There are plenty of excuses (some may call them reasons, but I call them excuses) why you can’t get to the gym, can’t make healthier choices, etc. The truth is, they’re all a bunch of crap. If you really, truly want to make a change, you will. All the words you use to explain why you’re justified in not living a healthy lifestyle is just noise to the people that make it happen, day in and day out. So forgive me if the following post seems a bit harsh, but sometimes that’s the only way people will realize that they’re not special, they’re not the exception to the rule and they need put in the work like the rest of us.
1. I’m Far Too Busy
Really? So… you’re just the busiest person on the planet then? Throwing pity parties for yourself about how much you have to do won’t get you anywhere. You may need to take a look at how you’re utilizing your time. Make a journal, and document how much time you spend on different activities during the day. For instance, how many times do you use social media a day? It’s quite possible that if you refrained from updating your facebook status, you could get your work done more quickly, allowing you to leave work sooner and get to the gym before you head home for the day. Maybe it’s not social media that is your time suck. It could be the TV, long lunches, rush hour traffic, the list goes on and on. The point is, take a look at where you could save some time, and figure out a new solution. If you have work commitments, remember that scheduling time to keep yourself healthy is important. If someone thinks it’s selfish, they clearly don’t “get it” and we feel sorry for them. If after assessing your schedule you really, truly do not have time to hit the gym, do the stairs and/or go for a walk during lunch, but do something! Anything is better than nothing.
2. My blank* Hurts
*Insert body part of your choice here. First off, I’m not surprised. You are an adult (or at least you’re old enough to read this blog), so chances are good that at some point in your life thus far, you have sustained some sort of injury. We all have. Rub some dirt on it, and get your butt up off the couch. You’re not the only one. As a GroupX Instructor, many times people assume that I have it easy. I am somehow invincible, I have no injuries and endless amounts of energy. I’m flattered that some view me as a superhero, but sadly, I am not. I am human, just like the rest of the world. I am bruised, broken and I get burnt out. In fact, some would be surprised to know that I actually have 2 herniated discs, an inverted coccyx (tailbone) from a bad fall, I’ve had knee surgery and two ankle surgeries, including a complete reconstruction of my right ankle. They sawed off my heel bone, moved it over 10mm, and put a large screw in it to put it back together. Point being, I’ve had my share of serious injuries, but I managed to recover, and you can too. You just have to want it. No one can do it for you, it’s all you. Also, if you have been sedentary for awhile, chances are good that you are in a lot of pain, not necessarily caused by an isolated incident. The truth is, disuse of your body can actually cause pain. Yikes. Coach potatoes, you’re screwed!
3. I Hate the Gym/I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership
Millions of people hate the gym. They are divided into three categories. Category 1: They go anyways. ‘Nuff said. Category 2: They find somewhere else to work out (outdoors, yoga studio, basement, etc.). Category 3: They do nothing. If you fall into category 3, I want you to remember something — you’re not alone! No one will force you to go to the gym if you don’t want to. Nothing good will come out of that. What you need to do, however, is find another means for staying active, something that you enjoy. There are hundreds of options for exercise. You can do just about everything outdoors: Walk, run, play catch, play frisbee, play with your dog, play with your kids/grandkids, yoga, swimming, the list goes on and on. Try as many things as is takes until you find something that interests you. Try yoga. There are a ton of different kinds of yoga, try them all. There are classes that are mommy and child friendly, where you can bring your child and your stroller and walk with a group of people. Guys… flag football interest you? There are leagues everywhere! Heck google “things to do outside” if you’re out of ideas. Google solves everything!* Keep in mind too, that even if you do hate the gym, giving it a try for a month will be worth your while. You’ll either come out realizing there’s actually quite a few benefits to going to the gym (first day/week jitters will go away, don’t worry) or you’ll come out knowing that you do truly hate the gym, and you will have to resort to option 2, finding a new place to exercise.
*Note: This is not actually true. I’m just being funny.
4. I’m Too Tired
Well, I could take this in quite a few different directions, but I’ll keep it short. What are you eating? Sugar? Caffeine? That will contribute to you being tired. Are you sleeping enough? Maybe not. Many of you reading this have newborns, and are cursing me right now because you’re not sleeping at all. Okay, that might be a legitimate excuse. Still, you will feel better if you get a chance to release some endorphins and relieve some stress. So pump that breast milk ahead of time, arrange for your kids to go with your husband, mother, or a sitter, and go get your sweat on. Even 20 minutes is better than nothing! (Although ideally you should shoot for 60). However, if it’s 20 minutes or zero minutes, I’ll take 20 minutes every time! Those of you without kids… try to get to bed earlier so that you will be better rested for the day ahead of you. It will make a world of difference, I assure you. Try to find out if you’re a morning workout person or an evening workout person. Keep in mind, it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, so give it a full three weeks before you decide which one you are! Try evenings for 3 weeks, then mornings for 3 weeks, and see which you prefer. Also, have a healthy snack before you hit the gym, it will fuel your body properly and you will feel better before, during and after your workout.
5. I’ll Go Tomorrow
“Yesterday you said “tomorrow”" — Nike
6. I Feel Fat
Ummmm… really? Well you’re just going to continue to feel exponentially fatter unless you do something about it, so quit whining and go for a walk! And just a quick fun fact, take a look around at all the “in shape” or “skinny” people around you, and know that a good amount of those people have likely been overweight or struggled with their weight at some point in their lives. Another common misconception, being a GroupX Instructor, is that I couldn’t gain weight if my life depended on it. Wrong-O! I gain weight like the rest of the world, I just know better than to let myself go! I’ve learned from my mistakes and I will never, ever go back! Once you get healthy too, you’ll say the same thing. I guarantee it. You will feel so good, that you will wonder who that person was… that other person… that person you are now… say goodbye to them! And if you’re self-conscious because you know people at the gym, just remember, sitting around thinking about going to the gym burns between zero and zero calories. You have to start somewhere.
7. I Don’t Feel Well
Assuming you don’t have a bacterial infection and/or something contagious or life-threatening, you will feel better after a workout. 99% of the time, after I hit the gym, regardless of my complaint (headache, stomachache, cramps, etc.), I feel like a new person after my workout. Working out, elevating your heart rate and sweating releases endorphins which pretty much make you feel amazing. Your brain actually blocks pain while you workout, so if you have a terrible headache and are looking for some relief, a workout will do you better than any pain medication.
*Note: Please consult your physician before starting a workout program. I am not a Doctor and do not claim to be one.
What I’d like everyone to take away from this post is that regardless of your excuse, you’re not the only one. There is someone out there that is busier, sicker or poorer than you that is able to get to the gym, make healthy choices, etc., so stop the excuses, they are just noise. The moment you stop thinking that you’re the busiest person on the planet, you will have made a step in the right direction. Remember that anything is better than nothing. So make yourself go to the gym, and promise yourself you will give it 5 minutes on the bike/elliptical/treadmill/etc. Chances are good that after 5 minutes, you’ll stay a little bit longer. And if you don’t… remember that 5 minutes is better than zero minutes.
If you do currently go to the gym, but you’re getting tired of your workout routine, I urge you to try something new. Try a Group Exercise (GroupX) class, and try several of them. Each one will vary on the format and the instructor, so find one that you like. Even the same format will be different when taught be a different instructor. If you prefer to workout on your own, try a new routine like Tabata! Regardless, make sure you switch up your workouts every so often as to keep your mind fresh and to keep your body from hitting a plateau. Our bodies are amazing, they will adapt to whatever we do to them. That means we have to constantly push ourselves out of our comfort zones to continue to achieve results.
In closing, remember, if it was easy, everyone would be fit, everyone would be healthy. So it might take a little work and a little commitment, but it will be well worth it.
Peace, love and mental toughness,