Humans are a funny bunch. We are the first ones to assign an internal reason to our successes: “I worked really hard and that’s why I got an A on that test.” But when we fail, we tend to look outward: “I got an F on that test because the teacher told us to study the wrong section of the book and there was too much noise in the room.”
An excuse is a natural way that we externalize our failures. We’ll place the blame on anything but ourselves when we don’t succeed. Why do we do this? So we can justify what we did (or didn’t do) and move on with our day without feeling guilty. But deep down, everyone wishes they could succeed at every task. What if we could eliminate all of the external excuses for all things we fail to do?
Let’s start with exercise. By eliminating these excuses, we put the onus on ourselves to become more active, and by doing that, we’ll be more likely to take responsibility and get moving. Here, five excuses you’ll never be able to use again.
“I don’t have time to work out.”
This is probably the most common excuse I hear as a personal trainer. My answer is to write down everything you do all day and log the exact time. What you’ll find (if you’re actually honest with yourself) is that there will be a lot of notes like this: “6:32am-6:52am – looked at my Facebook newsfeed on my phone, then I saw a funny Buzzfeed article called 26 Pets That Look Like Their Owners that I just had to read.” Maybe moments like this only last 10 minutes here or 10 minutes there, but they add up. Instead of looking at your phone for 20 minutes, you could’ve gotten out of bed to do a 20 minute workout.
“I’m too tired when I get home.”
We’ve all been there. Sometimes, the work day is just exhausting and the last thing you feel like doing is exerting yourself. Exercise has a funny effect on people though: It can actually give you MORE energy. Once the blood starts flowing, I guarantee you’ll feel more energetic than you did when you walked in the door coming home from work. Try putting your sneakers and gym clothes right by the door so you can change immediately. Do NOT sit down on the couch. Once you sit down, it’s all over.
“I travel too much for work.”
No one ever said you had to work out in the same zip code in order to see great results. Many hotels have fully equipped gyms, pools, and more for the active traveler. If there is no gym in the hotel you’re staying at, put a pack of exercise bands in your suitcase. They take up virtually no room and they provide a ton of versatility.
“I’m embarrassed to go to the gym.”
Many people are scared to go to the gym, fearing that they’ll be judged because they’re overweight or they don’t know what they’re doing. Here’s the reality of the situation: Everyone else is thinking the same thing. Almost everyone there is so caught up in how they look, they’re not even paying attention to you. If that doesn’t put your mind at ease, you can always work out from home.
“Gym memberships are too expensive.”
Many gyms offer bare-bones memberships to people who don’t want all the frills. This is a great way to keep costs down. Some bare-bones gyms are as low as $10 per month. If you just flat out don’t want to pay a gym membership, you can get in a great workout at home with a very small investment. For about $50, you can buy a set of exercise bands, some light dumbbells, and an exercise mat. With the right knowledge of exercises, this should give you the opportunity to do literally hundreds of exercises. (Here are some great ones to try!)
So now your options are to either quit making excuses and get on with your workout, or to get really creative with your excuses. What will you choose?
Brian Maher is a personal trainer in Center City Philadelphia who specializes in weight loss and nutritional counseling. He is the owner of Philly Personal Training, a company offering convenient in-home personal training packages to busy individuals looking to improve their fitness levels. Read all of Brian’s posts for Be Well Philly here.
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