Ep #99: 4 Sneaky Reasons You Aren’t Exercising Consistently

Strong as a Working Mom with Carrie Holland | 4 Sneaky Reasons You Aren’t Exercising Consistently
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How many times have you told yourself you’re going to get on a consistent exercise regimen, only to crash and burn? How often do you declare, “I just need to do it,” and then actually do it?

Most of you want to exercise, and you know what you need to do. You want to move your body in ways that light you up, chase your kids, go on vacations, and just feel good. The kicker here is that while you know what it takes to do those things, you’re just not doing them, and there’s good reason for that. 

Join me this week to learn four sneaky reasons you’re struggling to exercise consistently, why the solution isn’t a new program, hack, or quick fix, and what it really is. I’m showing you why you can’t logic your way to a consistent workout regimen, the subtle but real obstacles that might be standing in your way, and a new way to think about exercise. 


Are you ready to eat, move, and think in a way that gets you strong both physically and mentally? You deserve to have both no matter how busy you are, and I can help. I’m opening up my one-on-one coaching program for new clients, and I would love to work with you. Click here to learn more about working with me.


What You Will Discover:

  • Why, although you know what it takes to exercise consistently, you aren’t doing it.
  • 4 sneaky reasons you aren’t exercising consistently.
  • What happens when you use exercise as a form of pleasure, rather than punishment.
  • How exercise doesn’t have the impact on your weight you think it does.
  • What to do if you feel like you’re taking time away from your family by exercising.
  • The problem with using health as the driving factor for your exercise routine.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

You are listening to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast, Episode #99. If you struggle with consistent exercise, see if any of these sneaky reasons are getting in your way.

Welcome to the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. If you’re balancing career, family, wellness, and some days sanity, you are in the right place. This is where high-achieving, busy working moms get the tools they need to eat, move, and think. I’m your host, physician, personal trainer, and certified life coach, Carrie Holland. Let’s do this.

Hey, how are you? What’s new, what’s good? So, what’s good here, we are going to bust through some of the sneaky reasons that you may not be exercising as consistently as you want. These are barriers that have come up time and again in coaching calls. And I’ve noticed that ultimately, these reasons are keeping you from being consistent with exercise.

So, we’re going to talk through them today. We’re going to bust up some of the most common and most sneaky reasons that are getting in the way of you establishing a regular exercise habit. I call them “sneaky” because they’re not super obvious. They’re subtle, but they are real, and they’re stopping you from hitting your goals.

Here’s where this comes from. Many of you have told me that you want to exercise, but you’re just not doing it. Or you’ve told me that you can get started and exercise for two, maybe three weeks, maybe even a month, but then it fades out. And then you get frustrated, but you’re still not moving or exercising. And then months go by, and then you start the process all over again.

That process of stopping and starting over and over again, just like cyclical weight loss, or yo-yo dieting, that can be mentally and physically exhausting, and also totally defeating. So, we’re diving in and picking apart some of the reasons behind this. Then, most importantly, I’m going to offer you some different ways to see exercise.

So, my job as a coach is to help you see things differently. To help you see things in a way you may not have considered before. That’s how I’m going to do today. I’m going to give you solutions, but I’m also going to give you ideas that will help you change your perspective on exercise. Because honestly, that’s what it’s about.

Think about it, how many times have you said, in the context of exercise, “I just need to do it?” How many times would you guesstimate that you’ve said that to yourself or to someone else? If you’re anything like the women I coach, that has probably come up for you a number of times. You think to yourself, “I just need to do it.”

But if it were that easy, if it were as easy as saying, “I just need to do it,” and then you do it, you would already be exercising, and this conversation would not be necessary. If it were as simple as declaring, “I just need to do it,” and then boom, exercise done, none of this would be necessary and this podcast wouldn’t be necessary.

But humans don’t work that way. Because logic is great, but logic has nothing at all on our emotions. More on that in a few minutes. But my point here is that most of you know what you want or need to do. Many of you want to exercise. Many of you want to be able to move your body and feel good, and chase your kids and go on vacations, and go hiking and feel good in your body.

And you know what it takes in order to do those things, but you’re not doing them. Many of my clients, many of you listening, are physicians or are in healthcare, so you are already well versed in the benefits of exercise. This is not news here. But you’re not getting it done, and there are some key reasons for that. We’re going to talk through them.

So, as you’re listening today, see if any, or all, of these reasons apply to you. And then, most importantly, keep listening and keep an open mind as we talk through what to do about it. I love getting to the ‘why’ of things and we’re going to do that. But I want to be sure to take it a step further and offer you solutions about what to do.

I’m going to offer you tools and concepts and ways to think about exercise that will hopefully not only shift your perspective, but also compel you and motivate you to get your exercise done consistently. Okay?

And just super quick, before I get to that, before I get into the meat and potatoes of the show today, this is episode number 99. Ninety-nine! I am super pumped that next week will be the 100th episode of this podcast. I’m inviting you to please join in for that one, because I’ve got some changes coming.

I will share it all on the show next week, but I’m putting in just one more plug, since it’s episode 99. Please, join me next week for the 100th episode. I’m excited about where this show is going, and I’m pumped to share more about the changes I’ve made next week. Alright? Cool.

So, let’s get to it. Let’s talk through some of the sneaky reasons that you’re not being consistent with exercise. And let’s talk about what to do about it.

The first sneaky thing I have seen come up time and again is that you use exercise as punishment. You use exercise as a way to punish yourself for the food you’ve eaten. Or you use it to punish yourself for the body you currently have. And that is setting you up for serious resentment, and it’s setting you up for a short-term relationship with exercise.

Okay, so think about it. I’ve said this many, many times before, and I’ll say it again here because it’s such an important message. But you cannot beat yourself up into better. Okay? It really doesn’t work that way. Remember what BJ Fogg said at the beginning of his fabulous book, Tiny Habits, “You change best when you feel good.” Remember that. It is so, so, so important. You change best when you feel good.

So, if you impose exercise on yourself as punishment, I promise you that is not going to feel good. In fact, it’s going to feel awful, and you will come to resent and turn away from exercise in a heartbeat. I have so many client examples of this.

I had a client who was a runner, but fell away from it, and then she was trying to get back into it. At the same time, she was also trying to lose weight. She had decided that running, rather than changing her diet, that was going to be the way to do it. So, on most every call, she would update me and tell me how many miles she was up to. But it was never enough for her.

And then, she decided in her head that if she could only get up to six miles, if she could just muster her way to six miles, then everything would turn around. Even though it meant getting up super-duper early. Even though she wasn’t really loving it, she decided that she had to get to six miles. I clearly remember her saying that once she got there, once she got to six, she could eat whatever she wanted.

Because that’s how it was for her when she was in college. That’s how it was for her when she was in her 20s. And now, she is in her late 40s and peri-menopausal. So, as you might imagine, this woman struggled. She was not enjoying her runs. She was having a hard time following the plan that she laid out for herself. And ultimately, she was super inconsistent with it.

And it makes total sense. When we really dug in here, we found that she was using running as a way to punish herself for being out of shape and for having gained weight into adulthood. Every time we met, she would tell me about the scale, and in the same breath remind herself and me that she just needed to get to higher mileage and things would be okay. But she wasn’t enjoying it at all.

Ultimately, she stopped meeting her goals. She would plan to run but then not follow through. She would snooze her alarm and skip her early morning runs. She was beyond frustrated with herself, with the scale, with her fitness, with all of it. And it was in large part because she was using running as a punishment. She was using it as a weapon against herself. So, it made total sense that she backed down and was inconsistent.

She was trying to strong-arm herself into exercise as a form of punishment for the food she ate, for the weight she had gained, and she was punishing herself for her body and her choices with exercise.

I had another client who had a problem with processed foods. She loved packaged snack foods, like chips and cookies, and especially M&M’S. She decided that she needed to restart 75 Hard to compensate for it.

For those of you who are not familiar with it, 75 Hard is billed as a transformative mental toughness program, rather than a diet or exercise plan. However, if you go to the website, there are loads of before and after pictures of various people who have done it and lost weight. So, take that for what it’s worth.

But the tenets of the program are five things: Follow a diet of your choosing with no alcohol. Take a progress picture daily. Drink a gallon of water. Read 10 pages of a book; and this does not include audiobooks. And do two 45-minute workouts daily, one of which must be outdoors. If you miss a day, the clock resets and you start over.

So, I would say this is a pretty intense program. My client had started and stopped this program so many times we both lost count. But it was so interesting that she kept coming back to it every time the scale started to creep up. And it was those two 45-minute workouts that were the hardest for her to keep up with.

And it’s not surprising, she was a super busy physician, wife, and mom. So, 90 minutes, over two workouts, every day, one of which is outside, that is no joke. Then add to that the reset if you miss a day, and you’ve got a setup for disaster.

So, with a lot of talking through this and coaching, my client was able to see that she was using 75 Hard as punishment for her weight and for her state of fitness. And the more we dove into this, the more she was able to see that using exercise as a punishment made her move away from it.

The way this client treated herself was so harsh, and the negative self-talk about her body and her weight was so negative, and then she was using exercise as a means of punishing herself with a super intense, strict workout program. So, it was no surprise at all that this did not work for her. Again, you cannot beat yourself up and do better. Okay?

So, what do you do about this? What do you do if you see exercise as punishment? Or if you consciously or subconsciously punish yourself with exercise?

A few things here. What I will say from the outset is that based on my experience, most of the people I’ve worked with who punished themselves through exercise still operate under the assertion that exercise equates with weight loss. That exercise will be your ticket to losing weight. I’ve had this conversation so many times.

In fact, I had it again last week when one of my clients was trying to decide if she needed to add a fifth day of strength training to her already a pretty full exercise plan, because she wasn’t seeing results in the form of weight loss. Mind you, this client was trying to decide on exercising a fifth day, when in the previous few weeks she was not exercising at all. So interesting.

She wasn’t following through on the plan she had decided for herself, which was four days a week of strength training. But instead of making her plan more attainable, she wanted to increase the number of days of strength training.

Maybe you’ve done something similar. Maybe you can relate to this. But the idea here is not to punish yourself for not doing exercise by trying to talk yourself into doing more exercise. That is just not going to work. I have yet to see this approach work for a single person I’ve worked with. And many, many women have tried to do this.

The larger point here is, once again, in case you have not heard it from me enough, please do not use exercise to lose weight. I have given you so many reasons that this does not work, both scientific reasons and psychological reasons. Exercise just does not have the impact on your weight that you think it does. And worse, it makes your relationship with exercise very transactional, which is not the point. Okay?

So, the sooner you can uncouple weight loss from exercise, the less you will see exercise as a punishment. Exercise is not punishment for the food you ate yesterday. You’re not working off the second piece of cake you had yesterday by going an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill today. Exercise is not punishment when the waistband of your pants feels a little too snug. That is not what this is about.

Instead, I want to offer this to you. What if you decided to exercise to be kind to yourself instead of as punishment to yourself? So, really stop and think about that for a minute. I’m not saying this to be all rainbows and candy, and I don’t want you to glaze over as I talk through this.

Seriously, stop for a minute and think about what it would feel like to walk into your workout excited to move your body because you want to treat your body well, and you want to treat your body kindly. This is instead of walking into your workout thinking you need to kill yourself in order to make up for the extra five pounds that you gained over vacation. Or for the second cupcake that you had at the birthday party this weekend.

You will feel so much better if you reframe exercise as something you do to be kind to yourself, instead of something you do to punish yourself. If you use exercise to make up for your weight, or your food choices or your size, you will see exercise as a means to an end. You’ll see it as punishment. But also, as the thing you do to make up for something. Whether that’s your pant size, the vacation, or the food you ate this weekend.

No, exercise is not a punishment to absolve you of the things that you’ve done or the food that you’ve eaten. Absolutely not. Okay? Instead, what if you decided that exercise was something nice you do for your body, because it feels good?

So then what? What happens if you decide that instead of punishment, exercise is fun? Or if “fun” is a stretch, what if you decided that exercise is just something nice that you do for yourself? I’ll tell you what happens, because I’ve had the opportunity to see clients through this very transformation.

When you see exercise as something that you do for pleasure, instead of something you inflict upon yourself as punishment, your world opens up. You will start to look forward to your workouts. You will feel excited to get started. You will feel at peace before, during and after, instead of approaching exercise with total resistance and dread. The difference is huge. This is a true, legit reframe here.

And it starts by thinking and believing that exercise is something nice that you do for yourself. It is not punishment for your body, for your nutrition, or for any choices that you’ve made. This is huge. This is so important. Okay?

Alright, next. Another sneaky reason that you may not be exercising is that you see it as a chore. So, this is when the “have tos” and the “shoulds” start creeping in. This is a little different from seeing exercise as punishment, and I wanted to address each of these barriers on their own.

It makes total sense that if you see exercise as something that you have to do, that you would feel less inclined to do it. Most of us don’t like being told what to do. Most of us don’t like feeling obligated to do something that we don’t really feel excited about. So, if you view exercise as one more thing on your to-do list, but you’re not really excited or even want to do it, then yeah, you’re probably going to be inclined to say, “No, thank you,” and skip it all together.

Your view of exercise as a chore may come from any number of different experiences or situations you’ve encountered. So, maybe you used to be an athlete of some sort, or you used to have a solid exercise routine, or you used to be a runner, and then work and life and kids and loads of other life things happened and you fell away from it.

But now, you’ve decided that you want to bring exercise back, and you just decided that it has to be running. And even though it was something that it was exciting before, it is not exciting to you now, and you’ve created this pressure on yourself that it has to be running or else it doesn’t count.

And then, you’ve created serious resistance within yourself. And when it’s time to lace up your shoes and head out for a run, it feels like a serious uphill battle because you feel like this is what you should be doing. But your heart isn’t in it.

Or you’ve created so much pressure to perform, because you know what you were capable of in the past, but you’re not back at that level of fitness yet, and it seems totally daunting to go outside for a jog.

Or maybe you see exercise as a chore because of what you’ve been exposed to. Between your friends, your peer groups, social media, the news, between all of that, you may be getting a message that exercise is just another box to check in order to be well rounded. That you’re not succeeding unless you get your exercise in.

This comes up all the time for my clients. They’ll tell me that they want to exercise, but they see it as one more thing to do, one more thing to squeeze into the day. And then, it feels like a chore. And then when they’re not checking that box, they feel like they’re feeling on yet another front.

You can think about it this way. How does it feel when you say to yourself, “I really should exercise today. I have to exercise today?” How’s that feel? I’m asking this because I’ve asked this of my clients many, many times. And I will tell you that generally, thinking of it that way, prefacing exercise with “should” or “have to” does not go well.

It often results in you feeling an external pressure to perform. It’s like an outside rule that’s being put upon you to get it done, and that does not feel good at all. So, what can you do instead? If you see exercise as a chore, first, take the time to find an exercise that works for you. That means you find something that you enjoy doing. Or at the very least, find movement that you can tolerate.

To go back to what I mentioned earlier, if you are a runner, for example, and you got away from it, you do not have to come back to it if you don’t want to. There is no obligation that you must be a runner again. I would instead encourage you to find something that you want to do, that you might even look forward to doing, and do that.

Do not hold yourself to the standard of what you did in your high school or college or young adult, pre-kid glory days. I see this all the time. You remind yourself of what you used to do, or what kind of athlete you used to be, and then you use it against yourself.

So, I’m encouraging you to meet yourself where you’re at right now. If you have not moved your body in, who knows how long, and if running seems like a major chore to you, how about you give yourself a break, treat yourself kindly, and go for a 10-minute walk instead? That seems like a much more reasonable start than trying to go for a three-mile jog out of the box.

The takeaway here, if you’re trying to be consistent with your exercise, is do not make it an uphill battle. Okay? This is not a chore. There is no “should”. There is no “have to”. You are choosing this, so find movement that you’d like to do, or that you could at the very least tolerate, and do that.

Remove the expectation that it has to be a certain duration, a certain distance, a certain number of calories burned. Remove all those expectations. And instead, decide that you’re going to exercise because you choose to, because you want to, and not because you feel you have to, or because you should do it because it’s the right thing to do. Okay?

Next. Let’s talk about this one for a minute because this is a big one. For some of you, you want to exercise but you don’t follow through because you feel that you’re taking away from your family by doing it. So many of you have told me that you want to fit in exercise, but you’re already super busy and short on time.

So many of you may work full time, you’ve got long days, and then to add exercise to the next would be that much harder because it would take you away from your family that much more. And you feel that you’re taking away from your family by making time to exercise. This can be true whether you’re choosing to exercise in the morning, right after work, or in the evening.

You may be concerned about asking to shake up your family routine in order to make time for you to get your workout in. Or you feel tremendous guilt that you’re already gone for so much of the day that to ask for more time to get your workout in feels selfish. Or asking your partner to handle the morning routine feels like asking too much.

All of this adds up to feeling guilty for taking time away from your family to exercise. So, I hear this, and many other shades of this, all the time. This is a doozy, and it comes up so very often.

So, what do you do? What do you do if you feel like you’re taking time or energy away from your family by wanting to exercise? A couple of things. This one is important, but it’s a hard one for many of you to wrap around. So, go with me for a second and consider this.

What if, just what if you carving out time to exercise was one of the nicest things you could do for both yourself and your family? Seriously, think about that for a minute. What if exercise, in whatever form you choose, was one of the nicest things you could do for you and your family? Because it is. I don’t need to get into all the science here, because if you’ve been around here at all, you know that exercise is really great for you from a health perspective. We know that already.

By exercising, you’ll be getting healthy and adding to your longevity. So, your family will benefit from you being around longer and being healthier while you’re here. But there is way more beyond that. I say this all the time, and my family knows it, but I am a nicer person after I exercise. It’s true. And I bring this up, because I know I’m not the only one out there who feels this way.

Many of my clients have told me that they feel better after they make time to exercise. They are also nicer after the exercise. And maybe this is the case for you, too. Because exercise feels good. Most people feel better after they do it. So, not only will your family benefit from you being healthier, but they will most definitely benefit from you being happier after you exercise, too.

That is not taking anything away from your family. Okay? In fact, that is adding serious value to your family. So, this is so important to understand. I freely admit it now, but in my own life, I put my own wellness as my top priority. At first, I was reluctant to share that. But now, I share widely. Because I realize, only after therapy and coaching and doing the work and shifting my priorities, that my wellness really is essential.

And when I say “wellness”, what I mean is that I eat, move, and think in a way that results in me feeling strong, both mentally and physically. And that’s just it. When you are so bold as to take care of yourself, through exercise, good nutrition and taking care of your mind, when you are so bold as to make that a priority, you are not taking anything away from your family.

Okay, really let that sink in. You are not taking a thing away from your family by taking care of yourself. Instead, you are giving them your best version, really. Think about that. When you take care of yourself physically and mentally, what happens? You get strong as hell. And you’re not just strong for yourself, you’re strong for all the other people in your life.

You can take care of the crisis at work and not walk away feeling totally depleted. You can handle the last minute change to your kid’s sports practice schedule. You can be present when your partner needs to vent after a horrible day at work. When you’ve taken care of yourself, when you’ve filled yourself up by taking care of your mind and body, you have something to give.

This is in contrast to putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own, feeling exhausted and empty and resentful because you haven’t had a minute to yourself. So, you can give more when you’ve given to yourself.

At the risk of sounding like a Hallmark card, I’m going to ask you to stop thinking of exercise as taking something away from your family. Instead, consider it as one of the best gifts you can give to your family. Because that version of you that feels optimized and feels strong and feels whole, I’m going to argue that is the version of you that your family wants to experience. I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that is the version of you that you want to experience, too.

One last sneaky reason that might be keeping you from exercising when you really want to is your desire to get healthy. Yes, I know. This may sound a little counterintuitive to you, and I saved it for last because I want to unpack this one.

Often, when I get started with a client, and I ask her to get really clear on her “why”, I’ll ask her to get super focused on why she’s choosing to exercise. And often, one of the first things she’ll tell me is that she wants to get healthy. That may be true for you, too. It may be that you want to exercise to get healthy, and not deal with chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to get healthy. Clearly, I am a physician. I’m all about you getting healthy. However, there are a few problems with using health as the driving factor for your exercise. First, health is a bit of a vague, long-term goal for most people. When I think of health, I don’t think of something that you arrive at today, or a month from now. Instead, I think of health as operating in the background. Something that you are never really done pursuing.

So, you can see health as a personal value. And I think of your values as something that you are always moving towards, but you can’t really check the box. There is no day that arrives, where you suddenly declare, “Hey, I’m healthy now,” and you just stop what you’re doing. It’s because of that, that it can be really easy to let exercise go when you’re doing it under the guise of ‘I just want to get healthy.’

Getting healthy is a long-term goal, and it’s the delayed gratification that you get from exercise. But knowing what we know about our human brain, that delayed gratification is not going to be enough for most of us to get out of bed at 5am to go for a run. It can certainly help, but for most people, that is just not going to be enough. You could easily put it off and tell yourself, “I have tomorrow to get healthy. Today, I’m going to sleep for another hour.”

So, delayed gratification is often just not enough to get us moving. Especially at the outset of a new habit, because even though the logical part of your brain tells you, “Hey, you really should get up and get this workout done, because it will add up to make you healthier,” the feeling part of your brain is the one that drives the bus.

And that feeling part of your brain will say, “Why would I choose to get up out of my warm, cozy bed at the crack of dawn and get uncomfortable running, when I could just stay here?” Logic is great, but most often, it does not win out over your emotion.

Our primitive brain is all about feeling good right now. It does not care about five years from now. So, that typically results in us choosing whatever makes us most comfortable in the here and now. Which means you skip your workout.

So, what do you do? To be clear, I’m certainly not going to tell you to not exercise for health, okay? That’s not where I’m going. That’s missing the point. Instead, I’m going to offer that you find a short-term goal. Or something that will give you instant gratification from exercise that will contrast with a long-term outcome of health.

Find something to compel you today to get your workout done. I’m going to argue that health is probably not going to be that thing for most people. Is it the pride of getting it done before the sun rises? Is it the pursuit of improvement and getting just a little faster? Or adding just a little more weight to the barbell?

Or riding just a little longer on the bike because you feel stronger? Is it to feel strong and accomplished? Is it to work on your muscles and grow a shoulder cap and super fit arms, and look a certain way? What is it?

All we’re doing is looking at what you get from your workout in the short term. What is the immediate gratification here? Because yes, if you stick with your exercise routine and you keep it up, you will most definitely get healthier. We know that. But that takes time, like, a lot of time, because there is no day at which you suddenly arrive at health.

So, I want you to have something that you can look forward to and benefit from right now. Whether that’s getting faster, getting stronger, or seeing progress, following through on your word, pride, whatever it is. All we’re doing is satisfying your brain’s desire for instant gratification. Instant gratification is especially important when you’re trying to establish the habit of exercise. Okay?

Remember what we’re doing here. We’re creating a habit that is new and different. And your brain does not like new and different. Your brain likes the familiar and the comfortable. So, the more you can give your brain easy, quick wins and instant gratification while you’re establishing the habit of exercise, the more your brain will stay on board with it.

And over time, exercise will become habit and it will be easier to be consistent with it. You’ll still get the benefit of health. We’re not forgetting that, we’re just finding a different motivation that speaks to your brain’s natural desire for instant gratification.

Now that we’ve gone over four different sneaky reasons that you may not be getting in exercise, even though you want to, let’s look back on it. We’ve talked about reframing exercise from punishment to something you do to be kind to yourself, independent of weight loss.

We’ve talked about changing your perspective of exercise as a chore, as something you should do, or something you have to do, to something that you choose to do by finding something that you enjoy and doing it regularly.

We’ve talked about reframing exercise by giving something to your family instead of taking away from it.

And last, we’ve talked about finding the short-term benefits and instant gratification of exercise, instead of using it solely for the purpose of health, which is more of a long-term gratification.

So, now that we’ve talked through this, do you notice anything about these solutions? Do you see what they all have in common? Every one of the concepts that we’ve talked about today, it goes back to your mind, goes back to your brain. It goes back to how you’re thinking about exercise, because it always goes back to your thoughts.

And that’s by design. That’s on purpose. Here’s what I want you to walk away with today. You do not need a new exercise program or a hack or a quick fix. You’ve probably tried that already, and it got you through 75 days, or 30 days, or whatever challenge you did.

But don’t you see? If those things actually worked, you’d still be going. You’d still be exercising. So, instead of looking for another new program, or another challenge or another hack, I’m asking you to turn inward and look at your brain. We’re looking inside for the solutions to your problem.

That means we have to look at how you’re thinking about exercise. Because honestly, that’s where it’s at. That’s where the money’s at. It’s not about finding the next Hardcore on the Floor program, or signing up for another road race, or starting 75 Hard for the fifth time. No, those are all external solutions for an internal problem.

I know I say that often, but that’s only because I see it so often. That’s true for your nutrition, your exercise, your habits, all of it. This goes far beyond just establishing exercise. When you seek an external solution for an internal problem, the solution is temporary, at best. Finding another exercise challenge, or joining another gym and paying money for a membership that you’re not using, that’s not it.

Can you see that? If you keep trying one thing after another after another but nothing sticks, I’m going to argue that it’s not the program. It’s not the gym. It’s how you’re thinking about exercise. Okay? Really, it’s your brain. We have to get the inside right first. We have to come to exercise from a clean place if we really want it to stick.

Exercise will not work for you if you see it as punishment. Or if you see it as one more thing crowding your to-do list. Or if you see it as being selfish and taking away from your family. Exercise generally does not work under the guise of long-term gratification of getting healthy, because your primitive brain does not give a hoot about delayed gratification.

Think about how many times you’ve beaten yourself up trying to get on an exercise regimen, only to crash and burn. How many times has that happened for you? There’s a reason for that. There’s a reason it doesn’t work. And that reason is how you’re thinking about yourself and how you’re thinking about exercise.

Everything that we’ve talked through today comes back to the inside. Did you notice that? I didn’t tell you, “Hey, do this four-day body part weightlifting split for 10 weeks, and you’re all set.” I did not say, “Couch to 5k all the way.” I didn’t say, “Hire a personal trainer and have her annihilate you during your training sessions.” Because that is not the answer. You’ve probably tried many of those things already and have seen for yourself that they don’t work.

Instead, I’m asking you to do something that is probably even more challenging. I’m asking you to turn inward. I’m asking you to go inside and observe how you think about exercise. And then, if you find the way that you view exercise is keeping you from getting it done, I’ve offered you solutions to see exercise differently.

So, think about what sneaky reasons have crept into your brain to result in you being inconsistent with your workouts. How can you challenge the beliefs that are keeping you from getting your exercise done? And I know this is not super easy to do. You may have long-held beliefs about exercise that are keeping you stuck.

I would simply argue that if you’re not being consistent, but if you want to exercise, it is absolutely worth the work of pulling apart whatever it is keeping you stuck. And when you do this, and when you’re willing to see exercise as something more than a means to an end. Or when you stop seeing it as something that you inflict upon yourself, your world will open up.

Maybe you’ll see that exercise makes you a nicer person, too. Maybe you’ll see that you’re able to give so much more to work, to your kids, to yourself, when you make the commitment of exercise. It really is the best thing ever. Alright?

And if you want help with this, let’s go. If you are tired of stopping and starting exercise, and you want to make exercise your lifestyle, let’s talk. This is what we do in coaching. We’ll work through whatever is keeping you stuck and find a way to make exercise your lifestyle. Check out my website, send me a message at www.CarrieHollandMDd.com/contact, and let’s get to work.

Thank you for hanging out with me, and I’ll catch you again next week.

If you like what you’ve been hearing, please review the show. I would love to get your feedback and ideas. Your suggestions have inspired episodes and will help me make the show better for you. Share this podcast with a friend, text a show link, share a screenshot, or post a link to the show on your social media.

Be sure to tag me @CarrieHollandMD on either Instagram or Facebook so I can follow along and engage with you. This is how we get the word out to other working moms who want to feel strong inside and out. If you know someone who wants to feel better or eat and move differently, but she is too tired or too busy, it is time to change things up.

You know making that change starts with how you think, and that is what we do here on the Strong as a Working Mom podcast. I’ll see you next week.

Thanks for listening to Strong as a Working Mom. If you want more information on how to eat, move, and think, so you can live in the body you want, with the mind to match, visit me at CarrieHollandMD.com.

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