“What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day
or being dead 24 hours?” ~ Glasbergen
I’ve Heard All of These and More…
No, it’s not what you think… okay, well kind of… but I call these my B.S. (Brian’s Silly) excuses for not exercising. Some are excuses that I used for a lot of years. Others are excuses that I, as a personal trainer, hear from people every day when they tell me why they haven’t (or don’t want to) work out. And I offer my argument as to why these excuses are, well… B.S..
“I just can’t find time.” – Really? What are you doing at 5:00 a.m. besides watching the back of your eyelids? Do you take 60 minutes to eat lunch? Do you nap in the afternoon? Do you go into work early or stay late just to get some extra work done for your employer? Lack of time is the most common B.S. excuse. Even 15 minutes a day burning 10 calories a minute can result in a 15-pound weight loss by this time next year! So, get up early, take time on your lunch hour, or schedule a 15- or 30-minute appointment with yourself at the end of your workday or before bed to exercise. After all, do you have time to take a couple of weeks or even months off of work due to an obesity-related illness? Or, worse yet, do you really have time to be dead? Just sayin’…
“I’m too overweight.” – Well, duh! How do you think you got this way… the fat fairy? You didn’t just wake up one morning overweight, you built that house of blubber over a number of years by putting off exercise and adopting bad eating habits. Here’s the good news/bad news… The good news is that exercise has an immediate effect on your health. That first jumping jack or first push-up that you do will start a chain reaction as your entire body starts to adapt to exercise. The bad news is, is that it’s going to suck for a week or two as your muscles become sore and you find yourself gasping for air and trying not to puke. Sorry, but that’s the honest truth that no infomercial on the next greatest fitness contraption is going to tell you. Personally, I threw up 20 minutes into my very first workout after six years of no exercise; I also couldn’t walk up and down stairs for three days after my first workout because my legs were so freakin’ sore. If you watch the show, The Biggest Loser, you will know that being overweight should not keep you from working out. Find a personal trainer that understands obesity and how to modify exercises that will help you reach your fitness goals and lose weight.
“I’m already thin.” – Well, lucky you!… or maybe not. Have you ever year heard the terms “TOFI” (thin outside, fat inside) or “skinny fat”? No, those aren’t just some made-up terms. They’re very real. In a recent episode of Dr. Oz, they brought out some audience members who were visually skinny and had low BMIs (Body Mass Index) that put them in the “normal” range. But, after checking their actual body fat percentages, they were all considered “overweight” or “obese” by medical guidelines. How could that be? Well, their fat was actually being stored around their organs and was deep inside their bodies. Fat encased their heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, lungs, etc. This is just as dangerous, if not more so, than someone who weighs 300 pounds or more. So, just because you look thin… it doesn’t mean you are fit and/or healthy. There… another excuse destroyed!
“I don’t have a gym nearby.” – So? Do you think our soldiers have a Bally’s out in the middle of the desert? Of course not! They use body weight exercises and find ways to make use of everything from ropes, straps, ammunition boxes, gas cans, rocks, and water jugs to create resistance for strength workouts. And for cardio, they do calisthenics, run, climb, hop and do whatever they can to improve their cardiovascular endurance. Give me a 3’ x 6’ space and I can give you a kick ass workout that will help you improve strength and cardio in just 15 minutes a day. So, screw the gym and get creative with the resources you DO have available.
“I’m not strong enough to lift weights.” – Of course you’re not! And do you know why? Because you don’t lift weights, silly! It takes time to improve your strength or to regain it after not using it for awhile. When I was much younger, I had decent strength. I was on the wrestling team and played other sports. But, some 30 years later, I lost that muscle. When I started working out again in March of 2010, I literally could not do 10 real push-ups or even do ONE real sit up. I was 75 pounds overweight with no muscle. I had to start all over by lifting 5 lb. dumbbells or bench pressing a 45 lb. Olympic barbell with no weights on it. Today, I can knock out 60 push-ups in one minute and lift weights that I could lift when I was in my teens and 20s! Like they say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It will take a couple of months to undo the damage you’ve done to your body over the past few years. Be patient. Start small. Build strength.
“Joining a gym is too expensive.” – Who said you have to join a gym? There are so many options out there. And, yes, some are expensive and deservedly so. But, there is a trade-off if you just do the math. Personally, I was spending about $200 each month on obesity-related medications and C-PAP supplies for my sleep apnea. Two months after I started working out regularly (5-6 days per week), I was able to get off of all my meds and pack my C-PAP machine away in the closet. Not only was I able to afford hiring a personal trainer, I was also able to save some money! And… if you can just part with the fast food, cigarettes, gourmet coffee, cupcakes and whatever else your vice(s) may be, you’ll see that putting $50 per week towards your health in the form of exercise, will pay off in the long run. It’s already in your budget; you just need to re-allocate!
“I already know how to work out on my own.” – As Dr. Phil would ask, “So how’s that workin’ out for ya?” This is one of those excuses I hear when I ask people, “Are you working with a personal trainer?” Everyone is an “expert” when it comes to working out, but hardly anyone ever sees results. Do you really want to keep putting countless hours in working out in a gym every day, only to keep seeing the same “you” in the mirror? You know what makes me laugh even harder? When I find out someone goes to the gym once every week for an hour and thinks they are getting fit. Even someone who is very healthy goes into maintenance mode and works out 3-4 days per week. You aren’t going to see results if you only work out 1-2 days per week. And, those people that do frequent the gym regularly are either 1) doing the same workouts every single time or 2) they are doing the wrong exercises to reach their goals. Exercise is a science. Depending on your goals, there are different workouts. Some build strength while others focus on power. Some build endurance while others build muscle size. And other workout routines are designed to burn fat and help people lose (or gain) weight. A personal trainer can help design a program to help you reach your specific goal(s). Even good personal trainers use personal trainers to mix things up and introduce fresh, new workout routines. So, check the ego and get some help.
“I’m too old to start working out?” – If you’re not dead, you’re not too old. The oldest client I’ve ever trained was a very petite lady named Mary Ann. And even though she was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s and could remember a lot of things, she knew how to work out. She could lift more weight for her body size, than many of my other female clients. Mary Ann was 84. Being older doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t work out. Find a personal trainer that has experience working with older populations. My “seasoned” clients will tell you that I don’t bust their butts and make them lift heavy weights. I focus on improving their strength and endurance for ADLs (Activities of Daily Living). We focus on balance and stability to help them avoid falls. We work on lifting weights that are common around their home so that they can move objects like boxes and heavy dishes, or they can lift their grandchildren or great grandchildren to give them a hug. Again, age is not a factor and certainly not a valid excuse for starting a fitness journey.
“Working out is lonely.” – I actually like to work out on my own, because it is my “quiet” time to meditate and listen to music. But, if you need to be around other people, then find a workout buddy or join a fitness class or boot camp (shameless plug for FitCamp!). Ask a co-worker, friend, neighbor or someone else you frequently in the gym if they’d like a workout buddy. Having someone to help encourage you and hold you accountable to workout sessions helps improve your long-term adherence to exercise. You can also hire a personal trainer who will not only be your workout buddy, but they’ll provide valuable expertise to help you reach your fitness goals. But… if you do find a workout partner, don’t spend the whole time chit-chatting. Use the time wisely and help keep each other on task. As for classes or boot camps, it has been proven that people who participate in group exercise classes adhere to their fitness program nearly ten times longer than people who go it alone; 50% quit within the first six months and only 10% continue past one year. OUCH!!!
“I’m injured (or ill).” – So, you’re injured, ill or have a physical disability. Big deal! Go to a gym, watch a marathon, or attend a wheel chair basketball game or Special Olympics competition. If you think you’re the only one that’s got a sore back, bum knee, sore rotator cuff, or ingrown toenail, you’re very wrong. Virtually everyone can use this excuse. I’ve seen people ten times worse off than me working their butts off in the gym, running a race, or participating in sports competitions specifically designed to accommodate people with illnesses, disabilities and other physical limitations. Should you workout if you’ve got the flu? Probably not. The same goes for people who tear their ACL, just gave birth, or have other serious injuries or medical conditions. If there’s any question, always check with your physician before starting or continuing an exercise program following and injury or illness. But, for many people, exercising can actually help improve joint function and mobility, strengthen muscles, and even reduce the effects of colds, allergies, headaches, menstrual pains or just feeling “blah”. In fact, exercise can sometimes cure some of the most common ailments such as hangovers and colds. Sweating, a form of detoxification, allows you to release toxins that are guilty of making you feel under the weather. While injury and illness may be a valid excuse for taking a short-term break from exercise, it shouldn’t be THE excuse for not making exercise a part of your long-term lifestyle.
So, there you have it. These are my Top Ten B.S. Excuses for Not Exercising… Part I. There are a few more that I often hear. But, I’m going to let you digest these for now, as I’m sure a few might ring familiar.
If you’re tired of making excuses, then I invite you to contact me about personal training or attending FitCamp, my fitness boot camp program in Westfield, Indiana. If you’re not in my area, then contact me and I can either help design fitness programs for your remotely or help you find and assess a program in your area.
To your health!