Attitude is Everything


“I swear, I’m going to start tomorrow.” “I’m going to take the dog on a 2-mile walk every day.” “I can’t start this week! I should wait ‘til Monday…”


How many times have you said this to yourself, or something like it, when it comes to starting an exercise program? We’ve all done it—and as trainers, we’ve heard it all! Sometimes they’re just excuses and sometimes there are legitimate obstacles that are getting in your way.


Fitness can be a mental game, and sometimes we need to change our attitude about it first.


All or Nothing


I am totally guilty of this! Full transparency—if I miss a day of workouts, I feel like I should start over rather than get back at it the next day. Fitness is not all or nothing. Even professional athletes miss workouts occasionally. But unlike some of us, they get right back to it.


So, what can you do? First, let’s realize that something is better than nothing at all.


If your goal is to workout four times per week, and you only get three sessions in, your body has benefitted. Also, if you haven’t been exercising regularly, why on Earth do you think you’ll suddenly do so every day or every other day? It’s just not realistic. Forgive yourself if you miss a day or two and get back at it as soon as possible.


Life is Not Out to Get You


You’re going to get sick. The kids are going to get sick. You may have to work overtime. Events happen occasionally. Life happens! There are going to be times you miss workouts—and they are real reasons, not excuses.


What you need to learn is to distinguish between an excuse and a reason.


I don’t want to tell you what is and isn’t legitimate. For me, my dogs laying on my mat is not a reason to stop a workout. Or Raven (my dog) dropping her toys on my stomach and staring at me while I’m working my abs. But these times I’ve been sick this year are a reason to take it easy. You know if you’re making an excuse or not.


You Don’t Need to Lose Weight to Exercise


I’ve only met one client in all my years of training whose doctor told him he couldn’t exercise anymore. He was an older gentleman and had a very long list of conditions. He stayed as active as he could, but no regimented exercise. Walking was about it. However, I have had MANY clients that couldn’t do certain things: light weight only, no high impact, limited range of motion on certain exercises, etc. I personally must avoid a lot of overhead movements due to neck issues. I also am careful of how my knee is positioned during lower body exercise because of a previous knee surgery and tendinitis that flares up sometimes.


If your doctor has told you not to exercise for some reason, listen. If not, find something that you can try. You will feel better as it gets easier.


Stop Being Mean to Yourself!


I am consciously working on this one and have gotten better. I’ve said things to myself that I would never think or say about another human being! I’m not sure why I think it’s okay to bully and berate myself, but a lot of us do it.


Negative self-talk does nothing to help you. It only serves to make you feel worse.


As soon as these thoughts creep in, stop! It takes time but will become a habit with a little work. End the self-bullying!


So, What Now??


Here are some tips I’ve used myself and for clients in the past. Hopefully, you’ll find them useful as well, and will start a regular exercise program that benefits you physically and mentally.


  • Set realistic goals. You won’t drop 20 pounds in 2 weeks, or even a month.
  • Start with small goals, and gradually move to more challenging ones. Start with exercising 2 times per week and then add a day at a time until you are at your goal.
  • Make a schedule. Your kids have a school schedule, and even extracurricular schedule. Make one for yourself. Even if your work schedule can fluctuate week to week, or day to day, chances are that you know it in advance. Plan a day or week at a time to start.
  • Don’t move those workouts unless it’s necessary! You know when it is or not.
  • Look up positive quotes or motivations to say to yourself. Stop the negative self-talk.
  • Forgive yourself. You are human. Consistency is key to reaching your goals, so if you fall back a step, take two forward as soon as you can.
This is all to say that being fit and healthy all starts with your attitude. You may not always be able to achieve the goals that you want in the time that you want, but you must remember that progress is made with each step forward. So, stay positive!



Bethany Kochan started her fitness career at a local women’s fitness center at 19 years of age. This part-time job lead to a career that over 20 years later, she still loves. Bethany earned her B.S. in Exercise Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale at the same time becoming certified as a group exercise instructor. After college, she pursued NSCA-CPT and CSCS, group cycling, mat Pilates and YogaFit certifications. In 2009, she and her husband made a big move across the country to pursue his dream job in the field of strength and conditioning. At this point, Bethany began writing and training online to be both with her husband and the fitness industry. Today, the Kochans split their time between AZ and CA, pursuing their passions and enjoying life together with their two rescue Weimaraners.