Making Exercise work for you in 2021


Today, we’re talking making exercise work for you in 2021

We’re going to cover:

– Why do I fail at my exercise goals?

– What’s the best kind of exercise for me?

– How often should I exercise?

– How hard should I exercise?


As we put 2020 to bed and start in on 2021, we need to ask ourselves a few questions.

Did you have a great year and reach all your exercise goals? Or are you like most of us and lost steam, seeing your goals fall by the wayside?

Did you exercise as much as you hoped for, or did you only see the gym as you drove past it on the way to the pub?

For me, it’s the latter.

Every year I tell myself, “this is MY year” and inevitably, at years end, I’m right back to where I started; unhappy with the state of my health and wishing I had tried harder and stuck with it longer.

My resolution every year is to clean up my diet and train daily. I start off on fire, but around February the excuses creep back slowly, and before you know it, it’s dirty food and lazy training.


Why do we fail at sticking to our exercise goals?

The short answer: we set ourselves up for failure.

We try to do too much too fast!

For me, when I get an idea in my head or establish a goal, I’m 1000% invested and it’s full steam ahead. 

Take my daily training for example; day 1 after setting that goal, I absolutely smashed an hour of training. The harder I train, the most effective right?


The human body hates dramatic, rapid change and when you introduce something alien, it shocks your system so bad you can’t help but obsess over the change and become hyper-aware of it!

When I add in daily training at high physical demand, the next session is all I can think about. 

So much so that I was literally having dreams about how hard it would be.

Crazy right?

That’s my subconscious letting me know that it’s having a mini freak out. 

Do that for long enough, and eventually, you’ll give in.

When we talk to new clients about our small group or our personal training options, we invariably talk about how more isn’t better, better is better.


The Fix: Be sympathetic to yourself. Accept that you’ll have bad as well as good days and that consistency is going to get you across the line. Baby steps are the key!


What’s the best kind of exercise for me?

The best form of exercise is the kind you can be consistent with.

Many of us have experimented with fitness regimes that we have not been able to maintain for any period of time.

Don’t give up!

Any “failure” to follow through is really just information about what does and doesn’t work for you.

Here are some ways to evaluate failed attempts at fitness, and try something different that may work better for you or new things to consider:


1) If you have FAILED at working out alone or on your own, CONSIDER trying group classes of some sort

2) If you have FAILED when you don’t have accountability, CONSIDER recruiting a workout buddy who is motivated to get healthy or work with a Personal Trainer

3) If you have FAILED at working out in the morning, CONSIDER trying evening workouts, and vice versa.

If you’re beat by the time it gets to the evening, and you can’t face the masses all at the gym at the same time, consider giving training in the morning a shot

(Pro tip: the vast majority of successful people train in the am!)

4) If you dread exercise, it makes it a lot harder to go. Find something that makes you feel excited. To do this, you have to be willing to try new things.

5) Work on your mindset. Waiting to feel motivated means you will be sitting around for a long time.

Practice pushing yourself to workout when the true desire is not there. SUCCESS creates motivation. There is no way around this.

6) Be afraid and do it anyway. The only way out is through.

Is there a gym or a class or a type of exercise that you have been curious about but too afraid to try?

I challenge you to go find them on Facebook or their website right now, message or email them, and ask to set up a time to go check it out or give it a try…..

Get an appointment on the books and make it happen!

Stop thinking about doing it and just do it.

Take the first step!


How Often Should I Exercise?

Regardless of your goals, you don’t need to start out exercising hard out every day!

Your body, depending how long it was since you were last consistent with exercise, will take a while to get used to what you’re asking it to do.

We recommend 2-4 days per week of coached exercise per week, to begin with.

This allows your body to recover and rebuild from the stress you put it under, without unnecessarily exposing it to injury.

While you’re doing so, resist the temptation to compare yourself to others.

Seeing a friend hitting 6 sessions of high-intensity interval training each week and all the short term success that brings will make you envious of their results. 

Short term success invariably becomes exactly that.

Patience and consistency are going to be what gets you to 2021 in great shape, not the burnout and fade away mentality.


How hard should I work out?

The age-old statement, no pain no gain is as redundant as Betamax or the Wallabies Bledisloe Cup hopes.

The vast majority of the people we see don’t need to smash themselves silly every time they work out.

The only problem is they don’t know that.

For far too long, the credibility of a work out has been measured by how long it takes you to recover from it.

This is antiquated thinking.

If your workouts are making it difficult to get out of bed the next day or leaving you with little or no energy to play with the kids, you’re going too hard.

For the average recreational exerciser, who has to balance the stresses of life/work/family/relationships/sleep and food, the last thing you need is to introduce more stress through exercise.

Exercise can be a wonderful tool for alleviating stress, but not all exercise is equal.


Stress is Stress, no matter how we create it

When we experience stress in life, we produce cortisol, the stress hormone.

Cortisol is in charge of regulating changes in the body that happen in response to anxiety and tension, and it plays a role in managing our bodies fight-or-flight response.

When your hormonal levels are balanced, you feel calm and collected, alert, and in stasis.

When they’re out of balance, you might experience fatigue, insomnia, irregular periods, increased appetite, problems with blood sugar regulation, weight gain and increased inflammation.

Unfortunately, HIIT doesn’t help, because the introduction of more cortisol reinforces the need for a big amygdala (the brain can’t differentiate between physical and mental stress very well.)


I speak from personal experience here. As a small business owner, I was strung out, getting sick, and performance was going backwards.

A doctors visit showed huge cortisol levels.

I needed more aerobic work AND to rewrite my brain.

Now I’m calmer, way more focused and less stressed.

I realize that it’s now more important for me to be those things than great at the clean and jerk now, so that’s why I train differently than I did a year ago.

To help you get 2021 moving forward as the year of the fittest, healthiest you, hit this link and schedule a time to have a chat with me.

We’ll create a plan that you can stick to for the year, not just the next few months.

Here’s to making exercise work for you in 2021.



Paul and the Ignite team





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