We all encounter them from time to time. Excuses as to why we need to skip our workout. Sometimes we know we are just making up excuses, and other times we really believe ourselves. Here are some tips on how to navigate the exercise excuse obstacle course, and come out a winner.
1) “I don’t have enough time to exercise.”
This is probably the most common excuse. I totally get it – it’s hard to carve time out. BUT a 15 minute workout takes up 1% of your day. A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day. Don’t think about the time you don’t have to workout, think about the time you don’t have to be unfit, sick and unhappy. When you see exercise strictly for the purpose of getting “skinny” and looking “hot”, it’s easy to make the busy excuse. However when you shift your thinking and view exercise as something critically needed to help you stay healthy, happy, and youthful…well, suddenly exercise goes up in your priorities and it’s harder to make the busy excuse. And you don’t need a lot of time to get fit. You only need 15 minutes every day. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and get up and just do it. Pretty soon you will crave more and you will make more room for it in your life. Our health, or lack thereof, is going to affect every aspect of our life from our happiness to our life-span to our checkbook. It deserves our attention. Make the time.
2) “I can’t workout because I have kids to look after.”
This is a tough one. I am very familiar with the wrench that kids can throw into your best laid workout plans. However, it’s important to recognize that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others (put your own oxygen mask on first or you may not be able to put theirs on). Also, it’s important to model healthy habits for our children. So, if you are really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two! What better way to model good fitness habits than to include your children in your workout! Kick a soccer ball around on the field with your kids, toss a football, play frisbee, play Wii Dance Party, etc.. If your kids are very young, shove them into a front or back carrier and go speed walk some hills. I did this with my first-born (who NEVER slept) and probably carried him on my back WAY too long. Now, those are special memories. It got a little more difficult when my second came along, so I would strap her into the carrier and put him in the stroller so I could get a workout in. Yes, often he would whine and complain but you do what you can. I did home workouts using the kids as weight and also did solo workouts on the rare occasion when the kids were napping (I birth terrible nappers). DON’T use nap-time to clean the house – just leave those dishes in the sink and the piles of laundry. It drove me crazy but I had to prioritize. Something has to give and it can’t be your physical or mental health. You deserve it and so does your family. Our kids should be our biggest reason to exercise, not our biggest excuse not to.
3) “I can’t get motivated to workout.”
For most of us, motivating ourselves to exercise is an ongoing project. There are a couple “tricks” to help get us motivated to climb aboard the workout train and both are backed by research.
A 2014 study found that exercise frequency is most strongly related to (1) appreciation of your body, (2) a focus on how it feels, and (3) satisfaction with what it can do. So, shift your focus toward appreciating what your body does for you and how good it feels to be healthy and fit.
Another way to help motivate yourself to workout is to use the “Just a Few Minutes” principle. Often times people put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems overwhelming or unpleasant. Decide and commit to workout for 5 minutes and 9 times out of 10 you will see the workout through to completion. And if you don’t? Well, 5 minutes of movement is better than no movement!
4) “I’m too tired to workout.”
Don’t give in to this! If you miss one workout, you are more likely to miss the next one and then it snowballs. The good news is that it snowballs the other direction too! Often I feel too tired to workout but I do it anyways and I’m always glad I did and ALWAYS feel much better afterwards. Eventually it becomes habit and then a lifestyle. Try implementing the “Just a Few Minutes” principle referenced above. If you are consistently too tired to workout, change your sleep habits, not your workout habits.
5) “Exercise is boring!”
Yes, sometimes exercise can be boring. So can taking a plane ride to Hawaii, but like exercise, it’s so worth it in the end! If you are bored by your workout, change your workout. Find a type of physical activity that you enjoy. Personally, I find cardio on equipment excruciatingly boring, so I find other ways to get my cardio in. I love HIIT and Tabata and I especially love how you can get maximum results in less time. Try a bunch of different activities and find what YOU love.
6) “I don’t have money for a gym membership or for any home gym equipment.”
You DO NOT need a gym, or even gym equipment, to achieve your fitness goals. You can get seriously bad-ass fit using just your body. Just look at all those ripped guys and girls doing insane calisthenics at the park! The world is your fitness playground! Go for a hike, run or a bike ride. Or put yourself through your own workout at home using just your bodyweight. If you prefer to follow along with a trainer, there are a million free (and awesome) YouTube fitness videos you can do. Yours truly has over 100 free effective, efficient and fun videos! So workout with me! Or find another trainer you like. Just move!
7) “I don’t feel very well.”
I used to take even the slightest stomach ache or headache as an excuse to skip my workout. I’d rationalize that it was being “smart” about my health but now that I workout even when I’m not feeling 100%, I realize that I was just making excuses. Once you start overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout will make you crazy and you will look for ways to fit activity in! When I injured my shoulder I was told that I had to abstain from pushups, overhead press, pull-ups, and the like. This stressed me out and I found ways to get around it. However, you do need to listen to your body and if you really are not well, do not train. But having a bit of a headache or feeling a little congested is no reason to skip your workout.
8) “I’ve tried to get fit before and I failed.”
Fall down 7 times, stand up 8! Use your past failures to your advantage, putting that experience and knowledge to work for you. Try setting goals that are small, specific and realistic. Embrace the fact that fitness and good health are lifelong pursuits, not finite destinations. Fitness takes dedication, hard work and sacrifice. Remind yourself that the benefits and rewards of being fit and healthy are worth it! Enjoy the challenge of improving your fitness. Make it a game – set small goals, smash them and then immediately go about setting some new goals. Pretty soon, you will have accomplished what you never thought you could!
Come find me on YouTube, Facebook or Instagram and tell me how you motivate yourself and how you kick your excuses to the curb.
Train. Nourish. Transform.