Overcoming Fitness Inertia

By Terri Walsh

Its That Time Of Year Again

I’ve been doing this for a long time. The urge to revamp our fitness programs comes every January. I’ve worked with people who have had trouble starting or restarting, just like you might be right now, and I know that getting fit can be challenging. It’s an incremental process that takes a lot of patience and motivation—and not every step will be easy or fun. If you’re willing to take those steps and keep at it, the payoff is enormous: You’ll feel better physically and emotionally! You’ll be stronger and more resilient! So let’s talk about some tips for overcoming fitness inertia and keeping yourself on track once you start.

Having trouble getting started with a fitness program? Here are some tips.

You’re in a rut, and you know it. You want to get active and get into shape, but inertia keeps holding you back. It’s easy to throw up your hands, give up on the idea of fitness and resign yourself to the fact that exercise isn’t for you.

That would be a shame because getting fit has benefits beyond making us feel good about ourselves: it can help lower our risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Being physically active reduces our chances of developing depression, lowers blood pressure, it even helps us live longer. We should all be doing this!

So how do we overcome this inertia? First off: if there’s something specific holding you back from following through on your fitness plan (for example, maybe you don’t have enough time or money), then figure out how to make those obstacles work in your favor instead of letting them rout you (for example by joining a gym that offers discounts). But if there’s nothing concrete standing between where you are now and where you want to be—that is, if it’s just plain old not getting out of bed early enough keeping those workout clothes stuffed at the bottom of your laundry basket—then here are some tips:

Find your motivation.

Motivation is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the reason you’ll stick with your fitness program.

It can come from many sources, but to overcome fitness inertia and make your program stick, you need to find an external (or internal) motivation to motivate you through the ups and downs of a program.

Line up the support structure you’ll need to succeed.

Find a buddy. Working out with a friend or family member is great for accountability, motivation, and making time go by faster. Plus, you can help each other when one of you needs it most.

Get a trainer. A personal trainer (like me!) can give you individualized workout programs tailored to your specific goals and abilities. I’ll also provide support and encouragement while holding you accountable for sticking to your goals—which studies have shown is one of the most effective ways to get in shape!

Join a gym or fitness studio. Gyms are easy to access equipment like treadmills or ellipticals without having space at home for them yourself.

Get an online fitness program (like mine!), so we always have access to guidance and instruction no matter where life takes us.

Prepare for setbacks, and don’t give up when they happen.

Having setbacks is normal, but don’t let them stop you. You can overcome fitness inertia by focusing on your goal, keeping a positive attitude, and staying engaged to your intent.

If you’re having trouble sticking with your fitness plan, try these tips:

✅Think about how the payoff will feel.

✅Remind yourself why you started this journey and what it means to you.

✅Don’t give up—keep at it!

Think of small goals, not big ones; this is an incremental process.

You can’t be expected to change everything about your life overnight. That will only lead to disappointment and frustration and possibly even relapse. Instead, set small goals that are realistic for you—and then go for it!

Smaller goals are easier to achieve because they don’t require you to make drastic changes in your life. They also build confidence and momentum, which makes it easier for you to keep going further down the path toward fitness success. Small goals help keep you on track with your fitness plan by giving you something concrete to focus on in the short term so that bigger picture things aren’t overwhelming at first glance (or second or third). Lastly, small goals help keep motivation high because they give us something tangible, like losing five pounds instead of “I want my body back after being pregnant six years ago!”

Find ways to measure your progress.

If you want to take your fitness goals to the next level, you must find ways of measuring your progress. When working out, focus on what can be measured—like weight or body fat percentage—instead of just how you feel.

For example:

Regarding strength training, keep track of how many total reps are possible in each set and try increasing them over time (for example, if you started at 10, then increased by one rep every week).

For cardio work, measure how quickly you can run a mile or how many heartbeats per minute (bpm) your maximum heart rate is during exercise.

You might also consider creating a point system based on achievements like running 1 mile five times per week or getting down below 20 percent body fat for men and 25 percent for women. This will allow for quantifiable results and measurable progress toward specific goals.

Reward yourself for succeeding at these small steps, but be sure the rewards aren’t undermining your efforts.

Rewarding yourself for succeeding at these small steps is important, but be sure the rewards aren’t undermining your efforts. For example, don’t reward yourself with food—you’ll undo all the hard work you’ve put in so far. Instead, treat yourself to a massage or take a relaxing bath. You can also permit yourself to indulge every once in a while; this doesn’t mean you need to celebrate every time you complete an exercise session. Just make sure that your frequent “rewards” aren’t reinforcing bad habits (like eating unhealthy foods) or sabotaging your progress in other ways (like drinking alcohol).

Be patient, and don’t compare yourself to others.

If you’re at a higher fitness level and looking for motivation, remember that it can take months or years to reach your goals—even if they seem easy for others.

If you’re at a lower fitness level than others, don’t be discouraged by their progress; instead, focus on improving yourself and being kind to yourself along the way.

You can get fit and stay there with a good plan and some patience.

It would be best if you had a plan. You can’t just jump into the gym without knowing what you’re going to do, how often you’ll do it, and when you’ll see results. And there’s no point in trying to get fit if you aren’t patient with your progress—it’s usually gradual, not instant.

You’ll have to put in time and effort before seeing any results. But once those results come (and they will), it will be all the more rewarding because of how much effort went into getting there!

And finally: don’t compare yourself with others. The person next to you might be skinny or muscular or whatever; that doesn’t mean that he/she is better than or worse than anyone else at being fit and healthy—just different from us! So try not to worry about what other people are doing; focus on your own goals instead!


If you feel stuck in a fitness rut, it’s time to take action. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to get yourself motivated and back on track. Start by evaluating your daily schedule, setting realistic goals, and finding ways to make the time.

If all else fails, turn to an expert for help! A personal trainer like myself can provide guidance and encouragement and offer expert planning and instruction on reaching your goals. Ultimately, motivation comes from within, so get the fire in your belly, work towards your goals, and enjoy the journey!

Who is Terri Walsh?

Terri Walsh is the creator of the Active Resistance Training® Method, and a celebrity Trainer and 35 year veteran of the fitness industry in NYC. She now teaches online and Livestream fitness classes exclusively since her move to Costa Rica in 2014.

Terri was the first Creative Director of Programming at Crunch Fitness and she also headlined five different shows on Crunch Fitness’ ESPN2 including “Washboard Abs” videos. She created the “Yoga Block Workouts” which were featured in Self, Women’s Health, Shape, Crunch Gyms, and many more. Terri is an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Nutrition Specialist. She’s been interviewed, quoted, and featured in numerous beauty, fashion, print, and television media over the length of her continuing career.

See HERE for media where Terri Walsh is featured

Terri believes EVERYBody is a work of A.R.T. and that Movement Cures Everything.

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