Sarah: “This is the piece I’ve been missing my whole life – that’s why exercise never worked for me!”
This working mom and Master’s student burned herself out with difficult exercise programs. And then she discovered my 5-min workout program Exercise Bliss, stopped needing aggressive 30-day challenges for motivation and now actually exercises because she wants to!
At a glance
The Problem: She would burn herself out following 30-day fitness challenges.
“I did a lot of yo-yo exercising where I would work really hard at it and then burn out and not want to do anything.”
The Solution: Starting out small – and celebrating the small victories!
“Starting ridiculously small helped me overcome that dread of exercise and other mental obstacles.”
Her Result: She’s now exercising because she loves her body, not because she hates her body.
“I exercise because it actually feels good, I look forward to it.”+
Sarah would go from one aggressive program to another, get disappointed with the results, then quit, then start the cycle all over again.
Sarah is a busy wife, grad student, and mother to a 1-year-old. During Exercise Bliss, my 8-week online exercise habits course, she worked full time while finishing her master’s degree in mental health counseling. Despite her demanding schedule, Sarah wanted to set physical fitness as a priority.
“It’s been a rough journey for me. Obviously I’m a busy person, but I really care about my physical fitness. I always have.”
1. She would pay big bucks for fitness programs hoping that paying more would motivate her.
Like many people, Sarah tried many different ways to get into exercise. From going to classes, going to the gym, online programs, DVDs, and Apps, Sarah was having trouble actually finding a program that she would like to stick to.
“I always wanted to find some big program that was really expensive because I thought making that investment would make me stick to it. I needed to amp myself up to feel high motivation. I thought that would carry me through it.”
When those programs didn’t work, she became more skeptical.
“I really worried about the money because I have spent a LOT (hundreds, if not thousands) in my search for the ‘holy grail’ of fitness.”
2. She would burn out or get hurt trying one 30-day challenge after another.
Sarah explains that she did a lot of yo-yo exercising: she’d try out a new fitness program, she would exercise for a while, she would not get happy with the results, then quit.
“I was always looking for some new 30 day or 90 day program where you’d exercise everyday for like 30 mins to an hour, and I thought I could just force myself through those intense really programs and come out transformed on the other side.”
She would try a program for 30 days, not see the results, and then get discouraged or hurt – and quit.
“I’ve tried a lot of programs that just got you in shape quick, but it didn’t really feel good. I’d end up hurting myself, or burning out on it, or it wasn’t sustainable. I was really hard on myself, it was about getting that result that I wanted and not doing what felt right or good for my body.”
3. She really thought she needed aggressive 30-challenges to see results – and got discouraged when she didn’t get in good enough shape.
She aspired to be shredded and ripped – just like the fit, muscled people that she saw on fitness magazine covers. Sarah knows it obviously takes a lot of time and effort to get those results, but when she didn’t get them she got really discouraged. Becoming a mom made that expectation even harder.
“Especially after having a baby, my results came very slowly so that was really discouraging.”
Instead of loving herself for exercises she did, she looked down on herself when she wasn’t “getting ripped.”
4. Since she was disappointed with the lack results, she punished herself with more exercise.
The pattern of Sarah trying so many different exercise programs – unsuccessfully – continued to create a negative attitude towards exercise.
“Every time I thought about trying to exercise, I had this sense of dread because that cycle had been so toxic to my life. So, I was feeling pretty desperate a couple months ago.”
This toxic cycle led her to punish herself with exercise. When she couldn’t stick to any routine, she mentally beat herself up.
“I was so tired of myself starting and giving up. I want to be fit I like exercise in theory. I thought I must hate exercise if I can’t stick to it. Even though I don’t think that is true about me, I had decided that about myself. I just hate doing this, that’s why I can’t stick to it.”
5. Sarah was afraid to invest in yet another program.
She was actually doing a Google search for “exercise for people who hate exercise” when she found EB.
“I felt like I had tried every option, I had tried everything. It was worth it to me. I thought really hard about it. I was very embarrassed to tell my husband, ‘I’m going to pay for another exercise program,’ because he’s seen me crash and burn on so many!”
How a 5-min workout program beat all the aggressive 30-day and 90-day challenges Sarah had tried before.
1. Exercise is a positive thing in her life – no more dread!
Sarah finally broke the toxic cycle from the negative associations she developed with exercise.
“As I have trusted the simple habit-building process, I have discovered that moving my body feels amazing and comes with natural ease when I don’t have all the messages of self-hatred that have motivated my fitness plans in the past. It also inspired other healthy habits like walking over my lunch break. I WANT to move now because it feels good!”
2. Her motivation went from “getting ripped” to exercising because it feels good.
Now, exercise is something that Sarah looks forward to every day because of how it makes her feel. This really helped motivate her so much more than setting expectations for herself that she wasn’t meeting.
“I exercise because it actually feels good, I look forward to it. Because if I’m not doing too much and not stressing myself out over it, and I’m not hurting my body. and I’m doing what feels good and what actually builds my strength gradually over time. It feels really good and I look forward to it. So even though everybody wants those results at some level, that’s not why I do it anymore. That’s not why I’m exercising.”
3. Sarah no longer exercises because she hates her body; instead she exercises because she cares for it.
She finally got rid of the self-hatred and self-punishment around exercise, and couldn’t be happier!
“I know it’s healthy for me, I know exercise is really good for me. To see it as a positive thing as a thing that I do to take care of my body rather than a thing to punish my body for being out of shape – that mindset shift was huge for me.”
4. Sarah formed an exercise habit so strong, that even a major life change with work and internships did not make her fall off the exercise wagon!
In the middle of her 8-week program with EB, Sarah made the decision to leave her full time desk job so she could focus on the internships she needed in order to complete her master’s degree. Since she anchored her exercise habit on her work schedule – during her lunch break – she wondered if she would be able to stick to the program.
“There’s a time where I would have gone through this big life transition of work and career and just fallen apart and been like ‘I don’t have time for exercise, it’s stressing me out because it takes so much thought and energy to figure it out.'”
Luckily, the habit she created during her lunch breaks at work carried through – despite her newer, more demanding work, travel and study schedules. She took what she learned from EB, and found new anchors to continue prioritizing her exercise routine daily because she genuinely doesn’t want to miss out on her workouts!
“I haven’t lost my momentum or my desire to do exercise. It’s something that just feels like a natural part of my day that I look forward to now. Even though it’s been hard finding the new time of day that feels like a no brainer, it’s something I’d feel really weird about if I missed. I’ve kept it going even though it’s not this perfectly consistent habit in terms of time of day anymore, I’m still exercising and still wanting to because it feels good and it’s become part of my routine.”
How she succeeded
4 reasons this 5-min workout program gave Sarah better results than the aggressive fitnesschallenges.
Exercise Bliss was unlike any other program Sarah had tried before – and that’s why it worked.
1. It was “done for her” and all she needed was to follow a “simple” 5-min workout program.
At first, Sarah was pretty skeptical that something so simple, easy, and gentle could help her succeed at working out.
“I wasn’t completely convinced it would work because I always relied on the high of ‘this program is going to get me shredded.'”
Of course, when she signed up for EB, she knew the program wasn’t going to do that for her. Once she realized how simple it was, she started trusting the idea of simplicity.
“Trust the process of making exercise a habit. It seems really scary at first and you might not believe something so simple could work. Just trust that process of starting slow and never stopping.”
The simplicity of EB meant that Sarah didn’t need to put forth the guesswork into putting the perfect workout together. Of course, with her busy schedule, who would want to do that? With EB, it was all laid out for her, which made it easy to stick to.
“I really liked the weekly videos because it made it so easy, I didn’t have to think about what I’m going to do today, it was just right there. I just had to open the page and hit the play button. When we started out with 2 or 3 videos, I would just cycle them, start at 1 and go to the other and back and forth. Eventually I did get up to 5 videos and that was fun because I’d just go right through them.”
2. The 5-min workout system was designed to encourage, rather than discourage, habit-wiring.
As a person with a psychology/counseling background, Sarah was very interested in the habit perspective of EB. Aggressive 30-day programs actually interfere with the habit loop effectively telling your brain NOT to wire the habit of exercise.
And unless exercise becomes a habit then you’ll be doomed to sooner or later give up.
“I felt like EB got to the core problem I had. I just hadn’t developed the habit, and I hadn’t made it a positive habit. It was hard because I’d spent so much money on so many programs I didn’t want this to be another thing I tried and failed at.”
Sarah got to understand exactly why her previous approach didn’t work – and why it could never work.
3. Exercise Bliss changed Sarah’s mindset: She celebrated the small victories – rather than berating herself for lack of perfection.
The new mental mindset Sarah found with EB helped her celebrate her accomplishments and love herself again. She feels good about her efforts, no matter how big or small, which in turn made her feel better about herself.
“The whole mindset thing of being able to celebrate my little victories instead of always telling myself whatever I do isn’t good enough. A lot of things, I can see the positive things now I am doing. Even though it might not be my ultimate goal or I wish I could do, I can feel really good about it. Even my mini habit of doing 2 reps a day or 10 reps a day, that was hard to celebrate at first. But, being able to give myself credit for the things I have done instead of criticizing myself for the things I hadn’t done was a huge attitude shift for me.”
4. Ultimately EB helped Sarah see exercise as something you do because you love yourself, not something you do because you’re not good enough and “need fixing.”
Sarah had a very toxic relationship with exercise, and mentally beat herself up over quitting so many programs. Once she changed her mindset and motivation, she developed a very strong and positive relationship with it.
“Trust your body to enjoy it and to teach you that this feels really good when you’re not making it so hard on yourself, and so negative, and a self-hatred thing almost because you’re not good enough, or strong enough or thin enough.”
If you’re tired of pursuing one aggressive program after another, and instead want to develop a daily exercise routine that you love, that does your body good, and that allows you to get results without making you feel bad about yourself, then check out Exercise Bliss.