3 Limiting Factors Holding You Back From Your Fitness Goals

By Coach Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, SCCC, PES, TPI1, RPR1

If you have read any of my articles or posts on here or other sites, or have heard me speak, you know that I am a huge proponent of self-reflection and critical self evaluation.  I like to identify areas where I need to improve, and seek help in those areas.  Through all of my own self searching, I have learned that there are 3 major limiting factors holding you back, and I would like to share that with you.


To begin, you need to take  closer look at what goals you had set for yourself, and if you are actually crushing those goals or not.  Were they fitness goals? Business goals?  Did you hit them and if so, what’s next?


For this post, I am going to specifically address your fitness and performance goals.  Maybe you are one of those people who did not achieve your goals.  If not, what were your limiting factors?  


Limiting factors are simply those things that stand between you and your goals.  They are the main reasons we don’t reach our goals, and, while there may be many, I am going to look at the 3 main areas.  Yes, the mental aspect of all of this is a difference maker as well, and I will address that in a later post.


3 Major Limiting Factors: Categories


According to Dr. John Berardi and Ryan Andrews, of Precision Nutrition, in their book “The Essentials of Sports and Exercise Nutrition,” limiting factors for fitness and performance can be divided into three main categories:


  1. Your genetic makeup
  2. Your physical activity patterns
  3. Your nutritional habits


Limiting Factor #1: Genetics


Although we all do have very real genetic limitations, too often this is used as an excuse.  While many of us are not genetically equipped to compete in the 100m for an Olympic Gold medal, win he Tour de France, win the NBA slam dunk contest, or be the Super Bowl MVP quarterback, we can still ALL improve our fitness and health, and attain realistic goals with commitment to the right plan.


Not everyone has the goals of trying to reach the upper limits of human performance.  Genetics are real, but know that very few people ever come close to realizing their genetic potential for health and fitness.  This means that there is always an opportunity for improvements in body composition, health and performance.  Set goals, get advice make a plan, and commit wholeheartedly to follow the plan.  You have to commit and follow through.  Not just when you feel like it, but what you need to do in the plan.  You will never achieve any goals if you any do the work on days that you feel like it.  Don’t use genetics as an excuse. Find a way.


Limiting Factor #2: Exercise


This one seems pretty simple, yet it is not addressed correctly by many people. Getting fitter, leaner, healthier, or improving performance all require an active lifestyle and an intense exercise regimen.  You can’t be sedentary, or have an inactive lifestyle and expect great results. There is no magic pill.  There needs to be purposeful exercise (specific workout routine) AND an increase in daily activity to get the best results. This means that you cannot exercise 3 days each week, then be a sedentary slug on the other 4 and expect great results.  


Additionally, as will be discussed in this post, proper nutrition is also extremely important for achieving your goals and optimal results. So, get off the couch and get moving—Not just during your workouts, but find ways to be active more throughout each day.  If you sit all day at work, or at school, then go home and sit some more, you are not living an active lifestyle. Get up, and get moving. There is always time for exercise of activity IF you really want to achieve your goals.  If you are an athlete, you need to pay close attention to your purposeful exercise and make sure you are getting rest (talk to your strength coach about this, and how to monitor this). Find a strength coach or a trainer to help you create a plan with your goals in mind, and follow that plan.


Limiting Factor #3: Nutrition


No matter what your fitness or performance goal, nutrition will play a huge role in helping you achieve it.  Knowing what to eat, what not to eat, and when to eat it is crucial for supplying the body with the right nutrients at the right time for energy and health.  Poor nutrition is what holds most people back, while good nutrition is what helps them move forward.  Research has consistently shown that adherence to an exercise routine with an active lifestyle and good nutrition produce great results every time.  Good nutrition can help you get the body you never thought possible, and help you reach your performance goals.


After taking a closer look at these 3 major limiting factors: genetics, exercise, and nutrition—do you think that you are being held back in some way by at least one of them?  Most likely, if you have not been able to hit your fitness, health, or performance goals, the answer is yes.  Take a moment to critically analyze and reflect what has been limiting you and take the steps to push past or through these limits.  Get some help from a qualified professional, make a plan of action, and then take action!  


If you have specific fitness or performance questions, please ask in the comment section.  Don’t let these 3 major limiting factors hold you back from your goals.

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