[dropcap style=”text” color=”lime-green”]L[/dropcap]ike most people, I’m sure you have your own long list of reasons to blow off exercise despite knowing the benefits of getting it done. As a personal trainer for over 10 years now, I’ve heard every reason out there. And let’s get this straight – although there are a lot of good reasons to skip a workout, I rarely hear a legitimate one. Of course, all people experience stress, illness and obligations that can temporarily keep them out of action. That’s life. However, when this behavior turns chronic, it becomes something altogether different. This where sensible reasoning becomes just another excuse to avoid exercise.
Are you avoiding exercise at all costs? To be your best, you’re going to have to find a way to end the excuses once and for all. Are you ready to let go of the excuses? To help you out, I’ve identified the 6 most common excuses people use and how you can overcome them.
Procrastination is the fear of success. People procrastinate because they are afraid of the success that they know will result if they move ahead now. Because success is heavy, carries a responsibility with it, it is much easier to procrastinate and live on the ‘someday I’ll’ philosophy.” – Denis Waitley
1. “I Don’t Like Exercise”
The truth is, nobody really enjoys exercise. If all the benefits could be obtained from the comfortable sofa in our living room, we’d all be sitting there. Even personal trainers would prefer this option. Exercise really isn’t natural to us – at least not in the context that most people think about. Movement is natural but most of us don’t get enough of it. The lack of movement in our lives can cause serious emotional and physiological consequences if not fulfilled. This is where exercise comes in. When you exercise, you (artificially) fill this gap and satisfy your natural need for movement.
It’s tough for most of us to get moving, but have you ever had a workout, a walk in the park or a swim in the ocean that didn’t leave you feeling great about yourself afterwards? I’m sure you would agree. The important thing is to stick to forms of exercise that you enjoy and can sustain over the course of your life. On the days when you just don’t feel like it, always remember how you’ll feel when it’s over – invigorated, self-confident and truly alive. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to feel like that all the time?
2. “I Don’t Have Time”
This is probably the most common excuse given by people, and who can blame them? Despite all the modern conveniences to save time and create efficiency, we are more overwhelmed and pressed for time than ever. However if you play this game, you will suffer for it. This is simply a race you will never win. Time will eventually take its grip on you and you’ll be left with nothing but the question of “where did it all go wrong?” Then instead of settling in to your retirement, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle against the damage your frantic lifestyle has caused.
Yes, we are all busy but you have to MAKE time for exercise. Even just 2 minutes a day can have an enormous impact on your health. Next time you’re at work, spend a couple minutes stretching instead of checking the status your social news feeds (you have time for that don’t you?). Everyone can probably identify 30 minutes through the day where they are just “killing time”, so why is it that you don’t have time to exercise again? There’s only one reason – it’s not a major priority for you. Unless you want to fall behind in life, burden your family and friends and miss out on seeing the world around you, you’d better assess what you prioritize in this life.
For more on this subject, I wrote a detailed post about it here.
3. “I Hate Gyms”
Although many people have convinced themselves that gyms are crowded with young, musclebound behemoths, spewing testosterone everywhere, this simply isn’t true. At least not today or in most gyms. The gym is actually full of your friends and neighbors and people with the same hangups that you have. Long gone are the days of intimidation on the gym floor. These days there are facilities that cater to different segments of the population (athletic, elderly, female, obese) so the onus is on you to find one that suits your needs.
Who even said you have to exercise in a gym. You can work out in the privacy of your own home. You also have access to greatest natural playground in the known universe right outside your front door. And if you can find a form of exercise that makes you feel like you’re “playing”, then you’re set for life. This is the best form of exercise there is. I believe that the gym is meant for training (specialized, focused exercise) and to accomplish a specific goal. Going for a walk, a hike, a swim or playing a sport all qualify as exercise. There are far too many people wasting space in the gyms today anyway. Find an activity you enjoy and leave the gym open for those of us who want to use it.
4. “I’m Too Tired”
If you are really feeling tired, take stock of your life. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Are your kids draining you? There are many factors that can contribute to chronic fatigue that should be isolated, addressed and if necessary, professionally treated.
It may just simply be a case of timing. This may take some trial and error on your part, but try to plan your workouts when you have the most energy. Are you eating properly to prepare for exercise? You need to fuel those workouts or you’ll surely feel sluggish and unmotivated. You can read more about basic pre-workout nutrition here.
Once you’ve made these changes, you can rest assured that exercise will increase your energy levels, your state of arousal and make the rest of the day more productive.
5. “I’m Afraid Of Getting Hurt”
It’s actually quite rare to get hurt in the gym. If it’s happened to you, I bet you were doing something that wasn’t right for your stage of ability. In most cases, always use controlled movement when dealing with weights. Ease into a program with the least amount of effort and build up slowly as your tolerance improves. Doing too much too soon or blindly following another person’s routine will likely result in injury.
Many people that get hurt in the gym are quick to abandon the gym altogether. I believe this is more of an excuse than actual fear of getting hurt again. But if you truly are afraid of suffering an injury, seek guidance from a trusted, qualified fitness professional and learn to do things safely. I’m sure your experience will be different the second time around.
“He who fears to suffer, suffers from fear” – French Proverb
6. “I Don’t Know What To Do”
With so much information, trends and styles of training out there it’s no wonder that you’re stuck. Do yourself a favor – get some qualified help. A personal trainer doesn’t need to be expensive. Here’s a post that illustrates the various options you have if you want personal training on a budget. In my opinion it’s affordable to almost anyone.
If you’re set on going at it alone, don’t over-complicate things. As they say (I’m not sure who) – Methods are many but, principles are few. Just start with around 5-6 exercises that work all major muscle groups and progress over time. Add more exercises, repetitions weight, reduce rest intervals and just constantly increase the demand as you adapt. The same goes for your aerobic fitness. Start with a walk and build up speed and distance. From there you can incorporate jogging and other challenging activities. It’s really that simple.
The point is that not knowing what to do is an excuse, and one that you need to be resourceful enough to eliminate. I don’t know about you, but when I really want to do something, I learn everything I can about it. If you don’t, hire a trainer, if only to learn the basics for a couple of sessions.
I hope this article helped you realize that your excuses are literally crippling you. No matter what your excuse is, you’ve got to start putting yourself first. Since your health is all you’ve got in this life, it should be nurtured and not dismissed. You can’t be of any help to others if you’re life’s a mess, and what kind of message does that send to the next generation? I think we’re already seeing the evidence of that.
Now my challenge to you is this – do whatever you need to do to get at least 30 minutes of moderately vigorous activity each day. Before long it will become habitual and the excuses will start to melt away, along with a few extra pounds as well!
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