HEALTH and FITNESS: The five lamest excuses to avoid exercise

Last week I was having a discussion with someone about why they don’t exercise.

Now, this was not meant to pick on him in any way. But, the truth is, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a coach if I didn’t call him out on his lame excuses.

The person in question is actually a good personal friend of mine, so I was able to be a bit more blunt than I would normally be. Besides, I wasn’t letting him off the hook because I care about him too much to let him use such excuses. In his case, it is a matter of life and death, or could be in the very near future.

I’d like to say his excuses were atypical, but the reasons he gave where the same ones coaches and trainers hear every day.  As a trainer, we almost become numb to them. Our job is to let people express their feelings and then try to help them overcome whatever it is that is holding them back from proceeding with their weight loss goals. We work with them to start them on the right path, and more importantly, stay on the right path. For some it’s through tough love, others throurgh kindness and understanding, and with some its calling them out on their lame excuse. Today, the approach I’m going to take is the latter.  I’m going to call people out for being lame, and it may be you.

This is not meant to be mean, but these are my five lame excuses of which you just need to let go:

No. 1 — I don’t have the time. This is, hands down, the most common excuse there is, and it’s a load of crap.  We all have the same 168 hours each and every week.  If people who work 100 hours a week can find the time, you can too.   If you can’t find 60 minutes, three times a week to focus on your health, it isn’t that you don’t have the time it’s that you haven’t made it a priority.

If something is important you will make the time for it.   As a small business owner, I work 80-plus hours a week and I manage to get my workouts in. Have kids? I have six of them. Yes, it’s hectic. No. It’s not a reason to miss your workouts.

Solution: Set your alarm clock an hour earlier and get your workout in before the day gets away from you. Or, if you just aren’t a morning person, block out your exercise times each week and make them non-negotiable. The point is YOU have to make the commitment to yourself because there are only 168 hours in a week. You’re not going to find more.

No. 2 — It’s too expensive. There is a wide variety of options when it comes to exercise and one to fit every budget. I get that not everyone can afford to pay for a training membership, but there are plenty of other options out there. There’s cheap $10 gym memberships. No. You won’t get a personal trainer to guide you along, but it gives you access to equipment and a place to workout on your own. Still too much? My friends, it doesn’t cost a single cent to get up and go for a walk. Okay. You may have to get a new pair of sneakers from time to time, but that’s about it.

Solution: Most often, the “I can’t afford it” excuse is a matter of not establishing a priority. But, when once people make their health a priority, they find a way to budget for their membership. Sure, it may mean one less night out for dinner and drinks each month or giving up on your daily $6 frappuccino at the local Coffee House, but in the end you’ll not only be happier and healthier you’ll end up spending a lot less money cause when you let your health slip it isn’t cheap to fix it… and as we mentioned it doesn’t cost a dime to lace up your sneaks and get out for a walk.

No. 3 — I don’t have the energy. Unless you have a serious metabolic issue (and trust me 99.99 percent of you don’t) to say you don’t have the energy to workout is just an out and out lie you’re telling yourself. I’ve worked with thousands of clients and many of them have used the I don’t have the energy excuse. But a funny thing happens when they start working out. They find that not only DO they have the energy they have MORE energy than they did before… MUCH MORE.  The human body isn’t designed to sit on the coach or in an office chair for hours at a time. And when we do those things we just cause it to feel lethargic and slow, it becomes a never ending circle and the way to break it and have more energy is to get up and do something

Solution: Get up and move. Go for the aforementioned walk, hit the gym do some calestenics, it doesn’t matter just do SOMETHING. Not only will you feel better but because exercise releases endorphins you’ll be happier in addition to healthier.

No. 4 — The time isnt’ right. I’ll start next week/month/year. Short answer is… NO YOU WON’T! Think about it for a second. How many times have you said I’ll start the diet next Monday only to suddenly “forget”? Or as soon as New Years is over I’ll start going to the gym and you dutifully sign up online for a membership and never set foot in the place. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to start exercising, eating right or whatever let me tell you friends that time will NEVER come. The perfect time to get started is right now… not tomorrow, not tonight even… but right now. Make the commitment to change and then take a step in that direction. And no it doesn’t have to be a big step even a one percent improvement is still improvement. It could be something as simple as taking our your phone and making some appointments with yourself to exercise. Or it could be to promise yourself you’ll stop eating when you feel full instead of “finishing your plate for those starving people in China.”

Solution: As mentioned start right now by taking a step, however small in the right direction. Losing weight, or trying to improve your health comes down to one thing consistency. One missed workout, one bad meal isn’t going to kill your nor does it mean you’re a failure, but waiting another week, month, year isn’t going to get you anywhere either.

No. 5 — I have to get in shape before I starting training. Personal Trainers and Coaches hear this one all the time. What people are usually saying is this: I know you’re going to hold me accountable and I’m afraid I won’t be able to make the commitment.  Now there is no problem with having a fear of making a commitment to a trainer or more precisely to yourself. Let’s be honest any quality trainer is not going to be cheap. But the “excuse” is in saying that I have to get in shape before working with a trainer. Look folks, as a trainer for some 30 years I can assure you, you don’t need to get in shape before working with me. Quite the opposite. In fact, I’d much rather work with someone who ISN’T in shape because then I can help them to not only exercise but learn how to do so safely and effectively.  And while you may think I’ll judge you for being out of shape that’s untrue also. I’ve been there and I know how it feels. I’m here to help you not judge you. Yes I’m going to push you and hold you accountable that’s a big part of what you are paying me for. But you won’t see results without at least some level of discomfort. Strength comes from struggle.

Solution: The truth is the biggest reason someone hires a trainer is because they can’t hold themselves accountable. If that’s you find a quality trainer who you can have a good rapport with. A quality trainer can work with you as your partner and help you design a training program to fit your needs and your lifestyle. Don’t let ego get in the way of your results. The struggle is real and perfectly normal. Oh and I practice what I preach. Not only do I have a trainer for exercise, I also have a business coach.

The bottom line is folks you have a choice. You can choose to make excuses as to why you can’t focus on your health or you can choose to do something about it. As mentioned, even a one percent improvement is still improvement.

Those that are the most successful aren’t the ones who work hardest or have “natural talent” no success comes to those who keep moving forward one step at a time no matter how small the step. Hard work and dedication pay off.  Excuses and procrastination don’t. It really is that simple.

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