“You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous
Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.
Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.
Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.
In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.
Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.
Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.
1. I don’t have enough time.
This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.
First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”.Advertising
Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?
A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.
Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.
2. I’m way too tired to workout.
Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.
If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.
You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.
If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.
3. But exercise is so boring!
You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?
So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.Advertising
The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.
If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.
4. I have no motivation to workout.
If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.
What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit. Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.
That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.
The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.
Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.
5. I have kids to look after.
One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.
Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.Advertising
If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.
You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.
6. I don’t have anyone to train with.
What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.
By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.
7. I don’t feel very well.
After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.
At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.
If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.
8. The gym is too expensive or far.
If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.
The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite. Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.Advertising
There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.
If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.
9. I don’t know how to train properly.
If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.
However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.
People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.
10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.
This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.
The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.
Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.
Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.
Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)
12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory
Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.
But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.
I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.
Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.
Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.
Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.
Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.
When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.
Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.
While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.
Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.
Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.
5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids
Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.
The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.
Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.
Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.
Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.
Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.
7. Dark chocolate
When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.
Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:
8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron
Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.
B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.
Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.
Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.
To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!
9. Foods Rich in Zinc
Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.
Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.
Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.
10. Gingko biloba
This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.
It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.
However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.
11. Green and black tea
Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.
Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.
Find out more about green tea here:
12. Sage and Rosemary
Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.
Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.
When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!
Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com
|||^||Perkins AJ, et al. Am J Epidemiol. 1999.: Association of antioxidants with memory in a multiethnic elderly sample using the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.|
|||^||Tuffs University: Researchers At Tufts University Report Blueberries May Reverse Memory Loss|
|||^||Smith AD, et al. PLoS One. 2010: Homocysteine-lowering by B vitamins slows the rate of accelerated brain atrophy in mild cognitive impairment: a randomized controlled trial.|