Fit in 5: Five Barriers to Exercise and How to Avoid Them

Pamela Hernandez owns Thrive Personal Fitness in Springfield, MO where she focuses on weight training for weight loss. She writes a blog for her web site,, sharing vegetarian recipes from her kitchen, exercise strategies, lifestyle tips and stories from her own journey. You can also follow Pamela on Twitter @ThriveFit or pick up more tips on Facebook,

I’ve probably heard every excuse there is for not exercising. Some of them are more valid than others, for example being sidelined with an injury. Others are not, like not having time to exercise. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, we just choose to allocate them differently.

Many reasons not to exercise are actually traced back to some other issue, like lack of time management skills or past negative experiences with exercise (bad boot camp, anyone?). The top 5 barriers to exercise I get from clients actually have some simple solutions that can be easily implemented if you know what’s really causing them.

I don’t have time for exercise: This is the number one and, frankly, the easiest one to deal with. I find it comes from the misguided notion that, when it comes to exercise, the more the better. So not true! The first step is being realistic about the time you do have. Can you spare 10 minutes in the morning, at lunch or after dinner? Then you get an effective workout. Break it down into bursts of activity that you can manage. Take 5 minutes and climb stairs on your lunch break or take 10 minutes in the evening for intervals of kettlebell swings. Also look for time wasters in your day like too much TV or Internet time. Eliminate them and give that time back to yourself.

Gym memberships are too expensive: Your own body is one of the best workout tools you have and it doesn’t cost you anything. My upper body looks its best when my workouts are based on body weight exercises like push ups, chin ups, and bench dips. Moving your own body can get your heart rate up faster than a treadmill. Jumping jacks and burpees are popular because they are effective and they are cheap.

I live too far from a gym: See number 2. You don’t need all those fancy machines to get fit! Invest a little money in a stability ball and a couple of pairs of dumbbells. Combined with your own body, you have all the tools you need right in your own living room.

My joints hurt, I can’t do things like squats and lunges: While on occasion this may be true, in most cases the pain comes from incorrect technique or trying to do too much to soon. Many people with joint pain are afraid of exercise when in reality, motion is lotion. First, start slow. You may need to work up to squats, for example. Strengthen quads with exercises like seated leg extensions or wall sits. Second, pain can often be attributed to poor form. See a personal trainer or get a book like Weight Training for Dummies to learn how to properly do a squat and lunge.

I get tired after just a minute or 2 of exercise, I just can’t do it: Of course you can, you just did it for 2 minutes! It takes time to acclimate you body to exercise. If all you can do is 2 minutes, then do 2 minutes. Do 2 minutes multiple times a day if you can. Then after a week or so, do 3 minutes. Keep adding minutes each week. Remember, it’s not always about how long you exercise but how focused and effective those minutes are.

Exercise is a must for fat loss. There is no way around it and there is no barrier that can’t be overcome!


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