February 25, 2020
Workout Excuses Be Gone!
By KT June, Ontario
We can often find a plethora of reasons not to workout, or excuses… I have heard many. I have also used some in the past. But now, if I ever catch myself looking for a reason to not work out, I call myself out on it. I remind myself that I am only feeding the beast of resistance and that the bigger the excuse is, the more I need to overcome it and…get that workout in!
Here, I tackle some of the most common anti-exercise excuses:
I’m too tired.
It seems like we spend much of our time feeling tired, even after consuming an obscene amount of coffee on the daily. We have kids. We have jobs. We have commitments: things to do, places to be, people to see. We have meals to cook and houses to clean (Some of us are born insomniacs…sigh). And wouldn’t it be nice to have more energy to do all the things we want and need to do? How do we get more energy?…we spend it! It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. All we need to do is start. Usually, within minutes of immersing myself into a workout, any tiredness I was feeling magically begins to disappear, and I acquire newfound energy to keep going. Being tired is often a state of mind that can be changed if we force ourselves to…just start the workout. And the tiredness we feel following a workout is a much better and more accomplished kind of tired!
I’m too lazy.
Just…no. This is a belief that should be squandered as soon as possible. Our bodies are meant to move and be exerted. Lazy is a habit. Lazy is a belief. It does not need to be your reality.
I’m too weak.
Again, our beliefs and states of mind can work wonders. If you believe you are weak, you will be weak. If you believe you are strong, you will exude more strength. And, we increase our strength by building muscle with workouts. Bonus: Feeling stronger physically can also make us feel stronger mentally!
I don’t have time.
We are typically awake for fifteen or so hours a day. If you can’t set aside thirty to sixty minutes daily for yourself, you may have a bigger problem. Even if you must split it between two fifteen or thirty-minute workout windows or cut corners – replace one habit or pastime like watching a TV program or browsing social media. If you have time for those things, you have time for a workout. And the latter will increase your life span and make you feel much better. We have time to do only what we prioritize and value over other things.
It’s too hard.
Of course, it is hard! Skipping around chanting Bonjour like Belle in a field is not going to transform your body or keep you fit. I can think of a few other things that are difficult: Heart disease. Diabetes. Depression. Becoming winded from going up a flight of stairs or from playing tag with your child. In the words of Jillian Michaels: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Most things in life that are worth having don’t come easy. They require time, effort, dedication, persistent action and self-discipline. You can modify any move that is too challenging. And you can take breaks…as many as you need! Unless you are pressed for time…just kidding. (see previous excuse)
It’s that time of the month.
Ahh yes – there are a few days of the month when I too, feel like a combination of a sleep-deprived, brainless zombie, the b*tch from what’s-that-movie-called, both Jekyll and Hyde, the Hulk, and a grocery store tantrum-ing toddler all curled up into one beautiful, foggy and messy ball. But we mustn’t let this stop us! We must not skip workouts thirty-five to sixty days of the year just because of dreaded visits from Aunt Flow. As much as I would sometimes like to drown myself in two boxes (particularly of wine and chocolate) and throw said chocolates at the bad man on the tube, I have obtained an awareness of what actually makes me feel better. So instead, I choose to get my butt in my gear and halfway through my workout, I miraculously unveil a deeply buried and mysterious supply of energy (hey, where the hell were you today when I was head-bobbing in that meeting?), better-mood hormones kick into gear and my attitude transforms more quickly than Julia when Richard sent her shopping for a cocktail dress. The more difficult thing to do (get up, start, move) is often the best thing to do, and we can only feel better from there. Period. (…or no period.)
I have kids/I’m a single parent.
Option one: workout with them. Get them involved. Challenge them to do as many push-ups/squats/burpees/jacks as they can! You are showing your children how important physical health is and this can only be a good thing. Option two: workout next to them. If they’ve already had their share of exercise from recess and gym class, set them up with a fun activity like a craft, painting, books, colouring, puzzles or toys. Your workout window can also be a good time for them to have free playtime. (Just don’t forget to prepare them a snack beforehand or you’ll be hitting that pause button!) Option three: workout while they are asleep, in the early morning or after you tuck them in for the night.
I already washed my hair/I don’t want to wash my hair again.
Two words: Dry. Shampoo.
It’s the weekend.
Some of my best workouts are on the weekend. When (many of us) have the gift of more time! And more sleep! Take advantage of it. And you will have a more productive weekend and feel better and stronger, in turn, to take on the new week!
I already missed yesterday and the day before and the day before.
Then best not to skip another day or the rest of the week and get further behind. It is an even better reason to workout today. That was then. This is today. Your body is counting on you now.
I have a sore (neck/back/fill in the blank).
Oh, the number of times I have worked out with an aching back, (right) foot or kinked neck. If you have a condition, a strain or chronic pain, surely speak to your doctor about safe workouts you can do. Sometimes, specific exercises can worsen the pain, but, oftentimes, they can relieve it-by loosening the muscles and getting the blood flowing to the area…and sending in the troops and our good friends, mighty endorphins! I have a sister with a merciless degenerative disease who gets around in a wheelchair. And she works out every day! She is one of my biggest sources of inspiration.
Working out is boring/lame/sucks.
Change your perspective. It can be a lot of fun. Always switch it up and welcome variety. There’s an abundance of different forms of exercises to try! Workout with friends, your spouse or your kids. Take different classes. Try new things. Watch different videos. Learn about your body. If you view exercise in a negative way, you will be dragging your a**. However, you will enjoy it much more significantly if you go into a workout with a positive attitude, knowing you will get something out of it (i.e. increased mood, energy, strength, …and other endless benefits).
I never see any real results or changes.
If you are waiting for your ideal body to meet you in the mirror overnight, know it just does not happen. Consistency is key. Be realistic and give yourself time. There is nothing wrong with slow progress – the important thing is that you are progressing and continuing to move forward. Set smaller goals leading up to big ones, with every aspect of working out-time, distance, weights. If you raise the bar too high at the beginning, you will quickly become discouraged. Think short-term, especially when it comes to new or more challenging moves, like chin-ups (my arch-enemy…grrr). If you are consistent, you will notice a transformation begin to take place in your body, whether after a few days or a few weeks and this will give you the motivation you need to keep going. Be patient and don’t give up on yourself. And when you reach your goals (and you will), keep going. Set new goals. Exercise does not have a finish line. It is part of an ongoing healthy lifestyle.
More Tips and Motivators
Just try it! Even if you think a workout seems too challenging – you may just surprise yourself. I was once recommended kettlebell workouts and was skeptical at first, but eager to switch things up. It turned out to be quite a refreshing workout, and I have fallen hard for kettlebells! Don’t give up on yourself before you even start or try a new move or exercise.
Modify when you need to. You may have an off day, and that’s okay. Watch for proper form, and if you can’t do it perfectly yet, don’t worry about it, you’ll get there. As long as you are doing your best, you’re still doing it!
But… if there are moves you’re rocking, go harder with them!
Workout in front of a mirror – even if you’re following videos. For me, it is a good motivator and helps to keep my eye on form.
Only start. Push yourself to at least start. By the time you’re halfway through, the odds are fairly good that you will have more motivation to push yourself to finish.
Believe in yourself. It seems so simple. But like with anything in life, if you don’t believe, you won’t succeed. If you already create limits for yourself in your mind, how will you ever know what your physical limits are? Positive self-talk can help to push you harder and farther, even when you think you’ve had enough.
Do not compare yourself to others. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It is also the thief of self-improvement. They are they. You are you. Look to others for motivation and inspiration. The only comparing you should be doing is against your former self and only as a motivating tool to push yourself harder or to keep going.
Another seemingly obvious one, but not always easy to follow: eat healthy – at least 80-85% of the time. What you put into your body affects how you feel and how successful and enjoyable your workouts will be. Think about how your car would run if it were filled with sludge.
Don’t lose sight of your vision. It is yours and only yours. Don’t let outside influences throw you off focus or off course. If you do fall off, know you always have the choice to get back on, at any given moment. The power is within you!
Don’t flail. Move like you mean it. Move with intent.
Dress yourself in trendy workout gear/clothes and runners. This simple act can be enough to motivate me to get moving.
Mark it on your calendar. I’ve gotten some friends into this habit – mark your workouts on the calendar, and when you’re done, you can highlight or check-mark them with pure satisfaction.
Break and breathe. Give yourself a break. Rest and recovery days are an integral part of fitness and overall health. Many people choose Sundays for their rest days. I typically take Mondays off because hey, it’s Monday! And, because I have more time on Sundays, I will go for a long run and/or practice gentle yoga. Consistency is important but know when your body needs to rest. If you switch up your rest day(s) from week to week, that’s okay too! Maybe you find yourself with a ton of energy or with more time available on your usual “rest day”, so you decide to switch it for another day – your routine and schedule are your own and only need to work for you!
And don’t forget to check in and focus on your breathing during workouts, making sure you pace yourself and breathe in and out with each movement.
Every day, every hour, every minute is the right time to make good choices for your body and your health. You’re not in gym class (unless of course, you are), you’re not doing it for a teacher or a grade or your crush. You are doing it for yourself. With every workout, you are investing in your health and your future self. So, don’t sell yourself short. Get out of your own way and head, and do the work. The benefits are real. Endorphins are real. Exercise has saved me and my mental state so many times, which is why I feel so passionately about it! I believe that our quality of life can be drastically improved with regular workouts!
We can find any excuse to avoid doing anything in life.
The bottom line is, if we want it enough, we will start to find excuses TO do it. I can’t NOT workout today because I need to feel strong tomorrow when I help my friend move. I can’t NOT workout today because I ate that entire pizza yesterday. I can’t NOT workout today because I want to have more energy to play with my son at the park later. Change your perspective, and your mind and body will follow.
If you would like to read more from this author, go to www.pushandgrit.com