Reasons People Quit Their Workouts


So why do people quit? The rewards for sticking with your workout routine are immense: you look good, you feel good, your health improves, your energy levels will go up, you’ll live longer and be happier. With such an amazing list of benefits, why would anybody ever stop? Especially when most people who start are always so fired up? They want to do the hardest workout, to adopt the most extreme diet plan, and they want to do it now. So why do they stop? Why does almost everybody quit, so that when you check back in a couple of months later they’re back on the couch, griping? What are the reasons people quit?

1) Some people don’t like it

Exercising is hard. It requires real effort, and it’s the kind of effort most novices aren’t used to exerting. While these people can do twelve hours of work at the desk, 45 minutes of exercise is brutal, it’s uncomfortable, it feels bad, and they hate the soreness the next day. The idea of lifting weights or doing cardio is depressing, and they dread having to get into their workout clothes in order to sweat and gasp feel awful. It’s simply not fun, they don’t feel good, and like spinach on your plate when you’re a kid, they end up avoiding it whenever an excuse presents it. Not only that, they feel tired all the time, and after 3 weeks, they give it all up as a bad idea.

2) They have unrealistic expectations

The more fired up people are when they start, the more likely they are to get disappointed when they don’t get extreme results right away. Ideally you should approach working out as a new lifestyle, a habit you’re including into your day to day activities. However, most people approach working out as a means to a short-term goal, losing 30lbs, or revealing their six-pack, or something that they see as tangible. Thus their new habits are never seen as a long term endeavor, and are doomed to fail in the long run as a result. Especially when those extreme results don’t manifest in the first 3 weeks, and the effort begins to wear them out, and so they quit, thinking it’s not worth it. Unrealistic expectations give rise to impatience, despair, and quitting. Realize that these home workouts are structured for 3 months for a reason–that’s how long it usually takes to realize serious results.

3) They’re not able to do the workouts

Workouts are usually tough. Some are for beginners, others are for hardcore athletes, and being able to pick the right one will determine whether you succeed and feel great or flounder and give up in despair. This is especially true of intense workouts like the Insanity Workout, where it’s not enough to be determined but you need to have healthy joints so as to be able to take the pounding. This leads directly into reason #1, where your workouts are just miserable. Thus you need to be honest and realistic and pick the workout that’s right for you–one that will challenge you, but not burn you out.

4) You get worse results as your progress through the workout

What could be more frustrating? Every week you’re doing less, feeling more tired, burned out, till finally you quit. This happens for a simple reason: you’re not getting enough sleep, and you’re not eating right. The result is that you’re not healing up, you’re not replenishing your energy levels, you’re tired and worn out and you do worse and worse each time. This again leads to reason #1, and before you know it, you’ve decided you’re too busy to work out because you’re tired all the time. Surprisingly hard to remedy, getting the right food and enough sleep is a huge cause of quitting for many people.

So there you go. Four common reasons people quit. If you’re falling into one of the groups above, re-assess, dig deep, and keep going!


  1. I just finished my 3rd week of the Insanity workout. I can totally relate to #2 on your list. Thanks for your article. I have to look at my goals more realistically and realize that this is not just a 60 day thing but a new lifesyle.

  2. Lisa R. says:

    I started the Insanity workout about 5-6 weeks ago, hit a snag (in the form of a back ache, and had to get lower lumbar surgery). I am itching to get back to the workout, only if my PT says I can, once I am fully recovered. I only did Insanity for 2 weeks, and I actually saw marked improvement with my body and my stamina. I SO HOPE THAT MY PT SAYS I CAN DO INSANITY AGAIN. I have much more motiviation now that I NEED to loose weight so I can not have any more back problems (or at least make them as easy as I can). My husband and I started it together, and he fell off the band wagon to take care of me. He just started up again. Again, he saw marked improvement in the first 2 weeks. WE LOVE TO HATE SHAWN T, but the program works!!! Here’s to hoping I can return and earn that T shirt!!! Thanks SHAWN T and INSANITY!!!

  3. Karen C. says:

    I have started Shaun T. three times…. I am bound and determined to keep going even if life gets in the way! I have also ordered Turbo Fire and love it almost as much as Shaun T. I get bored very easy…. being type “A”…. so it’s more fun to look forward to the workouts if I can mix it up a bit! This is the first time I have EVER stuck to a routine at my house and not felt like I needed to go to the gym to get the results i’m looking for. Thanks for coming up with such a program! I think Shaun T. wants me to hate him but I refuse to! BRING IT…… <3

  4. Angelique says:

    I just started the Insanity Workout today….and like every other box set workout Ive tried in the past…its too high impact. Im a curvy woman…36JJ and the amount of running and jumping….means two things too much bouncing and too much frustration to think the investment is worth it.

    I can do the stretching, the squats, push-ups, etc…but since no sports gear company makes sports bras in My size (i.e. the size where sports bras are imperative) the amount of jumping/bouncing does nothing more than cause neck and back strain…and on My uncoordinated eyes.

    is someone going to make a wokout program for those of us that arent B cups!?!?!?!?

  5. Only in my second week, I could give up but I take a look when I am in the mirror look that guy in the eye and for the first time I cannot see where I am going physically.
    It is scary for a guy who has struggled his whole life who has settled for less than a healthy physical form. I used to see a body ideal that for me was not attainable – you know that NFL linebacker build..
    Now my view has changed since washing out of p90x two times.. I learned that my core was weak and worked at 90 days worth of Hip Hop ABS with the hand weights to fix my core strength..
    I now see through a haze a guy who I almost do not recognize and it makes me smile.
    And when I am working through the workouts and getting gassed out less and less I smile and get my butt up and check my heartrate.
    Like they say this workout is not for everyone – some will say it is too tough some will say I don’t really want to be too muscular.. i say bullshit… It is scary stuff when you are pushing hard everyday.
    You lose sight of your physical reality and your self image starts to disappear and that freaks people out.

    No body can make you get up out of that pool of sweat and find the strength to go on.. no one can make you do those extra stretches to loosen up later in the day. But just look at the faces of those people in the videos really close .. they are suffering just as much as you are and if that doesn’t force you to realize this is something else and is not to be taken lightly I don’t know what will.

    This workout has forced me to let go of my self image and just keep going without any perceived limits.. I must say I do have a high pain threshold (thanks Mom) and that you do require some lunacy to get this done but I think I am crazy enough to complete this.

    Thanks Shawn and Tony because once I complete this 60 day cycle I am going to go finish P90x with my new core and cardio.
    Sorry if this sounds like a rant butI will be posting back at the end of week 6. Max? Max scares me ..

Speak Your Mind