activities, facilities, education all should mean that we are a fitter healthier nation but we are not, we (as a nation) are inebriate, lazy gorgers who do not give a stuff and will not accept responsibility for their own actions!

    As pointed by ShaunHarris out I also get comments from people half my age ‘oh I could never do that’, ‘yes you can’ is my response. I then go on to outline simple little steps such as walking up the stairs instead of talking the lift, I work on the second floor and yes my colleagues will queue for the lift! They nervously change the subject as what I am saying – walking up 2 flights of stairs for goodness sake – requires effort.

    I also agree with TRIumphant that the ones who are overweight and do go to a gym are sniped at by certain gym members, usually not the ones that are churning out the reps, hitting the treadmills or rowing machines or giving it their all in the class sessions, the ones dishing it out seem to be the ones with hair and makeup intact and never break into a sweat or get out of breath, the same goes for the women as well. I sometimes try to speak to them but they mostly seem to be embarrassed and just want to get on doing their thing without any fuss, well done.
  • Psychological issues (or can't be arsed).
    Sort the head and you can sort the body
  • I think that time is the biggest hurdle for most people. Or rather the perception that they would have to give up time doing other things which would be too much of a sacrifice

    A few years back I was 18 stone and miserable and stressed. I am 6'6" so was not too much of a visible bloater, but one evening my wife said to me "why are you always so angry", which just stopped me in my tracks.

    I joined a gym, lost 4 stone and started tri last year.

    My colleagues around me (in an office in the west end) eat cakes and chocolates constantly, drink lots and think that I must have a weird problem / Jedi-like self control to say no thanks. They work through the lunch hour while I go for a run round Hyde Park. But if things get busy and I miss a few sessions, it is easy to go for a beer and a pizza instead.

    I like a drink, but prefer to be able to keep up with my children, and given the choice I am far happier and more fulfilled runnning or cycling or halfway up a hill somewhere and I suspect that many of the less-fit people would be too, if they could just get out there and give it a go.

    I have massive respect for the overweight people who go to the gym. They are getting stuck in and doing something. It has to be harder for them than for the svelte 22 year old bloke who is checking himself out in the mirror.

    Sorry for rambling. It has changed my life and there are many people around me who could and should start exercising as I think it would make them happier.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Hey - mucho respect, I also look around a people and want to shake them and ask why they do not respect themselves, but then that is the typical 'convert syndrome'. I was a tubby and now not so having lost 2 1/2 stone ish.

    At work the various teams also have snackypoos at the end on the desks, some are like smorgasboards and the team even started a bake a cake rota. In recent months myself and a young lad who is into weight training have been bringing in fruit, nuts, raisins and other healthier options; this wwek I brought in some strawbs that were at the sell by date and knocked down from £2.50 to £1 so hardly breaking the bank.

    Our boss has been inspired to cut down on her wine drinking, skipped the uber fattening desserts and does some toning exercises; she works full time and has 2 young children but has lost 2 stone and now looks a real hot fox and not a 'chunky monkey' as we used to call her - we love her really. I am now trying to persuade her to do a bit of running to get her cardio fit but meeting resistance although she has dusted off the bikes this summer and gone out on some rides with her girls so some progress.

    Unfortunately chocs, biccys and cakes are still appearing and I do not have Jedi resistance to chocs etc. if they are there they call out to me but I do cut down on what I am forced to eat
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Conehead said:
    Because it's a massive ball ache.

    Too true, but they won't even walk up 2 flights of stairs and wait for the bloody lift so no hope of getting them into a gym, onto a bike or even going for a walk. Sheesh - ah well its their heart attck and arteries that are clogging up.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    An answer previously posted elsewhere...Aaaaaaaah a topic right up my street to the effect of being actually in my back yard..love a mixed metaphor.
    Reasons for starting: Vanity, only goes so far for most people, is usually trumped by the realisation that one has to actually turn up & do something.
    Health scares, not as powerful as you would think, we have a GP referral scheme. Punter is given vouchers instead of a prescription, a dedicated trainer, a dedicated programme, regular meets, support, updates etc & yet even the risk of a hearty etc seldom gets these people to continue once the vouchers have run out & its on their dollar....which neatly dovetails into cost as a barrier, 12 months ago Birmingham embarked on its Be Active scheme..free gym use for Birmingham residents. Now we do have busy, full gyms in my gyms case twice the number of users/visits. Despite no cost at all to the users merely a restriction on time (7am-4pm Mon-Fri, after 1pm-10pm Sat & Sun) I introduce many people in a week, I nogotiate goals, I write programs & so do my fellow instructors many never return, some came only because it was free with no intention of regular use, most came from LA Fitness, Fitness First rather than being new users.
    I am sure time is something of a barrier, but when as a nation we watch more TV than ever the time is there, but used differently, I believe that portraying the gym as the best fitness option is a problem, the folks who live less than 1km away, who drive to us & then spend 20 mins or so on a treadmill/bike/crosstrainer & we back onto a large area of common ground with a perimeter of 1500m & 2 parks within a 5 min jog of our front door, exercise can be cost free anyway, but people are basically lazy.
    They make poor food choices & mostly claim lack of time. I have to hold my hands up here & declare that I have no children & no dependent relatives, I work shifts so can train in the morning or afternoon rather than evening which gives me a huge advantage during the winter..but I still have the same amount of hours in a week..I choose not to do overtime or get pressured into longer working hours/shifts, I shop for fresh stuff at Birmingham markets & eat a mountain of fruit, veg & fish in a week. We do not eat junk food, seldom drink alcohol & do not smoke, thus even though my wage is pretty poor I can afford to live this way. Lady Britspin earns more than me, but our joint income isn't stratospheric & since both of us are public sector this isn't going to be going up anytime soon, she works far more hours than me & yet still exercises most days..Mon run, Tues Swim & yoga (not at the same time), Wed run, Thursday O/W swim, Friday swim & yoga, Sat run, Sun bike. Not every week not every day but most..oh & we still watch telly!Britspin

    Posts: 70
    Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 8:28 am
    I came at it from the getting people off their butts doing something anything to mitigate obesity, heart problems, diabetes etc etc, not a sporting type competitive activity, which is also why I would beg to differ with the comments about how hard & painful it can be. Amongst us daft lot yes, but just to move, to walk instead of driving, to use the steps instead of the escalator etc no pain at all for most of the population, just a little act of will & change of attitude/outlook. Injury & old age is what will/may stop me racing, but nothing will stop me training & I will continue to coach & be involved.
  • ZacniciZacnici Posts: 1,385
    Britspin - meant to ask how Lady Britspin is doing.

    I hear what you say. I used to live in a small town near Oldham and knew most of the locals. Those on Benefits who seemingly had little money but lots of time did their shopping in the local Healds, open early till late and you paid a premium but they had some things that the local greengrocer and butchers didn't carry and yes their trollies were full of crap. Not a bit of fruit or fresh veg, everything was in packets, fizzy pop, crisps, pizza the works. The local Aldi had some great deals on fruit and veg and some good quality buys but again the same story, the ones with the most time bought shite. Oh yes and there were the almost compulsory cans of lager and fags. Every week they had a market, I never saw the 'most vulnerable people in society' buy any fruit or veg but the pick and mix stall did a roaring trade.

    I don't expect people to do the training we do or even to run or go to the gym but to go for walk seems to beyond their comprehension.

    One of the girls in our office has started walking and to her credit she is sticking to it and gradually losing weight, without taking anything from her others are amazed that she walks a mile sometime two every day; 'ooh aren't you doing well ... I couldn't do that ... oh well done'

    For f###s sake its a 20 minute stroll not the the Marathon des Sables why the hell can't they get off their idle arses as well - again all credit to her and I don't want to dimisish what she is doing but when a 20 min walk is treated as an unrealsitic goal then what hope do we have.

    And yes I agree with Britspin, people know if you smoke it's shit, if you drop 30 units a week of alcohol it'll f##k your liver up, if you eat shit and become morbidly obese you will develop all sorts of helath problems but they do not care.
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Hi Zac...the Lady is very good, racing 3 Spires on Sunday to round off the season thanks for asking.
    I shall be at the market tomorrow, 3 or 4 mangoes for £1, 2 melons £1, 2 sometimes more pineapples £1, I usually have to stop because I can't carry anymore..& yet my colleagues insist on saying 'don't you eat well? I could never afford to eat like that...or I don't have the time to do that'...what? I am in & out of town in less than 2 hours door to door..by public transport & it takes 5 minutes to chop up the fruit for 2 days put it in boxes & fridge it until needed.
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    I'm really enjoying all the responses - they pretty much back up what I perceived but its always good to hear other's inputs.

    I do have to chip in about the "I don;t have time" excuse. It really is the lamest excuse I hear, constantly. As someone said above, its not about the daft levels of exercise "we" do, its just doing SOMETHING.

    I worked a while ago with a lovely guy. He was into cycling himself and had worked hard at it, so wasn't a slob. But one day he asked me what I meant when i said I "never" watched TV. Surely I watched TV every day, and i just didn't mean a solid several hours etc. I replied, "no... I literally do not watch TV. Not much anyway... couple of hours total midweek at best, maybe the same over the weekend unless I find a film I want to see".

    He asked me what I DID if I really didn;t watch TV... I told him I train! And I run my own businesses so there is paperwork to be done as well.

    Bless him... he just couldn't see it. Couldn't understand how I COULDN'T watch much TV.

  • BexHBexH Posts: 226
    Gyms are intimidating if you haven't ever used one before. I wasn't especially overweight (12-14) when I started out and wasn't body conscious but wouldn't ever have thought of joining a gym. I started out when a lodger dragged me to some dance classes, then we did circuits, then we did Body Combat then I started dating a triathlete and thought I'll have a bit of that too... Entering a tri just gave me a goal to make the training pointful. Used to be in the pub most nights; don't see my friends so much midweek now but wouldn't swop it back to how it was and have new friend from tri club I see mid week anyway.

    I think my point was that maybe people need a friend or family member to get them through the initial barrier of starting the gym/fitness classes etc then they are more likely to investigate more things as they gain confidence in themselves.
  • diddsdidds Posts: 655
    ref: freinds and/or family to drag them along...

    Would you agree that that is the "jiminy cricket" that may be needed? The "other person"that won't let you not go/you won't want to let down?

  • From my perspective, it depends on what you mean by "fit" in the original question as I would tend to distiguish between active and fit. To me, being active is taking the stairs instead of the lift, not having to park as close as possible to where you are going (when I used to go to the gym I used to laugh at the people I saw driving around and around the car park looking for the parking spot closest to the door to the building...) and generally choosing to use your body in some way over taking an easier alternative. This is good but it takes a more effort/time to become really fit. I think that people generally choose not to be active because they are lazy and it is often the same people who have terrible diets and sedentary lifestyles. In my experience the barriers to becoming fit are more personal and involve things like time/work/family demands and differing priorities.
  • When you feel oneself inferior, you will be out of fit...
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