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Breaking down barriers to fitness

Sticking to a regular exercise plan isn't easy, even for me. Sometimes I barely manage two sessions of cardio from my Zumba classes. I blame it on the weather, sleep or a bad day. But these issues don't have to stand in our way.

Let's consider a few strategies to overcome fitness barriers.

Lack of family support

Try combining child transport with your workout. I have a client who drops the kids off to school then goes for a run immediately afterwards. This can also be done on the weekend in between pick-ups.

Invite a friend to try something new, such as rock climbing or for a cycle and a coffee. Just avoid the biscuits!

Have a talk with your family about how important your fitness ambitions are to you.

If they don't share your desires, hopefully they can respect them.


You don't need a membership to an elite gym to get a great workout.

Consider doing strength exercises at home using resistance bands and body-weight exercises. Incorporate the stairs in your workout.

When I was in Canada I used the football fields benches for step-ups. Use what you have around you.

Free classes are offered from time to time around the island. Attend them all.

Start a walking group with your friends and neighbours. Plan routes through the neighbourhood or Railway Trail.

Feelings of self-consciousness

Try an exercise DVD or video game until you are more comfortable. One of my clients has a praise-dancing recording and works up a sweat. Consider investing in your favourite piece of cardio equipment such as a treadmill or elliptical machine.

Celebrate your commitment to health. As you become more comfortable exercising and your fitness improves, your self-confidence will do the same.

Lack of time

Get up earlier, especially if your days are packed with activities.

I want to kick my running up a notch, so I will wake up this week at least one hour earlier. If I sleep in, I will try again the next day until it happens.

Park farther away from your job and walk to burn a few extra calories.

Revamp your weekends from “chill Sunday” to “Sunday family bike ride” or something related to fitness.

Try a HIIT class as they usually last only 25-30 minutes, which will give you time to get back to work.

Laziness prevails

Set realistic expectations. Plan your physical activity at the time of day that you are most likely to feel the most energetic.

I tried track at 8pm after teaching Zumba. That was not my most energetic time of day.

Schedule exercise as an official appointment. Give it your best shot, push hard and make your time count. Fitness is for you, your family and your health. Push your barriers aside and B-Active For Life!

Betty Doyling is a fitness trainer and figure competitor. For more, visit www.facebook.com/B.Active ForLife

Use what's around you: Betty Doyling says you don't need an expensive gym membership to get a great workout - try strength exercises anywhere (File photograph)

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Published August 24, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm)

Breaking down barriers to fitness

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